Sunday, July 26, 2009

Catch-up, kinda....

Geez im so behind on my posts!! I think I left off last friday before Loire valley
The weekend was amazing. We started off at Chartres Cathedral. It was known for the place christians went for pilgrammage, over a thousand miles. They actually held a relic of mary's clothing from when she gave birth to jesus--over 2000 years old!! pretty cool huh! I can't remember for sure, but i think they might still have it. The church was originally built around 800, and the bottom portion- the crypts, survived the 1174 fires. It is the oldest stain glass- dating back from 900(everytime there was a war they took it down to protect it). After the fires, they built the gothic cathedral on top of the crypts. the only expansion was upwards because it was considered holy ground. The arches were built will wood arches that they moved after each arch was built. Most of the church(after the fire) was built by 1220--pretty fast builders for that time. There are two huge Rose windows that are very famous and were sooo beautiful. Each of the window panels tells a story from the bible. It was the way they educated people about the bible--just passed down the stories before the printing press. We got a tour of the church from a well know guy- Malcolm Miller. He has written several books on the church.
Outside in one of the doorways were sculptures of Jesus and his disciples. He was in the center between the doors and the men were in the rounded arch of the doorway. The men each held the instrument of their death--beheaded, crucified, etc. Also, they were not wearing shoes--i think it was something about getting into heaven. The statues on the other doorway were all wearing shoes. Then, above the men was all of them at their judgments, gettting into heaven with jesus again. It was very beautiful and very interesting.
Oh ya, the Cathedral is a seat of a bishop in case you didn't know. The stained glass windows were supposed to symbolize jewels above your head in jerusalem--stemming from Revelations inthe bible. Can you tell that I took notes?! Yes, i was the only nerdy one writing stuff down ;)
After the Cathedral tour, we went to the local market which was fabulous and picked up some snacks for the road. Wine, all kinds of great fantastic cheeses, bread, best strawberries i have ever had, olives, and frois gras- which i never knew i liked-very disturbing how they get it though. I will spare you if you dont already know. We also pickd up some funny masks- i will try and post pics later. the girls had to buy boys and vice versa. it was funny.
We had a picnic on the bus on the way to Blois.
After Chartres, we went to the royal castle at Blois.
I think i might have to come back to this.....friends are waiting on me to go to the tour de france. I know how jealous all you are....but im goin to rub in it haha! Hopefully we will see Lance--sad hes not gonna win but we still love our American. I think he is into young girls right now(heard a rumor he was dating an olsen twin??)-- so I will watch my back(side that is). We will be right there, probably close enough to feel the wind from them riding by. they circle paris 8 times before the finish line. So excited! I will take pics! love you all

Friday, July 17, 2009


This was a short week because no class Monday or Tuesday which was nice! Wednesday I didn't do much. Thursday after class, Ashkaan, Allison and I went exploring. We walked from their house on Poppencourt to Notre Dame- the line was too long so we just took pics outside. Then we got some delicious ice cream- arguably the best in Paris. I had an orange and dark chocolate---sooo good! Then we walked to the Tuiliere Gardens which are connected to the Louvre. If it wasn't so hot that day, we probably would have hung out more by the fountains, but just sitting in the sun we were sweating! So then we took the loooong walk to the Arch de Triumphe which didn't seem that far until we started walking and the arch never got any closer it seemed! We would walk for 20 min and it looked like the same distance away. We finally made it and paid the 5.50euro student price to go up to the top. It was definitely worth it. Not only did i GET to walk up 280-some steps for a workout, I also got to see Paris from up high 360 degrees. It was awesome! I still havent been up the Eiffel tower, so I can't compare it to that yet. It was a pretty clear day so we could see the entire city. Down below there was some ceremony going on at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. It was pretty cool to watch French Military honoring someone. They have funny hats though. I took some pics for Kev--i like his uniform better :)
My feet were killing me by the time we got down so we decided to take the metro/RER back to their house. I made my way home and talked on skype with Dad, Kimmy and Kev instead of getting my reading done--thanks guys! jk I love skype! While i was on skype with my dad, at wind/lightening/thunder/rain/hail (yes, all of those things) happened. It was crazy because it was 80 degrees not 2 hours before. All of the sudden a gush of wind came, it started pouring, then hailing, thunder and lightening. It was raining so hard, and the wind was blowing so much that it looked like smoke coming off of the building. It was like a hurricane/flash flood. The streets immediately were overflowing with water. Tree branches all along the street--huge, thick ones-broke off and were on the ground this morning. I've never seen something happen that fast.
Today Allison and I went to a cafe to study, fill in our notes, and outline. Then I came home and updated all of this for you guys to see! Oh, then I made the most delicious crepe ever! I sauteed mushrooms with salt, pepper, butter and cream. Then cooked a small piece of veal and put those in a crepe with emmental cheese and topped it with the yummy lettuce they have here, tomatoes, and the house salad dressing. Amazing!!
Now I am going to bed--pics from yesterday will have to wait until Sunday night.
I leave for Loire valley tomorrow morning at 645am so I need to attempt to get a few hours of sleep. Love you all!
Au Revoir!

