My Exchange Story (Day 1–3)

Alhamdulillah, this year I feel I have to be more grateful than before because I’ve got so many new things in my life. I love new things. One of it is having the chance to go to Europe (Schengen Area), especially Budapest, to have an exchange.

I’m so excited because Hungary is a part of schengen area so I can go to other schengen countries. One of it is France! Denmark! Czech! All of the country of my friends that I got from being a contact person in SCOPE last year.

So, I immediately texted my friends who are in France that I would be coming to France. She was also excited. So, she asked other French students also and she asked other friends from schengen countries. Eventually only 4 of them can come.

It’s exciting, honestly. To go to the city for visiting friends, not for tourism. But the definition of excitement, I couldn’t really know what it means until I got there.

When I arrived in France, the sun just started to set. It was 22:00 PM. Before I arrived there, I booked a Paris Shuttle called Parishuttle.com because it was cheap. Well, it’s not good. I tell you. As soon as I arrived there, my flight got delayed actually. The line for security checks was sooo long. So, I ended up taking a taxi for 50 EUR. The driver was nice. He was also a muslim. (So?? Haha, nope, it’s just strange to arrive for the first time in a country and the first person you interact with (other than airport staff) was a muslim too).

I booked an accord hotel. At first, I thought it was too much to book an accord hotel in Paris, even though its price is at its budget. But then, I realized it was the right thing to do!

You should book an accord hotel, at least maybe IBIS Styles or IBIS Budget in another country IF :

  • It’s your first time traveling abroad AND,
  • You arrive so late at the airport AND,
  • The city is kinda full of secret scams AND,
  • You depart late as well.

Because turns out my shuttle also didn’t come at 3 AM, so I asked the hotel receptionist to help. And he helped me a lot! The hospitality is the best! The breakfast? It’s good haha. I even could take some coffee at midnight and stuff.

Well, then tomorrow morning, I went to Dugommier Station using Uber. Uber in Paris mostly use credit card. Then I finally met my french old friend there! Charlotte! She then showed me the way to get to Flo’s sister’s apartment.

In there, I met Anneline, she’s from Denmark. We talked about so many things while waiting for Flo, the Breakfast Express (LOL), to come and give us breakfast. Then, the breakfast arrived, breakfast’s ready!

It’s the cliche French breakfast, Charlotte said. We had coffee, croissant and the bread that I don’t know the name is :(. It was really delicious!

After that, Flo and Charlotte, the duo of our tour guide, planned the attractions we’d visit and the things we’d do while looking at the map.

After it was done, we went out and started our journey!

First, we took Metro. It was my FIRST TIME taking Metro! It was fun! You only needed to buy the tickets (I bought the one for all day for 4 EUR.) and we could use it to go EVERYWHERE we want. I like the part when I was putting in the ticket into the machine. It just felt amazing (ok, this is random). Though, the map of the metro looked confusing. It was fortunate for us to have Flo & Charlotte that are used to reading Metro map.

The French Metro Ticket for all day (4 EUR)

We went to Tour De Eiffel. On the way there, we talked about so many things. About European countries, especially. And how to read French words, especially French name locations.

When we got to the Tour de Eiffel, the words on the internet about the scams are true. There are many people doing tricks to pickpocket, and people who ask you if you speak English with the petition papers. Just avoid those things, never talk to strangers who ask you if you speak English, especially with papers on her hands.

We walked around the Eiffel and took a picture together!

Me, Charlotte, Anneline

After going to Eiffel, we went to… I forgot the name. It was this place :

Sorry, I forgot the name :(

While watching the good view, Flo & Charlotte discussed about their plan’s improvisation! Anneline and I could only watch because they then continued using French.

Then we went to the area full of beautiful museums :

Then we walked on the street that looks super high class. Charlotte said it was a very popular street with internationally famous brands stores on both sides, and McD, and others. The food on the street is so expensive too. It was beautiful, though. I really enjoyed it even though I was getting tired.

The famous street + Our tour guide (Charlotte!!)
Our tour guides led the way!! (Flo, Charlotte)

Well, where were we heading that time?

We didn’t go up there. We were just sitting below it then Flo and Charlotte started to discuss their improvised plans for lunch!

While I and Anneline were talking about many things. I also took some pictures too!

