A Travellerspoint blog

Chapter Twenty Five

Barcelona? No, it's Barthelona.

Hooray it's our first whole day in the lovely city of Barcelona!!! We woke up and found our way to our next hostel which is VERY far from the city center. Oh well...at least it's quiet.
Then we headed into town for our first of countless walks down Las Ramblas. We stumbled across an amazing market and had a lunch of random fruit juice, fruit, and pizza.
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Then we headed on a free walking tour with our really hippy New Zealander guide. He was hilarious and we learned so much about the city! We saw some Dali and Goya museums we wanted to go back and see when we had a chance.
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Here is a lovely church in a courtyard that was bombed in WWII.
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These columns are ancient Roman columns surrounded by modern apartments, these are just outside someone's window!
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We learned a lot about Barcelona's history, that beat up wall is gunshot holes from that jerk Mussolini killing lots of people in the city there.
We also learned that the Catalonian people wanted to pick a new animal separate from the rest of Spain (Madrid..) so they replaced the bull with... A donkey. Not sure why...

After the tour we wandered the streets for a little and went in all the little shops we could find. Then we searched around for a good tapas place and found a nice seat on Las Ramblas for some people watching and a massive mug of sangria.
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After dinner we walked around some more and then headed back to the hostel to do some laundry...finally!!! (the laundry effort was a little more successful this time, but we did end up with some melted seeming bits... Not sure what happened there...)
So far, Spain wins in favorite country!

Posted by dillam7 15:36 Comments (1)

Chapter Twenty Four

Good Ole Keith

This morning was our last morning in Paris. It's strange how time flies!
We decided to try to go to the catacombs again before we caught our flight to Barcelona. I need to preface this story with the statement that when we got to our room in our new hostel, we saw one person was already there. He wasn't in the room but all his stuff was...including a night breathing machine. If you don't know what it looks like, watch the movie Hall Pass. Basically the guy wears it at night to be able to brethe. It's very large. Sooo we already thought this guy was strange. In the morning we wake up and while Allison was in the shower, the mystery sleep mask man came in. His name is Keith. He is probably in his late fifties and it a larger guy. He starts talking and we chat for about 5 min then he heads out to meet his friends at the catacombs.
So back to us. We arrive at the catacombs around 11 and see a HUGE line. Bigger than the Vatican which seemed a little sad and disturbing. Now you must know that there were only two things I really wanted to see on this trip, Murano in Italy and the Paris Catacombs. I was crushed when we heard that it was a three hour wait because we only had two and a half to wait before we had to catch our plane. We stand there debating what to do for about 10 min. I am devastated that we can't see the six million bodies down there. Then all of a sudden we see who else but KEITH! he walks up casually, says hi and then asks us if we wanna cut in line. Obviously we jump at the chance to do that and proceed to follow this stange man we just met to his friends.
Now Mom and Dad, don't be scared, everything ends up ok and we aren't taken.
Anyway, we spend the next two and a half hours making the most awkward small talk with the strangest and most eclectic group of people. There was Keith and his friend Jay who said he had been both homeless and a prostitute at one point, Jay's nephew Cole who wanted to move to Germany and be a doctor, Jay's friend who I never caught the name of, and two girls who I never met or really talked to. Needless to say, it was an interesting wait and actually very enjoyable. I still can't believe they let us cut in line with them.
So we finally got in! We actually couldn't have waited any longer or we would have missed our flight. We walked through the whole hour long thing with our new group of friends. They let so few people in that it was just us down there together. It was incredible!! Six million bodies were dug up and transported there. The bones are arranged like art and it's unbelievable how many there are!
Ok done talking. Here are the pictures!!

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All we did the rest of the day was fly to Barcelona and sleep at our first hostel. (where they put us in the handicap room by ourselves...)

Posted by dillam7 15:31 Comments (0)

Chapter Twenty Three

No wonder they chopped his head off...

Bonjour!
Today was Bastille Day and so most of Paris was shut down because everyone was partying all day, so we headed out of town to see the palace of Versailles.
Louis XV had Versailles built for himself and Marie Antoinette to use as a lovely summer palace just before the French people overthrew the monarchy and cut off their heads for spending all of France's money on a summer palace. But it is still very pretty and seemed fitting to visit on Bastille day...
So we checked out of the little Woodstock Hostel because there was no more room in the inn for us and got on the metro to Versailles.
We got there only to discover one of the longest lines we'd seen yet! And all those people, like us, had tickets... But it moved quickly and we met some other Texans in line.
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Once we got in, with our handy museum pass, we headed for the apartments of Versailles. There were thousands of people inside there all filing slowly past every opulent room. It was a little pushy but we saw many beautiful pieces of furniture, bedrooms (louis' bed was tiny!), paintings and statues and the fabulous hall of mirrors.
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Outside are the huge gardens and fountains that stretch as far as you can see. They were lovely, unfortunately France decided to be cold and cloudy again so the photos look a little ominous...
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Here's Louis XV's statue of himself, there were many...
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Here is Marie Antoinette's fabulous bed:
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Overall we decided we could handle living there... If we had to...
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We got back to town and checked into our second hostel, the Aloha hostel, way on the opposite side of Paris. Then we walked along Montparnasse avenue, checked out some restaurants and shopping and found a nice place to eat. Our waiter was very excited to meet Texans and brought us one of our best meals in France.
After that we headed home to update the blog and rest. The very cloudy sky kept us from seeing all the fireworks but we could definitely hear and smell them. These went on for about an hour and at the end someone on the street started blaring 'Eye of the Tiger'.... Happy Bastille Day France!

