Tuesday, June 29, 2010
Finally got electricity and internet and will be able to post to my blog. Spent most of the morning typing everything and getting settled. Its nice to actually feel connected again.
This is my last day with the California guys and I’ll miss them a lot. They’ve become good friends that I’d love to travel with again sometime soon.
6/28 Paris Day 4 Amsterdam Day 1
Our last day in Paris consisted of travel. We moved through the complicated metro to find the right train station to take us to Amsterdam.
On the train, we passed through Rotterdam and picked up a lot of Festival goers coming from a heavy metal festival. It was really fun talking to them and hearing their Dutch with sounds like French mixed with German and some English thrown in.
When we arrived in Amsterdam I separated from the LA guys to find my hostel but met back up with them for dinner. The hostel was easy to find and is actually really enjoyable. The rooms are smaller but they’re air conditioned at night which is all I really care about.
Dinner was Wok from Walk the Wok. It was very good. All of the food in Amsterdam reminds me of late night college food. However, it is a lot cheaper than Paris so I wont complain. Walked through the red light district before it got dark just to see it. Its actually very disturbing.
The city itself in the day time reminds me a lot of new Orleans. There are trolleys and street performers and its lots of fun to walk around. At night, it gets really disgusting. That has to do with the liberal attitude everyone seems to have. Probably a good thing new Orleans isn’t that way or else the city might end up the same way. I really enjoy it here though.
6/27 Paris Day 3
Found some internet at McDonalds but didn’t get any food because it was ridiculously expensive. We then took the metro to Arch de Triumph. The arch was much larger than I could have imagined. It was built in honor of napoleons ventures. From the arch we walked all the way down the chamblys de ellyses grand avenue. This is where the majority of the shops and expensive areas on Paris are. We walked in several stores but couldn’t afford to buy anything. We followed the grand avenue all the way to Toulerries gardens. The gardens were lined with gargoyals and were actually very beautiful. We crossed over the pont neuf bridge to Orsay.
Orsay was a magnificent museum full of monet, van gogh, and manet. It was not able to hold a candle to the louver. However, I still really enjoyed it. My favorite works were by Gustave Courbet.
From the Orsay we made the walk to the Eiffel Tower. It was about three miles but also really enjoyable. When we got to the base of the tower, all five of us were extremely tired and we took a 30 minute nap to the sound of a young girl practicing her violin underneath the Eiffel tower. At o clock we started the trek to the top of the tower. There are two main levels before the top. To save money, we all climbed the stairs to the second level before taking a lift to the top.
The top of the Eiffel tower might have been the most amazing thing Ive ever seen. Paris went on for almost as far as I could see. It was an amazing view.
After we climbed down, we made our way to the Fifa World Cup Fan Fare. It was a large field just under the Eiffel tower with thousands of people watching the Argentina vs Mexico game. We bought some champagne from a street vendor and drank it while the Eiffel tower lit up the area and the sounds of vuvuzelas could be heard for miles.
We sat under the tower for 3 hours just enjoying paris and had to take the night bus back to the hostel which wasn’t too bad.
6/26 Paris Day 2
Woke up at 8 am in a non-air conditioned room to the sounds of paris.
Tried to go to Notre dame but there was an ordination of nine new priest in the works so we went to Louvre instead. The building is so much bigger than you could imagine making a large U shape around the central pyramid.
Saw the mona lisa, venus de milo, victory angel, My favorite artist was Philippe de Champaigne. However I made a long list of paintings I liked.
Had lunch in an off the main French diner. It was actually pretty expensive but very good.
After the Louvre, we walked to Sainte Chapple. It is a small chapel with the most magnificent stained glass in the world. The walls tell many famous biblical stories.
After Sainte Chapple, we finally went to Notre Dame. The cathedral is gothic and kind of creepy. It is very large. I definitely liked the beauty in St. Pauls much more than the goth in notre dame.
Went to a small French bar to watch the US soccer game and get taunted by the locals. Was actually a lot of fun even though we lost.
6/25 London Day 4 and Paris Day 1
Checked out of the hostel at 10 am and headed towards the train station. Was passing by the british library and decided to stop by. Inside I found original copies of Shakespeares Hamlet, handwritten maps from explorers all over the world, and the magna carta. Glad I decided to stop.
Caught a train to London Luton airport and sat for 2 hours waiting on my flight.
