Tuesday, July 19, 2011

An update from the States...

So, I'm back home and recovering.  Paris kept us on the move, but I'd really like to complete my posts for the trip.  If you, my gracious readers, will bear with me, I'll get those finished and up this week.  And, given I can't walk much right now (this will probably be included in a post... the Louvre tried to eat me alive from the feet up) and I have some sort of achy-sore-throaty sickness that I contracted either on the metro or from kissing a headstone, I'll have plenty of couch time to share the rest of my adventures with you.  I'll see you all very soon.

Au revoir!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Oooooh, that smell.

Paris day 2 had Mellissa and I wandering the streets sans traveling companion Deanna.  Turns out 4 bottles of wine between 3 ladies on Paris evening 1 can spell disaster for some folks.  Hard to believe "Very Pamp," the 3 Euro bottles of grapefruit (pamplemousse!) rose we were drinking, are "very pimp" the next day and just want to smack a bitch to keep her in her place.  So, we tucked in our girl and set out for some exploring.

A few little dreams came true today... stopped by Cafe des 2 Moulins, the charming little cafe where much of Amelie was filmed.  I looked in the back and could practically see her melt into a puddle.  At the Musée Carnavalet I saw with my own two eyes (who else's eyes would I see them with?  Such a weird term.) Mucha's maidens that were a part of this amazing jewelry store he created for his good pal, Georges Fouquet.  Last on the adventure list, a visit to a fromagerie where I picked up my first taste of sheep's cheese and fresh butter.  Mel grabbed a couple of goat cheeses.  Delicious obviously, but every time we open our fridge in the apartment it smells like a public toilet, or a crime scene littered with bodies that have been dead for a week, or the inside of Satan's oldest pair of sneakers.  I'm illustrating a point, and that point is, this cheese stinks like butt.  How can something that tastes like it came from Heaven smell like it came out of a diaper.  I feel like our other food and drink is being held hostage.

Enough about the stink-ass cheese.  Here's my day:

I miss my kids.  I'm dog desperate.  This will do.

Ducking into the cafe.

A few shots from the Mucha exhibit:

And finally, the evil cheese man:

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Gracious me, it's Paree!

My traveling companions have been oh so sweet in setting up a few surprises for me.  The first one?  This:

They gave me the Eiffel Tower!

Now that it's mine I'm going to paint it pink and instead of charging admission to go up, people will have to swear their allegiance to me and make cheese and champagne offerings.  My throne is at the top.  Ascend peasants, I'm waiting.

Ah, if only that were true.  Actually, I just didn't know we were going to see the tower on day 1.  But, we emerged from the metro and Deanna says, "Amanda" and I look up... there she was.  I cried.  I do that.

I'm, once again, behind on the blogging, so I'll leave you with the day one highlights, then I'm off to storm the Bastille.  Happy Bastille Day friends!

Apt. Dinner. YES.

I'm HERE!!!

And, I'm not doing it right...

I've got the whoooooole Eiffel Tower in my hand.

The Arc is a bitch to get up.

Fa. Real. 
Hello boys...

Goodnight, drunken ladies...

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

International Crime Syndicate

Three countries, one day.  Luxembourg, Belgium and France.  Oh, and, before we get too far into this... I didn't blog yesterday, so this is for then and tonight will be today.  Right?  Ok.  Of course, further blogging is dependent upon whether or not Interpol finally catches up with us.  We may or may not be wanted in two separate countries for theft.

Our crime spree started in Hautevillers, France.  It was a champagne tasting gone wrong.  We tasted, we bought champagne, we left.  Our crime?  We didn't pay our tasting fees.  But if stealing champagne is wrong, I don't want to be right.  Next, we brought the thunder down on Luxembourg.  What was some sort of miscommunication in paying for our meal turned out to be good ol' American dining and dashing.  Our only choice in evading capture was to run for the border.  And if we couldn't find asylum in Belgium, at least we could find waffles.

Before we're taken into custody, I'll leave you with photographic evidence of our day:

Thefted Kir Royale.  Is "thefted" a word?

I did not pay for this tomato.
If we can make it over this bridge, we're in the clear.

Acting like tourists to evade the po-po.

Gadzooks!  A fortress!

Contemplating our escape...

A train, suckas!!!

We could have had something Claude Luxembourg.  Alas, my poor choices have left our future in ruins.  Au revoir!  But, there's this topless b*tch giving me the evil eye.  She'll prolly put out.