Bastille Day Pics

These don't do it justice- I tried to put up a video but it wasn't uploading right! I'll try again later.

Crazy! they were shooting off of the tower!

Sorry these are blurry, its hard with no flash and the fireworks setting takes so long to take a pic--def don't have steady hands

How cool is this pic!


So beautiful!

Us and our new Australian friends- Tom and Tom. They were fun and came prepared with 5 bottles of wine and 2 40's for both of them haha!

Such an amazing experience! This entire field in front of the tower was FULL of people. I couldn't even find a patch of grass between the people and blankets!

Ahhhh beautiful

He was so good!

Cat, Christine, and I

Cat and I before the crowd came

The French Artillery(Military Building)- in front of the Eiffel Tower

Bastille Day!!

The French sure do know how to celebrate! Monday night i got home from Amsterdam and the little courtyard by my house was hoppin with live music and dancing. They were going until at least 1am bumpin french rap and michael jackson. I woke up Tuesday and hung out around my house for a while. I met up with Cat and Roman at their apt and we headed to the Eiffel tower to celebrate. We picked up some bread, cheese and meat at the nearest Monoprix and set up camp on the grass in front of the tower. I thought it was packed when we got there around 4, but 4times more people showed up. We ate, drank and played cards for several hours. The concert started around 7. It was really good! Apparently its Frances equivalent of Jason Mraz. Then the 70-yr old man came on- way too much plastic surgery if you ask me. He is a big hit here in France--his name was something Holliday i think?? It was really cool. I have never experienced anything so cool--I was so happy to be there. There wasn't an inch to walk, tons of people dancing and singing, hangin out- it was awesome. I don't think i have ever seen so many people(that werent at something like a baseball or football game) together in one open area. I heard there were expecting around 800,000 people at and around the Tower.
The fireworks started at 10:45 and they were spectacular! there was a 3D light show displayed on the eiffel tower itself. At one point it looked like the tower was moving. They went through the years and themed the music. The fireworks were fired from the tower itself. One of the coolest things ive seen. They lasted for almost 45 minutes.
when the show was over, we headed out with the other hundreds of thousands of people onto the street. The entire width of the street was filled, elbow to elbow with people. You couldnt move any way except forward, it was like a river of people--insane!! We couldnt even get onto the metro because the line was so long. Actually, you couldnt even see the entrance from where we were. So we walked to the further metro- the line was long but we hopped a fence (what? everyone was doing it) and got in quicker. The line was so long in our direction and the trains were so full from the previous stops that no one could get on. So, me, the thinker--we crossed over to the other direction, took it up 2 stops where the cars weren't full, and got on going the right direction. Took time, but way less than it would have if we would have stayed in line. Finally got home almost 2 hours after the show ended! That was a crazy day! So much fun. So glad I was here for Bastille Day. I will post some pics too! maybe a video if it will let me!

