A Travellerspoint blog

Paris: I see dead people.

sunny 80 °F
View Europe '08 on slugtrek's travel map.

To answer a question from the previous entry. Why does one tour a sewer? It was free and we are here six days! Besides, French poo! Also, yes, that was a real Van Gogh. It was in the Van Gogh room at D'Orsay.

There have been a lot of questions in the comments that we haven't answered. We will... someday. Probably when we return home. We'll have a huge answer post.

Anyway, this is our last full day in Paris! And my (Steph) 22 Birthday! (Lucky bastard...birthday in Paris twice now -Josh)

First off, yesterday we went to the Rodin museum. You know, he did The Thinker. We got to see it too. Two in fact! Apparently he made several of them. We aren't sure if we saw "The" Thinker, but we saw two by the same guy so... yeah.

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(We've dubbed this the "Little Thinker")

We also explored the Jardin du Luxembourg. It's a really beautiful garden with tons of trees, fountains, and activities. Also, for those of you who saw M Night Shyamalan's craptacular movie The Happening, this is the park at the very end. But I won't spoil that for you... but you really shouldn't see that film.
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And then our "I see dead people" part of Paris began. We went to Pere Lachaise cemetary, which has a butt load of celebrities buried in it. Everybody from Chopin to Oscar Wilde to Jim Morrison. We saw all three of those graves.

Oscar Wilde's grave has been extremely defaced, but somehow I don't think he'd mind. The grafitti mostly proclaims love for the man including bright red kisses, hearts, and love notes written in lip stick.
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Jim Morrison's grave was surprisingly bare and hidden from view.
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We ended our day watching the sunset from the Sacre Couer. All of the buildings (including the Sacre Couer) turned orange, then pink... the perfect romantic Paris moment. We also got a view of the Eiffel Tower as it sparkled in the night sky across the city. Pretty.

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Today we slept in a bit (my birthday gift) and then headed out to see the architecture at Les Halles. It was once an old food market and Josh just had to see it. It may or may not have been designed by Eiffel. We are still confused on that.
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Then it was off to the Catacombs! More dead people! What else could a girl want to do on her birthday than hang out with these fellas?
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The catacombs are where they put the remains of the bodies when the cemetaries started to overflow. They just dug up the old graves and threw them in these underground vaults. Pleasant thought, huh? Happy birthday to me!

We are pretty beat now. In birthday tradition, we'll be going to the movies. Yes, another movie. We are tired and have run out of reading material! We'll be seeing L'Incroyable Hulk. Let's see who can translate that one! This will probably be our last post from the road. When we get home tonight we are going to pack. Then tomorrow we head back to London. The day after that we fly home bright and early in the morning. Ugh.

We have a lot of things we want to say though, so even though we'll be home this blog won't be finished. We'll definitely have a food post and possibly a hostel post. So keep subscribed! As always, there are way more pictures on Flickr. Check it out!

Posted by slugtrek 06:44 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (8)

The magic of Paris

semi-overcast
View Europe '08 on slugtrek's travel map.

This is our third full day in Paris and we've seen a ton. French keyboards are a pain though, so this will probably be mostly pictures.

After our last post we climbed the Arc de Triumph and were greeted by some spectacular views.
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We finished the day on the Champs Elysees where we had a quick meal and watched a movie. Yes, a movie! Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D! Or rather.... Voyages au Centre de la Terre 3D! It was in English with French subtitles. Keep in mind, we've been traveling for almost a month and a movie was exactly what we needed.

Yesterday, we got up early and climbed to the top of Notre Dame.
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As we were leaving we spotted the D'Orsay and, realizing it was on our pass, we popped in. We are glad we did.
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Neither of us knew that was there, so we were surprised to see it when we rounded the corner.

We also randomly saw a movie being filmed.
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Then we set off to find the Eiffel Tower. Thank goodness they put signs up everywhere or we may not have found it!
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The sign that points to Invalides tempted us, so we paid Napoleon's Tomb a visit.
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We ended the day at the Eiffel Tower, but I'm sure you already know what that looks like.

Today we saw the Picasso Museum. No pictures allowed, sorry. Josh doesn't "get" Picasso. I, however, was thrilled.

