Back to the City of Symphonies

This morning I did not have to wake up until 10:00 AM, which was absolutely amazing and incredibly needed. When I was finally woken up I got ready for the day and packed up my duffle bag to head back to London. On our walk to the metro station we stopped at a place where I could get a crepe because if you’re going to go to Paris you HAVE to get a crepe. It was really good, but I think I may have inhaled it slightly too fast.

The ride to the train station was relatively painless and after getting a Chai latte from Starbucks I went up the escalator to check into the train. When the train departed I ended up getting two seats all to myself, even after switching with a couple who wanted to be sitting closer to their four rambunctious children. The train ride was great as I was able to do more of my Bible studies and blog a little bit.

Soon enough we arrived back into St. Pancras International train station and I hopped on a bus and headed back to the hotel as quickly as possible. When I got back to my room it was about 2:30 PM and I had one billion things to do and not enough time. I did some of my laundry because I was running out of clean clothes and then after leaving that out to dry I grabbed my bags and headed to church because I desperately needed to de-stress. I also stopped and grabbed lunch at the Pomme De Pain cafe where I scarfed down a cheese, bacon, and tomato sandwich with a raspberry-apple juice.

Church at Hillsong was once again amazing as people from all over Europe came together to praise the same God. I am pretty sure the guy next to be became a believer at the end of the service, so that was super cool, he just had a different way about him when we were leaving than when we first arrived. The message was talking about how we ARE strong because the joy of the Lord is our strength and just broke down exactly what that meant. It was a great service and I was excited to go back one last time next weekend before leaving the following Wednesday morning.

After church I had twenty minutes at the hotel to try to get more of what I needed done, but I was not as successful as I would have liked to have been. That’s okay though, because I know it will all get done as long as I prioritize and stay focused. The concert tonight was at the Royal Festival Hall and we were seeing the Philharmonia Orchestra, who were incredible. I finally felt myself starting to understand the pieces more now and I was able to stay focused for all of the thirty-minute Mozart piece and about forty-five minutes of the hour long Brukner piece.

Following the concert our professor actually was able to get us to go backstage and meet conductor Andris Nelsons, who is actually currently with the Boston Symphony Orchestra over on our side of the pond. We got our picture taken and it was a really awesome opportunity that we received just because we asked.

After getting back to the hotel around 10:30 PM I did absolutely nothing for about two hours before finally going to bed and preparing for class the following day.

Climbing the Eiffel Tower with Mickey

Waking up this morning was incredibly difficult because of the lack of sleep I got the night before. I just ate a croissant that my aunt brought my for breakfast and then got dressed and packed my purse for the day. We headed out onto the metro to go over to our tour that started out of their office that was near the Louvre.

Our tour began at 9:30 AM with a walk over to the Louvre. I’m not really into art, but our tour guide did a great job of giving us a taste of the artwork shown without boring us all to death. We got to see the Mona Lisa as well as a variety of other works and statues. The pyramids that distinguished the Louvre were really interesting to look at and I really enjoyed seeing them from various different angles. After about an hour and a half at the Lourve we left.

The next stop was going to lunch at the Eiffel tower, but we had a boat ride down the Seine River to get there. The views were amazing, but I ended up seeing about 80% of the boat ride through my eyelids because I probably wouldn’t make it through the day without at least a couple of cat naps. When we arrived I looked up the Eiffel tower and it really was an architecturally amazing with its supports and it’s bronze color. The line was long and the air was cold, but luckily we got to go in the express line to get our food. I just kept telling myself that waiting in line now was practice for Disney later that day. Our lunch took place on the first platform of the tower where I had dessert first (I like Paris!!) which was a panna cotta with some mango-passionfruit mix inside of it followed by pasta with Halibut fish in it. It was really good and when we had finish eating and warming up we ventured back into the cold. We looked out over the city and then headed down to the bottom to try to walk a ways away and get a good picture. The steps down to the bottom were kind of terrifying the way they were set up, but it was cool to look at the supports of the tower and see the views on the way down. After getting a couple of good pictures, we headed back to the boat to meet up with our tour guide.

After another boat ride back the way we came we ended up at Notre Dame Cathedral. The inside of the cathedral was stunning with all of the colors in the stained glass  windows and the amazing architecture. Around 4:00 PM, although the tour wasn’t over, Aunt Nik and I gave our bags to Uncle Steve and then headed towards the metro because it was at least an hour trip to Disney and they closed at 8:00 PM.

The trip there was eventful. When we got to the metro we opted to not buy tickets out to Disney quite yet because there was a long line and we figured we could buy them at the transfer station. We were wrong and ended up actually going through our next ticket check- that our old tickets allowed us to get through- before finding a place to buy tickets for the next leg. Since there wasn’t much else to do we decided to just keep going and hope for the best. The forty minute metro ride flew by because I was asleep for almost all of it (second cat nap of the day). Alas, there was no ticket booth on our side at the next metro stop either so we stood there not knowing what to do. Hopefully the Paris metro police doesn’t read my blog, because the next thing we did was just run behind the handicap doors behind a woman with a stroller. Either way, we got out and we made it to Disney.

