Thursday, July 8, 2010

June 24- June 30

This is my LAST BLOG POST for this trip! Ah!!!
Hm... Thursday I met for lunch with Jacky Jad and Laura. A girl Laura used to babysit was studying in Spain, so she visited Paris with 5 other American girls who were on the trip. We all met in Troccadero in front of the Eiffel Tower for a huge picnic. It was really fun and the girls visiting got to see the Eiffel Tower.
After, Laura and I had to leave because we were going to an Edun party. Edun is a new brand by Bono's wife that uses products made by Africans. After, Laura had to meet the girls up for dinner, and I went with a friend Kathrine to a Carrera party (its a sunglasses brand). It was totally dead because apparently there were 6 other designer promo parties that night or something, so I got to invite all my friends. Laura couldn't make it, but Jacky and Jad did. The place was beautiful! It was some famous French actors apartment (don't ask me who, I keep forgetting) in the 16th arrondissement (the most expensive area in paris) and it overlooked the seine and the eiffel tower. So nice!
Friday, I met up with a bunch of people from work, since they go out to lunch together every Friday. After, I met up with Laura in Bastille. I got there early, so I walked around on the docks near by. Its so beautiful, all the boats. It made me really excited to come home and spend time on our boat! Then Laura, Jad, and the girls met me and we walked to some stores though Bastille towards the Marais. By the end I was so exhausted, I went to Luxembourg Garden to lay down. After, I decided I wanted to make me and Noelle some dinner, so I made fried rice. But if you know me, I'm not a cook. So, I messed up right away with the eggs. The rice and the shrimp went well, but then when I put in the peas and carrots, there were just too many peas. It ended up being peas with fried rice instead of friend rice with peas. However, Noelle said she liked it and we did eat it! After, we watched Barefoot in the Park- such a good movie!!!
Saturday Jad and I went on a tour that a teacher of mine recommended. It went through a Carmelite church that was very pretty, but the tour was a little too detailed and a little boring. Finally, after an hour, we got to the cool stuff- a room where there is a splatter of blood from a massacre during the revolution and a room with skulls and bones from the people who were massacred. After, we walked through Luxembourg Garden and stumbled on the Gay Pride Parade going down St. Michel. It was actually really cool, with these huge flatbed trucks with music and djs and people dancing and dressed up. It was incredible. After, Jad had to go home to get something he had forgotten, so I went with him. He lives outside of Paris in a small suburban town on a river. I think its really quaint; he thinks its very lame.
Sunday.... i dont remember what we did Sunday...
Monday I went to the Chateau de Vincennes. It is this neat old chateau located on the eastern corner of Paris. It is very old and what you imagine what a real castle would look like with white brick stone walls and towers and everything. There was also a small chapel that was based on Saint Chapelle, one of the most beautiful chapels in France, but this one was disappointing.
Monday night I went to a club called Queen where they play disco music! There was even a Mickael Jackson impersonator. So funny, and I really felt like i was in the 70s haha
Tuesday I went to the catacombs. The catacombs were ok. The bones were stacked and it was mostly femurs and things and then there'd be a row of skulls and that was pretty cool. The bones on the top of the stacks were loose- you really could just pick them up if you wanted to (though they check at the end to make sure you don't steal any). I was a little disappointed though- I thought there would be more art using the bones, but really they were just stacked with a few designs randomly throughout the catacombs. After, we went for a walk in the Bastille because I wanted to see a railway track that was converted into a beautiful walkway. Then we met George and went to a bar to eat (I had fish and chips and they had hamburgers- so french haha)and to watch a World Cup game. After the game, George left and we went to another bar called the Long Hop to meet Jacky and Laura... I stayed as long as humanly possible before I had to leave to go and pack. My flight was at 8am, so I had to catch a 5am train. No sleep for Kristen.
That was definitely the best week of my life, and I really got attached to Jad, Jacky, and Laura since we spent so much amazing time together and really clicked well. I wouldn't trade that time for anything, and honestly I think I may have had more fun with them than on my last trip to paris....

