Tuesday, January 11, 2011

1.5.11 (later that day)

Today was a pretty good day. After I got up and got ready I realized it doesn't get light for a long time here in the mornings. I kept wanting to leave, but it was dark, which made me nervous. I finally left around 8:15 and it was just barely getting light.

So weird. I saw a little cafe which looked great so I decided to stop for a good breakfast since I knew I had a long day ahead of me.

The woman working didn't speak English, and no one else made attempts but I know enough French to order breakfast. This has been my only experience with the French acting rude. They weren't acting rude, just not friendly at all. But honestly, that's the only time I've experienced it so far and you can find rude people everywhere.
Then I was off to Versailles. It was relatively easy to figure out. Versailles was...MASSIVE.
Honestly so overwhelming. I guess the best thing to do would be to have a tour guide. I used an audio guide but found the information lengthy and most rooms were so crowded I couldn't see what number I was supposed to be listening to.
All the rooms were incredible.
I couldn't get a clear shot, but I loved walking through these rooms with the different colors.

Loved the pink room.

The Hall of Mirrors.

To be honest though, it was sort of one extravagent room after the next. I felt like you could see 25% of the rooms and feel like you had seen the whole thing.

Towards the end my foot was really hurting, I don't know why.

Behind the main palace.

About to start the trek to Marie Antoinette's. I took like six photos, trying to unfurrow my brow. No luck.

I made my way through the gardens and then to Marie Antoinette's estate. I was most excited about this. (To be fair, I'm not a history buff at all, so I'm sure others would take more interest in each room at the main palace.)
Marie Antoinette's house didn't open till noon so I was one of the first to get in. This was amazing because I saw a lot of rooms by myself.

Marie Antoinette's bedroom. She picked out the decor herself.

By the time I finished there my foot was killing me and I had a long walk back. As I walked through the garden I honestly wondered if I'd need medical attention because I was in so much pain. I was so glad I was by myself because no one likes traveling with the gimp.
I hobbled my way to the train and was so grateful when I could sit. My other foot was hurting now too because I'd been favoring the hurt one.
I was so frustrated because I was thinking I'd be there all day, and then would do the Louvre tonight. When I was done by about 1pm I thought I could get more done, especially because this was the first day I really felt refreshed and rejuvinated.
I decided after I ran my errand (needed to pick up a 3-pronged US adapter) I'd take a rest to get off my foot. I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do that didn't involve being on my feet.
I took a hard three hour nap and then got up to go to the Louvre. Going at night when they stay open late is the way to go! There were no lines, and no crowds to fight. It was awesome. My foot was feeling a lot better at this point (maybe because I took some Excederine) but it still hurt a bit.
After 6pm the entrance fee is supposed to be 6 Euros, and it's free if you're unemployed. I asked information how I'm supposed to prove I'm unemployed and apparently in France you get a certificate. I still had to pay, and was charged the full 10 Euros. I wasn't in the mood to argue it.

So, trying to find someone to take a picture was sometimes a task. I usually tried to find someone else who had a DSLR, because anyone with a point and shoot was always extremely confused. "No, no, it doesn't show up on the screen, you have to actually through the little viewer, like an old camera." Still, they wouldn't. I'd show them the button to push to take the picture; still, confusion. Not to mention, most of the time there was a language barrier. For this photo, it was raining, and there was literally no one else around. This was the best shot I got.....oh well.

It took me forever to figure out how to enter, because this museum is MASSIVE. (I'd gone outside, when really, the entrance is right where I bought my ticket....woops.) I finally figured it out and beelined to Mona Lisa. It took forever to find her, but I finally did. I have to say, everyone says how tiny the Mona Lisa is, so I was expecting an 8x10. It was definitely bigger than I expected. Also, people say how there's always so many people crowded around. There were maybe 7 or 8 other people there when I was there. It was awesome.
Another blurry shot. And, clearly exhaustion is showing...looking a bit rough.

Again, with the blurry shot.

The guy taking this shot was a total trooper. There were some people in the background, and, it was the end of the night so I really didn't care, but he was patient and wanted to wait so I'd get a good shot. Then some other foreigners kept jumping in to take pictures of their kids, and it was always an ordeal. I felt so bad, but the guy was so nice. (And he was there with his girlfriend, so no, he wasn't hitting on me. Plus, did you see those last couple shots? Yikes.)

I saw a few other famous pieces and then left, as the museum was closing. I headed to the Bastille stop on the 1 line to get a crepe from the nice man I met yesterday. I decided to get a waffle this time, and it was SO GOOD. He recommended Nutella and whipped creme-it did not disappoint!
We chatted for a few minutes. He is extremely friendly. I feel like I made a friend (but I can't remember his name...)
Then I headed home and have been working on editing photos and skyped with my mom. We chatted for about 30 minutes but lost the signal and can't reconnect.
I've got a long day to plan for tomorrow and it's almost 2am so I guess I'll wrap it up.


Anonymous said...

I'm so sorry your foot was hurting! The pictures came out great. You're my hero for doing these big tourist things on your own. You look adorable. I love the peacoat :)

Steve and Rebecca said...

LOVE seeing all your pictures of London and Paris!! Thanks for posting!

Janie's World said...

Oh, you captured a photo of my favorite sculpture; Canova's "Psyche Revived by the Kiss of Eros". It has such feeling and movement, it is so alive! The Louvre is so much nicer when it is not crowded. Did you see "The Victory of Samothrace"? It is also one of my favs.

That is so weird about your foot. The trials of travel.

Katie said...

1. That breakfast looks so yummy.
2. Your hair is so cute curly.
3. The whole look-through-the-viewfinder-not-the-screen explanation thing kills me every time! People are so funny.

Elise said...

Ah! Every year when I taught my students about the French Revolution & showed them pictures of Versailles, I recommitted myself to going to Paris. Someday.

And all this nutella talk is seriously making me consider doing things that would be naughty for my waist line.