Casa’s Blog

A Life Abroad

Come on baby, light my fire. Come on baby, light my fire. Try to set the night on fire…

Let me start of with a rant.  Who would think that the towel drying at the end of my bunk would be the bathmat?!!!! Okay, granted my towel I have been using is the size of a bathmat, but it was drying on the end of my bed.  Last night when I went to bed I didn’t notice anything wrong but this morning when I woke up and went to have a shower I couldn’t find my towel.  I looked around to see if it had fallen down but nope…it was no where to be seen.  I then walk in to the bathroom and see it hanging there and it was damp.  At this point I questioned my sanity – had I already had a shower and just forgotten? – before asking the Turkish guy on the bunk above me if he knew what was going on.  He looked at me strangely and said “I had a shower and assumed that was the bathmat.”  At this point I looked at him with utter contempt.  I decided it wasn’t worth an argument.  This was going to be my last shower with that towel anyway as I head back to London later today.  So I had to forgo the shower and make a note to have one when I get in to Ham this evening.  BUT COME ON!  It was on MY BED!

After making use of the free breakfast of Orange Juice and Croissants for the first time (not being a breakfast person I had always forgone the meals on offer but today I had time to spare and thought I really should have a Croissant or two while in France.  Best of all as it was the end of breakfast I got to eat more than my “allowed amount” of croissants as there were leftovers), I headed off to a cemetery.  Mum would be so proud 😛  I had a morning and a lunchtime to kill in Paris and well…when you think  “kill” you think of a cemetery don’t you? 😛  This is no ordinary cemetery.   It is a famous one, not just for the many elaborate tombs there but also a variety of famous people are buried there.  Once I found my way there by the Metro I grabbed a map and looked through the list and decided the graves I would like to see.  In the end the “highlights” of the cemetery for me were Jim Morrison’s, Edith Piaf’s, Oscar Wilde’s and Chopin’s graves (is it wrong to say highlights when talking about graves?)  It was an interesting experience visiting the graves of famous people but it was probably as interesting to just explore the other tombs and grave sites and see the stories the tombstones told of the people buried there.  The Oscar Wilde tomb was covered in lipstick kisses and various other forms of “graffiti” (as the sign asking you not to deface the tomb described it) and I can only assume that this is some sort of tradition that I hadn’t heard of…it was too organised for people to have just done it on whim I think.

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After my time in the cemetery was done I made my way back to the area of my hotel and went up to the Sacre Couer church one more time.  I had seen the view at dusk and night and I wanted to see it during the day as well.  Also, I had realised that not once had I actually been inside in the church (an oversight on my behalf) so I had to check out the interior.  As I stolled around the inside of the church, feeling a bit weird as there was a service going on but masses of tourists being parading around the church at the same time, I was surprised at how amazing the interior of the church was.  I have gotten used to churches being great on the exterior or having great views but being less interesting on the interior, or vice versa.  This was not the case as it was an interior that matched the exquisite view of Paris and outside of the building.

That brings to an end my touristing of Continental Europe.  I am now just filling in time to catch the Eurostar back to London where I will be for a couple of days before going back home (Back to my “proper” home).    Back to MY bed 😀 , MY room 😀 MY Tv/Dvds 😀 as well as Harry Potter :D, Christmas  In July 😀 , 21sts 😀 , Tutoring (money :D) and oh yeah…study 😦

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July 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 6 Comments

Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go. Louie louie, Oh baby I gotta go.

Last night I caught up with Nellie, MacKenzie and Luke who were the Americans I met on the tours in Munich and had dinner and beers with.  They had been as busy in Paris as I have been but at 10:30pm last night we caught up for what was an uber-late dinner (Maybe even so late by the time we started eating that it is an early breakfast or new meal entirely).  It was good to see the guys again as although we are quite different they are fun to hang out with.  We ended up also being joined by Nhi, a californian staying in their hotel who was also travelling alone and the more the merrier.

We thought about going to see the Eiffel Tower at night but they have closed off most of the parks around it as they are setting up for Bastille Day so instead we headed up to Sacre Couer.  The church when all lit up was even more amazing than in the day time.  The view over Paris probably wasn’t as nice as it was at dusk but it was well worth the trek up that hill once again.  We ended up finding a food place just around the corner which was like a tent restaurant which although touristy had pretty good food and wine.

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We chatted away the night and eventually strolled back at 1:30am.  We even touched on the religion topic at points which wasn’t as much of an explosive topic as I thought it could’ve been (although I wasn’t as forthright and blunt as I can be…I was being polite Simon :P).  The problem with the walk home was that firstly it was pouring with rain and on cobblestones we kept slipping over besides just getting drenched and secondly there were a variety of sleazy drunk french men on the streets. As we had more girls than guys in the group that seemed to be an invitation for them to approach the girls and it wasn’t a “pick up line” kind of approach…more the grab the skirt kind of approach which lead to Luke and I having to act as “rape bouncers”.  Gently balancing between getting ourselves between the guys and the girls, pushing them out of the way and stopping them touching the girls and making sure to do it with a smile and a joke so that we didn’t start something more serious.  We were okay in the end…but it would’ve been a lot easier if I knew French.  Nobody had any idea what these guys were saying!

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Anyway, although I had a somewhat late night last night I was up early today and off to Versailles.  For those that don’t know Versailles is the place of one of the old French palaces and it is probably one of the most ornate palaces in the world.  For me it was also the place where the Treaty of Versailles was signed (For me it was more amazing being in the Hall of Mirrors for this reason than the actual room itself).  Getting there by train was cheap and easy enough but one thing I didn’t think about was the lines.  OH MY GOD THE LINES!  When you first walk in there is about an hours wait in line to buy a ticket, then a 30 minute wait to get in to the palace and then a 20 minute wait for an audio.  Basically there was just way too many people.  I felt the whole time I was there that I was exiting the MCG after a capacity crowd and I was contemplating killing the people near me just to get some personal space.

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Once I got in to the palace though I took the audio guide through the State Apartments, Hall of Mirrors, art gallery, the other apartments and the museum section.  I can see what all the fuss about the beauty of the interiors is about as they truly were lovely but it was just too crowded for me to enjoy it properly.  When I compare it to the Summer Palace in Vienna it was MUCH MUCH MUCH more enjoyable to see and I was left with the opinion that it was a much better palace. You never know, maybe if I had a private view of the palace at Versailles I would think differently.

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The Hall of Battles was particularly interesting as the massive artworks on the wall that traced the glory of France in battles through its history until 1830 was juxtaposed with more recent, 20th/21st Century famous photographs of war such as the Iraqi on a leash from Gitmo and the march of De Gaulle when Paris was liberated.  It really gave an interesting contrast and the fact the audio guide went to the effort of telling you the story behind a number of the battles was interesting for me.

Another point of note that came up often was the strong connection between France and the United States of America.  I knew that the french to a large extent fundraised the War of Independence and saw a few statues of Washing and Jefferson around Paris but the historical ties are very strong between the two countries.  The War of Independence was even depicted as part of the Hall of Battles.  It really makes the whole cowardly French, “Freedom Fries”, John Kerry is “basically French” stuff a little bit more interesting I think.

So that was my day. I am now really exhausted and after having a morning in Paris tomorrow I then head back to London where I make camp for a couple of days, do a few more tourist things (The Eye and the Ashes at Lords top of the list) before I head home.  With my energy levels at the moment…my bed at home is sounding brilliant to me!

July 13, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment