It was June 28th 2015 and earlier that morning, my Contiki group had boarded our bus in Switzerland for our last journey together. Despite the bittersweet feeling in the air as we arrived at our final destination, there was one sight that we needed to see immediately. The warmth in the air was completely at odds with the late hour and as we walked through the streets towards the train station, the atmosphere was filled with hope and anticipation. After spending the journey chatting and laughing together, that first glimpse of the Eiffel Tower was one that filled me, and many others around me, with complete joy.
That night, Paris was a magical place filled with wonder and excitement. We stood under the Eiffel Tower snapping away with our cameras, talking excitedly the whole time. We were brought to life by the beauty and noise of the city, from the crowds of people all streaming towards the same destination to the hustlers with their light up tower ornaments. Crossing the road to get a better view, we turned back at the edge of the bridge seconds before the Tower lit up with thousands of twinkling lights for the hourly light show. That memory of midnight in Paris will stay with me forever.Last night, the people of Paris weren’t experiencing the happiness that I did that evening. But as the incredible city was rocked by tragic events that lead to the deaths of over 120 people, the French people rose up – welcoming strangers into their home for safety, giving free rides home and singing to keep hope alive. That’s a truly beautiful thing. The idea that humanity are still targeting, hurting and killing each other is unimaginable and my thoughts are with the victims and everybody affected.