I went to France and Spain during the march break with my school on EF Tours. We actually left 2 days before the start of march break and I had an Economics unit test that day which sucked. The backpacks we were given by EF Tours and forced to use was really small and hideous. It was a huge sign that marked us as tourists.
I expected France to be a lot better though. There was so much vandalism and nearly everyone smoked in Europe. I’ve began to appreciate Canada a lot more now. The flight from Toronto to Paris was about 6-7 hours and we were supposed to sleep on the trip since it was overnight. I had a really difficult time falling asleep and I slept for probably only 1-2 hours. When we got to Paris, it was 7-ish in the morning and we were supposed to start sight-seeing…. which sucked because LOLWEDIDN”TGETANYSLEEP. The day before we left I was finishing up 2 essays so I stayed up till 3:00 AM, so I got no sleep, and the next night we were on that plane and I slept for 1-2 hours. I was dying of lack of sleep for the first few days.
We went to a lot of places in (and around) France like the Louvre, Notre Dame, D’Orsay, Versailles, and the Eiffel Tower. We had a tour guide from EF Tours and his name was Jorg/George/York, or something like that. He had that many names because no one could pronounce his real name, poor guy. The hotel in Paris, Etap, made a lot of us want to cry because of its horrible colour coordination, size, and quality, (and because for some reason they sold sandwiches and condoms in vending machines)… The service was bad too. After we checked out, they wouldn’t even let us sit on their chairs. We tried sitting on the floor, but it pissed them off just as much, because “We might damage the floors.” The food was okay I guess, but the quantity was really small.
We got to see the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Liberty leading the People, The Wrath of Medusa, and a whole bunch of famous paintings (by Van Gogh, Monet, Manet, Dali, Botticelli, Michaelangelo, and etc.), sculptures, and ceilings. There was a security guard looking after the Mona Lisa and he was so young. He looked 18-ish, and was pretty good looking. Darn, I should’ve taken a picture of him.
When we went to the Eiffel Tower twice, once during the day, and then once during the night because some people wanted to go up which we didn’t the first time we went. I didn’t go up because I was really tired from walking that day and I thought we had to take the stairs to go up, but actually, they ended up taking the elevators. So I was at the bottom of the Eiffel tower with a group of around 12 people or so with our teacher, Mrs. Chelin. These really freaky illegal-immigrant-looking guys kept coming up to us trying to make us buy stuff from them, or asking us to go for a cup of coffee with them. We got surrounded by a group of them once and Mrs. Chelin got really angry and threatened to call the police, and I ended up swearing at them, after that they sorta just left us alone. There were army people patrolling that area with machine guns for gypsies, but I guess that didn’t work because there were still 3015016346 of them walking around harassing tourists.
When we went to this church (I forgot which one, we went to too many), we were supposed to meet at this place. Everyone showed up more or less on time but one girl never came. The teachers were panicking and everyone was forced to wait for her, which we spent about 2 hours doing. The teachers ended up calling the police. Later I was told she was actually arrested by the police for smoking pot….. The teachers were too lazy to send her back home because it would mean one of them would have to accompany her back. Sad.
We took an overnight train to Spain, but I found out it was actually to the border of France after. Even though the train was really small, it was pretty comfort. Each room on the train had 6 bunks in total, 3 on each side. I slept on one of the top bunks and the only thing keeping me from falling was this 5 cm-belt-looking thing attached from the bottom of the bed to the ceiling. In the morning, our teachers were freaking out because they were like, “OMG ITS 7:53, WE ONLY HAVE 7 MORE MINUTES BEFORE THE TRAIN STOPS” and they started banging on our doors for us to get up. But actually, IT WAS ONLY 6:53.
We took a coach bus after the train ride to Barcelona which took a whole day. I liked the bus rides because I somehow managed to fall asleep on every single one of them. When we got to the border of Spain, we stopped for only about 5 seconds because security thought we weren’t suspicious looking enough to check our passports or anything. But then again, the European countries have an alliance so that anyone can cross the borders to the next country without applying for anything.
We stayed at 2 hotels in Spain (Barcelona and Madrid) and they were a lot better than the ones in Paris. The last hotel had a shower with water coming out from like 30 places.
There were a lot of weird paintings in Spain. One of them was a super serious looking painting, but when you looked closer, it was actually of a Saint or Goddess squirting milk from her breast in to the mouth of a Priest…. standing 4 meters away. That girl’s got good aim. >__>” Another painting showed a man with boobs feeding a child milk. That one was really disturbing.
For the flight back to Canada, we had to wake up at 2:00 AM. We spent the first few hours in the airport waiting around (I was trying to sleep on the floor) because we found out 5 Chinese kids didn’t have visas to Britain. We were supposed to transfer flights at London Heathrow Airport, to fly to Montreal, and then transfer again at Montreal to fly to Toronto. Our group ended up splitting up with a teacher staying with the 5 waiting for them to get their visas from the British Embassy in Madrid. So right now, they still might be in Spain waiting for their visas. Waiting around at the airport for a couple of hours caused us to have to run to catch our plane. We had 30 minutes to reach the terminal, and the train we had to take inside the airport to get there took 18 minutes. We made it on time so I’m happy.
Our next flight at Heathrow airport was hilarious. We got on the plane alright, but we sat there waiting for the plane to take off for nearly 2 hours. Apparently, an emergency exist needed to have an inflatable slide installed. So that took nearly an hour to install, and then this IDIOT came running in to the runway of Heathrow Airport which caused a security breach. He also dropped something on the runway which was apparently a remote controlled bomb of some sort. Heres a link to a news report on it stolen from Artrica’s journal: Man seized on runway at London Heathrow airport. The 2 hour delay caused us to miss our next flight from Montreal to Toronto. Air Canada organized for us to take the another plane from Montreal to Toronto which was to take off 1.5 hours after we’ve landed in Montreal. We were running the whole time because we had to go through customs, pick up our luggage, check-in our luggage again, pass through security, and all that crap. We got to the terminal with 20 minutes to spare though C:
Now, I’m finally back in Canada, and should start on my homework which I know will take me pull all-nighters to finish. Now that I look back, I’m proud of my ability to not go to the washroom for more than 12 hours, since the washrooms sucked in Europe. But of course my ability is defeated whenever I drink Coke or Nestea- it causes me to have to go to the washroom for like 5 times within the next 2 hours. I’ll also upload some photos of the France and Spain trip later.