A view of the Heidleberg castle
Me and Mr. Bunsen
Paris, January 2008-June 2008
A view of the Heidleberg castle
Me and Mr. Bunsen
Easter weekend in paris
This past weekend we had many visitors and did a lot of walking and siteseeing. On thursday evening, my friend Michelle (from highschool) came and visited me and brought along her friend Kaitlynn from London. They both attend Notre Dame. It was there easter break, so they were only here for a short time (a little over 3 days).
On thursday night I had COGE until 10pm, but after that we went for a nutella crepe on Rue Moufftard and then walked down to the Seine to see Notre Dame at night.
Friday we packed in a lot, in the morning we walked through Notre Dame cathedrale and tried to get into Saint Chapelle, but the line was crazy long (i think half the world decided to come to paris for easter weekend)
Because the weather was so-so we decided to walk to Musee d'Orsay and spend some time inside. We were really lucky on the walk there because it actually became quite sunny. We were shocked at the line at the Musee D'Orsay, there must have been 200-300 people. We began to wait patiently in line, however, when we were halfway to the door there was a huge wind and people started screaming because it started to rain very violently. The rain quickly turned to hail. It was very unpleasant (especially because we only had 1 umbrella for 3) and we were happy to get inside the museum. It is always a treat to see the impressionist paintings in Musee d'Orsay.
After that, we headed to a cafe for some cafe au lait because we were exhausted! Then i returned home to get some work done and Michelle and Kaitlynn went on to see the eiffel tower. They came back and then Bonni and Cassie came over. We were going to try to go out dancing, but that ended up not working out because all of our brown friends were on skype (it was the beginning of their spring break). So we ended up video-skyping with them and it was really fun to hear all the news from brown!
Saturday I woke up quite early to go picky up Eliza (I am living with her next year in an apartment) She arrived and we took a quick stroll aroudn the Pantheon which was covered in grass with potted flowers and daffodils all over it (to raise money for the fight against cancer). Then we went and saw notre dame and river. We then went to the train station wehre she was supposed to catch a train for Germany. Becuase it was easter weekend it was impossible to get a train, until that night, so then Eliza, Michelle and Kaitlynn and I went to opera and walked around a bit, then we went to Montmartre and I finally got to see Amelie's grocer when it was open. We also ate creme brûlée in Amelie's cafe. We walked to the top of montmarte and saw the Sacre Coeur and the square with the painters (it was crazy busy).
We headed back and had Jason and Hannah over for dinner, it was nice to see them because we hadn't seen them for awhile.
Easter sunday we went to theh 8:30 mass at Notre Dame, which was an experience. Then we had some people over for brunch where we made Pain Brut (french toast), quite tasty In the afternoon we went to le marais and centre pompidou and finished the day with a snack of falafel and Lenny Kravitz's favorite falafel place
In the evening I babysat for my cousin and saw a movie called Le Parfume in french. Kate had told me about this movie and said it was horrible, but it was that or Cinderella. It was an awful movie, don't see it.
daffodils at the pantheon
Notre Dame with Michelle
Sacre Coeur with Eliza
Creme Brulee at Amelie's Cafe
L'As du Falafel, amazingly good falafel
At the daffodil festival at the pantheon
The Land of Scots!
07.03.2008 - 09.03.2008
I arrived after having lots of trouble with the pay phones and finally found Kelli
We headed to her place where we decided what to do.
We ended up going to the arches to have dinner and see a play (about an irish family)
Then we went out to the Art School with Kelli and a bunch of her friends
We went to Kelli's uni. I got to see her amazing designs and all the hard work she is putting in there, its very impressive. In the afternoon we went to the go to modern museum of art in glascow, then we wandered around the city
I went to primarck for shopping. Then we went to Gregg's for lunch where I tried potato scones and a pasty (just like in harry potter, how exciting!) In the evening we went to go see contemporary theatre- it was weird. Then after that we watched Project Runway on youtube.
On saturday: we went to Edinburough by bus. we saw lots of sheep on the way. Kelli's friend Lauren from glascow gave us the most amazing tour of the city by car (which was good because it was pouring rain). We saw many scots in kilts due to a rugby match between england and scotland. One of my favorite parts of glascow was Arthur's seat. But it was pouring rain so I did not get to go and ramble on the green hills. Then we went and visited Edinburough castle, which was so neat. We got to learn all about the legend of arthur. We saw a large canon being fired at 1 pm. There was also a cool presentation from man in kilt on weaponry and soldiers. We had tea and tried scones to warm up because we had gotten soaked to the bone. Then we drove to the seaside at a place called two bridges, where two bridges met. I met marina for dinner at an italian place and then went to go see a ballet of A Midsummer Night's at the festival theatre, which was amazing. It was not set in the traditional place, but rather in a ballet school, on a train and then in an eye (to represent a dream state). It was very well done.
