September 10, 2008

Last Blog about paris

Friday October 1st. 2005

This morning we went to the Louvre ( Le Grande Louvre). It is absolutely amazing. I think it´s the biggest museum I have ever seen in my life. HUGE!! We took the subway there and to my great joy, the guide book was right and we entered thru the underground station, which meant no long lines to get in thru the piramide entrance. Granddad and I had doughnuts, moka´s and juice for breakfast, then we headed inside to see what we could see. We started in the Denon wing, and made our way thru hundreds of statues and paintings, until we were in the same wing as Venus de Milo. We looked at that, and then found our way to Winged Victory, and then to The Mona Lisa, and a lot of other paintings. It was amazing, but partly because everything was soooooo crowded.

After about 3 hours of culture, neither of us could take it anymore, so we left and headed to the Place De Concorde and the obilisk and the Eglise de Madeline. It was very cool. We also saw Maxim´s and while we looked at the menu, I cannot justify 20 euros for a sandwich. We then began our walk up Champs-Elysee, and had a wonderful little lunch in a place called Le Berkley, where I am sure we were the only americans within miles, but oh well. I don´t think the waitstaff was particulary pleased with our style, but oh well, we were not behaving like pigs. We had tomato-pumpkin soup and sesame chicken and it was very good, although this was the slowest meal I think I have ever had. Then we saw the Arc de Triumphe, and Place Charles De Gaul(?) which in Granddads first trip to Paris was Place de Etiole. My how things change! We had a good time though, looking at all the shops and stores and I wished I had more money so I could buy the things in those stores. Oh well, someday!

Then headed home and rested a little, then made our way back to the Eiffel Tower and took a night boat cruise on the Sienne. And saw the Eiffel Tower light up and sparkling!! We got on the boat without having to wait much at all, and it was a good tour, although by the end I was freezing cold. But it was worth it!

Then we went back to the resturante we had eaten at our first night, and had more of the very good soup and another salad. While we were sitting there, we saw a few rollerbladers in the street. We were sitting next to the window, and I was facing what would be considered up the street, so I would see the traffic coming. I was commenting to granddad that I didn´t understand why the french felt the need to be in the street all the time, when I looked up and saw a huge rush of people rollerblading. I swear there must have been at least 200 people in the street, and it took about 10 minutes for everyone to go past. It was funny. Then we finished up and headed home to sleep, because we had had a long day!

My first trip to Paris...part 2

Saturday, October 2nd. 2005

Ahh, Paris! This morning my granddad and I woke up late, and because we really had nothing we had to do, we took our time having breakfast! We went to Cafe de la Paix, where he and my grandmother ate 50 years ago, and we had croissants, hot chocolate and orange juice, although it was much more expensive than in Granddad´s day. But worth it

Then we headed to Sainte Chappell, the other little church on the same island as Notre Dame, and it was amazing. There are over 1000 stained glass window-stories depicting the bible. It is absolutley amazing.Everyone should go!

Then we went to the store, Samartiane, for the view, because it is a view of paris that you don´t have to pay for. We split a chicken sandwich and some cafe Richard, which turns out, I think is just a brand of coffee, because it was plain espresso, but yummy nevertheless. And we had fun looking at the department store, even though things there were wayyyyyyyy too expensive for me.

Then we headed to the other store, Galleries Lefaytte, and had better luck with the shopping, not to mention, saw part of a fashion show, and then we went and had another little snack (Granddad and I ate a lot on this trip, in case you couldn´t tell) and some great wine, and another great view, and lots of time just talking. Then headed home to rest.

THEN:::we went to our last dinner in Paris, and it was a great as I could have hoped for. We went to the resturante Chez Max and had a perfect meal. The menu was set for 23 euros, but it included appitizers, entree, wine, bread and dessert. And the food was excellent. I had chevre with toasted almonds and steak with pepper sauce and frenchfries and lime sherbert with vodka, and granddad had a vegatable soup, and beef with a burgandy gravy sauce and vanilla ice cream for dessert. YUM YUM YUM!!! And the wine was good.

Then we walked home and packed and went to bed to get up early and catch our plane to Barcelona. And then we headed to Málaga and then to Granada. It was a long day of traveling on SUNDAY, but it was one of the best trips I´ve ever had. Someone once told me to go to paris with my lover (as if I had one of those) but I think it was a better trip to go with my granddaddy!

My first trip to Paris...warning very long posts ahead.

this is actually verbatem from my blog that I kept while I was living in Spain. it's exactly as i wrote it 3 years ago, complete with misspellings and everything. It's also just like me, random and funny!

There are lots of things to tell, so this blog is really part of a multi-update about what we did while we were there. This is Wednesday the 29th and Thursday the 30th . And this is awarning to everyone, especially you French speakers: I don´t speak French, I can´t write in French, I can´t spell in French. If anything is mispelled, deal with it.

