Tag Archives: Paris

Paris, Sunday: Day 3

we woke up on sunday really early in order to get to the airport in time for our 9:50 flight. we were both ridiculously tired, but with blake being a little sick, i think it was harder on him. we got checked in and slept a bit until our plane was ready to go and then slept on the plane until we got to bilbao. once we got to bilbao, we hopped on a bus and headed over to the guggenheim. we grabbed a bit of food from a kiosk and ate in front of puppy PICTURE. it is a pretty cool looking thing. those are all real flowers.

the guggenheim museum itself is a really cool building. just totally weird design, totally stands out from all the antique looking architecture around spain. we went inside and paid; it was cheaper than the louvre (obviously) and an audio guide came included in the price, sweet. pictures are prohibited inside the museum though, so that was kind of a bummer slash a good thing. the guggenheim houses some of the most out of this world surrealist art. pictures would’ve been almost dumb to try and take. we saw lots of cool stuff in there, the problem is that we saw a lot more stuff that didn’t make any sense. surrealism is just so pointless to me. i like the interpretation aspect of art, but if it’s just so off the wall that you can’t make out a theme or something in the piece, it’s pointless. i don’t even know what else to say about it. i enjoy seeing art and being pleased by its aesthetic qualities; i don’t enjoy looking at something and not knowing what is going on or not being able to see anything beautiful in it. i guess i just don’t get it.

so in a nutshell, that was the guggenheim. worth the 7 euros, just a weird place. and then we missed our bus and had to wait in bilbao seven extra hours. real cool alsa bus company.

and that was our weekend. overall it was good. paris is an absolutely gorgeous city and i would love to return one day. especially after learning french. or at least after watching beauty and the beast again.

-jon

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Paris, Saturday: Day 2

this day started off far better than friday. we woke up, showered, then headed on over to the train station to pick up rémy. we got a little nervous though because we couldn’t find him anywhere in the station and we had no way of calling him from our terrible phones (which only get signal in spain apparently), so we just wandered around the station until we found some pay phones. we gave him a quick call; his train hadn’t even arrived yet. i got a pastry from little bakery in the station, not that good, and then rémy arrived.

rémy was born in france and as far as i know lived there until high school, when he spent three years at cedar falls high in cedar falls, iowa. that’s how blake and he knew each other. that’s also how he was able to learn english. and he speaks it perfectly. he’s got a bit of a french accent, but he knew the nuances of the language, he knew idioms and colloquialisms of english, it was great. he was completely fluent. and i’ve never really hung out with anybody bilingual, or i guess never really seen them interact in society. all my spanish teachers in the states were bilingual obviously, but i only ever saw them interact with a bunch of students who couldn’t speak spanish very well, so i never got to see how bilingualism worked. and it was awesome with rémy. the first place we went to was a little bakery to buy some french bread, and we talked about what we wanted and then he went up and ordered it. perfect french. so cool. i immediately wanted to become as fluent in spanish. i’d be happy with any language but spanish is probably my best bet. it was just so interesting to see him be able to go from a conversation with us in english to speaking perfect french, back to speaking english with us. just a very cool thing to experience. the whole day he was switching between languages; it was so fascinating to me that his brain could do it so efficiently. for me with spanish, i do my best to think in spanish as much as i can, but in class or in nerve wracking spanish situations i find myself thinking in english and translating it. i can’t imagine what it’s like to be totally fluent in two different languages, be able to just spit out whatever you want to say in either without thinking. what a great thing.

after we got some bread, he wanted to stop in at his sister’s place to say hi. she’s about 25 i think, and she has a small flat about a twenty minute walk to the eiffel tower. it was kind of weird though, she doesn’t speak any english, so we got there and met her… and then what is there to say? we didn’t know how to say nice to meet you or anything so blake and i kind of just sat there while the french people spoke in french. after we left, rémy took us to one of his favorite restaurant/bars close by. we had a couple beers (which, by the way, were actually really good. i’ve never heard of this before but they put like syrupish flavoring in them. we had a peach beer and a raspberry beer. so much better than regular old beer.) and headed on to the tower.

