Europe Arts Tour: Days 1 to 3
Before I begin the tales of my wondrous excursions to the faraway lands of fairy tales, I think we all need to take a moment to appreciate the fact that I survived two whole weeks without my laptop, or YouTube, or my own bed, or my own shower, and that I also spent TWO WHOLE WEEKS in the company of people. Let me emphasize the fact that I spent one whole holiday OUTSIDE with actual PEOPLE, and did not read a single book. I think that is quite the accomplishment.
Anyway, I don’t think it is difficult for you to believe that while in the “City of Love”, I indulged only in my relationship with my long-term boyfriend: food. In fact, we began our visit to Paris by stopping for (a very early) breakfast in an adorable little café for a “French Continental Breakfast” – i.e. croissants, French baguettes, jam, cheese and cold meats. (Let’s also take note that because of my kidney problems, I am not allowed to eat a single item from the list above… that doesn’t necessarily imply that I didn’t.)
We were all absolutely exhausted from the long overnight plane flight, which was – obviously – spent watching movies and attempting to find a decent sleeping position before giving up on sleep altogether and watching more movies. Thankfully, the rest of the morning was spent driving around Paris in a bus and seeing all the monuments and tourist attractions we would visit later on our tour. Everything was so incredibly beautiful that we sat silently (for once), staring openmouthed at the tall buildings and classic cobblestone streets. A lunchtime ferry cruise along the Seine river allowed us to fall in love with even more of the city, as did the decadent chocolate crepes we bought and devoured just before scrambling back onto the bus once again to check into the hotel for some much needed rest.
That night, we wrapped ourselves in scarves, beanies and warm coats – despite the fact that it was the middle of spring – to make our way up the Eiffel Tower. I must say that if we found it ever so slightly disappointing during the day, our opinions of it were quickly heightened as it sparkled in the moonlight. No, really. It sparkled. Every so often, it lights up like Edward Cullen when he steps into direct sunlight.
And you thought I was joking…
We then began the exhausting climb up to the second floor (we took the elevator, actually, but it sounds much more romantic to say that we climbed up all those hundreds of stairs, doesn’t it?). The view was stunning… despite the fact that it was pitch dark and the only thing we could see was twinkling lights. But, hey, why not use this opportunity to tap into the power of imagination, right?
|Palace of Versailles from the Palace Gardens|
Day Two was spent complaining about how sore our feet were and how exhausted we were while we wandered around the Palace of Versailles and later the Paris Opera House. (You take thirty teenage girls halfway across the world to the most beautiful cities in history and you think you’ll get away with a whole day of no complaints? Don’t kid yourself.) Versailles was even more elaborate and exquisite than I had expected, and believe me, as a History student who has studied the French Revolution in GREAT detail, I expected a lot from it. It. Is. Massive. I don’t even want to say I wish I lived there, because I think I would get lost on a daily basis. I mean, look at it.
But if I thought Versailles would be my favourite place in France, I was sorely mistaken. The Paris Opera House almost too quickly replaced Versailles as the most exquisite and dreamy place on earth. Hell, that opera house is like music nerd heaven. I would’ve killed to have heard a live orchestra perform in there – although I probably would’ve had to sell all of my internal organs (twice) to buy a ticket to the least popular opera performed there. And then I would’ve died because it was so beautiful. (I’m pretty sure it would still be worth it.)
|Staircase in the Paris Opera House|
Day three was filled with even more complaints about sore feet, seeing as we visited Notre Dame and the Louvre. Notre Dame was stunning, although most of my time there was spent trying to explain to a few fellow classmates that no, I did not attend a church like that, yes, even though my dad is a pastor, and no I could not ‘pull a few strings and allow us to climb the tower’ because I had ‘connections’ with ‘priests and stuff’. But it was beautiful all the same.
The Louvre was… wow. The visit was long, and I think I nearly died halfway through from utter exhaustion, but it was so worth it. I have to say, though, that I really don’t understand how the Mona Lisa is the most famous work of art on the planet. It’s basically just famous for being famous. I blame human nature’s obsession with all things vaguely mysterious, paired with our messed up society that only likes things because people have liked those same things for centuries. But I’m not an artist, so what do I know, right?
Our love affair with Paris ended abruptly when we flew to Prague later that day, and the air was filled with oaths to return and buy “all the shoes in sight,” to quote one classmate. None of us seemed to believe that the cities ahead of us could ever hold even more excitement.
Note: Yes, all of these photos are my own if you were wondering why they were blurred/skew/weird/ugly… Let's just say I get a little trigger happy every time you put a camera in my hands. (Reminder that this blog site is a NO JUDGMENT ZONE, okay.)