Amsterdam pics

Train station

A parking garage for bikes! I didn't even get the entire view of them!
In Amsterdam, you are more likely to get hit by a bike than a car...pretty cool!

Crooked house...seriously, they built it like that

The church by Anne Frank's house--forgot the name of it

Anne Frank's house- line was too long to go in. Should have woken up earlier

Random canal

My favorite pic- a little blurry but I couldn't use a flash. This is on the night canal cruise

Canal cruise

Allsion, me and Christine on the Cruise

I amsterdam sign

Really though, did they need all those words just to say "Camera Security"?!!
We asked a waitor--the second ridiculously long word means "security measures"--i mean come on, thats all they needed to say...
I had a really fun time trying to speak dutch as you can tell. They try to fit as many words into one as they can...i guess its easier?

hahaha, this was on the outside of a "coffee shop"
They meant serious business...

Me, Christine and Cat

Three Sisters restaurant! Can't wait for my sisters to be here!

Flower market
So pretty!

Dam Square

Our 5-star hotel room. very fancy decor. We tried to get Mike to take the rollaway but he is not a very good gentleman.

This sign said something about "Toepassing"
I thought it was funny so I went to take a pic--the first pic i took, a guy drove right up in front of Christine(mid-pic) on his mo-ped and parked. We were like...seriously?? You can see his bike in the bottom left which is why its not a straight pic. Sorry, just thought it was funny.


Well, sorry its been so long!! I've been a little busy and very lazy with writing on here. I'll go back to the last day I can remember what I did---last friday! School, studied in a cafe after class with Allison. Then came home to meet up with Christine so she could spend the night. We went to a little cafe on the corner for dinner and drinks. I love bordeaux by the way--amazing!
Then we went to another cafe for just drinks(it was friday, cmon!). We had some more delicious wine and then headed back home for a semi-early night.
We got up super early--had to be at the train station by 745am so we had to leave my house by about 7 just to give us enough time. We got there and couldnt find the right machine to print my ticket out that I bought I had to wait in line at the ticket counter to help me out. Finally got my ticket, then we had to find our friend Mike who was also traveling with us on the same train. Mike didnt have a phone and finding him in the busy Paris-nord train station was not an easy task. We picked up a cheese danish/quiche thing?? which would have been delicious had it been heated up. Ya, not so good cold.
I was surprised to see so many dogs in the station--apparently you can just take them with you. It made me miss Zoey so much though! there are so many dogs here, and every time I see one, I miss her even more. Anyways, boarded the train--unfortunately I was second class and they were first. They actually paid less for their tickets! So I had to sit by myself but I just attempted to sleep the entire time. OOOH ya! AND, I didn't even have a designated seat! so I had to wait until everyone boarded and sat until I could find a seat. I ended up having 2 seats to myself so it was nice but I was facing a couple that I had to watch be all lovey-dovey...that was kinda annoying to watch but made me miss Kev.
Long ride- 4hours 11min. Beautiful scenery! Passed by Brussels and some other cities I can't remember or spell the names of. The towns were so cute, and so much green!
We got to Amsterdam around 12:45 and found our friends, Roman and Cat who got there the day before, waiting for us at the entrance. We walked to our hotel---a 5star, Renaissance Marriot!! Mike got a really good deal for the hotel- 90euro for 2 nights/person. Thats better than you can get in some hostels for a single! And it was VERY nice. There were 2 singles so we got a rollaway bed too. The beds were so comfy! I will post pics of the hotel. We were all very impressed and it was nice to stay in such a nice place after the first hostel(that called itself a hotel) that I stayed in on the first night of my trip.
So we cleaned up and walked around town--hit up Dam square, another cool part of town with all the cafes and then some of them went into the torture museum. I was not interested in seeing it--not with the dreams that i have and already the lack of sleep--I didn't need that contributing to it. We went back to the hotel, then met up again for Italian food. The waitress was not very nice. She wouldn't let us order the appetizer and entrees separately and when we asked for something she would say...we can't do that.
After that, we intially wanted to go out, but we were all pretty tired so we walked through the red-light district. Ya, disturbing. I really did not need to see that either. We were over it pretty quickly so we headed out. As we were leaving, Christine and I walked by a window and apparently we looked like we were talking smack because the girl banged on the window really loud. We stopped and looked at each other like what the heck happened!? Then she leaned out of the door and screamed (I will bleep out the profanity) "You f*&$@ chinese B*&@#!!" It continued for several more lines. You get the point. oh ya, it is necessary to point out that Christine is in fact chinese, however, she is not a bitch- she is very nice :)
So, that was pretty interesting. I will say that if we were inthe US, I probably would have gone back and said something to her, because I am NOT ok with that. However, being in Amsterdam where it seems like just about anything goes, I decided to refrain from- for lack of better words- kicking her skinny ass. Sorry, but that kind of stuff really makes me mad.
We just turned around and left. After that I said, well, I think thats it for tonight. We went back to the hotel and went to bed.
The next day we went to Lydes plain (im not sure how to spell it), the flower market, and the Van Gogh museum which was awesome. Christine and I stopped by the "I AMSTERDAM" sign which was pretty cool. hmmm what else. We walked around the canals a lot- they were absolutely beautiful. That night we got a Argentinian steak that was awesome, and then went on a canal cruise which included wine and cheese plate. Again, beautiful. OH ya, and we got yelled at again. This time by the lady that was speaking over the microphone. Ok, so we were a little loud, but honestly, you can't expect 5 law school students to have a quiet conversation. Especially when wine is invovled. Oh and not to mention one of our friends Mike has to turn everything into an argument. So we were loud. And probably rude, but at the time we were having a heated discussion so we didnt know. Plus, she yelled at us afterwards instead of during the cruise. Im sure we would have quieted down if we would have had some warning.
Again, we were tired after so just went home and to bed.
Slept in the next morning and through our early plan to wake up to see Anne Franks house. We only got to walk by it because the line was around the corner. Christine and I walked to a pretty church there and all around town.
Our train left around 430 and this time I had a seat! Oh, and I found out that first class got food and drinks served! Bummer for me! thats about it for Amsterdam. It was beautiful- way more than i had imagined. I definitely had the wrong impression before I went. I was worried that everyone would just be smoking weed and picking up women but it wasn't like that at all. I definitely could smell people smoking, but I wasn't ever in a situation where I couldnt get away from the horrible smell. It is one of the coolest cities i've ever been to(which isn't many, but still).
K thats a long one! Love you all