what is there to say about the eiffel tower. it’s impressive, especially as you’re walking up to it, and it gets bigger and bigger the closer you get. it’s a really beautiful piece of architecture, but it’s weird to me. it’s a gigantic metal skeleton, and it’s the most visited paid monument in the world. people everywhere think it’s absolutely gorgeous, yet it’s so inorganic. just a bunch of a metal beams melded together to make a huge pointy tower. it’s just interesting to me that a couple of i-beams have been put together in such a way that it’s one of the most recognizable structures and one of the biggest tourist attractions in the entire world.

we walked until we were underneath the tower, and there were super long lines to go up. rémy said if we came back at night the lines would be way shorter so we took some pictures in front of tower (mandatory) and headed off for somewhere new. we walked along the seine river for awhile until we got to a metro station. we ran into rémy’s sister again, who stuck with us for the remainder of the afternoon. we rode the metro a bit, then headed back up into the daylight, and as soon as we walked out of the metro exit, this is what we saw:

so great. how parisian is that? these guys were all just off the wall good, it was so cool. then we headed into this little neighborhood that was classic paris. we had finally found the paris i was expecting the whole trip. it was gorgeous, little shops everywhere, really pretty architecture along the buildings, tons of bohemian looking people. and then we came to the sacré-cœur basilica on top of montmartre, the highest hill in the city. first of all, this whole area was gorgeous. there were lots of people everywhere, and the hill has a gorgeous view of the city. and the basilica, my goodness. how magnificent. it’s just such a grand building, there is not too much to say about it. at this point, rémy told us to watch our stuff, as there are tons of tourists about and as a result, tons of pickpockets. luckily, neither of us got anything “lifted”. we were however approached by a crowd of black guys at the very bottom of the walking path up to the summit of montmartre. it wasn’t a whole group that approached us all at once, there were just tons of guys roaming around looking for helpless tourists. this one guy came up to me and said something in french so i tried out “i don’t speak french” in french, totally butchered it, and he started laughing at me. so he started talking to me in english. what they would try to do is get your attention and then get your hand and tie a little string around your pinky finger, and then talk to you while they made this little colored thread bracelet for you. and then ask you to pay for it. as far as i could tell there was no funny business involved, but i really didn’t want to talk to this guy so i kept trying to avoid him and finally he was like “hey man, hakuna matata, i respect you, you respect me. i only want 1 minute, if you don’t want what i make you don’t have to have it.” decent argument, i have no idea what to say to that. so i reluctantly give this guy my pinky and let him do his schtick. he asks me where we’re from, if i have a girlfriend, all that stuff. and he makes me a cool bracelet. and then asks me to pay for it. and i said no. and that was that. i was overly aware of my wallet in my front pocket the whole time though; some silly african with some thread wasn’t gonna get anything off of me. but he was nice and really funny. and he said hakuna matata to me, a real african said hakuna matata! how great is that.

so we continued our walk up montmartre until we got to the summit. such a gorgeous view. this city is huge. you could see forever, just city. then we walked into the basilica. it was breathtaking. pictures weren’t allowed, and i’m almost glad because it would’ve been ridiculous to even try to capture how spectacular the inside of this place is. it is so huge; there is a gigantic area that looks like a sanctuary with a lot of pews and then surrounding that there are so many little alcoves with statues of saints and things like that. it’s just one colossal room with so much to look at. so impressive.

we came out of the basilica and headed into what i thought was the most “paris” part of town that we got to see. it was just this little neighborhood with tons of people, tons of little shops of souvenirs and whatnot, and then we walked into this big square that was filled with artists painting. this is actually a famous square; it’s been a haven for artists for decades. super cool though, you can just go and buy french artwork or get your caricature painted or whatever you want. very hip, very bohemian. we needed to get some food though and rémy knew of this sweet little restaurant further on so we kept walking. the place he took us to was SO cool. it was this really small restaurant that specialized in crêpes. the walls of this place were completely covered in notes, pictures, flyers, whatever. you can just put up whatever you wanted on the wall. there were dollar bills, notes to lovers, “jenny was here” type notes, all sorts of stuff. it was way cool. but the best part! there was this old guy banging on a piano right behind where blake and i were sitting. and holy cow he was good. he just played all sorts of jazzy fun music while we ate. it was so cool though, he was so good, he wasn’t even paying attention to what he was playing. look at this:

