Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Remember back when I was in Iceland?

So here's a thoroughly random, out-of-sync post. I just came across a video I made for the blog on my first day in Iceland last year, but somehow never actually posted. It's actually in two parts, because the first one I made randomly stopped recording after about a minute and a half.

Part One

                      Part Two                      

Petite Nootka

My little roommate at Laura's apartment:
Meet Nootka, a 4-month mini Doberman

She licks everything. Voraciously.

Ginormous ears, one floppy, one not.

Under attack


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Paris Revisited: More Fun

One of the girls we met for dinner earlier in the week was turning 22, so we met her at a sushi place for a couple of hours. Very fun times. Fun note: they have cheese sushi in Paris. It's some sort of cream cheese surrounded by rice and seaweed. Pretty good, actually.

There are many boat rides that one can take along the Seine. My program took us on the Bateaux Mouches, and then I took the girls on the same ride when Katie and her friends came to visit last spring. I'm pretty fond of it. It has a nice sequence, and it's a good price. But I'd never taken the cruise during the day. What details was I missing out on? Time to find out...

Getting started

Centre Georges Pompidou

The amazing houseboats along the Seine

A corner of the Louvre

Musee d'Orsay

Love-Lock Bridge- you and your true love bring a padlock, write your initials and the date, lock it onto the bridge, then kiss as you throw the key into the Seine

The little garden where I wrote the other day

People hanging out, enjoying the gorgeous weather

That one building

Notre Dame from the side/back

A ridiculously gorgeous day. Lots of picnickers.

I finished the day by hanging out along the Seine for a few hours, writing and pondering. I think I am arranging my life in such a way that it won't ever be too long before I visit Paris again. That realization took away whatever stress I was feeling to revisit every spot I had even remotely fond memories of. Instead, I hit whatever moved me that day. Made for an excellent vacation.

Stateside once more, but a few more updates to come!

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Paris Revisited: Days 3 & 4-

For day three, I went adventuring on the bus system, to see where is easily accessible from Laura's apartment. Quite a lot, as it turns out- one bus goes straight to the Eiffel Tower, then the middle of the Champs-Elysee, then winds its way up to Montmartre and Sacre Coeur! All the tourist destinations on one line. I didn't get any pictures, since I was on a bus most of the day, but I saw lots of Paris, both the major sites and the residential streets. Highly enjoyable.

That night, Laura and I met up with some of her friends from Boston who are studying in Paris right now. We had dinner near the Eiffel Tower, with a very sassy French waiter.

The next day was far more action-oriented. I started my day by busing over to the Central College office and surprising my program director. It went quite well, and I was there for about half an hour.

I continued my bus journey, up to St. Michel (just about at Notre Dame), where I hopped off the bus when I finally spotted an Orange (telephone store). I got a SIM card for my phone, so that I can be in contact with the Keepers of the Keys (Laura and her husband) for the week. From there, I decided to walk for a bit, and ended up strolling the Seine to this adorable little garden on Ile de la Cite.

Garden! I took a picture of the more garden-y part, but unfortunately it prominently features a trash bag.
I wrote for a bit in the garden, which was very satisfying and reminiscent of last spring.

Moved on to the Louvre, where I could catch up with another one of the buses that runs past Laura's place, and see where it went.

The rest of the afternoon consisted of more busing and more wandering, and then finally, about 7:30, I set up at the Champs-de-Mar to await the 8 o'clock sparkling.

It is around this point that I realized that there are really only so many ways you can take a picture of the Eiffel Tower, and I've probably done all of them, but I did my best:

The sparkling never looks that impressive in pictures, sadly.

And yet, no matter how many pictures I take of it, it still thrills me every time!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Paris Revisited: Day 2- Strolling the Seine

After sleeping in for quite a while, and lazing around for several more hours, I decided it was finally time to get out and see more of Paris. I grabbed the local Metro (the 8 ligne) and took it to one of its Seine stops- Place de la Concorde. Up to this point, I had seen only parts of Paris that were new to me (with the exception of the Gare de Nord, which I am quite familiar with, but doesn't really count for our purposes). So it was exciting and new, but it wasn't Paris. That all changed when I emerged from the Concorde Metro stop at sunset:

Now that looks familiar!
 It looked like Paris again! My Paris. I spent many happy hours strolling along this area of the Seine at twilight, and here I was again. My goal was to be at the Eiffel Tower by 7pm, in case it was dark enough that they would start the sparkling. But I had a little over an hour, so I took the opportunity to meander....

Through the Tuileries...

View of the Place de la Concorde from the Tuileries, all the way down the Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe

Down to the Louvre....

Then over to the Seine!

Discovered a new bridge...

And walked into the sunset to get to the Eiffel Tower

Got my crepe at the base of Trocadero

No sparkling until 8 (which I couldn't stay for), but all lit up and pretty nonetheless!

Fountains at Trocadero
The day rounded out with a dinner at Laura's in-laws. We spoke French most of the time, and it was comforting to know that most of my hard-earned semi-fluency from last year has remained intact. I've lost some random phrases, but I could fearlessly trundle ahead with less-than-perfect, yet still understandable, French. They also served a really excellent Speculoos cheesecake for dessert!

I spent the rest of my evening babysitting Nootka and Skypeing avec ma mere, then lying in bed until 4am because I forgot to take my sleeping pills. So I slept in past noon today. But I am determined to be up and about earlier tomorrow! You will see.