Sunday, January 23, 2011
written on train to Amsterdam
Well Paris is done and we are more than halfway through our trip. It feels as if we've been traveling for quite a while now. It was a lazy day. We sat around the house and then headed to the market for fresh produce and food. I really enjoy the quality of produce here. It makes cooking a lot easier. I made a tomato, onion, rosemary, and chicken salad with homemade balsamic vinaigrette. Everyone really seemed to enjoy it. We stayed in and hung out with Natalia and Hannah. We had a blast doing a little group karaoke and reading our horoscopes. Great city and we've met some even better people.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
We walked all day. This was the last day of our museum pass and so we hit up the Arc de Triumphe, Notre Dame, and the Louvre.
The Arc is cool; unfortunately this is restoration season and so the two large sculptures on the front were covered by a large scaffolding. We walked to the top and got a lovely view of Paris.
Versailles is grandiose; Notre Dame is just reserved splendor. As I've gone on this trip I've become fascinated with the amount of time and money spent on these churches. In a lot of ways it's the people of the city's palace, something they can build for the common man that is great. I just wonder about what if the time and money had actually been spent on doing Christian work. To worship a man so humble and possession-less with large structures costing tons of money and time is ironic to me. It is still a fantastic site. The stain glass windows are beautiful and the blues cast this beautiful light over the entire scene inside.
The Louvre is freaking huge. To that point that one can't walk through the entire place in one day. We started in paintings, then did sculptures and Egyptian artifacts. I prefer to see art in its natural habitat. Being around so many great works I think waters down the experience and we were in a rush to try and hit everything. I'm not a big fan of doing the tourist thing because I don't have the opportunity to actually take in the moment. Instead you walk somewhere quickly so you can see it, keep the line moving, and move on.
The Mona Lisa is as good as advertised. It's haunting and enchanting and you expect her to come alive at any moment. My other favorite was a picture of three monks aiding a woman and a boy on the side of the mountain. The storm is raining down all around and one monk is giving her water. It's a brief glimpse of peace in a moment of despair and chaos. David didn't even see it as he was rushing through the room, but I stopped and for a moment it was just me and the painting.
After that we went to a housewarming party with Natalia our lovely hostess. It was really fun and we just had a blast. Great food all around and we downed quite a bit of wine. O Paris how I will miss thee.
This day was all Versailles. It was awesome, just old school grandeur. Where Spanish palaces have tiny ornate details Versailles has elaborate paintings and gold covered everything. I can't do justice to the place so you'll have to just check out the pictures.
Monday, November 29, 2010
We slept in and thus decided the two day public pass to the various museums would not work out until tomorrow. Instead we walk around with the end goal of hitting up the Eiffel Tower. The architecture here is awesome. Definitely different then the Spanish.
French architecture just seems more zealous and showy. Walking around France gives you more of a hustle and bustle feel than Spain. The here are generally friendly everyone just seems to be busy, very similar to New York.
The Eiffel tower is amazing. Though I don't know if it's just me, but the sheer number of tourists and souvenir hawkers water down the experience. After wading through the masses I enjoy viewing it from several hundred yards away. A truly great monument.
Walking around we also saw Mary of the Fountain and tons of other monuments. I feel like the French commemorate everything. We eat at a casual restaurant recommended to us by the hotel concierge. I love being in the birth place of modern cooking. We split fried escargot that was creamy and buttery, and a crab cake with avocado and tomatoes which was phenomenal.
For the entrees we had duck which cooked perfectly and had that fantastic fatty flavor. The other was beef in a veloute sauce with morrel mushrooms. I originally mistakenly thought they were truffles due to the fantastic flavor. Dessert was a souffle and I can't recall what else. The souffle was ok. I've given up on that dessert I think. It's too eggy for me.
Wake up in the morning not too tired. It will be 8 hours 'til we are in Paris. Sleep and read on the plane. Wow the hostesses on this flight speak three, but I suspect four languages.
Our hotel my dad has acquired for us the Park Hyatt is retarded. When you arrive you are greeted and walked to the check in desk. The hotel clerk then walks you to your room and shows you all the amenities. The shower has two heads and a sink inside. The bath tub is a sit down jacuzzi. IT IS AWESOME. We head down to the gym and do a few maintenance sets as the weight room is seriously lacking. I'm disappointed since I can tell I've gotten weaker since starting this vacation.
We meet up with some girls we met in Sevilla. One of them lives in Paris and offers her place to stay. We decide to stay there the last two nights after our hotel stay runs out. We go out to eat, the Company is excellent, but the food leaves much to be desired. Dessert is delicious though. We go for drinks and talk til 1:30 and call it a night.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
written in Paris
Thorugh the day people tell us our songs (My Humps and Don't Stop Believing
We eat again at the same tapas place as before. The food was good, the waitress mean. Not sure why exactly though in Spain waiters and waitresses are not tipped so there is less incentive. We head to Park Gruell a park constructed over 15 years by Antonio Gaudi.
O ya it was raining HARD. My feet are soaked but I still thoroughly enjoy the park taking in the curved lines and natural features of his work. Upon our return we whip up some homemade pizza. The first one is a disaster, but the second turns out great. Both taste good. We also decide to teach some Brits danger ball. They are terrible. We blame this on their lack of hand-eye coordination due to soccer being their countries sport. They become more mad, and lose two more times. AMERICA F*** YA!
David and I prepare to go out partying for one last night and as we step out into the heavy rain head back. It's already 1am and we have a flight around 9:30. Not worth it.
We started the day with some tapas and then took to seeing the Gaudi houses just north of our hostel. They're awesome and memorable because they are so different. They are lots of other great buildings, beautiful buildings, but these are the pride of Spain. I wonder how hard making the first house was? When no one wanted to test the boundaries. It was too different, too risky. These are the type of thoughts that go through my mind when I see things like this.
We hit up karaoke at night. It was badass. We didn't get sing as much as we would like but Kelli and I nailed "My Humps". This is after lots of Orange Fanta and Vodka. Apparently if you can sing with an American accent you are a god. Luckily, I barely had to try. We tear the house down and become superstars in our own right. After leaving the stage I immediately get pulled into a gaggle of german girls. They laugh at anything I say and I make fun of them for their accents (I'm drunk what can I say). They insist I attend brunch with them the next morning. I tell them most likely I will be asleep, but I will try. Lots of internationals there. I love this place.