he’s reading the newspaper! seriously he would turn pages in between songs and keep reading. wasn’t even looking at his hands. unbelievable. so we got some crêpes and some cider, which was all wicked expensive but when in rome, you know? the crêpes were good, not mind-blowing. they’re like quesadillas with different stuff inside. we got ours with ham and cheese. nothing incredible, but still good.

we left to go visit the art square again, and i got a delicious crêpe filled with nutella from a small little vendor. holy cow that thing was delicious. and then we walked through the square, admiring all the artists and all the other tourists. it was a very cool place. i would’ve loved to buy some artwork but it was all really expensive, at least all the stuff worth getting. so we walked on. our next destination was the famous moulin rouge nightclub. we made it to pigalle, the famous red-light district of paris, and saw the club. it’s a cool looking building. but as we walked down pigalle, my goodness. it was probably like two miles or so of just sex shops. but it’s weird cause it’s not like a seedy looking area. there were tons of regular looking tourists and french people out, and the architecture was nice and everything. i didn’t see any hookers or cross dressers roaming the street. but the shops, yikes. a pretty risque part of town.

here we caught the metro and said goodbye to rémy’s sister. it was really pleasant spending the afternoon with her, even though we couldn’t really communicate with her at all. it was really sweet to she and rémy interact though, they seemed like really good friends. made me miss my sisters a lot. ruthie/hannah/rebekah, if any of you want to move to paris and let me come visit you, i’m all for it.

we hit the metro again and got to the island that holds the notre dame cathedral to wait for rémy’s friend who was going to meet us around there. as we waited along the seine, something great happened. i glanced at one of the bridges and saw this:

at first i was like “hm interesting” BUT it weirdly reminded me of something i couldn’t place for a second, and then it hit me. the cedar river. yes. growing up in cedar rapids, one of our few claims to fame is that cedar rapids is one of only two mainland cities in the world that has it’s governmental buildings on an island in the middle of the city. the other city: paris. and guess what i was looking at. the island. needless to say, i flipped out. i took a collection of shots to one day interpolate and make a panoramic scene. doubt that will ever happen, but it is still so freakin’ cool that i saw that.

i would’ve loved to visit the notre dame cathedral, but we had to go meet rémy’s friend, xavier. i actually have no idea how to spell this guy’s name, it was so hard to say. pronounced like “ksa-vee-ay.” it took me all evening to learn how to say it correctly. so i’m just gonna spell it xavier. so we met up with him, went to a bar close by and watched the end of some french football game, and then headed to SUBWAY for dinner. holler. my meatball marinara never tasted so great. after subway we headed back towards the same bar we had stopped at earlier in the day, had a few flavored beers, and headed off to see the tower once more. i really wanted to go up during nighttime, so the guys obliged and we walked back towards the tower. on the way the guys wanted to stop at a small convenient store and buy some cheap wine, so we did that and then made it to the tower.

the tower at night is so beautiful. even so, it turns out most of the french are pretty disenchanted with the tower, and rémy and xavier didn’t want to go up so they elected to stay on the champ de mars (the long lawn in front of the tower) while blake and i headed up. the two of us got in line, bought our tickets, and then got on the elevator. we bought tickets for the third floor, but they make you switch elevators on the second floor, and the line for the third floor was heinously long so we decided to just stay on the second and see what we could see. and it was gorgeous. the city really is just terrifically big, and there were lights everywhere. this is as good as i got. there’s not really too much to say about being up in the tower. it’s just really really pretty. and it would’ve been better with a girl. there are certain times or situations in life that are very suited towards a certain gender; going up the eiffel tower is suited towards being with a female companion. but blake and i enjoyed it. and then we got cold, so we bolted down the stairs. that was fun.

