24 Nov 2008
Oh Paris, you are pretty. After 9 hours of traveling, we finally made it to our hostel/hotel. We ran into Nicole at the Nord bus/train station, and since she was also going to Paris, we took her under our wing. Amy and Kel got to sit behind these adorable Spanish boys. Apparently they got thrown in jail for forever and got all chopped up and stuff, haha! All I had was an annoying screaming boy who kicked my seat the entire time while his mom slept the entire time. I wanted to slap her and tell her to be a better mom, but of course I didn’t. I would say that would have been highly frowned upon since I don’t know what I’m talking about anyways.
Friday, after sleeping in the comfiest beds ever, we met up with Amy’s friends visiting from Rome and headed over to the Père Lachaise Cemetery. It had started to rain pretty hard by then, so the atmosphere was perfect for a graveyard stroll. This guy with crazy curly, long hair asked if we were going to Jim Morrison’s grave and he pointed us in the right direction. Yay! So we get over there and couldn’t find it since we’re all really dumb and stuff. Then we hear, “JIM MORRISON!? OVER HERE! COME ON BABY LIGHT MY FIRE!!” All of this is in a goofy French accent and coming from the crazy man who gave us directions earlier. So he showed us and told us about how his first headstone was stolen, as was the statue of his head that they put up later, so now all that remains is the basics. First offense on his grave is a 1,000 euro fine, second offence and you’re off to the cárcel. Then Rafael, that was his name, showed us all around the cemetery while continuing his ridiculous explanations in broken English. He told us that unless you were famous, you could only be buried ther for 100 years. After that, “BARBECUE!!” We saw the grave of Miguel Ángel Asturias, a Nobel Prize winner from Guatemala, which was apparently very controversial since only people who died in Paris were supposed to be buried there. He took us over to Victor Noir’s grave whose statue’s color is messed up since so many people rub it for luck. Rafael says he appears partly sexually aroused because he got an erection or something a day or two after he died. So his statue has basically become a symbol of fertility. People kiss his lips, rub his bulge, throw flowers or baby shoes in his hat, etc. There was more, but I don’t remember it all because I was having a hard time not laughing at him. We saw Gertrude Stein’s grave. If you look on the back you find out that Alice Toklas is buried next to her, but they couldn’t put that on the front since their relationship was totally taboo. Kelly and Amy risked a 200 euro fine and kissed Oscar Wilde’s grave which is covered in kisses! We also saw Sarah Bernhardt, Frédéric Chopin, Marcel Marceau (who had rocks on his grave since he’s Jewish), and Édith Piaf’s graves, along with the graves of the Louvre’s first director and the creator of the Statue of Liberty. Sweet deal! Afterwards, we briefly went to the Eiffel Tower and then headed to the Arc de Triumphe and got some lunch. Later we headed over to Sacré Cœur where a guy was singing Bob Marley out in front. We went in the church for a bit…it was so pretty! Since the Louvre is free to people under the age of 26 on Friday nights, we went over there and found some of our favorite paintings. After breezing past the Mona Lisa, I wondered why they would put such a small painting on such a huge empty wall by itself?! Don’t they realize they’re only making it look smaller and less impressive? Oh well! I finally talked to Ally after having been unable to call her earlier in the day and she met us at the Louvre and took us to dinner by the Bastille! It was so nice to see her again!! I was really sick the whole day, but it was still fabulous.
Saturday we got up and headed over to Versailles! That place never ceases to amaze me! We went on an audio tour and I got to see different parts than last time, which was cool. Uncool, however, were the modern art pieces in each room. Really Versailles, are you that desperate?! It’s kind of messed up when 5 feet to the left of a gorgeous chandelier is a blow up lobster hanging from the ceiling. Or Michael Jackson holding a monkey in a case in the middle of the room where the king received people. Really? Wow. It was FREEEZING outside when we went exploring the back yard, so we went to Starbucks afterwards and I got a hot chocolate and a muffin. So nice and warm! After taking the train back, we got some lunch at this adorable café across from the Notre Dame and then wandered over there afterwards. Amy and I tried to recreate one of the statues and ended up getting lots of weird stares. Oh well! We went inside and within 10 minutes, they started mass. It was insane! Singing, music, incents (which I probably just spelled wrong), and crazy organs. Insane! Catholic churches certainly are scary! From this sacred place we headed over to the land of debauchery—the Moulin Rouge! After taking pictures for about a half hour, we went back to the Eiffel Tower to watch the lights show. It was gorgeous! We decided to go up to the top since Kel had never been. We had to wait around on the second floor for about a half hour, and it was FREEEEEEZING! However, we were standing next to the most adorable French family, so I didn’t mind as much! We got to the top, took some pics, and then headed back to our Voltaire stop! Pretty much throughout the entire trip, Kel and I were talking with New Zealand accents and referencing Flight of the Conchords songs so we took a picture with the Auckland flag but then had to stop once we realized someone up there was actually from New Zealand—oops! We went to this little restaurant around midnight and I had some hot chocolate and French onion soup…so yummy! Amy got a little tipsy off of her wine and was saying ridiculous things and giggling like a little girl. I couldn’t help but feel that everyone was just watching us since they had nothing better to do, haha! At least we put on a good show!
The next morning we had to get up super early to catch our bus to the airport. About half way through, it started snowing lightly, but by the time we got to the airport the flakes were big and fluffy! It fluctuated between heavy and snow the whole time we were at the airport, so our flight got delayed a bit. We got to watch 3 little Spanish boys and their dad playing on the metro in their Barca football clothes—they were so cute! And then we got home and got comfy!
So today Basilio told us that when they were expanding Barcelona, the designer knew nothing about trees and planted one specific kind on every block that give people with allergies a VERY hard time. MYSTERY SOLVED!
MORE PARIS PICTURES!!!!!