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The beautiful trees on the walk to Rue Moufftard

Kim's favorite street, Rue Moufftard. I think I like the street by my house the best so far. The markets are fabulous. Although, we did go on a Monday, so many of the stores and markets were closed(we did not know this before hand avi)

My delicios steak hache crepe from my new favorite study spot, La Belle Ronda- the creperie

From the cellars

The garden where our tasting was

The girls- Allison, Bridget, Lyon, Me, Christine and Catherine at the tasting

My favorite boys...the supplied the Champagne. We tasted Moet & Chandon Grand Vintage 2003 and the Grand Vintage 2003 Rose. They were both delicious but the Rose was my favorite.

Dom Perignon--the super magnum(forgot the real name/size haha)

Napoleon gave this full of wine to Moet as a present because he loved the champagne so much. They decided to call the regular champagne(not the vintage years), Imperial to honor their relationship with Napoleon. Little bit of trivia for you!

Just one of the huge cubbies full of champagne at different stages of aging. The chalkboard sign you see is in a secret code that only the 4 cellarmasters know which tells which wine it is, at what stage, and how many are in the stack. Pretty cool huh!

My boy Dom

A replica of Dom's wine press [don't worry, fake grapes ;) ]

Lyon and I on the wall overlooking Epernay

Dom's abbey. Apparently these grounds were built and rebuilt over 7 times throughout history. The monks just kept rebuilding. I can't remember all of the details of the story, but that is the basic concept. The view was so beautiful that the ruling countries wanted that location.

The Abbey grounds

Inside the Abbey. Cool chairs/pews huh!

The countryside from the bus window. So beautiful!!