we got back out onto the champ de mars and the frenchmen had already finished off the first bottle of wine, so we cracked another bottle open and hung out and shared it. that is a special memory for me; drinking wine on the champ de mars in front of the eiffel tower with two frenchmen. great fun. after we finished the wine, xavier wanted to take us to his favorite bar in paris, so we headed off again to find the metro and ended up at this cool scottish looking pub. xavier goes to school in paris and i guess this is a really popular bar among international students. it was a pretty cool place though. xavier bought everybody a big beer, of which i drank none if i remember right. regular beer is just too gross for me. but the other guys drank theirs and helped me out with mine too, so add that to the wine we had at the tower and by the end of our time at the bar i was the only one still totally with it. rémy said he was too tired to do anything else, and blake and i had to catch a early morning flight so we decided to go back to our hostel.

i’m pretty proud of myself here. the whole day we took the metro a bunch of times to go all over the place, and it seemed so confusing to me. there is such a intricate network of underground tunnels all over paris, and since i can’t read french, all the signs mean nothing to me. but i gotta give props to drunk xavier, he explained to me perfectly how we were supposed to get home on the metro. i was still a bit nervous, but he reassured me we would be fine. so we rode with rémy and xavier until our stop, and they stayed on, and we said goodbye, and then blake and i went to find our next metro stop underground. i’m telling you, it’s a great transit system, but for a first-timer, it’s really daunting. arrogance time: i nailed it. we got off at our stop and headed upwards toward the street, and literally came up exactly outside our hostel. i was psyched about it. so if i ever have to go back to paris, i’ll be fine.

we got into our hostel and ran into a bit of a problem. for some reason, they told us when we checked in on friday that we would be switching rooms between friday and saturday night. so we got there saturday night, and the guy told us our room number was 6 and our roommate was already in there with the key. great. now we probably have to wake this stranger up and say hi we’re your roommates for the night. uncomfortable. well we got to our room and the door was cracked; there were five beds, a double bunk bed and a triple bunk bed, and there was a girl already asleep on the bottom bed of the triple. great. just an uncomfortable situation, the door cracked, a girl asleep, and two strange dudes coming in and getting ready to go to bed. thank goodness she didn’t wake up right then. so i’m getting ready for bed and our fourth roommate walks in. blake is asleep at this point so i talk to this guy for a bit. he was from new york, kind of a weird guy with an accent. he asked if either of us were musicians and if i wanted to be in a band with him. he was in paris looking for some other people to start a band with. i said no. while we were talking, the girl woke up and went to the sink to get a drink or something, and we were like we better stop whispering and go to sleep and she turned around and said no big deal. but guess what her shirt said. drake. what?! i was like “whoa, is that drake university, like in iowa?” and she said yeah and i said we were from uni and she flipped out too. she told me she was studying in florence or somewhere like that and she was visiting paris for the weekend. i can’t believe we would run into somebody from another small school in a small state in the same hostel room in paris. small world i guess. so i said “go bulldogs” and went to sleep. i’m unsure of what you’re supposed to say, do you say goodnight? normally goodnight is reserved for people you’re familiar with isn’t it? i don’t know. i chose go bulldogs.

and that was day 2. far better than day 1. we saw so much more, and especially the beautiful parts of paris i was hoping to see. paris really delivered. i don’t know if i would say i “fell in love” with paris, but it is now way more attractive to me. i really hope to go back someday and see the things i missed out on. on to day 3.

-jon

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Paris, Friday: Day 1

prologue:
blake and i met about 12:45 am at the bus station for our 1:00 am bus. it was delayed. we got nervous. it ended up leaving half an hour later and we made it to bilbao with plenty of time to spare. the bus ride was horrible. cramped, hardly any sleep was gotten. bad way to start such a big weekend. we grabbed a taxi from the God-forsaken bus station in bilbao to the airport, got checked in and hung out for an hour or so. slept on the plane. now the day starts.