Below it

Then we went out and started to take Metro & walk again to have lunch. It was a very long walking distance! But we enjoyed it anyway. :)

During lunch, we all ordered coffee as well because Flo, Anneline, and Charlotte only slept for a few hours and I started to have jet lag. We also talked about this “Ooh La La” phrase that’s used by French people to say something like “Wow, amazing!” in both bad and good ways! Well, it’s got into my mind already! “Ooh La La!” . The lunch started with ‘Cheers’ and ended with talking about Despacito song! #RANDOM

We went out and realized that our cafe was in front of the national bank of France.

The National Bank of France

And when we continued walking the streets, there are more and more beautiful buildings on both of our sides too.

Well, I think around this moment, Charlotte started to be ‘bad’ by crossing the streets before the lamp got green. It was unnoticed anyway, haha. But we then were reminded by “Indonesian styles of crossing the street”.

One of the beautiful buildings along the way

Then we arrived at Louvre!!

Bonjour, Louvre!!

In here, we finally met GEOFFREY!! Finally, this guy came up.

Me, Anneline, Geoffrey, Charlotte, Flo

Finally full team! Now we continued walking towards a very beautiful park. We were heading to Notre Dame. It was honestly, the most exhausting part of our journey!

It’s just when Geoffrey joined us, Charlotte, Flo & Geoffrey started talking french more than they did. He was like a bad influence! And we mocked him that haha. He also continued the ‘track’ of Charlotte’s way of crossing. Cross before green! But sometimes one of us, especially Anneline just stopped in front of us before crossing to prevent us from doing the same mistake again.

We came by with the bridge that used to be the bridge full of padlocks of ‘love’.

Charlotte said, “Oh Paris is a city of love? It’s a bullshit. Because the bride for the love padlocks have been destroyed.”

Then we came by and the bridge was still there and they started to put some padlocks too.

Charlotte said again, “Oh well, at least, Paris is still a city of love!”

Notre Dame, we arrived!

Notre Dame!

We managed to get in and see the beauty of its inside.

After that, we were after some ice cream!!

Hot.

Exhausting.

Found some water and Charlotte started to splash water to Flo, also Geoffrey. Well, Geoffrey got it. Flo survived. (Haha)

Then we went to Gastronomy area. I was exhausted so I didn’t take many pictures of the street. But it was really beautiful! I like the atmosphere soo much!!

The ice cream! Yazzzz

Then we went to Pantheon. It’s a place where only important people are buried.

Anneline and I asked if Geoffrey wanted to be buried there, he said “Yes, sure. But the others have to be got rid of when I come in.” LOL #RANDOM

Then we talked about movies and actors while continuing our walking to the park to have some dinner.

We came to the zoo, first. But it was then closed after a few minutes we got there. And we then were nervous in finding the toilets around. So, I don’t know but Charlotte payed to the waitress of the restaurant in front of the zoo, so we finally could pee. YEAY!!

Then we split up to buy pizzas and beers (Guys, don’t worry, I still don’t drink :) )

We then had dinner at this area :

Our view

Then Flo was trying to get everyone in a silly picture. Haha!

Flo ^

We had dinner until the sky turns into another color.

From blue to pink!

We talked about so many things here. We had dinner from like 20 or 19PM, I guess. Until 23 PM. Then we headed back to Metro when it’s already dark. The park was even more crowded when we went out. The city got busier and busier. The metro though, it’s getting more empty. But the traffic jam? Well super bad. Even at about 24 PM.

At Metro, Charlotte accidentally threw some water to Flo. They’ve been like arguing to each other since we were in the park. Well, it wasn’t really a problem anyway.

Then I and Anneline checked how far we’ve walked. We’ve made 35000 steps in a day, about 19 KM in a day, and according to my phone, we’ve burned 1000 calories!

When we were inside the train, the train suddenly stopped & got dark. It happened right after Anneline said something. We then said, “Anneline, you’ve got a power to control the metro?” haha #RANDOM

Well…

Then… we parted at the Metro while Charlotte accompanied me to my hotel. I’m soooo flattered by your kindness, Charlotte!! :’) even though we had to walk 1 more km :”(. When we arrived in front of the hotel, We hugged each other, saying we should do this again annually. Another time. Another country. Longer duration. More people from our group.

The sadness of leaving them feels more true when I arrive in Budapest. It just felt empty. It was one of the most amazing day I’ve ever had.

One thing I learn from this,

It’s not about the fancy-ness of your holiday trip. It’s about feeling the true air of locals around. It’s about sharing laughter and smiles, getting tired together, and traveling together. It only takes a good vibes of the city and the warmth around us to make me fall in love with Paris.

Looking forward to come back.

Sunday, 9th of July

Muthia Huda

Budapest.