Tomorrow is our last day, we leave on a jet plane at 6:30 for Barcelona!!
Au revoir!

Posted by dillam7 15:22 Comments (0)

Chapter Twenty Two

We finally get around to seeing that tower...

Bonjour!
So, I guess today really begins at 3 am walking back from our fabulous night at Harry Potter! We were so excited but so tired. We crawled in bed and slept until 10.
We woke to another lovely rainy day. We put on anything warm we had and went out to the 2eme to find Victor Hugo's house. We finally found it after some miserably cold wandering around. It was very cute and had a lot to look at. Tons of items with him on them- pens, cigarettes, music, cards, etc. The French like him almost as much as Allison does!
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Here's his desk and samples of his notes.
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Then we went in search of some pants for Anna and hot chocolate! We found our favorite place to eat, Paul, where we got delicious mozzarella, tomato and pesto sandwiches on olive bread. We have had this every time we see this place!
Then we checked out this area, which had tons of cute shops right and left. It was recommended by Katy McCloskey for some great falafel and vintage stores. We found many cute things, Anna got her pants and a cute vintage store called 'Allison and Sasha'!!
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This is cooler if you know that Allison has a good friend named Sasha...

We took the train to the southern half of the city to find the catacombs but got a little lost... They are not well marked... But it was closed by the time we got there... So we will try again later..
Then we went home, met another new roommate, and relaxed. Then we walked up to the nearby church, Sacre Cor. A very beautiful church and view that Allison accidentally found while jogging the other day...
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Then we got together a picnic and, finally, went to see that Eiffel Tower! It was still really cold so we "borrowed" a blanket from the hostel...
It was very nice though and we got there in time to see the sun head down and the lights turn on. Allison had a little scare where she choked on something in her throat and couldn't breathe for a minute... She scared the guy picnicking next to us... But she was ok after a few minutes... Probably should have brought her inhaler to Europe...
Anyway, the food was good and the light show was lovely. Most of the Champs du Mars was taken up by a stage and fencing for the Bastille Day concert tomorrow but it was a good evening.
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Posted by dillam7 13:15 Comments (0)

Chapter Twenty One

"Wait... Is that the Weasleys????!"

So, we packed only summer clothes, seeing how we are traveling in July... But France apparently didn't care what month it was and decided to be cold and rainy. We have neither warm clothes nor rain clothes...
Well today it was about 50 degrees and raining. We thought surely it'd warm up... Nope.
We walked to the Opera Garnier so Allison could see the big magical red curtain she'd been studying all year. We finally got in, they had a slow start that day, and saw the lovely marble staircase, the red velvet seats and bust of composers galore, and Chagalls beautiful ceiling...
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But... No big magic red curtain. This led to a cold, wet, and very disappointed Allison. When we asked the staff where the curtain was they said "they didn't really know... It's just painted anyway..." dumb.
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Then we ran to the nearest metro and went to the Rodin museum where we skipped the line again and went to see tons of wonderful Rodin sculptures. This was a great museum, and luckily it stopped raining because most of it is outside.
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We also found a place to print our upcoming plane tickets and the very important... HARRY POTTER MOVIE TICKET!!!
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We went to a cool fashion exhibit of one of Allison's favorite designers Hussein Chalayan, there were self moving gowns, light up dresses and the bubble dress Allison copied for Halloween this year! But no photos allowed... So look the designs up! It's fun.

Then we went home, rested, met our third set of roommates in three days, and headed out to the 'Musee de l'eroticism', one of our neighbors. Don't be freaked out... We read about this in the guide books, it's a 30 year collection of all cultures and all times erotic art. Yes, it was a little strange... But it did have some odd and interesting things! Including some great Degas sketches... Of a brothel... Haha. Don't worry, we put you all on the mailing list!!

Anyway, we got a good dinner and then got ready to go to the midnight showing of Harry Potter!!!
Ready for the best part of our trip so far!?!? Ok. We got in the line, got into the biggest movie theatre we'd ever seen (2800 seats!) and sat down in awe and excitement. Then a French guy came out in front and started talking in French... For a long time and people kept yelling and clapping at something... Then he got more mics out and the people in front on the first floor (we were in the balcony) all got up, then, onto the stage runs... Guess who!? Fred and George Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Fleur, Bill, Tonks and Mr. Weasley!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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Apparently, we had unknowingly gotten tickets to the premiere showing of the last Harry Potter movie in Paris! We had no idea, we just wanted it to be in English! This was the second showing ever, after the premiere in London! And the cast was there! It was insane. And awesome.
The movie was great too, go see it.

Posted by dillam7 12:21 Comments (0)

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