Friday:
we really started to hear different languages now. what a comfort to be able to say “parlez-vous l’anglais?” (do you speak english?) and have everybody in the airport say “oui.” it was also nice to actually see and hear people obviously from the states. i don´t know, i just felt some weird camaraderie with the americans we saw. didn´t even talk to any of them. anyway, we found our way down to the train, pretty happy with how everything had worked out basically perfectly so far. this is where we hit a bit of a snag. we got down to the train station, right below the airport, and all of a sudden where did all the english speakers go? they were all nowhere to be found. so we had to buy train tickets from this electronic machine which did not explain the transit system well at all. we ended up buying metro/bus tickets instead of train tickets, so when we tried to go through the train turnstiles with our tickets, they weren´t accepted. great. incredibly luckily, nobody was on guard or around, and there was a way around the turnstiles that was wide open. so we went around. boarded the train and then deboarded at a stop pretty close to where we thought our hostel was. we were way off. we wandered around a bit until blake stopped and asked these two super nice french guys how to get to where we needed to go. they helped us out, gave us their map that had all the routes for each of the three public transit systems(train, metro, and bus), and we headed back to the train station. our tickets did not work again. incredibly luckily for the second time, there was this sweet dude who opened up a door thing right next to the turnstiles for us because he saw we were having problems. thanks frenchie. we boarded the train again and deboarded at the big train station close to our hostel. now by this time it´s like 11:00ish am. we thought we would´ve been able to make it to the hostel by now. we are tired. we are starving. but we both really want to find the hostel. unfortunately, like spain, france does not label its streets well at all, so we wandered around for awhile trying to find our hostel.

quick note here. as we drove into the city on our train and then as we walked around looking for our hostel, my immediate first impression of paris was bad. on the train, all we saw were run down neighborhoods and crappy houses. and then even when we were actually in the city part of the city looking for our hostel, we were in a pretty rough neighborhood and saw lots of things but nothing like the paris i was expecting. we saw a lot of pretty arquitecture on the buildings, but unfortunately it all looked the same. like building after building was full of shops and all the buildings just looked so similar. and the neighborhood we were in, i don’t know what the deal was but there were so many shoe and suit shops. like every two or three stores was a shoe shop or a suit shop, and i mean like tuxedo suits. not really nice or high quality. weird. so my initial impressions were negative. i tried as hard as i could not to stereotype the entire city based on my own naive ideas about it from growing up in america. but come on, americans have such an idealized version of paris in their heads from cinema, tv, media, whatever. we just grow up thinking it’s the most romantic city in the world; clean, beautiful, luxurious. false, said my brain as soon as we got into the city. and that was not a great way to start the day.

approximate check in time at hostel: 12:30 pm. about an hour or so of just walking around with backpacks looking for this place. it sucked. but once we were in we rested for a bit, ate some bocadillos, then decided to test the bus system and find our way to the louvre. luckily for us, and a credit to paris, their transit systems are actually super great. every bus has a very well marked route at the bus stops and also inside the buses, so you can always see what the next stop is and where you´re headed. so we got dropped off around the royal palace/louvre area; there was this big courtyard with a lot of grand arquitecture on the buildings around so we walked around there. through a big stone hallway:

we saw the glass pyramid. yes, the glass pyramid from the da vinci code. holler. we headed through the stone hallway(actually it was just part of the louvre museum) and found ourselves in the gigantic courtyard entrance of the louvre.

ok at this point i´m crazy impressed. first, the pyramid wasn´t as big as i thought it was going to be, but it was still super cool looking. there were some fountains around and two smaller glass pyramids on either side of the big one, very slick design. but the thing i was most impressed with was the actual building itself. i had no idea what to expect with the louvre but this blew me away. the building had the most intricate arquitecture ever. i can´t even describe how grand this place is.

so beautiful. a fun atmosphere too, tons of people around, tons of languages being spoken, pictures being taken(mainly by asians)(kidding), and so much to look at. we headed down inside the pyramid(you actually do go inside of it and then down) and we were in the main hall of the louvre. ok here´s where my first misconception occurred. thanks to that crappy da vinci code movie, i thought the big pyramid was more like a diamond and the bottom half of the diamond touched points with a much much smaller pyramid right beneath it, just like they show in the last scene of the movie. false. the glass pyramid is just a pyramid. so strike 1 for the movie. we bought tickets and an audioguide(total 15 euros for each of us, not bad in my book) and just started in.