At baggage claim I met four guys from Los Angeles. They were headed to the same hostel and one of them spoke French. We helped each other get to the hostel.
The new hostel sucked bad. There was no air conditioner, lock boxes, or hot shower. The breakfast was surprisingly very good though. I shared a room with a California, Japanese, and French guy.
Had some S. Cargo and baked chicken for dinner with the LA guys.
6/24 London Day 3
Went to the British museum today. It was amazing. My favorite thing this far. I cant believe just how much stuff they have from other nations. I saw the Rosetta stone and lots of ancient hyroglyphics. They even had cleopatra’s mummy and actual remains. In the Greece section, they had nearly all of the statues from the Parthenon. I imagine that the actual one is pretty empty as everything is in London.
My favorite section might have been the British clock collection. They were incredibly intricate both mechanically and artistically.
Made it St Pauls cathedral by the afternoon. It was absolutely amazing. I climbed all the way to the top of the tower and it took me nearly 30 minutes. The view was breathtaking and the pictures don’t do it justice, When I got back down, I went all the way to the Crypt where they had the tomb of the duke of Wellington. When I got back to the gallery floor, the main alter was closed due to preparation for the evensong for John the Baptist’s birthday. I was really disappointed about it so I asked a worker if I could still see it. She told me if I sat in a particular row of the church, I would be invited to sit in the choir loft for the service and get to actually walk by the alter and pay my respects. I did, and it worked. Absolutely incredible. You have not experienced a worship service until you’ve sat in St. Pauls cathedral next to the London All Men’s choir singing Psalms. The lesson was on “As I increase, so I must decrease”.. shout out to newly married Sara and David. Sat on the steps of the cathedral after the service before I decided where to walk.
After the cathedral, I crossed the melinneum bridge to the Tate Modern museum. From there I went passed Shakespeare’s globe theatre and along the south bank of the thames river to an open market called Borough Market.
After my evening walk, I took the underground to Abbey Road Studios at St. Johns Wood. I took a picture crossing the street and some of the graffiti honoring the beatles. I then walked the three miles back to the hostel to enjoy London.
Sat up late playing ring of fire with the Australians. Great memory and some new friends.
6/23 London Day 2 contd
Spent the last few hours after the tournament before bed talking politics and culture with 4 Australians and a Brit. I really enjoyed learning about their take on religion as well.
Comically, I showed the Australian and outback steakhouse menu. I have a video of him reading it that is pretty funny that Ill put on youtube soon.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
The line itself is called “The Queue”. It is a humorous thing to see. Thousands of europeans sitting in a field waiting to get in the match. It was actually lots of fun. I witnessed the historic Esner vs Manuit match that lasted 9 hours. It was incredible. Both players were on the ground by the end of the match.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
After my last post I went out to see the city. I took the underground to Waterloo Station, which is a very large underground stop. From there I walked up and back down the south bank of the Thames River. I saw the London eye there too. It was somewhat overcast but still really nice out.
From there, I went along the Westminster Walk. It took me across the westminister bridge, by the house of parliament, the statue of boadicea, westminister abbey, the horse gaurds, and ended in Trafalgar Square
I had my first lunch in London at The Chandos Pub’s Opera Room- fish and chips with a pint.
From there, I spent the rest of the afternoon in the National art gallery. Pretty awesome stuff. I couldn’t take pictures of the pieces but below are some of the ones I really liked.
Venice, the Feast: Canelleto
An experiment on a Bird: Wright
I’ve got really bad jet lag and am working hard to stay awake. Its gonna be a tough one.. and I still haven’t showered.
I’m in London and currently sitting in the hostel. I managed to get all the way from Gatwick to here without any trouble. However, the girl I met in the airport from Mobile, AL was quite helpful. London itself is what I expected. Its somewhat dirty and has a smell that comes with that. I arrived during rush hour and there were people in suits everywhere running to work.
On the Gatwick express, I passed the battery power station (front cover of a pink floyd album) I’ll post a picture later.
The hostel is right in the heart of the city near Russel square. Its got a modern and colorful look to it. There are pink and lime green couches in the lounge. Its very different from the rest of London.
Also, it seems as if everyone has a mac. I fit right in.
It’s almost 10am here, which means 4am in Mississippi. I’m going to post this and decide if I can get to Wimbledon on standby today. If not, I’ll be walking the open markets on the Thames River. Ill update when I can.
*Havent figured out how to upload pictures yet. Ill take the time to figure that out tomorrow.