Monday, July 4, 2011

Au revoir Paris et Bonjour Angers

After church yesterday and in honor of my dear friend jillie I sought out the oldest house in Paris, that of Nicolas flammel. On my way there, I found the musee carnavalet... Which I tried so hard to find a few days ago, buy wandered in circles instead. It's a free museum with lots of artifacts. I was hungry by then and walked by this little bistro. I saw some one eating dime charcuterie (think several types of dried salami) and I saw little French pickles on the plate... I had to have it, so I stopped in. Had I paid closer attention, I doubt I would have ordered it though because there was a huge slice? of pate in in the middle. It looked a lot like dog food, but was amazingly yummy... Who knew?
I found the old house... And then hopped on the metro to the marmottan museum. It's a but far from the center of Paris, but a great collection of Monet (my all time favorite artist!!!!!!!!). I walked over to the bois de bologne but not sure of the significance) then I stopped in a little park with a carousel where a man walks it around and kids have little wooden sticks trying to get the brass ring. I read there for about an hour, and then took the metro to the Eiffel tower.

Remember my complaint about the big giant screens for the world cup? Well, i was foiled again. The fountain was not covered, it was empty! Ugh!!! (maybe because of their drought?) I guess I just have to come back;) I stood in line forever (thank you kindle for getting me through the long wait) and it was freezing at the top, but the view is great. Starting at 11 pm, it has thousands of twinkling lights. It was 9:45 when I descended, so I read a bit more and then grabbed a sandwich I am sure glad I waited... Such a fabulous sight! It was late when returned, so I didn't finish the post. On my way back some guy on the metro interrupted my reading to ask about my kindle. I was a bit caught off guard because I've never had a conversation started on the metro before. I told him about it, but the funny thing is he was sure I was english because of my accent... I guess at least it's closer to France...but I still need some work:)

Today, I decided to have breakfast in the hotel. It was12€ so I'd not eaten before. Most of the places we'd stayed were 8€ or so for part if a baguette, some jam, and a coffee. (a huge rip off when I could get a super yummy chocolate croissant for about 1€. I had to leave quickly and their breakfast is held in their15th or so century basement, I thought the experience would make it worth it. I was also surprised because they had eggs and some hotdog type sausage, yogurt, cheese, croissants, baguettes, cereal, fruit, juice, and a whole pitcher of coffee least I didn't feel cheated.

Then I caught a high speed train to Angers. Boy did my ears have to pop...I'll not mention the awful toilettes... Oh wait...;)
I got to the train station wondering how I was going to find a lady I'd never seen. Thankfully, the university people had signs. Unfortunately my lady had come and gone, thinking I was arriving an hour later the university people were super nice.

I am super happy and the lady so far is so nice. I am living with one other student and have definitely been a translator, but I enjoy that. The girl I am staying with is from west virgina and seems super nice, but super jet lagged as she had just arrived. I have a nice blue and white striped room with lots of room to unpack...such a weird concept after back packing last year. The bed does make me feel like I'll soon fall out...same width as a sleeping bag! My twin bed at home seems like at least a queen in comparison! Happy 4th of July all:). I've my first day of school tomorrow...complete with a 2+ hour test... Boy am I nervous :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Final deux days in Paris!

Okay so yesterday, I set out to get my money's worth for my museum pass. Unfortunately, I stayed up to late and didn't set an alarm. Not a great combo. So after my rather late start, I climbed the steps of l'arc de triomphe. I think the view from the top is spectacular! From there, I sought this crepe stand in the tulleries garden...still yummy. I visited monet's giant waterlilies at the orangerie. Then I headed o er to the musee d'orsay ( these day's I'm heading no where fast;) I love impressionist paintings, and they have a great collection. With less than an hour left, I made it to the louvre, deciding to head straight to the ancient Egyptian exhibit...missed tons, but still worth it. I made it home and decided to try to get reservations to this restaurant I read about in a book about where to eat in paris. It was great, but a limited menu had me choosing some not my favorite foods and some I've never heard of (seabream) fist with flat beans. Grand marnier cream with candied orange rinds and chocolate ganache (closer to chocolate pudding) good but a bit weird.

I am falling asleep so I'll just tell you that I started the day in a great little Protestant chuch, with my first sermon and church songs in French. Many familiar tunes, it was fun... My voice isn't completely back, but thankfully I could sing. For communion, everyone stood around the circular sanctary and passed the bread and the wine. The bread was all cut into pieces and kept in the bread bowl. There was also no escaping the communal cup. Great service! But I missed you all too! The rest of my fabulous day will come later! Bonne nuit de Paris!

Friday, July 1, 2011

So, I woke up at 6a.m., which is way too early to do anything, so I decided to read for a while...which then had me getting started close to 11 a.m. It's probably good that I started later than I had intended because I don't think my feet could handle any more.