Wednesday night. We had a brief scare in Málaga, when it said our plane was delayed an hour, but we only had an hour to change planes in Madrid. But it turned out to be a false alarm, and we had plently of time in Madrid!! Arrived in Paris at Orly airport, and it was soo cool, you could see the Eiffel tower all lit up as we landed. I was sooo excited-I think granddad was too, but he was tired I know. Traveling, while good, is a tiring activity. But we arrived, and made it to our hotel without any problems.

We checked in, had a nice room then went out to grab a little dinner, as we had not eaten much on the plane. We went to a resturant right up the street from our hotel named Porte Montmartre. It was open 24h and we sat inside. We each had a bowl of the de-lish-ous onion soup, and split a salad with hot chevre cheese(my favorite in the world!!) and walnuts, and to drink we each had a little carafe of wine, him, Bordeaux, me, something I can´t spell, it was like Beaujoulix or something. And I tell you, I have no idea why there are so many letters on words that no one confuses me......

After our wonderful meal we decided to walk a little bit and explore out neighborhood. we ended up walking to the Place d´Opera and seeing the Cafe de la Paix, which is where he and my grandmother ate almost 50 years ago. Then we made our way to our hotel, and slept.

Thursday. Started out early, and made our way to a cafe near the hotel to have breakfast. We had 2 cafe au lait, bread and butter and jus d´orange.Very good!! Then we hit the subway (metro) system and found our way to Notre Dame cathedral which is where we planned to start our day.

It was free to get it, so we went in and looked around, I lit a candle for my family (as I always do) and then looked around more. It is just undescibable. I love seeing churches like it, because it really makes me wonder about the awe people must have felt when there wasn´t this huge "is there a god question"- they accepted and the churches were so ornate and lovely that they had to believe, how could one not with the paintings and stained glass and everything? LOVED IT!!!

Then we left and walked thru the gardens to the left bank of the river, where we began walking toward the Eiffle Tower, hoping to find the hotel granddad stayed in years ago. On the way we stopped and looked at the wares the street vendors sold, and bought some postcards and other photos. We made out way almost to the Quai de Orsay when we both had to find a place to go to the bathroom, and were starting to get hungry. So we found this little resturant called Le Concorde, and had a salad with chiekn and potatoes and corn and cheese and carrots and cafe au lait to drink, and then the best creme brulee in the world.

We think we found the building that was the hotel, but now it appears to be an apartment building. I guess things change in 50 years.

Then we finished headed toward the Eiffle tower. When we got there, it was just amazing, so we decided to go on to the top and see it. The view is amazing. Granddad took lots of picutres and then we slowly made our way down again, and we went on a boat river cruise and had a nice little tour of the Sienne and the buildings on either side.

We then made our way to the Musee D´Orsay and looked at my favorite artiste: Monet, Degas, Renior, Manet and others I can´t remember. It was great!! We saw sculptures and paintings, and had a nice little snack in the cafe there, me a goffre with ice cream, gdad a bowl of fig and honey ice cream and gingerbread. YUM!!We went back to the hotel to freshen up and tried to find this resturant out guide book had suggested. Didn´t work,( long time to find it, not interested in the menu it had,) so we finally sat down in some other cafe and had another lovely meal. The soup, again, a salad and we split a club sandwich. And, of course, more wine. Yum yum yum!!! Then home and we slept, because we were very tired from our first full day.I love Paris, it is great!! I will update later the next days, but this is the first bit of adventure--everyone should go to Paris!

September 08, 2008

A story from Greece...

When I was spending a semester abroad in Spain, I got an invitation to tag along with my best friend Mina on her trip to Greece over the summer. Hellooo Greece!

We had a great time, and came back with a ton of stories. But there was something that happened on Andros that has stuck with me through the years and makes me laugh every time I think about it. I learned many things from my trip abroad, but in Greece, I learned what Fresh Seafood really means.

Andros is a sleepy island with 2 cities, and a lot of hospitality. It’s the perfect unknown place to get away. After our trips to Crete and Santorini, this was a great way to relax before heading off to the sweltering heat of Athens. The air is clean and the beaches on Andros are beautiful. They have crystal clear water, soft white sand and hot guys; everything you could ask for in paradise.
We spent our days in paradise eating, sunbathing, napping, the only responsibility we had was to repeat this cycle daily. The beach we visited daily was in a cove, and there were great big rocks at the upper most part that just begged for sunbathing. One afternoon Mina and I decided to hike down the hill to these rocks and claim them for our own. What a great idea! We were totally alone; our own private island. We sunbathed and laughed; enjoying being alone. Occasionally some brave guy would swim out and talk to us for a bit. I always was amazed at how the guys in Greece were so bold and would tell you everything they knew about America. But one guy had a different idea of how to impress us.