Then we took a tour of the Sewers of Paris. Look, French poo!
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Yeah, it stank, but it was free on our pass so totally worth it.

Then we waited in line to actually go up the Eiffel Tower. Last time the line was too long, but we stuck it out this time. It was worth it (Josh's fear of heights and all).
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Now we are running out of time for this computer (French keybnoards bqqqqqaaaaa)

As always, more pics on the Flickr account;

Posted by slugtrek 11:01 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (8)

Marseille and Paris

overcast 64 °F
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Well, we made it to Paris. But our full day in Marseille was fantastic. First we headed down to the Vieux Port (Old Port) to take a look at the fish market. How fresh was the fish? This fresh:
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They unloaded them from the boat directly onto the table. It was pretty incredible.

Then we headed over to Le Panier, which is the oldest district in the city. It was filled with little shops including one awesome soap shop where they were making it right behind the counter. The lady was literally carving the blocks of soap right in front of us. We bought some (thanks for the idea Samantha Brown!). (oh travel channel -Josh)

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Now we are in Paris. A trip to Europe isn't complete without visiting Paris. This city is truly magical.

When we arrived last night we headed up to the Sacre Coeur for some fantastic views of the city.
The Sacre Coeur
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And the view
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We also stopped by the Moulin Rouge on the way back just to see it. The shows start at €145 and only go up from there. Dinner is included though! The shows in the little theatres around it... um... not so nice. Let's say it's a "small bills only" type of place.
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We finished the night early and went to bed. This morning we got up bright and early to hit the Louvre. The art collection there is truly one of the (if not THE) best in the world. We were there for two hours and barely scratched the surfact (we'll be going back in the next couple of days for free, since we have a 4 days pass thingy). Don't believe us at how awesome the art is? Check this out:

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Sorry about the quality, I got bumped a lot and there were flashes going off a lot -Josh

We'll try to take a better picture of it at some point.

Speaking of better pictures, this one is pretty cool:
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This is taken from the Pont Neuf as we headed towards the Ile de la Cite (where Notre Dame is).

Speaking of Notre Dame, it was pretty awesome to see too.
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We didn't go to the top though, but we'll do that soon. The pass we bought covers almost everything we want to see, but the line for this was too long and we couldn't cut like we did at the Louvre (think Disneyland fastpass).

Now we are headed back to the hotel. After Italy we assumed the weather would stay hot, but Paris is quite cold. We are considering the cost of the Metro ticket back home a "stupid tax" for not looking up the weather. We need our jackets. Burrr.

As always, more pictures on Flickr... (including feeding birds in front of Notre Dame... go look!)

Posted by slugtrek 04:17 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

France...

sunny 0 °F
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Well, we made it to France. But before we get to that, let's get to some of the pictures from Florence that we were too cranky to upload before...

The Ponte Vecchio, in all its glory.
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This bridge used to be where all the butchers and vegitable shops were located, but now it's home to jewelry stores. What a change! It really is a beautiful place. That's the thing that made us feel like we were on a movie set. It's just too beautiful to be real!

And the Duomo...
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At this point, we've seen so many Cathedrals and Churches (uh, Vatican, hello) that we thought it'd be quite underwhelming. But we were so incredibly wrong! The outside is gorgeous, but the inside is surprisingly bare and sparsely decorated. They moved a lot of the interior artwork over to a museum (which we also visited). There were some really cool ruins under the Duomo though, including a mural of Jesus which is hillariously cut off at his neck. They built the Duomo on top of that building. It was quite funny.

We also bought a bottle of Tuscan wine, but we didn't have a bottle opener so we had to take it to France with us (hopefully we didn't break a law or something by doing that).

The train ride up to Nice was long, but beautiful. We passed Cinqe Terre (google it! Now!) which was extremely difficult to get pictures of. About half of the train track through Italy is in tunnels, so we tried desperately to catch pretty pictures when we could. We missed Cinq Terre, but we got this pretty shot...
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Then we were in Nice. What a beautiful town! The south of France wins. For reference, people in Italy drive Vespas. In Nice they drive these:
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We walked along the beach for a bit (the street along the beach is called Des Etats-Unis which means "The United States"... ???) before we headed inland in search of a bottle opener. The beaches were crowded though, and we really wished we had brought our swim suits (more on that later).

