Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Paris, Je T'aime

After wandering through the Louvre, visiting Mona Lisa, and spectating the Winged Victory, we spent a little time getting lost in a maze a the Louvre. I wore a simple Periwinkle dress perfect for wandering around the city and strolling the Champs Elysee. 

Louis XIV

Saturday, October 12, 2013

La Vie En Rose

I was feeling pretty in pink as we explored the city of Paris, ascended up the Tour Eiffel, and enjoyed some champagne with all of the beautiful city below us.  

Quand il me prend dans ses bras 
Il me parle tout bas
Je vois la vie en rose

Bon Nuit, Paris!

We arrived at Paris at about 11 o'clock pm, and about an hour away from our hotel. The information desk at the airport told us that the RER, Paris' underground train, was closed, and the the only other option was a bus, which was apparently not safe at that time of night for two girls traveling alone. We would have to take a taxi which would likely cost us anywhere from 80-100 euros. 

Without any other choice, we talked with the taxi driver, and I asked him, "Combien pour aller a Montparnasse Daguerre?" (How much to go to Montaparnasse Daguerre?) His response was "Autour de quatre-vingt euros" (Around eighty euros).  I told him, "J'ai soixante euros" (I have sixty euros) and we began to walk away before he stopped us and agreed to take us for that amount. 

During our ride, with my little knowledge of French, and his little knowledge of English, we were able to communicate as he told me about Paris, and explained Paris' highway, the Boulevard Périphérique, or "Le Périph" as the Parisians call it, which wraps around all of Paris.

He asked me questions like how long we were staying and wondered if we wanted a tour of Paris, free of charge. We agreed, and he took us to the "Tour Eiffel," which he explained lights up in sparkling lights every hour, the Louvre, Notre Dame, and showed us Le Sienne which he said offers hop-on-hop-off tours to all the major cites in Paris for about 15-18 euros, depending on whether you want a day pass or two-day pass. All in all, it was a very informative and pleasurable experience, and our driver was nice enough to give us a great tour. I realized knowing a little french, goes a long way in Paris. Whenever we were lost I would simply ask, "Pardon, ou est la rue....?" (Excuse me, where is the street...?") and Parisians would go out of there way to help us! They were so nice and helpful! One man even asked us, "Vous êtes perdu?" (Are you lost?) and went out of his way to show us were to go. I was so grateful for their kindness and help.

Here are some pictures from our first night in Paris. The Eiffel tower was even more spectacular than I imagined it, and watching it light up in sparkling lights as we stood with our new Parisian friend on a bridge overlooking the Sienne was a wonderful feeling I will never forget.
Bon nuit, Paris!

GETTING AROUND: When  it comes to getting around Paris, you can take the RER, the underground metro/train station, or the Sienne river hop-on-hop-off tour, or you can walk. My recommendation would be to take the Sienne, as navigating through the RER could sometimes be confusing. Not to mention, with the passes for the Sienne, you get to be out in the sunlight as opposed to underground, and you save your feet a lot of walking time!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Saint Peters Basilica, Rome

The Vatican City and Saint Peter’s Basilica are even more spectacular than pictures depict it to be. Upon entering the Basilica, golden beams of light shine through the top windows of the apse casting their light upon 
Bernini’s bronze-sculpted, baroque-style canopy, or baldachin. As I marvel at the magnificent splendor of such beautifully sculpted artwork--Solomonic columns adorned with golden Cherubim, a bright golden altar, and all above me, gold coffered ceilings--the choir begins to sing in a melodious harmony that could best be described as angelic--maybe even otherworldly. 

The text around the drum of the dome reads: "Tu es Petrus et super hanc petram aedificabo ecclesiam mean et tibi dabo claves regni caelorum" meaning, "You are 'Rock' and on this rock I will build my Church, to you I will give the keys of the kingdom of heaven." (Mt 16:18).

"Quodcumque ligaveris super terram, erit ligatum et in coelis. Et quodcumque solveris super terram erit solutum et in coelis" is a continuation of the words written on the drum and translates to: "I will give unto thee the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

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