On sunday I had to leave fairly early, but before I left I the very scottish breakfast : bacon in a roll. From the airport I went directly to COGE (chorale) practice
things I learned in scotland:
you say uni instead of university
you don't say pants, but trousers. Pants mean underwear and that can cause a fair am
ount of confusion and embarassment (example: its been raining (or pissing rain). you say (without thinking of course that you are in scotland) "my pants are wet" then you realize what it means to the scots)
wee is a great word, it means small
you say half three or half 12 when in america you would say, it's three thirty
or 12 thirty
you say cheers for thanks
and the scots are some of the nicest people i have ever met
kelli and beautiful blue windows at the GoMA
kelli and kilts!
lauren and kelli!
kelli sized door
the two bridges
me in a telephone booth
the firing of the gun
the ballet we saw! it was wonderful!!! best ive seen in a long time!
Nice, St Paul de Vence et Eze
22.02.2008 - 26.02.2008
When leaving Marseille, we had a bit of a scare. Although we arrived 15 minutes before our train was to leave, we still barely made the train. Jamie had bought her ticket with a credit card that was not recognized by the "bournes" or the automated ticket dispensers and we had to wait in line. However the line was extremely long and not moving. Before we knew it it was 5 minutes before our train was to leave and there was no way we were going to make it! I went and asked an employee who was helping direct people into proper lines if she could do something. At first she said no, but then realized our predicament and helped us. She saved the day. Good thing too, because the train ride had the most beautiful views I have ever seen.
When we arrived in Nice, there were crowds everywhere. We did not think anything of it, as it was sunday and we were in the middle of the city and the weather was amazing. However, we did notice something a bit strange, there were all these children dressed up as princesses and pirates. It was like Halloween. We made our way to our hotel right outside of vieux nice in a packed tramcar. We were a bit worried about the hotel as the last one was horrid, but to our surprise, the hotel Picardy was really nice. The walls were painted a cheery yellow and the proprietaire, or the owner was nice and loved chatting with us. After dropping our stuff off, we headed to the modern museum of art (it was the first sunday of the month, so it was free). We saw some interesting exhibitions and then decided to head to the beach. On our way there, the crowds kept getting bigger and bigger and everyone was covered in confetti and silly string and were wearing big hats. We had stumbled into the last day of carnavale. There was a giant ferris wheel and big floats. We even got attacked by several children who had silly string and were spraying complete strangers. It was hilarious! At the main site of the carnavale, there was a blues/jazz band playing and vendors selling various foods, including freshly made socca-a regional specialty (a sort of chickpea bread). We walked the length of the quai des anglais and seeing the beautiful ocean and watching the sunset. We headed back into vieux nice and explored awhile. We ended up getting dinner at a take out restaurant with tables outside. We tried regional specialties, vegetable beignets, stuffed vegetables (farci) and more socca. It was delicious! Then we went and found a cafe called Johnny's Wine bar and had some sangria. It was a hilarious place, we basically had the place to ourselves. There was a british couple, a couple on a date and us three. There was live blues music. The couple eventually left and all of the sudden the british couple picked up instruments from who-knows-where and had started playing blues with the guitarist. We realized we were the only customers and left. Just in time! because as we headed out and heard loud noises. There were fireworks for carnivale! It was beautiful!
orange trees-they were everywhere with lots of fruit
the remnants of carnivale
a blue man
a giant cat float
The next day we ended up visiting many museums (3) and walking over 3 Km. The first museum we visited was the Musee National Message Biblique founded by Chagall. This was one of the most amazing museums I have seen. There were many painting and studies for the paintings. I recognized all the biblical stories. Then we walked to the roman ruins and to the Matisse museum. We were lucky enough to see the famous Jazz book cover by matisse. We found out at both these museums that in march, all museums were free for those under 26, it could not have been better planned
We headed back to Nice for lunch before we boarded a bus to St. Paul de Vence, a medieval city on a hill. We were on the bus for an hour, which gave us some time to relax. We really loved St. Paul, we walked all around the walled city and ended up sitting for an hour (it was around 80 degrees just sitting in the sun ) We tried to find Chagall's gravestone, but we were not able to, but we did find a cat. Many famous artists traveled to St. Paul to be inspired by its beauty and the beauty of nature. Many modern artists also come and establish galleries, so we enjoyed looking at all the galleries. We also saw many more orange trees with tons of fruit gracing their branches.
