Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Paris! Day 3

Wednesday 3/17
Happy St Patrick's Day! I wish I was in the UK for celebrations... but hey Paris is great too :) Well today i spent a few too many minutes at breakfast and everyone left for Notre Dame without me. Sad. Well Sister Howe was wating in the lobby for stragglers so a few slowpoke girls and I went together.
Notre Dame was beautiful. A little smaller than i expected, but i blame my misperception on Disney. I loved the stained glass patterns. I didn't get to spend very much time inside, but the best part of the visit was climbing up the bell towers. I was on top of Notre Dame! The view was marvelous, and there were plenty of grimacing gargoyles up there too. I couldn't find the hunchback but i did see the huge old bell.
our gargoyle faces

Afterwards we went to the other side of the island (Notre Dame is on a island on the river Seine) to visit Saint-Chappelle. It was one of the most amazingly beautiful things have ever seen. You walk in and there's a dark, ornate shrine area. You walk upstairs and your socks are knocked off. It is a chapel with walls made entirely of stained glass. And it's about 800 years old! wow. Pictures do not do it justice. With the sun shining through the colors were dreamy and fantastic.
downstairs - shrine
upstairs - chapel
sun shining through the stained glass walls..
 Next we headed towards Musee Cluny (medieval museum) to see some tapestry we're supposed to see for our Civ class. Met Cam, Calvin, Katie, Brit, and Caitlin along the way and grabbed lunch (giant panini!). The museum was slightly dull. I don't love the medieval era, and the tapestries we saw ("Lady and the Unicorn") were interesting (only because of the unicorn) but not worth the trip. We split up and Ali and I headed towards the Catacombs! No one had really heard of them which is weird. I remember them from Disney Hunchback of Notre Dame (the walls of skeletons that come alive!) but i didn't know they were real..! :)
We found the tour's startin point and headed underground. It was so awesome. The Catacombs are a massive underground crypt with human bones lining the walls, sometimes in cool patterns. This was one of the coolest craziest things i have ever seen. First of all, it was nearly empty! Ali and I wandered a maze of dark tunnels underneath Paris, til we came to the skeletons. Creeeepy but so cool! All of the walls were lined with bones... mostly long bones (femurs?) and skulls. We had so much fun being weird dorks and trying to scare each other. :) We were there for hours! After awhile you get used to the bones and darkness. We took some cool pictures. :)
    Historical note: In the 1700s the cemeteries of Paris were overflowing, so they moved mass cartloads of skeletons to the underground mines. Somebody had the idea to organize the bones into patterns and crosses, and now it's a sort of morbid memorial and tour - the Catacombs!
i am a ghost.... :)
After leaving the Catacombs we got crepes and a giant diet coke, then headed over to the Eiffel Tower in late afternoon. We planned to spend a long time in the line and be up in the Eiffel Tower for the sunset and night, but the line went pretty fast so we spent a long time sitting on a bench up in the eiffel tower, waiting for the sun to set faster. Total - we were up in the Eiffel Tower for 4 hours! It was so high up... the view was spectacular, of course. Definitely glad we took the elevator... the stairs would have murdered me. We went up to the very top after awhile, and after sunset some building lit on fire and smoke filled the whole sky. The COOLEST thing was being on the Eiffel Tower when it lit up and got all sparkly! I freaked out :)
By the time we left, our feet were bloody stumps. 3 very long days prancing all over Paris can kill your feet! I want to burn my boots. They are falling apart. Only one more month with the boots!
We took the metro back, and guys were walking around playing the accordian and cello. Speaking of... guys are kind of weird in Paris! As in creepy. I'd expected some differences... but here guys stare at you, sometimes even leer. Giving them the quick look "i caught you staring at me for longer than normal so stop already" doesn't do a thing. So i just don't look people in the eyes very often. Quite a few girls have been followed by creepers (and a couple almost pickpocketed) so it's better to avoid! I don't want a French boyfriend anyway. :) We walked around near our hotel looking for dinner, then saw Laura and CJ in a cute little build-your-own-noodle place so we ate there. It was so good! Not very french but oh well. I eat a lot of crepes here :) On th way back we stopped at a grocery store and i bought the FERRERO ROCHER's DUPLO NOCCIOLATO which is the best chocolate "bar" i have ever eaten. (thanks Laura for the recommendation!) It's chocolate with hazelnuts... which sounds simple but it's chocolate ecstasy.
Haha this is my second time posting this picture on my blog... :)
Haha i also saw the movie The Hangover there but it was titled "Very Bad Trip." Lost in translation? so funny :)  My feet are swollen. ouucchhhh... backpacking for a month will be an adventure! haha i hope my feet don't fall off.
One more (half) day in Paris!   :(

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