Monday, May 18, 2009

Part Va: Breezing Through Paris

I feel repetitive, but, what a day Friday was! The day began with a 4:30am alarm, a 5:15am lobby-meeting, and a half hour wait for the Tube to open.

Then, passport control, boarding the Eurostar and zooming through England, under the Channel and through France. It was early and I was tired, but couldn't sleep - we were going to Paris! Then, a bus through the city (it was stinky and crowded - no pictures) and luggage into lockers. The rain seemed a good excuse to start our Paris adventure at the Louvre.

It goes without saying that the art was amazing. The size of the place was mind-boggling and after our VERY short tour, we were exhausted. We covered MAYBE about 10 percent of the building! We spent the majority of our time in the Egyptian antiquities (one of our group is also majoring in art and loves Egyptian art - a good thing b/c we would have wandered aimlessly otherwise!) and touched on a few other areas as well.

The glass pyramid in the foyer/courtyard of the building. Quite a juxtaposition to the classical architecture.

An Egyptian antiquity (all descriptions were in French - of course!)

The hall of paintings - this is from the middle looking one direction. It felt like a mile!

More antiquities of Egypt.

The actual, honest-to-goodness Mona Lisa.

A huge statue - my art friend is nowhere near to give me the name. Any guesses?

My contemplation of a rock with inscriptions. Again, all descriptions in French.

A quick nap in the hotel and back out to see the Tour Eiffel at night. A.M.A.Z.I.N.G. We got our first taste of the souvenir hawkers that night - I perfected my "non" and stern Parisian look after a few tries and wasn't approached again.

My french was/is of a classroom variety and two years rusty. However, I was the "expert" of the group and the spokesperson for ordering, buying, directions, etc. Fun to try and make myself understood, but a little stressful. You don't realize how difficult the simple act of eating is in a foreign country. Deciphering a menu when your stomach is protesting in hunger is hard! The nice thing is that most shop attendants and restaurant workers know enough English to get tourists through. That was a huge help!

It was surreal and exciting to see such famed landmarks, monuments and museums. Although, the city was dirty, crowded and - due to the language barrier - very tiring; the food was great, the cramming of sightseeing and having a great time with my classmates was worth it! Keep checking back! I have two more days of Paris to post about!


Dennis and Valerie said...

That sounds incredible! I read with keen interest, knowing that in a short time I too will find myself a foreigner in a large dirty city trying to fumble by on a few words of understood English mixed with my poorly pronounced native tongue. ;)

Go, KT, Go!

Andi said...

Amazing pictures! Sounds like so much fun! I love reading the updates and am still jealous...but not too much.