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We found a bottle opener and enjoyed the wine in our Hotel room (Hotel! NOT HOSTEL! Private bathroom and TV in room yesssss) while we watched the BBC.

This morning we got up early to head to Marseille. When we got to the train station we were informed that the next train to Marseille didn't leave until almost 4:00pm. We looked at the watch and it was just a little after 11:00. What to do?!?! Well, we stored our luggage at the train station, bought swim suits (cost less than admission to most of the museums we visited, mind you), and jumped into the Mediterranean. The water was amazing! Yes, we went swimming in the south of France. The "French Riviera" if you will. Or the Cote D'Azur if you are feeling fancy. And yes, it was exactly what you'd imagine a French beach to be like. Men in speedos and women getting a very thorough tan.

Now we are in Marseille. The Hotel (again, NOT HOSTEL WOOO) Concierge recommended a nice area to eat at so we popped over there and picked the first place that looked interesting. Josh handed the waitress his Celiac card (for those of you who don't know, he has a food allergy to Gluten) and she kindly gave thumbs up or thumbs down on each of the menu items. He randomly picked one and I picked out the only word I could understand (poisson means fish!) and we hoped for the best. I ended up getting, well, a fish. A complete fish. They scaled it and cooked it and threw it on a plate for me. It had fins, a tail, it's skin, and it's head still intact (the eyeballs were delicious). Josh ended up getting a leg of... something. Lamb? Veal? Probably one of those. It was also very good. We also had wine (Mmmmmm French wine, red none the less - Josh). "Vin" was also one of the few words we understood. That and "Dessert" and "Orange." My two years of French have failed me...

And now we are back at the hotel, just chillin...

As always, check the flickr account for more pictures. This is just a small sample.

Posted by slugtrek 23:36 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (5)

Florence... ugh!

all seasons in one day
View Europe '08 on slugtrek's travel map.

Well, we've had quite an adventure today. The train was suppose to be 1 hour and 35 minutes... but it ended up taking over 4 hours. It kept stopping every few minutes for some inexplicable reason (we just talked to two girls who came from Rome on a train that left after ours and theirs got in before us... what the?!?!... our train sucked). We did experience a weird thunderstorm and microburst in the Tuscan countryside though. It was sunny and beautiful with fields of Sunflowers and Grapevines everywhere. Over the course of about 10 minutes the sky turned pitch black and it started raining buckets. Then the lightening started! Perhaps God was getting back at us for making fun of the Popecards. By the time we arrived in Florence it was somewhat sunny again.

Then we soon realized that the only two things we came here to see (The Uffizi and the Accademia Gallery) are both closed tomorrow and since we got in so late, they were both due to close within the next two hours. We had to make a decision... the closest one to the hostel it is!

So we got into the Uffizi and got to see the Birth of Venus (Venus being born out of a shell... you know, with the strategically placed long hair) along with a bunch of other stunning artwork. That means we had to miss the Statue of David. How tragic! Guess we'll have to come back... but again, not during the summer. And we'll have to plan a bit better to avoid missing the only things we came here to see. Meh.

We also had to book an early morning train to Nice because all of the night trains had been cancelled for some reason. They didn't tell us why. So we will be on a train from 7:51am to 5:00pm on Tuesday. At least there will be a short stop in Genoa, but I doubt we'll get to see much. We also have a hotel in Nice, so we are done with this whole hostel thing until the night before we fly home. It's kind of funny when a hotel is just as much, if not cheaper, than a hostel. That's France for you. Ever place we will be staying at in France is a Hotel for that very reason.

So we are rather cranky, but this town is so beautiful it is wearing off rather quickly. The Ponte Vecchio (google it, we haven't uploaded pictures yet... still cranky...) is so amazing and surreal that we both feel like we are walking around on a movie set when we see it. It's just so pretty it can't be real! It must be a movie set! It has to be... but no, it's real.

With that, we are calling it a night early and going to bed. It's only 8:30pm here, but the day was long and annoying so we just can't stay awake any longer. But tomorrow we have a whole new city to discover. Since the only two places we wanted to see are closed, we'll be making it up as we go along.

Posted by slugtrek 11:21 Archived in Italy Tagged train_travel Comments (3)

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