French Friday

Okay, okay, fine. I won’t be one of those people with the themed day of the week posts. Mostly because I’m not disciplined enough to post consistently on certain days of the week, plus, what if I want to write about something else next Friday?

Anyway, it’s time for a stroll down memory lane. The first time I visited France was with my French class in 2005. It started out with a few-days long tour of the Loire valley, including 2 or 3 castles, and then I had a week-long homestay with my French family, finished up with a day or two in Paris. My memory (of how many days things took and such) is really hazy! Must be getting old.

Here is a very young Staci in front of my favorite castle, Chenonceau. It’s hard to pick a favorite castle because… well… they are castles, and by definition, awesome. I really liked Versailles too, of course… isn’t that technically a palace? So Chenonceau is my favorite castle and Versailles is my favorite palace. Speaking of Versailles, note below: the hall of mirrors. Very blurry (my trusty old 2004/2005 fujifilm camera did not have image stabilization, but overall seems to have done okay). Also, the tops of my host family’s heads.

This is Da Vinci’s house. Very cool!! Filled with art and cool furniture. I saw the bed where he died! The grounds were filled with cool Da Vinci inventions, like this one (below) created for battle. It spun inside with a mechanism like Disney’s tea cup ride. Note my wallet chain. I was extremely cool (and thin, apparently!) in high school.

Aha, here is a shot of the Eiffel Tower. I climbed it to get the full experience, even though it was cold and windy and I was wearing high heels. We were dressed nicely because we had dinner in the fancy Eiffel Tower restaurant! That thing you see attached to the front of it says “Paris 2012.” Paris was trying to get chosen to host the 2012 Olympics, which at the time seemed EXTREMELY far in the future!

Well, that was fun. I’m also a little worried because the CD these pictures are on did not have any photos of Chambord, another castle I saw, or the inside of the Louvre. Maybe I didn’t take any? What was my 17 year old self thinking!

Another fun fact about the trip: I bought my first iPod for the overseas flight. A white one with no color screen or video capabilities. We have come so far.

Self Discovery

When traveling, one learns things about him/herself that they didn’t know before.

Example #1: I speak French better than I thought I did.
So, here’s the story… while getting hit on by a French guy, I lied and said “I only speak English” in the most hokey, American accent possible, however, he continued talking to me in some weird mixture of English and French (“Franglais”) and my facial expressions and such totally gave me away. We both knew that I understood every word he was saying. Not so good for me trying to get rid of him, but a little personal victory as far as my language skills go. Score 1 for me, 0 for the French guy.

Example #2: I’m a great typist!
I just figured out how to change the keyboard into English so I can type with correct punctuation and whatnot. The great typist part comes into play because I haven’t looked at the keys this whole time, because they would just lead me astray. For example, I type “z” to get a “w.” And “q” and “a” have switched places. And the quotation mark itself, it would appear that I’m typing a percentage sign but I have this ole computer fooled! Ah, good times.

Okay, what else. Today I didn’t get as much accomplished as I wanted to, due to taking things (stairs) extremely slowly due to the ole bum knee. Paris is not friendly to the disabled. Hello Paris Metro, they’re called elevators! Take a page out of DC’s book, guys!

I still have many things on my to-do list; here’s hoping I can get them all done in one day tomorrow. Luckily museum hours are extended on Thursdays. Quelle chance!

Missions accomplished:
-visit Sacre Cœur basilica
-eat French food
-see the moulin rouge
-visit Musée d’Orsay (objective  50% complete)
-get my money’s worth out of my metro pass
Missions incomplete:
visit Jim Morrison’s grave
-visit Centre Pompidou
-see Napoleon’s tomb
-Picasso museum
-stroll les Champs-Elysées

Can I get it all done tomorrow??

Bonjour, Paris!

Getting to the hostel here in Paris was no small feat. There were multiple trains/metros taken, much getting lost, and many flights of stairs on my bum knee. But I’m here and I have my ibuprophen so things are looking up. What did I have for my first meal in Paris, you ask? Well, chinese pineapple chicken and pork postickers. ;) The restaurant was on the same block as my hostel. That’s all I’m giving you for an explanation.

Lets recap Rome before I forget all about it.
Missions Completed:
-eat pizza
-see colosseum
-hear someone say “mama mia”
-see School of Athens and Sistine Chapel
Missions Incomplete
-hug the pope