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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Paris Day 2

Sunday, July 22, 2012

What I did
-started the day by leisurely taking 1 hour to wake up and emerge from bed
-fulfilled another hour of doing nothing by soaking in the tub
-finally left for breakfast at 9:45am
-wandered up the hill and sat outside at a piano bar/cafe
-went to go to Sacre Coeur and decided not to after seeing the massive amounts of people; Sunday is not a good day to tour a church;   abandoned idea of going to Notre Dame
-all plans for the day are shot to hell so get on the subway with vague idea of going towards the Seine
-impulsively decide to jump off at St.Lazarre because I overheard some people talking about it
-find myself in my first mall and first Starbucks of Paris ! Yeah. Chatted with the barista who is from New York City. He pointed me to good shops underground near Notre Dame.
-decided to go up to street level and wander around
-saw a picture of the advertisement I saw on the metro for La Pincotheque.  Impulsively decide to buy a ticket and go see what Modigliani is all about;   totally stunned by the paintings inside; felt something shift and I'll never see the world the same way again. Modigliani and Utrillo and Valadon are ... well I can't put into words.  The sheer beauty in that one building alone reminded me of Yosemite for some reason. Powerful and impactful. And DNA changing. If your soul has DNA then my DNA altered is the best way I can describe this.   Am so proud that I read most of the signs in the art gallery which were in French.  Jonas Netter -- I've never heard of you -- but you were an amazing guy to support these painters.
-wander by the couture shops; saw a huge building reminiscent of ones in Greece;; What is it? Wander to the end and find out it's a freaking church! Holy mother of god it's big. And it's literally named after her too -- Madeleine. As I wander in I notice signs for a concert tomorrow night of Vivaldi. Might go. Then a free concert tomorrow at 4pm - might go to that too. It's totally unlike anything I can imagine inside. The craftsmanship; the art work, the history...well I'm blown away.
- I leave and go back outside; I start to see police everywhere and streets barracaded off. Why?  Doesn't stop me from continuing on hoping that I'm not in the middle of some political protest.
-hit Rue de Rivioli and see tons of people at the side of the road. Again why?  decide to stop and see what's going on.   Cars come by and honk with party music pumping. Hmmm?  What's going on?  Overhead some guy say this will be another 2 hours and decide to keep walking
- did some shopping -- new trench coat and scarf for me and Italian silk scarf for  the girls. Found a gift for granny. I start looking for a cerveza; it's getting very warm now.  I see a spot on the road that's sort of thinned out with people and step in to find out what's going on. It's the freaking Tour de France!!!   Impulsively (again) I decide to stay there and see what's going on.   1 hour later after baking in the sun and my feet screaming from standing so long, the first of eight laps goes by. It's so exciting! The crowd is cheering, the announcer is going wild. I have no idea what they are saying.  I finally ask the guy next to me in English; he translates the announcer who says they have like 30km left to go. Another guy on the other side of me says in German that it's 8 laps; the other guy translates this German to me in English.  Well thank-you random French-English-German guy for helping me understand that I unknowingly wandered into the Tour de France.  I stayed for all 8 laps.
-after frying in the sun for 2.5 hours and my feet about to fall off, I head away from the disseminating crowds to find a cerveza -- Santo Paulo. Thank-you Santo Paulo for making good beer.
-I recover and wander over to see if I can get the museum pass for the Louvre.  As I enter the courtyard I see the pyramid on my left and Eiffel tower on the right. I'm about to swoon from sheer magnitude of these 2 sites.  Deep breath. This is just normal for Parisians. I'm just hyperventilating because I'm a North American where things are not old and they are not grandly built.  OK. I calm down and enter the pyramid; no lines; it's late in the day, like 7pm.  I pickup map of the Louvre to study tonight. I find a bathroom (.8 Euro) and Swarovski. Oh my. I spent a lot of money there.   Well they were all gifts. That doesn't count , right? I was super-thrilled to find they had Eiffel Tower charms which is what I wanted to find in Paris. And there it was. Who says the law of attraction doesn't work?   I bought one for Jessica who already has a charm bracelet, one for Sophia for her upcoming Communion and what the heck --one for me too. Oh, I need a charm bracelet too then; okay I bought that as well.
-Am thinking of heading back to the hotel but decide to take the long way to the metro via Jardin des Tulieres. It's lovely again. I find a bench by the small pond and watch the ducks while I ease my feet out of my non-sensible shoes to recover a little and I read my guidebook. I feel a sense of panic that I only have 5 days left and not enough time to do all I want. I frantically search for a pen to make a plan but discover I have no pen.  The universe does not want me to plan. I still have to take it day by day.
-I find the metro and head to Pigalle to find food; found a light salad and falafel which I'll take back to the room
-once I get to the room the first thing is not to eat, but to soak my feet in hot water. Standing in one spot for 2 hours plus about 3km of walking...well I hope they make it to for the Louvre tomorrow.


What I ate
-Brunch: Crepe aux jambon et frommage; cafe au lait on outdoor cafe patio in Monmartre
-Snack:  water & Kashi peanut butter granola bar (at sidelines of Tour de France)
-Dinner: small salad, falafel and baklava with 1/2 bottle of red wine in my room

Lessons Learned
-have fully charged camera battery for wandering into unexpected world events such as Tour de France
-have big, I mean big, SD memory card in your camera for video (thank-you Tom!)
-always have bottle of wine in your room ; in case you decide to bring healthy food back (because you pigged out at breakfast on evil fatty food), you at least have good wine.  Good wine makes healthy food better for a minimal amount of calories.
-do not visit famous churches on Sunday; they are busy and noisy as opposed to peaceful and serene.
-do let art galleries , not-so-famous churches and sport races draw you in if you're in the right place at the right time.

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