Student Blog: Notes from Brussels (Internship)
A Day Trip to Paris
by Shahin Soltan '09
This was a very exciting week for me. I had great things going on at work and I was visiting Paris for the first time in my life. At the Delhaize Corporate offices, I continued on with the bank statements that I have handled since one of my former supervisors left the company. I was given a few other projects, including mapping new cost centers for the "bank of the group," Delcor, and once again, reconciliation of the two different accounting systems.
Then on the weekend, I didn't do much except waiting for Sunday to come so that I could go to France. That's been something that I have wanted to do for quite some time and I have heard great things about it. Our train left Sunday morning at 7:43 a.m. so we were at the train station at 7:30 am. Chad and I had gone the previous day to see exactly where the train would leave from, so we were somewhat prepared beforehand. The ride only takes about one hour and 20 minutes which is very short if you compare that to taking the bus, which would take around four hours. The reason for that is that we were using the so called TGV (train a grand vitesse) train, which means "train of great speed" in French. TGV is the fastest passenger service train in the world and can travel up to 200 mph or 320 km/h.
We arrived in Paris at around 9 a.m. and the first feeling was just WOW. We were in a really big train station called Paris Nord (north station) and there were people everywhere. Until now, I hadn't realized how many people there really were in Europe. After having growing up in a small town in Sweden ,I thought that's what the rest of Europe looked like too. I was mistaken on that point and almost all tourist attractions were packed with people trying to get in.
The first thing we did in Paris was to buy a day pass for the metro so that we could use the public transportation system without having to worry about paying every single time. We got a little bit lost on the first train we took but eventually we found what were looking for, which was the Cathedral of Notre Dame. We were lucky when we got there because they were having a mass inside the cathedral which we got the chance to see. Chad and I walked around quietly in there so that we wouldn't disturb the worship that was taking place.
After seeing Notre Dame we decided to go to place that I have seen on TV many times and that many people have talked about, "Le Louvre." It's really cool on the outside with the buildings and the pyramids that are in glass, but that's nothing compared to what is inside. Thousands of well-kept pieces of history are held inside and it was a great experience to be able to see paintings made by Leonardo da Vinci, including his Mona-Lisa. After walking around a few hours and seeing art from Egyptian, Greek, Roman and French cultures, we decided it was time to manage our time and move on to our next stop, which was the Eiffel Tower.
The Eiffel Tower was a lot bigger and cooler than I had expected. It didn't look that big when you see it on the TV but when you stand next to it, you feel extremely small. We were going to go up in the tower, but the line for the elevator to get up was probably the biggest line I have ever seen for anything. So we decided to just enjoy it from the ground instead.
Among other things we also saw "Arc de Triumphe," Champs Elysee and the Bastille. It was a great day for me and when it was time to go back I was exhausted. I was happy to go back to Brussels, but glad that I had the chance to see one of the most beautiful cities in the world.
Sadly, this week will be my last full week of work in Belgium. My last day of work is July 23rd which means that my last blog posting will be on Sunday. I am going to take every opportunity to enjoy my last week and a half to the fullest. Maybe that means I'll go exploring Brussels some more, who knows.
PHOTOS: Business Internship in Brussels, Belgium