A night by the Eiffel Tower

I had no plans to sleep or even to lie down. “I will go to the Eiffel tower, and then just wander through the streets of Paris the whole night”, I had thought. I was reaching to the CDG airport at around 22:00. And it would take one more hour by the train to reach Paris. I had to look for a locker to store my luggage, eat dinner and find out the way to the Eiffel tower, where I was going for the first time, alone and reaching at midnight! The only aim for this time was to reach to the Eiffel tower.

Yes, most of the things went as planned more or less. Using the underground metro for travelling is no longer a mystery now. I had spent probably more than a day (meaning 24 hours) to figure out where and how to take the right train and where to get down if I needed to change another one when I had gone to Stockholm alone for the first time. The process was similar in Barcelona. And I had expected the similar procedures for Paris too. And it worked out. Maybe, it is the same throughout Europe.

It was already past midnight when I reached there. The tower which I used to see only in photos, was right in front of me! It looked magnificent with lights glowing all over.

But after some time (maybe at 1:00), the lights went off.

Anyway, mission accomplished! I reached to the Eiffel tower. 🙂

Then I started strolling around as there was nothing to look at to the tower after the lights went off. What I found after changed my plan of wandering around the streets for the whole night. There was a grassland nearby where a lot of other people were drinking, chatting and some lying down. I decided to lie down for a while.

The sky was clear, stars visible, gentle breeze and soft grass on the ground. And I was in front of the Eiffel tower! Well, that was another ineffable feeling.

Two other visitors were lying nearby. We just started talking, and kept talking and kept talking and kept talking… until morning! Yes, we did not sleep at all. They had come from Bordeaux with a plan similar to mine :). Only that they arrived in the afternoon and also climbed to the top of the tower. I will do that during my next visit probably.

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How we spent the whole night… Photo: That friend, who just started talking and we spent the whole night talking!

Yes, the tower is impressive, but maybe the grandeur of the tower is too glorified that we expect too much that we do not find it as we expect it to be. Like those friends as they were saying, and me too!

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A week of destinationless travel

It all began from Kharkatta village, Madi valley, Chitwan. Maja decided to take some rest as well as start some writings for her report. Maja, an MSc student from the University of Copenhagen, Denmark was doing her field work for MSc thesis, in the Madi valley of Chitwan. I had the responsibility of assisting her. At first the plan was like, to finish the whole field work within a month, or stay for some more days if we didn’t become able to complete our target. But she wished to take a break after two weeks of work. She planned to go to Sauraha and stay there for a week. I had nothing to do (except for a few transcriptions), nowhere to go!

“Should I go to Kathmandu or Pokhara?” I don’t know. I can go anywhere. But I have to go to Bharatpur bus park at first and get a bus, for her, to Sauraha.

February 17

We left Kharkatta at 7:30 and reached the Bharatpur bus park at 11:30. The auto drivers started decreasing their price themselves; we just needed to stand silently for a while. After haggling with one of them for some time, she decided to take an auto rather than bothering to look for buses that would go only to another bus park but not to the hotel she had booked.

But where should I go?

I had made mind to go Pokhara because it had been quite long I hadn’t met my college friends. But the Mugling-Narayanghat road section was closed till 16:00 for maintenance. That meant I had to consume around 4 more hours.

What suddenly came to my mind is – Why not go to Sauraha! The auto was right in front! And I had never been to Sauraha! How lucky me! And I travelled towards Sauraha.

After wandering around Sauraha for about 2 hours, I went to the Pokhara bus park. When I reached there at 15:45, there was only one microbus to Pokhara crammed with people. And the khalasi was saying that was the last bus to Pokhara. Lol, the road opens at 16:00 and the khalasi was saying, at 15:45 that, that was the last bus. More amazingly, there were people who believed. How easily these people believe khalasis! No matter to me even if that was the last one. Because there was nothing that I needed to reach Pokhara the same day. I could stay around there and go Pokhara next day early. So I just waited for another bus.

But it took too long. No sooner had I decided to look for a hotel than the bus came. It came at 17:00. I boarded the bus!

It was obvious that I would reach late. I reached Pokhara at 22:00. Where would I go other than my Institute of Forestry! That is the only reason, that there is this campus, I go to Pokhara. That was that.

February 20

After two days at Pokhara, Professor Santosh Rayamajhi called and asked if I was free for 2-3 days. He only needed a friend to travel to Tansen, Palpa for some of his work. That too in his car.

Why would I deny! I had never been to Tansen. And I was aimless throughout the week!

But he told later that he needed to go up to Tamghas, Gulmi. And the journey to Tamghas began on Feb 21.

February 21

February 22

The whole day, we travelled to remote villages of Gulmi; Isma, Dhurkot, Madane etc.

February 23

The journey back to Pokhara began. We stopped and wandered around Ridi bazaar, Palpa for a while. And in the evening, at Pokhara again.

February 24

Now it was time to go to Madi for work. I had to reach Bharatpur on Sunday, Feb 25. Being unsure if I would stay at Mugling in the evening and start for Bharatpur early next day, I started my journey from Pokhara at around 13:00. Fortunately, I reached Narayanghat the same evening.

And the week-long destinationless travel ended!

February 25