Thursday, July 8, 2010
Hannah and her roommates live in Notting Hill. On Saturday morning John and Emma took us down to the Portabella Road Market.
This might be the biggest pot of Paella ever!
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
Enter: magic-camera-man. He listens to my story, then takes my battery out, and puts a different one in. He charges the other battery, and then turns on the camera! And it works! He then takes out the other battery and puts mine back in. It still works!!! Fully convinced that this man is magic, we give him Amanda’s camera to fix as well. He does manage to straighten out the lens somewhat, although not completely. But, we have a working camera again!
The Milenium Bridge: otherwise known as..... the Harry Potter Bridge!
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Except we got there at 10:08 to a locked door. Amanda looked around for a spare key, but we didn’t know if there even was one. Looking forward to a day to relax and do nothing, plus not wanting to carry all our stuff around, we decided to just hang out in case someone stopped in on their lunch break. No one came, and we did our best to keep ourselves entertained. We laid out a blanket and played a lot of crazy eights. Then Sudoku and solitaire. Then King’s corner. Then more crazy eights. We took turns walking up to Starbucks for food and bathroom breaks. We tried again to get Amanda’s blackberry to work with no luck. We looked for someone who was not wearing a suit or talking on their cell and asked to make a call. But Hannah didn’t answer. We began to recognize the people walking by and we were given the evil eye by quite a few of them. Eventually, we moved closer to the sidewalk and couldn’t help but look up one side of the street and down the other hoping to see John or Emma any minute. At one point Amanda set her camera on the ledge to take a picture of us… and the wind knocked it over, breaking her camera! :( After a couple more failed attempts to get a hold of someone, and the shops were beginning to close, it was certainly past time to get some more change for the phone booth and try again.
When I finally talked to Hannah, she told me the key was there, hidden for us. Literally hours and hours of waiting while the key was there the whole time!!!
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Before coming to Europe, I had, of course, heard of the legendary sidewalk cafes of Paris. I love the openness of outdoor seating and the opportunity to at least pretend to be a Parisian for an afternoon. I was however, quite surprised by the plethora of other conveniences that can be found on Parisian sidewalks. There were places to park your bicycle as well as places to park your car. (As in rows of parking within the sidewalk- didn’t get a good picture though) Who knew how many of your needs could be met without ever leaving the sidewalk?!
Who needs gas stations, when there are pumps on the sidewalk?!
Saturday, July 3, 2010
Most of our time in Paris we were full-on tourists. Hopefully not too obnoxious, but we definitely filled our days with sight seeing. We got up early to avoid the lines, but weren't allowed back into our room until 4:00 because they were cleaning. That did make for pretty long days of walking in the sun... and Amanda complaining about walking in the sun. But we did a lot- we climbed Notre Dame to see the gargoyles, climbed the Eiffel Tower, went to the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa and Venus de Milo (we saw the antiquities and some other things too, but there were so many people it was hard to really enjoy it) walked the Champs-Eylsees , saw the Arc de Triomphe and the Chanel store, and also went to Montmartre and saw the views from Sacre-Coeur and Moulin Rouge. By the end of the week we had the metro system all figured out. (It's so convenient- every big city should have one)
There are three front doorways, each incredibly ornate.
The center of Paris.
While there are some things (like the whole high fashion scene) that I would probably never really "get" about Paris, there are other things I love. Sitting at a sidewalk cafe watching all the people out and about whether they're on foot, on bicycles or a Vespa like some of the ladies we saw in suits and heals headed to work.... and of course ending the day watching the sunset along the Seine.
About 10:30 when it was finally dark enough, the lights turned on, and Paris was lit up. The bridges were all outlined by lights and the monuments were illuminated. Other more expensive boats had flood lights designed to light up everything as they went by, but I was quite content on the Bat-o-Bus. Our night cruise ended right at the Eiffel Tower.
I can't speak in France. I don't know French. Not only do I not know French, but I cannot pronounce French words. It's quite frustrating to see a word, figure out what it means, but not be able to say it! Spanish pronunciation is so easy- you just pronounce everything! Not so in French, and while we were able to figure out some of the rules by the end of the week, most of the time I had no clue. Also, because I've spent so much time in Colombia, I still want to speak in Spanish! I'm so used to talking to waiters, cab drivers, grocery store clerks, etc. in Spanish- not English. And in Paris, it's like I know I shouldn't be speaking English, therefore Spanish!
Which leads me to saying something like this:
Un crepe con sucre por favor.
(long pause as I realize that I cannot say the French word for water, and I have accidently switched to Spanish)
And a water too, please.