Disney World Paris was kind of a let down. We were only there for about an hour and a half and it was absolutely freezing, so that probably took away from the whole vibe, but still. There were fewer rides and just fewer buildings set up in an already smaller space. One of the things I noticed was that there wasn’t a gift shop after every single ride, which was kind of upsetting because I couldn’t easily find a bunch of souvenirs for one character. We ended up going on the Ratatouille Ride (typical “4-D” experience ride, but it was actually in all English), followed by Rock n’ Rollercoaster (VERY similar to Florida’s), and ending with Crush’s Coaster (my favorite and not just because it was Nemo)!

Next came the shopping!

That was also a let-down. There was four Disney themed store and a Lego store, but the selections were not as good as Disney and everything was not as well-organized. I ended up finding everything I wanted to get for people, but it was not as easy as I had expected it to be. The Disney Gallery store was probably the coolest of the night and there I was able to find some really interesting prints. I ended up buying one that was part of a Disney city Mickey collection that I cannot seem to find the actual name of on Google.

When we finally finished shopping we were going to get dinner somewhere in the Disney Village, but it was already 9:00 PM and all of the lines were out the door. We decided to just go back- with actual, purchased tickets this time- and get tacos from the place around the corner from our hotel. The tacos were not your normal tacos, but they were absolutely delicious and although the place looked like a shack, it was absolutely packed. We brought our tacos back to the room and ate them there before going to sleep.

A Train to Paris

This morning I woke up and packed for my trip to Paris before heading downstairs to get breakfast before class. I once again had my usual breakfast and then walked the two doors down to our classroom. Our class began with a lecture on the five major symphonies of London and just a brief history on each of them. After a short five-minute break, we continued and continued our lecture on key film composers in the Horror movie genre. Fun fact: I HATE horror films. And not like a normal, “Yeah, I’d rather not watch them,” but like a pure hatred to the point that if someone’s talking about one I will get up and leave the room. The lecture was going pretty well I hadn’t had a total meltdown until my professor goes, “Okay, now we’re going to do an audio-visual guide of the shower scene of Psycho.” I started to panic, but did my best to keep my composure. I handled it relatively well although my guide was definitely lacking considering I couldn’t look at the screen for more than five minutes at a time. Overall though it was relatively painless.

When I got back to the hotel room I kind of started freaking out. There was less than two weeks left in the class and in that time we had two more movie analysis papers, three concert reviews, a research paper draft and final, as well as an exam. It almost felt as though we did nothing for the first two and a half weeks of class and then in the last week and a half my professor was going to cram in everything. I finished packing and then instead of breaking down, Peter happened to wake-up early so I FaceTimed him instead until it was time for me to go to the train station.

The train ride was great. I love traveling by myself, I find it so peaceful and relaxing. I did not have wi-fi so I was not able to get any homework done, but I was able to do my Bible Study which was something I had really been missing. I’m still reading in the book of Genesis and if I want to get through the Bible in the next decade I probably need to pick up the pace. Soon enough we were pulling into the station in the Paris and I departed the train to try to find Aunt Nik.

When I found her we headed down to the metro where we were basically herded onto the crowded train. Let’s just say it was so crowded I didn’t worry about holding on whenever we started moving just because the sheer volume of people pressed together. My duffel bag was somewhere and although I could feel the strap around my neck, I couldn’t tell you where it ended up. When we got off the metro we headed to the hotel to put my stuff down before going out to the dinner. On the way to the hotel I passed the nicest Pizza Hut I have ever seen. It literally looked like a nice restaurant at first glance, but alas it was a Pizza Hut.

Once we finally were ready to go to dinner we just started walking around the section of Paris we were in. We ended up some fancy diner place that was relatively close to our hotel. I ordered a ham and cheese omelet that was incredibly delicious and got creme brulee for dessert that was almost the size of my omelet. Aunt Nik ordered possibly the best ravioli I have ever tasted and then got a Vanilla Chaud to drink with her dessert that was like a combination between a Chai Latte and Hot Chocolate.

I was exhausted when I got back to the hotel and it was already past 9:00 PM because everyone in Paris likes to go out to eat late and then stay out for hours taking their time talking and sipping their wine. I talked to Peter for a bit and then decided to shower before calling him back so that when we were done I could just pass out. I went into the bathroom, turned on the shower, shut the door, and then froze. The horrors of the shower scene from Psycho came back into my head. I considered not showering at all, but instead opted to call my mom and talk to her on the phone while I got one of the quickest showers of my life to avoid being stabbed to death. I talked to Peter for a while longer and then hung up with the intentions of going to sleep.

Sadly that did not work out the way I wanted. Despite being cold when I first got ready for bed within an hour I was sweating and could not sleep. I can’t sleep when I get hot because then I get claustrophobic. I was up until almost 4:00 AM tossing and turning, not getting more than like ten minutes at a time. Finally the exhaustion outweighed the heat and I was able to fall asleep.