When the opportunity occurs to travel, we tent to pick amazing destinations and take as many picture-perfect photos to write about how wonderful and beautiful each place was. Sugar coating our own experience making everyone believe in what an amazing time we had. Don’t get me wrong traveling is fun and exciting, however, that’s not always the case. Truthfully the beautiful please and a few good pictures are only half of the story what we don’t read about is the downside of venturing abroad.
For instance, in France, a taxi driver can take advantage of the fact that you don’t speak French and simply not give you your change back. His excuse is he docent have any change. In those moments, I only wish I could tell the driver to cut the bullshit. In New York, that’s exactly what I would have done. As well we don’t often read about poor restaurant expresses. Last year on a hot summer day I sat at French café to enjoy a cold beer with a salad. As it turns out expired ingredients in the tuna tartar and the beer turned into a nightmare. Food poisoning and an allergic reaction equal the worst stomach ace that turned my insides into a war zone and made my skin red and itchy causing great discomfort. Well, lesson learned, if you don’t know the restaurant, and the menu is in three or more languages RUN! Also, let’s not forget the hour-long lines and very rude people. A four-hour line to get into a museum simply because the very grumpy and unwelcoming women at the tourist office didn’t want to sell you a ticket, for no apparent reason is anything but fun. These stories aren’t incredible and they stink however they are the raw truth about travel. To venture outside your home, to a different country is mind opening and great but it comes with a price that most people like to avoid writing about.
Going back to the four-hour line and I mean exactly four hours. That’s how long it took for my mom and me to get into the catacombs of Paris. Oh, yes four long hours of standing around in a long line that loops around a grass field with no end in sight. Feeling like a snail inside a hamster wheel moving in slow motion. Now how did we get here? Simply a combination of rude people and sold out online tickets. Like I said not everything is perfect.
Moving slowly isn’t the only obstacle. First, the nearest bathroom to this massive gathering of people is a block away at MacDonald’s. If you’re attempting to enter is venue by yourself, I hope you have a good bladder. Second, the only food location at a bakery across the street. Here your choice of food is either something sweet or a sandwich, but keep in mind a cup of fresh coffee is bound to make your day 😉 My recommendation, buy tickets in advice online or book a tour, to avoid the crazy line.
Standing in this line from 10 am, some people start to give up and leave the never-ending roundabout. We, however, did the impossible and made it to the entrance to the 200 kilometers of underground tunnels. The catacombs are a significant part of Paris and its history. After all, this is what Pairs is built on and the past behind the tunnels is mind-blowing. 25 meters under the ground, lie the remains of some estimated six million people. To give you a perspective the subway tunnels are 10 meters under the ground and 15 meters lower are the catacombs.
The tunnels were created around the 13th century, for what was supposed to be one purpose to mine limestone and build a thriving city of Paris. Little did Parisians know that these tunnels soon would become a dark underground world of the dead. Transferring of the graves started around the 18th century, due to overcrowded cemeteries. Today the catacombs are a mass attraction, where human remains are tucked away neatly, in caves forming small and large piles, almost like a mosaic. From the bottom, large bones act as a support system for this elaborate puzzle, assembled on top of each other to fit a row of skulls into this intricate design. The stacking process is repeated until there is no more room. Pure fascination and a hint of discomfort come from seeing this.
The dark, humid catacombs are something out of this world, walking around the small tunnels underneath one of the largest cities on earth you wouldn’t expect to see a massive grave. Visit to get a glimpse of the not so fabulous life.