Travel Journal: England
On Saturday morning we were up bright and early, and headed out to the Palace of Versailles. It was an incredible palace, superbly decorated and absolutely gigantic in size. It really boggles me to think how folks called this place home. While I’m sure it was a lovely place to live, I don’t feel that I could have handled it. The entire place is a bit too extravagant for me. Unfortunately, I didn’t venture out into the gardens, which I heard were magnificent. Maybe next time...
Instead, I headed back to the heart of Paris with a couple of friends where we embraced the tourists within us and hopped onto a red, open-top, double-decker tour bus. While it was an incredibly touristy thing to do, it was a more efficient way to travel between different sites in Paris; we saw more of the city instead of seeing more of the Metro. We visited the Arc de Triomphe and wanted to go up into the arch but it was closed because the workers were on strike—so very French. Afterward, we headed to the Eiffel Tower which was splendid. It’s funny because in 2006, I had been disappointed by the size of the tower, expecting it to be larger than it actually is. But once I’d gotten close to it, it was just as impressive as I’d originally expected it to be. The same thing happened this time around. It looks smaller from far away, but once you’re up close it’s quite stunning.
I’m afraid that this journal entry is getting to be a bit long, and since we have finals approaching, papers due, and project deadlines, I must wrap this up soon and get busy on some schoolwork. But before going, it’s worth mentioning some of the other highlights of the trip.
We went to see the Musée d’Orsay, an incredible museum full of works by some amazing artists such as Monet, Cézanne, Degas, Manet, and van Gogh. I had already seen some of Monet’s works in the National Gallery in London, but there were even more of them here—and it was a bit surreal. Seeing Monet’s waterlily paintings in the Musée de l’Orangerie literally gave me chills. Each of these eight painting took up an entire wall. This museum was easily my favorite. If you ever go to Paris, it's a must-see place to visit.
The last afternoon that we had in Paris before our train ride home turned out to be one of my favorite afternoons of the whole term. A group of us went up in the Arc de Triomphe and took in the incredible view. Then, we found the hotel where my grandmother was stationed during World War II—now that was an awesome experience. I got chills as we walked into the building. After walking by Notre Dame Cathedral, Leah, Trish, and I went to a local grocery store and bought a baguette, cheeses, strawberries, and a bottle of wine between the three of us. We ventured to the Luxemburg Gardens, sat beside the pond in front of the palace, and had lunch while we people-watched for about an hour and a half. There were little kids sailing boats in the pond, couples walking through the park holding hands, and the weather was absolutely perfect. I couldn’t have asked for a more relaxing afternoon in the City of Lights.
All of that being said, it was good coming back (home?) to London. Hard to believe that we have less than two weeks left of spring term. Seems like the work has crept up on us while we've been here...so let the final push begin! Cheers from London!
• Travel Journals Home