We then decided that we would go to one last museum of the day. We headed to the Maeght museum of modern art. When we walked up to the gate a woman was standing there with a clipboard. She asked us if we were students hear for the activity. I automatically said yes. She said it had just started. We had no idea what she was talking about and followed her in. It ended up being an activity for the march museum thing. It was a guided tour of the museum. It was awesome, we learned so much! We learned that the museum has two visiting artist and commissions work by them to go along with the permanent collections of the museum. After the museum we were exhausted and headed back to the bus stop.
Right across from the bus stop was a space invader, all the way in st. paul! It was exciting (see previous post on space invaders). We ended up walking around vieux nice in the evening and walked on the promenade des anglais.
At the chagall museum with my favorite painting (that just happens to match my shirt)
The roman ruins
More ruins, can you spy the person in the photo
The Maeght foundation
view from the ramparts
the cat in the graveyard where Chagall is buried
yes! a space invader!
an old street in st. paul
On our final day of our adventure on the cote d'azur we decided to go to Eze, a village along the coast. Going there was worth it just because of the views that we saw from the bus. We visited the Fragonard perfume factory and had a free guided tour about how perfume was made. Kate told us about a movie she had seen called Perfume:a murderer's tale. She said it was the worst film she had ever seen. I later saw it as well with my cousins, don't see it, no matter how interested in perfume you might be. I learned some interesting things about perfume. Perfume only lasts 6 years. Its mostly essential oils obtained by distilling flowers etc. Perfume will last 8h to 1 day. Eau de parfume will last 6 hrs. Eau de toilette will last 3 hours and cologne will last 1 hr. This is due to the amount of essential oil in the parfume/eau de toilette etc. It was an interesting tour. After walking around the old town and admiring the view, we headed back to Nice and the beach. We had planned to try to go swimming as the water was warm (not as warm as hawaii, but slightly warmer than normandie in the summer, so not too cold to swim) However, the mistral (a cold wind) had picked up and we decided to content ourselves with laying on the beach. After our sunbath we headed to vieux nice to get lunch, I tried pisarro (another specialty of the region, bread with anchovies, tomatoes and onions on it). We then headed to Ginocchio's for gelato. We shared 3 flavors: melon, confiture de lait and peach. Kate's pick, the confiture de lait, was by far the best, we still aren't sure what it is though. We then headed back to the hotel for checkout.
We conversed with the owner for awhile. He gave us some great life advice such as : don't get married until you are much older (his daughter had divorced 3 times) and live in Paris while you are young then retire in the Cote d'Azur. I definitely recommends this hotel. It was great. We then headed back to the train and watched the sunset on the Mediterranean from the train's window.
the view from eze
an old map of eze
a statue in eze
the beach of nice
I love the sun, Provence and the Mediterranean
The first part of my break is now over, and it was sunny, fun and jam-packed. We ended up walking 5 days straight, miles and miles through medieval cities, Mediterranean and provencal towns and cities. We saw 6 museums and too many churches and cathedrals to even count them all. I am now back in paris, a little bit sunburned and ready to brave the cold and rain of Scotland.
I can tell why all the movie stars like to go to the French Riviera, i wouldn't mind living there myself. Sun, sea nad the most beautiful paysage (countryside) that I have ever seen. Let me start at the beginning of my trip
We arrived in Avignon on a beautiful Friday around lunchtime (we really could not have had better weather for our trip). We went in search of a restaurant that we found in one of our amazing guidebooks. The 2 guides we used to plan the trip were Let's Go (produced by harvard students and perfect for anyone on a tight budget) and Le Routard (the french equivalent low budget and is remarkably good for finding out about regional specialties and without fail chooses the best restaurants around)
We ate ate at this tiny restaurant on a side street called Citron Presse. From first glance it seemed a bit sketchy because there was only one other customer. The restaurant served lebanese/french food but the other patron had ordered a hamburger so we followed suite (especially since it was cheap). This may have been the best hamburger I have ever had! Instead of a bun, the burger was in a hollowed out wheel of bread with a delicious sauce. If you ever find yourself in Avignon stop by for a bite to eat. It turns out we were fairly early for lunch because the restaurant started filling up and seemed quite popular. The server came over to talk to us and saw our "Let's Go" guide and wanted to see what the guide had written in it. It was pretty funny.