one bad thing about this place. it´s so monumentally huge, there is no good way to organize everything. they´ve got it set up alright, but if it´s your first time, hoo boy it is so confusing. so we tried to figure out where we wanted to go and what we wanted to see but soon decided to just wander and happen onto the big stuff as we went. there is a lot of gorgeous stuff in that museum. sculptures, busts, paintings, arquitecture, drawings, so much more. i took quite a few pictures of things, but after awhile i just stopped cause there is too much. far too much.

again, i think the thing that stuck out more than the actual exhibits is the building itself. such a massive place. and every room is itself this gorgeous work of art, either with murals or incredibly detailed arquitecture or paintings on the ceiling. absolutely gorgeous, every room you walk into.

we walked, and walked, and walked, and eventually us trying to find the venus de milo led us to find the mona lisa. not to burst any bubbles, but i was a bit disappointed. not because it´s not a gorgeous painting, but since it´s by far the most famous thing in the museum, it´s also the most popular. when we walked into the room that holds her, there was a throng of people around it, taking pictures and whathaveyou. the other problem is that you can´t get close to it. they have this wall that keeps everyone like 30 ft. away from her. so you have to fight the crowd and then you´re still that far away. major bummer. and let´s be honest. who hasn´t seen a picture of the mona lisa sometime in their life? i don´t want to be a total art buzzkill, but the pictures are exactly the same as the actual painting. if i could’ve seen her up close, that definitely would’ve been a different story. but as it was, she was a bit of a bummer for me, if only because i couldn´t really see her well.

by this time, we had spent like two and a half or three hours walking around and taking everything in, and the last thing i wanted to see before we left was the venus de milo. we finally found her hidden in this basement area. she´s gorgeous. such a beautiful sculpture, even though she´s missing her arms. there weren´t a lot of people around right when we found her and you can get much closer to her than you can the mona lisa so that was wonderful to see.

so here is where i run into a problem with the lourve. actually not with the louvre, just with this type of art, in general. so many of these works are beautiful pieces, thousands of hours went into their creation, and for what? so i can walk by, take a nice 30 second look at it, mumur “wow…” and then move on to the next. art of the physical kind (paintings, sculpture, etc.) is such a conundrum to me (unlike music or movies or whatever else). i think it’s because i never know how to respond. i feel like i’m doing the artist an injustice if i walk by the venus de milo, stand in awe for a few minutes, snap a few photos and then walk on. there is no real mode of response for the viewer. i like the interpretation aspect of it but it’s so difficult to really feel part of the art, whereas music, movies, whatever, you can sing along/dance along, they aren’t just single moments in time; they involve the viewer so much more in my opinion. so as much as it was incredible to see as much as we did, at times i didn’t know what to do with it all. i’m not gonna change my major to art history anytime soon. i’m sticking with my itunes Top 10 Most Played.

we found our way out and walked down into the tuileries gardens, the big park area that leads away from the louvre. it was filled with a lot of gorgeous sculptures, a few vendors, and lots of people. really really pretty. we were getting hungry though, and it was windy and cold out, so we headed back to a mcdonalds close to the louvre. yes mcdonalds. and it was awesome. i realized something weird there though. since i only know a total of three french phrases, i can’t really say “i would like a small order of friends and a large coke.” and if i get a “no” response to “do you speak english?”, there is literally no way i can communicate with these people. ok here’s the weird thing. i knew i was in france, with a bunch of french-speaking french people, but when i couldn’t think of a word or needed to communicate, my brain always reverted to spanish. i said “vale” (ok) and “si si” (yes yes) to so many french people. kind of cool my brain automatically went back to spanish, but at the same time kind of stupid of it too. if the person can’t speak english, the chances are slim that they’ll be able to speak spanish. but oh well. it is just such a weird feeling, having no means of communication at all. makes me feel really stranded. i hated it. so if i ever go back to paris, i’m learning french for at least 1 year leading up to a trip.

