Monday, March 26, 2007

Trip to Paris

This month, we unexpectedly got a chance to visit Paris. A Pakistani student had earlier come from Sweden to our city to do his masters project. He was leaving this month so he urged us to make a trip to Paris. We conceded. He planned a one day trip with a tourism bus service So off we went, we five guys, early in the morning to a nearby city from where we were to catch the bus. The bus journey took about 4 hours, excluding a half hour stay we did on a highway filling station. The driver drove us through the city telling us significance of different buildings there. He finally stopped near the base of the Eiffel Tower and asked us to wander around and come back to the bus till 9 pm. he also gave us a map of the city telling about important locations and also which train station shoots the train to Germany in case...

We had already heard of the long lines at the tower and were puzzled whether to climb up. The line didn't seem that big, although it was one the three lines at the four base pillars (one elevator was out of order). We also had to wait there for a resident Pakistani who had lived in our city and was supposed to show us around. So we got into the line which was moving in quick steps. The straight line was not so long, but when we got near the counter, the line was twisted in a zig zag form with about 10 turns. We finally got the tickets and went into a big elevator that took us up to the first platform of the tower. It waited for a couple of minutes and went up again, diagonally this time, to the second platform. There we got off and stood in a line to get into a small elevator taking us to the top. The view was magnificant. We couldn't find the boundaries of the city. Seine river was flowing next to the tower.

Then we came down and took a very long walk along the river, passing by Les Invalides museum and (one of the World's biggest) Louvre Museum, to reach the Notre Dame. Then we passed through the Royal palace, coming to the Concorde and walking back through Champs-Élysées (famous shopping street of Europe) to reach the Arc de Triomphe. On the way we saw offices of PIA and National Bank of Pakistan on this street. Eating fish burgers from a Macdonald there, we came back to the tower, took its night pictures and caught the bus. The driver again took us through the city and finally headed home.

Btw, the city Rahim Yar Khan in Pakistan is the partner city of Paris.

Friday, March 09, 2007

Trip to Nuernberg and Rothenberg, Germany

The university (of Kaiserslautern) arranged a trip to the South-Eastern cities of Nürnberg and a smaller city Rothenberg. We moved in a group of about 40 people changing trains to complete a journey of more than five hours. Such a long distance required that they arrange a night stay. We were to stay at a youth hostel in Nürnberg which was located inside a castle. It was historically inpsiring from the outside and modernally beautiful from the inside. We went to a bunker of world war but couldn't go inside. Then we went to an hour long trip in the tunnels under the city. That was a huge network of tunnels with the guide offering us another trip to cover the rest of the tunnels in another hour or so. It was a very important city during world war and even after the war, the trials of german generals etc were held here.

Photos from Asif Shahab

The next day we went to a small city in the South, called Rothenberg. After seeing Nurnberg we were wondering what better had this city to offer. Ignorant had been our thoughts untill we climbed the city wall. Tracing the wall we walked on and on and the wall never seemed to end. We walked for about an hour to cover only one third of it and then climbed down to see the city. It was surprising that this wall was intact after the world wars. The city also boasted an "investigation museum" which was more of a torture museum. It had about a hundred different tools for torture or shame for the criminals. A high-rise tower in the heart of the city provided a nice view of the city and the surroundings, among very high winds. Exhausted, we finally went to see the river and climbed down dozens of steps to get to it, only to find out that we have to go up all those steps to get to the train station.

Photos from Asif Shahab