(HI AUNTIE M :) :) )
Soooo, I realize it's been about 8 years since I updated everyone. Sorry about that, but unfortunately, this is the best I can do for now. I went on Spring Break, then Paden was here :), and now my parents are here. Then the week they leave I have a test, a speech, and a presentation, then I will be traveling. But hopefully I'll get a good update in there somewhere... But I'm still in Paris! And it's still awesome! The semester has flown by though! I only have a little more than 6 weeks left!
Welcome to the Loire Valley! A group of people took a day trip to see Chenenceau Chateau and Leonardo Da Vinci's house. We had to meet at 7:45, early for a bunch of 20-22 year olds that haven't woken up that early since they pulled themselves out of bed every morning in High School. The bus ride was about 3 hours, so there wasn't much talking on the way there. Our bus was awesome too! When we went to Normandy we ended up with this really sketch bus with two drivers who didn't even know where they were going. I'm sure we got lost a couple of times, but that's a different story. THIS bus was the batman bus. It was all black and when you stepped into it you saw smooth black leather and chrome. There was even a button you could push for coffee (we didn't pay for that option though, so there was no coffee involved). The point being- it was a cool bus. We called her Harmony.
Oh ya know, just Leo's backyard. Or part of it. This was just the view from the back of his Chateau that François I gave him. He also received the same amount as a prince each year (700 units of whatever currency). This was the coolest part of the whole place, it had his inventions scattered throughout and you could play with them too! But the grounds go on forever. There's a couple ponds and some bridges and a movie theater back there too. It looks a lot like the setting of the movie Ever After too, but maybe I just thought that because Da Vinci was in it... The actual chateau (which was behind me when I took this photo) was quite disappointing. Nothing looked original and there was a bunch of random stuff that was really out of place in it. And you weren't allowed to take pictures! I took some anyway, but they aren't very good. My favorite part was the blown up photo copy of the Vitruvian man... it was pretty tacky.
This is a house that is built into a hill in the city of Amboise (where Da Vinci's place is). It was really really neat, this is just one of a few that we saw on the way to Da Vinci's. You can even see the chimney coming out of the top! It'd be awesome to live in a house like this. Amboise is a really cute little town too. After we went to Da Vinci's we were going to go to the Chateau of Amboise, but we got there and found that it was 8€. Everyone agreed that was a little too much to see a chateau (I mean, once you've seen one you've seen 'em all... right...?). So instead we went to a little café and got some hot wine since it was about 3 degrees outside. It was pretty good, it might have to become an alternative to hot cider at Christmas time. Once I'm 21 of course.
This is at Chateau Chenenceau (there's a picture at the bottom) in the gardens. There was a cool maze (like Harry Potter) with a gazebo in the middle of it. When the Navions took the family to Chenenceau we got some good pictures here! The vines actually had flowers on them then though. But I bet you're wondering why we're holding up L's-or at least why some of us are haha. We had a race (boy against girls, there was only one boy) to see who could get to the middle fastest. And we lost. The boy took a victory picture, so we had to take a non-victory picture I guess.
This was a day full of Harry Potter references. If you will notice this tree is a miniature version of the Whomping Willow in Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban. And if you further examine the photo you will see that I am, indeed, holding a wand and taming the vicious tree, just like in the book (but not the movie). Yes, I realize the implications of this picture, but I took it for my friend Maddy Johnson who is also a Harry Potter aficionado. So hopefully she reads this.
Et voilà, le chateau de Chenenceau. I'm pretty sure Catie doesn't read this, but she says this is her favorite chateau. It was kind of a cold, gray day, and it was under construction, but it's still a very cool chateau! It's famous because it spans the Loire. Henry and Catherine lived here (don't ask me which ones...) and on the inside there are decorations that have an H and a C overlaying each other. And when you do that there are two D's that are formed. Well, Henry had a mistress named Diane, and Catherine couldn't deal with that so she either didn't live here anymore, or she had most of them removed... I don't really remember, as Mom told me this like 3 years ago in passing. So it's also possible that I made most of that up, but it's still a cool story!
But this is definitely a true story: the second level on the left is a long gallery, and during World War I it was used as a hospital for wounded soldiers. I know that one's right!
Well, I hope you enjoyed your petit tour of the Loire, there are about a million and five more chateaus to see, but that's for another time. I should probably go write my speech I have this Thursday or something now...
Oh. and PADEN comes in less than 2 weeks. And Spring Break starts Friday. And after Paden is here my parents come. And then it's APRIL! And I go to Florence and Germany and then it's May... where has this semester gone!?!?
À tout à l'heure!
So, I have an accounting test tomorrow, so obviously the responsible thing to do would be to update my blog... :) Welcome to my adventures to London! I went to visit my friend Alexa (who is from my school and she is studying in London this semester!). It's a long one, so hang in there!
Upon arriving at Victoria's station in the City of Westminster I found, as I had expected, that Alexa was not there. There was a major highway closed due to an accident, so the bus was about 30 minutes late. So I went into the Subway at Victoria's station and asked the guy who worked there if he knew where her street was and showed him the address. He proceeded to print out a blank receipt and say... oh well, it's in the same zip code and then asked me if I was Australian. Thank you Subway man. Needless to say, I left subway and decided to just start walking somewhere in hopes of just running into Alexa and eventually just getting a cab. And as I was walking down the ramp to Victoria's street I saw a pair of familiar shoes peeking out from behind a sign and knew I'd found Alexa. And the walk to her apartment was super quick, a cabbie would have been like... I'll give you directions for a pound haha. Then we went to her apartment and I ate the best chicken sandwich I've ever had.