One thing I learned about Greece is that fishing is a big deal there, especially on the islands. By my second week, I understood that walking through any market in Greece you were sure to see fresh caught seafood. Mina even explained to me that we would probably end up eating somewhere that had literally caught our meal that morning. That was ok, this is a different culture and a different lifestyle and I was all about fitting in. So it was no surprise when we saw a guy snorkeling out into the water and diving to collect fish, urchins and other tasty delicacies.
What a surprise it was though when he popped up from underneath one of our rocks with an octopus! He climbed out of the water on to our rocks and nodded to us, as if to say “Hello beautiful American ladies, I have searched high and low and now have this great gift to offer you. Isn’t it lovely?” and proceeded to…how do I put this delicately…smash the ever living daylights out of the octopus on the rocks to kill and tenderize it. He must have spent 10 minutes picking the octopus up and then throwing it down against the rocks again, just to make sure it was good and dead. All of a sudden our serene little island was no longer quiet and relaxing, but reeked of fish and the thud-thud-thud of tenderizing an octopus.

Mina and I were stunned. Horrified didn’t even begin to describe how we felt and we didn’t know what to say or do. We kept looking at each other hoping he would stop and leave us and our rocky paradise alone. But he kept at it until he was sure that this octopus was going to be the tenderest octopus he had ever caught. He caught us looking at him, and he smiled. He motioned to the Taverna on the edge of the beach letting us know that that’s where this fresh octopus would be should we desire to come and share lunch with him. With that he dove in, catch and all and swam away, stopping just once to wave us goodbye.

I looked at Mina and she just shrugged, and we burst into laughter. What else can you do when you are in Greece on a sundrenched island and see lunch caught and killed before you? You order the salad at lunch!

September 02, 2008

Daytona or Bust

This weekend I made my second trip to Daytona Beach in FL. R and I went for his cousin's wedding, and it was a family reunion/wedding in one!

Friday after work we got in my little Hyundai Tiberon and drove to Yadkinville, where we unloaded my car into his parent's car and hit I-77 south. We drove through the night, stopping once in Savannah at a Waffle House to get a little food, a little gas and go to the bathroom. Then R took the wheel and drove us to Daytona! We arrived at his grandparents house a little after 6 am, and R and I immediately crashed on the sofas. At around 8 his mother woke him up with a phone call from his cousin's children, and we had our morning start. We were able to check into our hotel (Plaza Resort and Spa) and then headed down the street to the volleyball game at the Hilton.

From there it was family family family. Good thing I like them all! We headed back to his aunt's house for a cookout, and then back to the hotel for a nap before the rehearsal dinner. R's cousin is very organized, and we really had nothing to worry about except when to show up! Everything about the rehearsal was in our hotel (which is why we picked it) And it was all lovely. We had a slide show/movie about the happy couple, and then open bar and lots of food! Then the younger set headed up to the bar upstairs and continued partying throughout the night! We danced, drank and had a good time!

A word now about our was nice in terms of convenience, but that was about it. Actually, I take that back. The lobby, the restaurant, and all the rooms we used were nice...except the actual rooms we were staying in. Everyone I know from the wedding party had some problem with their room. We had a ridiculously loud air conditioner that didn't keep the room from being muggy/humid, and mold spots growing on the carpet near the air conditioner. They didn't come to do a room cleaning until about 5 in the afternoon, the sheets were not soft, but rather scratchy. I don't feel that we got the value we paid for.

We woke up at a reasonable hour, and went to help out with the last minute decorating. We helped and then were offered brunch...which is where everything went downhill. For some reason we opted to leave the hotel with its perfectly good all you can eat buffet for $10 and go somewhere else. I suggested IHOP right across the street, but when we found out it had a 45 minute wait, we decided to head somewhere else. This should have been easy, except no one wanted to make plans. One person wanted to head away from the beach/touristy area, and find something to eat elsewhere, but every place we tried had a long wait (what, Sunday at 11 on Labor Day weekend is busy?!?) and by the time we got seated and had started eating, we could have been done at the IHOP.


Then we headed back to the hotel to change and go hang out on a boat for a while. That was tons of fun! We went with some of R's cousin's and just relaxed for an hour. When we got back to the hotel it was time to start getting ready for the wedding, and then head off.

The wedding was beautiful. B and W seemed so happy to be getting married, and everyone looked lovely. We then loaded back on the bus and went back to the hotel for the cocktail hour and reception, both of which were very nice. There was a mashed potato bar at the reception, which I had never seen, but liked! B dedicated her wedding bouquet to her grandmother who had been married for 65 years, and the toasts were moving. It was fun dancing and hanging out until we were kicked out and then crashed!

Monday we woke up, got breakfast (at the aforementioned restaurant in the hotel) and then hit the road. And almost 12 hours later I fell into my bed and fell asleep.

Good weekend, but man it is good to get home!