In Avignon we went to the palais des papes, which, as the name suggests, was the palace of popes. It was really interesting, most of the rooms did not have any of their original decor, but the building itself was quite memorable. At the very end of our tour we heard this beautiful, ethereal singing, it sounded like a w
oman in a church. In the square in front of the cathedral there was a man dressed in Gothic fashion but could sing like a woman, and his voice was heavenly! It was so nice outside (it must have been 80 degrees in the sun) that we sat and listened to him. Other highlights of Avignon are the bridge, the garden that overlooks the bridge. We stopped by a delicious store called Le Cure Gourmand where Kate bought a lollipop (homemade) and I bought a nougat for snack. I randomly saw a card shop and decided to buy a pack of cards (my thought at that time was to teach my friends to play Euchre). This turned out to be very lucky indeed.
My delicious hamburger at citron presse
The streets of avignon
Palais des papes
Palais des papes with the man who sings like a women in front of it.
The bridge of avignon
We took a train to Marseilles and met up with Jamie, another friend from the Brown program. We found our hotel, the illustrious Hotel Alexandre 1, which was given 2 stars. We could not figure out why. It was probably the worst hotel I have ever stayed in, the pillows were millions of years old, there were mosquitoes, basically we could not believe they were charging 45 euros for a 2-person room. (and we greatly feared our hotel in nice which was only 30 euros for a 2 person room).
We then decided to find a restaurant to eat in so that we wouldn't have to hang out in the hotel room. We did not feel too safe walking around Marseilles at night, a couple shady people approached us. We headed to the district (cours julien) where the guidebooks said there would be restaurants and nightlife, because it was Friday night we were expecting crowds, sadly enough, there were few people, lots of drunk guys in the cafes yelling provocative comments and we finally found a restaurant that wasn't completely deserted and it ended up being really expensive so we found a panini shop and ate there. This forced us to return to the dreaded hotel early. We ended up playing cards for the rest of the night and decided to get an early start to Aix-en-provence the next day. (although during the night we heard a lady scream and a bunch of doors slamming, so it wasn't a peaceful night of rest)
Aix-en-Provence was lovely. There were fountains everywhere and we were lucky enough to be there on a Saturday when the famous marche takes place. We bought some delicious miniature pears. There were provencal wares everywhere, tablecloths with the typical provencal print, flowers, we even got to try navettes, a provencal biscuit/cookie. They were delicious.
In Aix-en-Provence there are over 100 fountains, so everywhere we walked we would run into them. They were very beautiful. We wandered around and found this restaurant (routard approved) called antioche. we all tried Kefta and had green tea. It was an amazing meal and the staff was really nice. After that we wandered past the cafe that Cezanne used to frequent and then headed to his atelier (workshop). In the workshop we saw all of the objects that he used in his still-lifes. It was really interesting to look at reproductions of paintings and then try to find the objects used in them! We then decided to walk around Aix again, but this time we were walking past places for the 4th or 5th time and it was still just as beautiful. We stopped at a patisserie and tried calissons, a lemony/melon-flavored marzipan cookie, a specialty of Aix. We then stopped at a cafe and talked there for a couple of hours trying to kill time before returning to Marseille.
The cathedrale with the statues with no necks (they were beheaded and then put back on, but their necks were never replaced.
Flower market in Aix
Flower market in Aix
On sunday morning, we decided to explore Marseilles, we gave ourselves 3 hours and Marseilles a chance. We stopped at a bakery and bought a lemon brioche and walked down to the vieux port to eat it. We ended up getting to see the "famous" fish market, which was just a fish market. We also walked around le panier district. It was a beautiful day and we decided to climb the hill to the 9th century abbey st. vincent and then even further up the hill to the notre dame de la garde. At the top, there was a beautiful church and we got to see part of a mass. We could also see the Chateau d'If, famous for the count of mone cristo. Then we wandered back to the opera and back to our hotel. Then we realized that we had only used 2 of our 3 hours and couldn't think of anything else to do, so we went to the train station and waited there to go to Nice.
The vieux from notre dame de la garde
The climb up
Abbey St. Vincent
Le Vieux Port