Last year, I started the year with a trip to Paris – *The City of Lights*. Paris – the capital of France – recognized for its architecture, museums, bridges, cathedrals, and beautiful monuments and overtime have also gained the status of the ‘City of Love’.
I started my journey early morning at 8h45 from Indira Gandhi International Airport, Delhi, India via Qatar Airways. This was my first time at the international airport & the very first international travel and I was nervous as hell. Thanks to my nervousness, I reached the airport super early by 6h30, cleared security and was already on way towards the gate by 7h00. I was travelling solo, so the officials at the check-in counter raised some suspicious questions on me as if travelling solo is a crime..huh??? After security clearance and exploring the entire airport & the duty free shops, reached the gate by 07h50 and enjoyed my morning coffee while waiting for the boarding to start.
Finally settled in my seat by 08h30 and the plane was all ready to make me more anxious for my first solo international travel. After half hour of flight, breakfast was served which included fresh fruits, bread, butter, jam and fruit juice. I was impresses with Qatar Airways as the plane was nice with spacious legroom(even in Economy) and the flight crew was polite and politely helped us with anything asked for. I continued my 4 hour journey by opting for F.R.I.E.N.D.S from the in-flight entertainment.
Reached Doha ~ Hamid International Airport at 10h30 for the four hour layover and proceeded towards immigration & the airport was experimenting with some newer technology in the security for making the passage smooth. Post immigration clearance, I started to explore the huge Doha airport and proceeded towards the duty-free area ~ nothing in reality is cheap over there yet I wandered through the shops while admiring some of them which are still not on Delhi airport like Victoria Secrets.
Headed to refresh myself at the food court, the restaurants were accepting Euros but returning the balance in Qatari Riyal which left me with limited options where I could eat and I also couldn’t find anything vegan to eat so had to settle for grilled chicken burger and cappuccino.
Difficult to kill time when you’re alone on a airport and in no mood to shop to exceed your budget only on the journey itself. By this time, I had already explored various showrooms, ate at the food court, had a Facebook video call with mum and still had a lot of time to kill. Let me tell you guys, my journeys are usually never complete without any issues(major or minor), so no surprises here as I got one at the Doha airport as well. I was waiting at the gate for my connecting flight to Paris until I got to know at the last moment that the gate is changed..Sigh. I had to absorb the shock and run for the newly mentioned gate where the boarding had already started. I reached at the gate, joined the queue and got another shock that the plane has changed. Thus the seats were different then and no window/aisle seat left so a middle seat was allocated to me. I couldn’t more be stunned knowing that I have to settle for a middle seat even when I chose a window seat during web-check in. Well, I was not left with any option than to sit and pass entire journey of 7hrs with guilt that why I didn’t check the gates before proceeding towards the gate. Somewhere near Doha(Qatar)
Moving on, the flight was surprisingly before schedule and we reached at Paris ~ Charles De Gaulle Airport sharp at 19h30. Upon landing I collected my baggage and started towards the immigration counter & observed that senior citizens and families with toddlers were given priority by the authorities which indeed was a nice gesture. After all the immigration formalities, I bought the metro ticket for the onward journey towards the city. I got confused about the platform so reached out to the help desk and the officer was very supportive & pointed out the route in the city map. As I was walking towards the platform with a heavy suitcase, that was when a security officer saw me and spoke something on his walkie-talkie and told me to board the train downstairs ~ I later realized that he requested the train driver to wait for me – another great gesture I was appalled with 😀 It was another hour journey to the city, I settle in a window seat and couldn’t hide my excitement about the first international city I am about to enter – Paris.
I reached my station somewhere around 21h15 and found that there were no electronic escalators and I had to carry my heavy suitcase outside. The moment I stepped outside the station I saw the Eiffel Tower right across the road ~ *shining brightly* and I couldn’t resist clicking some pictures. On reaching the hotel around 09h30, I unloaded my stuff in the hotel and crashed in for the night and slept with dreams about exploring The City of Love.
Some initial glimpses from the city of love..
Have you travelled to any foreign land alone and had any adventure on the journey?? Do share your experience with us!!
– The Wanderer