The stuff you see on the NYC subway

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All the subways of the world are filled with their share of colourful characters – I’ve seen them in London, in Paris and Tokyo. But no subway system delivers the people who have deviated from the norms of society like New York. And they come on a sliding scale – from the complete crazies who ride on the trains all day, speaking gibberish and spitting (we had this experience on Saturday), to those who preach (had a woman do this for 15 minutes yesterday), to the less eccentric, but no less interesting beggars, hustlers, musicians and performers.

On Saturday these guys decided to simply start break-dancing at the Atlantic stop. While we were waiting for a train which was never actually going to come due to maintenance I decided to take some pics. I have no idea how they are okay with actually touching the platform floors with their hands but hey, this is New York City.

Paris, city of love

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Thirty hours in a city like Paris is not enough, but it was the best thirty hours I have spent in recent memory. As a last minute addition to my Europe trip I decided that we should go to Paris for the weekend, leaving Zurich on Saturday morning and returning Sunday night. I have never been to Paris so I was determined to cram in as much as possible, sacrificing things like eating,sleeping and shopping.

Paris did not disappoint me – it was everything I have seen in the movies, read in the books and heard from loved ones. It is beautiful, filled with beautiful people, brimming with energy and history, and above all it is a city of lovers. Everywhere you look there are couples walking hand in hand, snuggled up to keep each other warm. Tall, short,young, old, gay, Parisienne, foreign – they can all be found trying to take photographs together with the Eiffel Tower in the background.

Since we were staying for only one night I decided to splash out a little and we stayed at the Ares Eiffel Hotel, just a 5 minute walk from the Tower itself. It’s a really quaint boutique hotel that is centrally located and has free wi-fi. The classic rooms (which go for 200€ a night if you book via the Internet) are small but with lovely modern bathrooms. Being in such a central location is key when you only have a short amount of time.

So what can you do in Paris in 30 hours? Walk and photograph the Eiffel Tower (but not go up), eat cheese and drink wine for lunch, walk along the river, visit the Museum D’Orsay, cross the lovers bridge, walk the whole length of the Champs Élysées to the Arc d’Triomphe, eat lots of crepes, visit the Lafayette centre (every fashion label you can think of under one roof), walk half of the Rue Saint Honore in search of the Christian Loubotin store (which closed in your face), go to Pigalle to laugh at the sex shops and snap the Moulin Rouge, get frostbite taking photos of the Eiffel Tower at night and have some dinner. Then, after a bit of sleep you go to the Pere-Lachaise cemetery, Notre Dame, walk to see the pyramid at the Louvre and enjoy a very indulgent lunch at a very fancy restaurant (Kong, 1 Rue du Pont Neuf) before heading to the airport.

I was also very impressed with the Paris metro; while a bit stinky and dirty it is very efficient and the app on my iPad made it really easy to work out which station, line and direction to take each time.

The only thing that I would change is the weather. Minus 10 with the treacherous wind is no joke and Andrew and I both looked a little like refugees who had put on as much clothes as possible before fleeing home.

Paris, je t’aime.

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