The London Eye... We thought about going up in it for a minute, but then we remembered we are poor college kids... but it's still fun to look at! This is the day we walked alllll over the place! We walked from Oxford Circus back to Alexa's apartment (which is in the general proximity of Victoria's Station).
This night we also went to Picadilly to scope out the plays :) We were going to get some icecream at a British place, but it was like 4£ for a tiny scoop. And, keeping with the poor college kid motif, we decided not to get that and tried Ben and Jerry's. Unfortunately it was closed, and even more unfortunately, we ended up at McDonald's and with not only McFlurries, but also a cheeseburger and fries. It's a moment of shame and weakness and that's all I'm going to say on the matter. The only reason I brought it up was to tell you about the creepo that sat down next to me. He was a short little Indian man and asked if anyone was sitting in the seat next to me, and when I said no he asked me where I was from. I hesitated for a moment and said, "Washington DC." To which he responded, "Ahhh, the big apple!" I was just like... sure... and he asked me a few more questions to which I gave the most ambiguous answers possible and then got up and left to go find Alexa who was buying our McFlurries. I am convinced I made some wise decisions and avoided a life of human trafficking. But that's just what I think. After that Miss Alexa and I asked a police officer where Covent Garden was and walked through China town to get there. The Chinese New Year was the week before and all of the decorations were still up. It was pretty neat! I love Chinatown! (Oh and for those of you who are wondering- My friend Emily is from DC and whenever people ask us where we're from when we're out she always says DC and people are like, "Oh okay, cool." Then I say I'm from Missouri and they look at me like I said I'm from the third moon or Venus. So I just say I'm from DC too. So that was the first place that came to mind :)
Diagon Alley!! Nuff said... (Maddy Johnson)
A nice man in the tube station took this picture of Alexa and me before hittin' up Picadilly Circus! It was bizarre being in the tube and hearing people speak English. I was reveling in the English! This was the night we split a 2 liter of cider. That's a lot of liquid for two girlish bellies! (Don't worry mom, it was pretty much soda, promise!)
And lastly, a picture of an English bus. :) Speaking of buses, when I first got to the airport I went to find my bus and while we were driving to the city I got really confused at the first turn. The cars weren't on the wrong side of the road... I was on the left side of the bus, and as I was looking out the window I saw cars approaching and passing just like they should. It took me a minute to realize that it was reflective and the cars I was seeing were, in fact, on the other side of the road. Just as they should be. Then when I was looking out the window on the other side of the bus I got nervous when we were going around the first turn and there was a bus in our lane! :)
In summation, I shall relate to you the worst morning of my life. I got up at 3:30-I had planned to get up at 3 (in the morning) to catch the 4:00 bus to the airport. Well, luckily it got really hot right about 3:30 and I woke up to take off my blankets. I looked at my phone, saw I was late and dashed to get ready as quietly as I could so as not to wake up the apartment full of 5 sleeping teenage girls. I got ready and woke up Alexa to tell her bye and ask how to get to the station and then rushed out the door. When I got to the bus I got on and was feeling good since I didn't miss it. But then I looked in my little wristlet that I carry around now and I was suddenly filled to the brim with dread- my key and metro pass were not in there. I remembered I had taken them out so I wouldn't lose them when we went to Picadilly. I also remembered that I didn't put them back. Well, the bus was leaving in three minutes and if I missed this one I would be late to my flight and then I wouldn't be home in time for class and there would be all sorts of problems. So, although my keys were only a few minutes away I couldn't go back and get them. Uncharacteristically I started crying right there on the EasyBus. It was a combination of leaving the best friend, having to go back to a non-English speaking country, it being 4 in the morning, and not being able to get into my apartment when I got back that made me do it I guess. But there I was, crying on the bus. Luckily it was still dark out and I'm a quiet crier. Anyway. After a while I started to calm down a little. I could just have Alexa send my keys and, as it was March now, my monthly metro pass was expired, so I could just get a new one. So I got on the plane smoothly and then 3 minutes before take off my passport was just missing. I was so baffled! I had to have it to get on the plane, I had it 2 minutes before when I took my boarding pass out to show to the flight attendant. But I looked through my bag, my jacket, even asked the people behind me to check to see if it was on the floor. But it was gone. I told Phillip, the flight attendant, and he was very nice and asked one of the ground crew to go see if I had dropped it. I went back to my seat to look again. So, they were about to kick me off the flight just when I spotted it. It had fallen in between my seat and the my neighbor's who was totally oblivious to the situation and was reading his magazine with his little girlfriend. So that crisis was averted. Then, a bus, a plane, and a couple of trains later I got home and the landlord let me into my apartment. I got on facebook and sent Alexa an urgent message :) asking her to please send my keys overnight (it costs 100€ to replace a key here for some reason unbeknownst to me). She agreed, and went to look but couldn't find them and asked where I thought they were. I thought about it and thought two things simultaneously: the dresser and my purse. Then I knew where they were. I had put my keys and my metro pass in my purse so that I wouldn't lose them when we went to Picadilly. All this happened before 10 am. What have I learned? I'm not exactly sure, but maybe I grew up a little bit more somehow.
And so, if you have stuck with me until the end I salute you :) And thanks for reading! Sorry it was so long, I just had a lot to say!
I even had to take a break. I did some (by some I mean very little) studying and some talking to Paden in between anecdotes.
Now go have a drink! And be happy all that nonsense didn't happen to you!
À tout à l'heure!