Monday, September 26, 2011

Adventures at the Eiffel Tower

After a long day of sightseeing in Paris, my camera battery was fading fast. When we reached the peak of the Eiffel Tower, I eeked out two or three photos and thought I was home free.

Feeling my luck, I gratefully handed my camera to a woman who offered to take a photo of Paul and me. We were posed and ready, and that's when the battery decided to die.

Without hesitating, the lady kindly offered to take a photo with her own camera and email it to us. Paul handed over one of his business cards -- we knew there was a reason to pack them! -- and she introduced herself as Kelly. When we got home, the photos were waiting for us. And that's how Kelly saved the day and gave me my fondest memory of the Eiffel Tower.

Thanks, Kelly!

Yes, my fondest memory, but certainly not my only one. We had seen the tower from afar on our first day, but we didn't get up close and personal until the end of our second. We got there sometime around 8 p.m. as the sun was setting. The line was long and I was already cold in my hooded, zippered sweater; Paul was even colder in his short-sleeved collared shirt. Two hours later we had made it to the second floor, and shortly afterward the very top. The wind at the summit felt like it could blow you over the edge.

A funicular-like elevator takes you to the first and second levels.

But we were rewarded with terrific night views. The views from both the second and top levels weren't that different -- we were already higher than most of Paris at the lower level, and the light shimmered throughout the city and along the Seine wherever you were.

And a surprise: every hour on the hour at night, white lights strategically placed on the Eiffel Tower alternately blink, making the tower sparkle like a diamond for about five minutes. The oohs and aahs that inevitably went up as soon as the show started didn't do it justice, and neither does a camera. No matter. My camera had no shortage of Eiffel Tower views -- from that night and the next, when we were also in the area -- anyway.

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