May 07, 2010
Yesterday I woke up at 9:30 and headed down for breakfast before heading off to Notre Dame. I got there without an issue and started to get some pictures in. I asked one of the people down there if she could get a picture of me standing at Notre Dame, and she did, once we found the right spot.
One thing to watch for here besides the pickpockets are what I call the "Bosnian Gypsies" who will beg you for money with a sob story. They will start by asking if you speak English, if you answer, they will start in. Today the story from one who accosted me was that she was from Bosnia and her brother had leukemia and their mother was dead. I decided to be a bit kind since it was Sunday after all and gave her a 50 cent Euro coin.
Big fucking mistake! Someone was watching and must have signaled me as a mark because suddenly the whole family was after me and begging for money. I basically told them to buzz off and I walked off around the side of Notre Dame to get away from them, and to get pictures as well. Eventually I worked my way around to the front of Notre Dame again before going inside. Side note: before anyone bitches me out about this situation, yes I knew of their game before I had gone on this trip, so in this case, no good deed goes unpunished.
Notre Dame is beautiful inside, but don't be surprised that it is dimly lit. Visitors can walk around the perimeter and see all the parts of the church. I love looking at stained glass so I was taking lots of pictures of those. A Mass was starting so I paused as the procession went by. Around the altar area, one side has a carved mural depicting the times Jesus appeared to his followers after his resurrection and before his ascension to Heaven. On the other side it depicts his life from birth until crucifixion, except the gap where he was in Egypt (according to a few gospels). I made my way slowly through Notre Dame as I listened to the mass. I would arrive outside and it was nearly noon so it was time for me to head towards the Eiffel tower to use the first of my elevator tickets that day.