I started the day with a yummy almond croissant and some Starbucks. Then it was off to the musee de cluny the museum of the middle ages. It's pretty neat... Lots of stuff , and I'd only given myself 30minutes to see the lady and the unicorn tapestries. I forgot to get a map, so I'm not 100% sure I saw everything but if nothing else, I came closer to it . From there, I picked up some toiletries due to the roast chicken scented ones from the hotel. I headed back to my hotel thinking about lunch, unfortunately it was around 2pm when restaurants close until the dinner service.

I headed to the palais de justice to see thchurch of ste. Chapelle with it's amazing stained glass windows. The whole front was being finished and under tarps last time, so the effect was way more majestic. From there, I headed to the marais district of Paris. This is where I should have spent more time orienting myself with the map, because I ended up making large circles around le place de Vosges. I did stop to see victor hugo's apartment. I got turned around( nobody's surprised right? ;) so as I was close I decided to go see the column where the Bastille used to be.

I attempted some fine dining, but all tables were booked (a bit funny though because most were empty when I showed up. I ended up eating in a mediocre restaurant with a nice view of notre dame. The lady next to me sent back her starter and her main dish...clearly expecting a much finer dining experience. Her French onion soup was too cheesy and I over heard her say she knew it wasn't right because the waiter smirked at it!?! It looked pretty normal to me . Oh well, off to bed!

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Je suis à Paris!!!!!!

Okay,so my trip started with a bit of panic. I boarded the plane just fine, and as I was settling into my seat I went to turn off my cell phone. Well, I had two rather fullbags, but couldn't find it anywhere. I even asked a girl if she could call it. It was ringing but not in my stuff. I had to get up and ask the flight attendant if someone could check the area I'd been waiting. She had me deplane after everyone was seated, and thankfully a flight attendant was coming down the ramp with my phone...that was a close one.

Both of my flights were great, but no sleep was to be had(which is in no way unusual). I sat by two girls under 11 (they both got the free kids meal). I had the aisle seat, and kids don't know normal airplane etiquette. One would need out, get back, get settled, and then the other girl would need out! Definately, makes sleep difficult.

Iceland makes everyone go through security again because other countries do not have their same standards. The only difference is that they ask you to take all of your electronics out of their bags. I thought , "ok, whatever". Then I started rummaging for cell phones, cameras, etc., and the girl tells me not to worry about it! It took forever, and was definitely pointless. Then, at the gate, there was no order, everyone just shoved forward to board. So wierd! I entered the EU in Iceland, so they stamped my passport there! Good thing I flew direct last summer, or I'd have no French stamp on my passport!

The airport was much better labelled in this terminal(last year I definitely felt unsure of how to leave. This time was much better, but boy it took forever to get my checked bag.

The hotel I am staying in is super cute. Tiny room, but that's Paris. I was so excited as I walked to the hotel from the train because I walked by all these little food shops( a butcher, cheese monger, fruit & veggie store, fish store, bakery, etc). When I got to the hotel, I really wanted to take a nap, but that's never a great idea for jet lag, so I forced myself to go out. I found this little gyro shop from last summer, it wasn't that great, but I'm sure I'll try it again:). I got Kyla's sister's French phone all set, but I have forgotten the country code. I found two small supermarkets very close, 5€ for 8 cans of orangina. I found a little shop that had the for 1€ but 2€ each is not uncommon. My hotel has a mini fridge, so I see some picnics in my future.

My room has the most beautiful view of this old church, but I can't remember it's name. I'll let you know soon I'm sure. To cap off a pretty great day, I heard back from my host mom...phew! She'll see me monday at the train station in Angers. She'd been in Italy, and she apologized for not getting back sooner. I however should have contacted her sooner,but all is well.

Must decide what to do tomorrow... So many options! Bonne nuit!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I can post from my iPod!

I'm really not sure if this is going to work. I'm packed for the most part, but my bag is quite heavy. I'll deal with it in the morning I'm sure. I still haven't heard from the host family, but I'm sure everything will work out fine. I really can't believe that I leave in less than 24 hours! Happy birthday dad:)

Monday, June 27, 2011

Still Packing!

I'm one day closer to see this (L'Arc de Triomphe: my favorite picture from last year)!

I have two amazing roommates who provided dinner, and then spent all evening helping me decide on which pieces would make the perfect wardrobe. I still have tons of things to do, but feeling much better.

I am sure going to miss these girls, but thanks Elsa and Kyla for all your help! (Sorry Elsa, I don't have any pictures of you in France, maybe next year ;o)
This is Kyla and I in front of Notre Dame cathedral, very near to where I'll be staying this time.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

We'll see how long this lasts!

Ok, so this is my first post while I avoid all of the packing that is necessary :)

So I am definitely looking forward to replacing these pictures from last year...notice the hideous huge screen for the world cup. The reflecting pool was all covered too!

That's all for now, perhaps I should get something done.

À plus!