Of course, as we approached the entrance of the Eiffel Tower, I cringed as I witnessed the long tail of the long line. I proceeded to inquire about the elevator entrance for the restaurant Jules Verne, on the second level of the Eiffel Tower, to see if we could possibly eat there for lunch. As I was brushed away by a maître d’ and told that lunch was not available for another 15 minutes, I saw a ticket area with no line. I thought, “What the heck?” It was the entrance to walk up the stairs to the first and second platform. If you wanted to take the lift up to the top from there, you could just pay at the second level.
We all jumped at the opportunity to take the stairs up the Eiffel Tower — until I actually took the stairs. Holy cow… I didn’t think I was afraid of heights and I’m not, at least I don’t think so, but as I began to climb the open stairs, and looked down below at the ground as I climbed each stair, I began to freak. My sons, on the other hand, have seemingly no height perception, and were giddy to run up to each next flight of stairs.
At one point, nearing the first level (which is over 300 steps up), I had to stop to calm myself, not sure that I would make it much further. “I am here for my boys,” I think, and so I negotiate with myself that if I make it to the first level, I don’t have to go to the second, and I am sure as hell not going to the top of the Eiffel Tower, no way, no how! That did not work for my boys however as they begged and pleaded me to go all the way. I mustered every ounce of strength I had in my already exhausted body and lagged behind, trying to not look down.
We finally made it to the second level and I must say, every single step I had taken to get there was worth it. The view was beautiful. You could see everything from the Seine River and about 45 miles of Paris all around. Next time however, I am definitely taking the lift.
Returning to the States…
It is tough to put into words exactly what this trip meant for all of us. In a few short days, I witnessed my boys’ introduction to the world as they became global citizens. Dominick now wants to live in Paris and work at the Eiffel Tower and Drake wants his kids to be born in London so they can speak with a British accent.
I learned a lot about myself as well. My kids were cool as cucumbers as they sang and danced through the streets of London, and by my second day I went from being like a mother hen at a tennis match (keeping an eye on each boy back and forth) to being completely relaxed knowing that – please forbid – should we lose each other, we had walkie talkies, my mobile phone, and their developing street smarts to guide them back to me.
My boys now comprehend what a passport is, how to conduct themselves going through customs, and the use of trains and buses as a method of transportation – something we have not used in our native Northern California.
I can’t wait for our next trip — this time with their little sister too!