Friday 19th January

Welcome to the Wanderers Winter Wonderland European Leg :-).
Weather check;
* Snow in Netherlands - Tick
* Snow in Antwerp (Belgium) - Tick
* Snow in Paris (France) - Tick (more on that later...)

After fare welling our final Club hosts and thanking them for their immense hospitality it was an an early start for the group as we headed towards Paris for a bus tour in and around Paris to gain some understanding of the culture and history of the Parisians and how this has derived their national identity. Some of the many sights seen during this three hour tour included the following;
* Champs Élysées.
* Trocadero.
* Place De La Concorde.
* Oblisque.
* Louvre.
* Napoleon's Tomb.
* Hotel Des Invalides.
* Notre Damn.

On of the universal highlights of the tour was the traditional "lap of honour" in the bus around the Arc De Triumphe encountering the absolute madness that occurs with the cars entering the round about and then conversely trying to leave the round about. Refer to the Wanderers Facebook page for video of the madness.

After visiting the Luxembourg Gardens lunch was in the Latin Quarter at one of the many quaint little cafes and restaurants that offer great value for money which are tucked away in the small winding side streets.

The primary afternoon activity involved the group scaling the heights of the Eiffel Tower. Shortly before arriving at the Eiffel Tower it began to snow in the centre of Paris and unfortunately that put pay to the hopes of being able to make it to the very top (as it was closed due to safety concerns). Undaunted the group decided to take up the challenge of climbing to the second level via the 679 steps (which allowed some to work off the lunch that they had just eaten:-)).

From there the group headed off to the hotel to check in where we united again with our friends from Pine River State High School (who are also staying on the same same floor as us) before heading out to sample the Champs Élysées shopping and the view from the top of the Arc De Triumphe to round out the day's activities.

By now the snow in the centre of Paris was falling heavily and blanketing the Champs Élysées under 4 - 5 cm of snow, which unfortunately contributed to the group being unable to climb to the top of the Arc De Triumphe as it as well had been closed due to safety concerns. Instead the group readily embraced the additional time this allowed them to window shop in the many famous store brands along this stretch of the Champs Élysées.

Question - When the temperature is the wrong side of zero and it is snowing heavily what do Australians do in Paris? That's right they eat ice cream whilst window shopping: go figure (refer above photo).

Tomorrow sees the group's last full day in Paris which is planned to be spent further investigating;
* Louvre
* Notre Damn
* Napoleon's Tomb
* Lafayette.

Before heading back for the final team dinner.