after filling up at the golden arches(TM), we grabbed a bus back to our hostel and ended up falling asleep in our room for about two hours or so. we woke up about nine and didn´t want to waste our time in paris, so we decided to take a walk around. it was quite iffy in our section of town. our hostel was actually in a pretty shifty part of town, so we walked away from there as quick as we could to see what we could see. at one point we ended up deciding to try to find moulin rouge. we found a bus stop, glanced at a map and thought we could find it pretty easily. luckily for us(this will be better explained on Saturday) we could not find it and just ducked into this little side bar with a band playing and had a quick drink. the band was actually pretty sweet; just this little trio and they played some great funk. after that we headed back to our hostel around 11:45 to try and get some good rest before our huge day on saturday.

ok let me talk about hostels for a bit. what a terrible…i don’t even know what to call it. just what a terrible thing i guess. a bunch of strange international people lodge together in small rooms, regardless of gender or nationality or language barrier or anything else. just a dangerous thing! the first night we met our two roommates, a nice girl from croatia, late twenties, who was visiting france for the art. the guy was a dude from italy, couldn’t speak tons of english, but was able to at least say, “george bush. ha ha. sh*t. ha ha.” so he communicated that thought well enough. but for real, in our room there were four beds and a sink and a chair, and that was about all. and the poor girl; if i was her i would’ve spent the extra money to stay by myself in a hotel, for real! what a dangerous situation for a female to be in. obviously blake and i are legitimately nice guys but come on, who knows who this other creep is? i just don’t understand how any girl could do that. anyway. the next night in the hostel was better and worse in it’s own ways, but i’ll save that for the saturday post.

so my initial impression of paris: disappointed. the louvre was a great experience, but everything else was just a bummer overall. being helpless with the language barrier, spending SO much time walking and looking for things we couldn’t find, just a frustrating experience minus the museum. also, i stepped in dog poop.

-jon

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Filed under Spain, Travel

i hope this never happens again.

right now, i am in an internet shop. not a cafe, just a place to go in, pay a little more than a euro per hour, and use the internet. i am here out of necessity. i made a terrible, terrible mistake earlier in the day, and as a result of this error, blake and i are stuck in bilbao seven hours longer than we thought. we had tickets for a bus back to oviedo at 6:30 pm, but we ended up missing it. not because we were late, mind you, but only because we were on the wrong effing side of the bus station. a very small, outdoor bus station, at that. we were waiting at parking space #11, not for bus #11, and now we are in an internet shop killing time. the next possible bus we could take leaves at 1:45 am. what a horrible thing. the worst possible way to end a fun weekend in another foreign country. but blake has been great about it and not derided me about my dumb move, and we are making the most of the sitch.

but a quick recap of the weekend, to be expanded on later. what a crazy trip. thursday night sucked(as will tonight); sleep on these buses is near impossible and so we got(and tonight we will get) very little sleep. friday sucked too. we had to fend for ourselves all day, and even though we saw tons of the louvre, fending for yourself in a country where you can only say “hello”, “excuse me”, and “thank you” is not a good time. saturday was super great. we met up with blake´s old friend rémy from high school, saw so much of the city, completely wore ourselves out. sunday we woke up early, waited for what seemed like forever at the airport, got back to bilbao, visited the guggenheim, missed our bus, and are now side by side at this shop. bum deal.

i just had an idea. i´ve still got an hour and fifteen minutes before this place closes, so i´m gonna split the weekend into three separate posts. one for each day. this serves me twofold*: lets me continue writing until this place closes and ups my blog count. so go read the next post.

-jon

* i don´t think i used “twofold” correctly.

p.s. it´s almost time for this shop to close and i´m not even close to being done with day 1 of the weekend so i will finish it tomorrow and/or as soon as i get around to it. it will come packed with pictures and other great stuff too.

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Filed under Spain, Travel

a few thoughts, courtesy of paris.

1. i miss my sisters.
2. i will never stop playing the piano.
3. i will be bilingual someday.
4. hearing strangers speak english is such an odd comfort.
5. my jury is still out on physical art.

i thought i had more but that´s all i can remember for now. a whole weekend update will be up as soon as i can.

-jon

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Filed under Spain