Friday, July 2, 2010

Friday June 18- Wed. June 23

Wow, I cant believe how far behind I've fallen...
On Friday, we went to the Belvedere Castle, where there is a long lawn that was really nice and a wonderful castle. In the castle, there is a museum with the most Klimt's apparently. We went inside and I got to see The Kiss, my favorite of Klimt (I have a copy of it in my room) and a very famous French painting of Napoleon on a white horse. After, we went home for lunch and a nap.
The next day, it was pouring rain and Barbara was really tired so I ventured out on my own. By the time I got to schönbrunn castle, it was clearing up. Schönbrunn also has an enormous garden, but bigger than the Belvedere. And at the top is a large building where the emperor used to have his breakfast! The gardens were beautiful- roses, fountains, and statues everywhere. There was also one of the oldest zoos in europe there, but I didnt go in...
By the time I finished wandering around the gardens for hours, it was a beautiful sunny day. I went over to where there is a famous ferris wheel and amusement park. At the last minute I decided I didnt want to go up the ferris wheel. I decided to walk around the park that is behind the amusement park. I walk for hours and had a mexican lunch. Then I stopped and watched the Australia vs. Ghana game on a huge screen in front of the ferris wheel. That was really fun!
At half time, I decided to go the center of the city, by St. Stephens, one last time while it was still nice. I just wandered the streets trying to take in Vienna. To me, Vienna looks a lot like Paris but some how a little different. They have narrow cobbled streets, similar building facades, and wide boulevards just like Paris, but theres something different, and truthfully, I am a complete Paris-phile, and will always think it is the best. Its so weird- I love all the cities I've visited, but still Paris is the best to me. Even now (sine I'm home, and as you'll hear I had the best last leg in Paris ever), I think that Paris is even better- better than NYC even! Its so weird...
On Sunday, I had to leave. Barbara was an amazing host, and she really made the trip so amazing.
I took a bus from Vienna to Bratislava, the capital of Slovakia, to fly back to Paris. The bus ride was actually kind of cool. Towards the end there was a town where there was like a citadel or something on top of a hill over looking the old town. Very cool. Bratislava seemed ok too- its a pretty big city tucked away into the countryside. There was some sort of big castle there that I could see from the road, but otherwise it looked like a pretty new city.
When I got to Paris, I met Noelle and our friend Katherine for coffee in Paul, which is the staple good French chain food store. After, we went to Leon for unlimited mussels!! So delicious...
On Monday, I wandered around the Luxembourg Gardens and then went to where I used to live at Cite Universitaire. There is a nice park in the back of it so I walked around for a while to kill some time. After, I met Laura and Jacky at a cafe for drinks. So nice to see them again. I missed them a LOT. After, they were both tired from an epic night before, so they went home to sleep and I went home to get ready for the FETE DE LA MUSIQUE! The Fete is this really awesome thing in Paris where there is music everywhere- on the streets, in bars, in cafes! You can drink anywhere and everyone is having a great time. My friend from Binghamton, George, had just gotten to Paris to start an internship with the UN and he brought his friend from high school who now lives in Paris, Jad. Great thing I met Jad, because he was done with school and everything and so we spent the whole week together having a great time while others were working and things. The Fete was so much fun and totally amazing. You can only imagine the rowdiness.
Tuesday morning, me and Jad delivered letters for Noelle to different fancy hotels for a Christian Lacroix fashion show. After, I took him to Breakfast in America, an American-style diner, and introduced him to the root beer float haha! Then we went to the Jardin des Plantes, and in it there is a menagerie, which is a small zoo. We went in and saw exotic birds and monkeys and everything. I really regret that I didnt have my camera! After, we went to watch the last French soccer match of the World Cup on a giant screen in front of the Eiffel Tower. We couldn't really see from where we were sitting, so we stopped paying attention, but apparently France lost. After we separated to shower, and later we met up with George and his friend Zaid and just hung out for a few hours.
Wed. we met Laura and Jacky for a picnic in Parc des Buttes-Chaumont, which is a beautiful park with lots of hills and lawns and lakes. There were also a lot of kids there, and it seemed they were having a soap box car racing competition. We hung there for lunch for hours, taking in the sun- so nice to finally be having amazing weather! And it stayed like that for the whole week (of course, now theyre having a heat wave).
After, we went to a bar in Montmartre to meet Laura's boyfriend and watch the US vs. Algeria game. We had to be careful, because there were a lot of Algerians around and they don't take crap from anyone. After Algeria lost to the US, they burned cars down by where I used to live. Crazy!
Then we met Noelle after she got off work and hung out for a bit (that's when I saw Karl Lagarfeld). After, Jacky and Jad came over and we had pasta for dinner.
Ok, well I'm all out of steam for writing... I'm almost done! I'm sorry its so far behind, and probably no one cares any more, because I'm home now! But this last week was probably one of the best weeks of my life- it was amazing. I'm so excited for a beautiful, American 4th of July weekend!