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Something old, something Dizy, something Bouzy

Lessons learned for today:
  • Everything here is beautiful, nothing is frivolous.  Light posts, city halls, streets.  The French seem to be accutely aware of their aesthetics.  Everything is cared for.  It feels like an acknowledgement that what we see and live with every day affects our souls directly.  You can even taste this care for all things good... I have yet to see artificial sweetener anywhere.  Yogurt freaks me out and I only eat it because I'm told it's good for me, but I rarely enjoy it.  I've eaten yogurt for breakfast both mornings we've been here, and as I type this, I cannot wait to wake up and eat yogurt again.  The difference?  No aspartame.  I ordered a fountain soda today and on the side of the cup there was a representation of what your body looks like with and without too much soda.  Two little silhouetted figures with calorie counts next to them, one skinny, one fat.  And signs in the restaurant reminding you that too much fast food is bad for you.  Subtle reminders to be good to yourself.  If I take nothing back home with me, I want to take this... this reminder that what I see and hear and taste and smell and touch changes me, for better or for worse.  I get to decide.  I can create sanctuaries or cells.  I need more sanctuaries in my life.
  • Pay attention because you're bound to see something amazing.  Today I accidentally stumbled upon Dom Perignon's grave and a massive city entrance that was built in the 300s by the Romans.  Please read that again... "...that was built in the 300s by the Romans."  The 300s!  The Romans!  And there it was, just... out there.  Last night I also almost stumbled on to street puke.  Ah, yes, street puke, the universal symbol of indulgence and fun.  Like I said... PAY ATTENTION.
  • Champagne is spectacular, fantastic, delicious and lovely.  This was just a refresher, not a new lesson.
Ah yes, proof to both you, my friends, and myself, that I'm actually here (pictures are better than pinches):

The entrance to Dom Perignon's abbey, Abbey d'Hautvillers.  Built first in 650AD, destroyed numerous times in numerous battles and built for the last(ing) time by Dom in the mid-late 1600s.

The altar.  The church is small, but elegant and breathtaking.

And at the foot of the altar, Dom himself.

Our tour guide through Hautevillers, Stan the Gargoyle.  He's the least intimidating gargoyle in town so he's in charge of the office de tourisme.

Champagne anyone?

Don't mind if we do!

I'm your new mom!

Driving along, stumbled upon this humble abode.  Ummmm... this is someone's private residence.

And their moat?  I'm calling it their moat.

What's this?  Oh, this old thing?  This is the Porte de Mars... dates back to 3rd century AD.  It was the widest Roman arch.  That is until until that slut Agrippina rolled into town.  Hey-o!

And, we ended the day properly:

A little Dizy...

And a little Bouzy.

Stay tuned my pets... tomorrow we'll be visiting the country of Luxembourg.  Bourgda, bourgda!

Today, I tasted the stars...

In short, I'm overwhelmed.  Today (yesterday actually, but I fell asleep when I started this post but to spare the confusion, I'm calling it 'today'... keep up) I walked in caves the Romans first built and that have been used now for nearly 300 years to make the world's finest champagne, I was in the champagne house of a widowed woman who chose success with a comet as her guide, because of a wrong turn I was able to walk through the vines whose fruit will be used to make the champagne that will be used to celebrate a stranger's future joy, maybe my own?  And I witnessed one of the most breathtaking sights I've ever seen that was created by men, both ancient and modern.

Here is what I saw, I only wish you were here to see it too:

My very own bottle of Dom... I can pick it up some time in the next 7-30 years.

These line the caves which go on and on, and were used to hold candles before they had electricty.  Did I mention the Romans started these caves... the ROMANS.

This barrel was at least as tall as I am.  Napoleon brought it over from Portugal for his good pal Moet.  It was filled with port.

Our Imperial tasting of Moet & Chandon

I'm hooooooome!

Why yes, that IS a chandelier made out of champagne glasses.

Au revoir Dom...

Bon jour Widow Clicquot...

Into the Veuve Clicquot caves...

Blah, blah, blah, tour, tour, let's drink...

 Au revoir for today champagne country...

To close the evening, we watched a light show projected onto the front of an 800 year old cathedral.  The experience cannot be matched.  I wanted to post some video, but it's not cooperating, I'll try again back in the states.  I can just tell you though, it was one of the singular most moving experiences of my life.

I began the day tasting stars, I ended it seeing stars.

Au revoir...