Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The last pictures of our trip ... The Eiffel Tower ...

Sadly, this is my last post about our trip to Europe. These are pictures from our visit(s) to the Eiffel tower. We visited during the day, and at night ... and we also had a private "behind the scenes" tour which I HIGHLY recommend. The private tour cost $20 Euros per person and you get a completely private tour (there were 4 other people only) of the "inner workings" of the tower - we got to go into the engine room to see how the lifts operate - actually see the cranks and pulley systems, we got to go into an underground hidden "bunker" that was built during the revolutionary war - which is now used as storage and access for the Towers restaurants - it also has tunnels and secret paths for the French president should there ever be a situation where he needed to leave the Élysée Palace (French equivalent to the White House). We also got to go up the "freight elevator" in the tower, and onto a catwalk basically where painters and maintenance crew go to do work on the tower (where public is not allowed to tour).

I thought it was interesting to find out that every inch of the tower is painted - HAND PAINTED, by BRUSH, every couple years (I think every 10) a new color, and that color is then patented. Our guide told us that because the paint (new paint on top of old paint on top of older paint) weighs so much, they've had to close many shops and restaurants (leaving all but two restaurants) and they've had to make the restaurants mostly glass (no painting, and weighs less). Our tickets got us up to the first floor (with no waiting .... which was great, because the wait to get up to the first floor was probably 300+ people long - at least) and from there you could either buy tickets to the second and top floors or walk to the second and then buy a ticket to the top. I thought the view was really good from where we were so I had no desire to walk the several hundred steps (UP)to the 2nd floor (the line for the elevator was very long) so I decided to have a seat and write out postcards with a croissant and a glass of champagne while Sam climbed the steps up to the second floor for some pictures. We also got a full history of the tower and of Gustave Eiffel ... which was very interesting.

Here are some of the pictures we took of the tower (from the ground, on top, and from the water - we did take a boat architecture tour) and a video or two of the tower lights.

Au Revior,



PS: One thing I want to tell you ... since we have been home a whole month - Sam DID get a ticket in the mail for SPEEDING where there was a posted speed limit sign in Heidelberg (not on the autobahn!) They got him with a photo ticket. Yikes!!!

Love the moon here

Not the best picture (focus-wise) but love the moon and how lit up everything is....
Looking up from the bottom
Looking down from the top (of the first level)

Looking up from the 2nd level to the 3rd level ...

Here's a couple videos we took of the Eiffel Tower - of the lights twinkling - this is just before it's getting ready to happen. Apparently, from what our tour guide told us, they turned the twinkling lights on for New Years of the millennium and they plan to leave them on until New Years of 2010. They go on (after dark) every hour for 10 minutes.


Believe it or not, I've only shared JUST a FEW of the pictures (LOL) that we took in Europe. (Yeah, right.) If you want to see the whole 500 and something, just go to our KodakGallery, www.kodakgallery.com/tramontana (it's the first album). There are many wonderful photos, but just too many to put on our blog. They're not labeled, but they're in order of our trip (I basically just dumped them off the camera when we got home and onto the Kodak site.)

Ooops forgot two things I wanted to tell you!

First, the diet cokes. These cost 22.00 at an outdoor Italian cafe in Paris at lunchtime. 22.00 Euros. So that was like 30.000 American. Umm, yeah. For one "large" and one "medium" diet coke. With no ice, and no alcohol. Oh and no refills!! We loved Paris, but JEEZ, it was expensive...particularly restaurants. (The food was hardly more than the drinks, believe it or not! They make fabulous pizzas in Europe, everywhere we had pizza it was great.)

And the rainbow. If you read my first post after our return, you remember that our flight from Frankfurt, Germany to Philadelphia went off with no problems - which was amazing considering the problems we had GETTING to Germany, then the subsequent problems with our luggage being lost for 3 days. Remember that our flight from Philadelphia to Virginia was cancelled because of a massive storm? They actually shut the runway down for awhile and while we were in line waiting for a shuttle to HOWARD JOHNSONS (US Airways kindly put us up in a hotel because we'd been travelling for so long) - the rain stopped for awhile, the sun sort of poked through the clouds, and we see this rainbow. Yeah. I think I shed a tear or two over this rainbow and not ones of joy either - it was like a cruel joke, lol.....I just wanted to get home to see my kids.....and we couldn't .... and then there is a rainbow right after the storm. I HAD to get a picture.

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