Posted in 2015 (Europe)

31/08/16: Bonjour, Paris

Day 5 was my last day in Barcelona and I slept in the airport that night, so I spent Day 6 (green) sleeping and basking in the hotel room I was staying in.

Day 7 (green-blue) started at the Eiffel Tower, since I had looked online and Sept 1-2 were the least busy days that I would be there. I also wanted to go in the morning because it would be less crowded, of course. I was amazed at the structure, it was so gorgeous and mostly because I was astounded at the engineering! I wanted to take the stairs up, but the stairs from the ground level to the next floor up were closed, so I had to get the elevator. I’m glad I did, since I got to walk from the toppest level down to the next levels, so I still got to see the views and such from the walk, but going down instead of up.

After the tower, I went on a river cruise; I really enjoyed seeing Paris from a boat on the Seine. I like boats.

After the boat trip, I walked along the Seine to the Musée d’Orsay, which was amazing. It’s housed in a former train station that was built for the World’s Fair and from the clocks in its front face, you can look out and see the Louvre. An old couple told me about the museum when I was visiting London ages ago, so it was cool to go see. That, and the Degas dancers were there. Since I did ballet for 9 years, it was amazing to see the paintings and statues there in person.

Day 8 (light blue) turned into a Museum Expedition day, since I get into the museums for free I wasn’t too worried about getting my “money’s worth” since the money was 0. I started at the Louvre and got a ticket for the audio guide, but decided to start at Musée de l’Orangerie and Musée des Arts Décoratifs before heading back to the Louvre, since they’re smaller and I wouldn’t have to wait in line for any of them with my Irish ID. I was really excited to see the Barbie exhibit at Musé des Arts Décoratifs, since my mom sent me a link to an NPR article about the exhibition.

The exhibition was, honestly, the best one I saw all day! Mostly since the other places I went were museums, not exhibitions. I was surprised and a bit disappointed that the most common complain about Barbie, that her figure is outlandish and impossible, wasn’t addressed (it’s because the clothes when she was first made would literally not stay on her body otherwise), but I loved to see the evolution of Barbie, the diagram of her family and friends, and how they make the choices for new couture Barbie styles.

The highlight of the Louvre, for me, was to see one of Bartolomé Esteban Murillo’s The Young Beggar. I’ve been fascinated with Murillo’s paintings of street kids since I was a kid myself, sparked by three decorative plate-versions of the paintings my grandma had hanging in her dining room. I distinctly remember examining the paintings every time my grandpa put my shoes on, singing “Put Your Shoes on Lucy” since I always, and still, preferred to be barefoot.

My final day (Day 9, dark blue) started at Montmartre, where I saw the Moulin Rouge and the café from Amélie before walking up to Sacré-Cœur. I mostly walked around the streets for the first half of the day before hopping on the subway and heading for Cimetière du Père Lachaise. Just outside the cemetery walls was a little sidewalk market, where I, naturally, bought a new-old camera.

Lumière F:6,8 c1937
One of my fav photos I took of my new camera, but really I’m just trying to figure out what that little metal thing on the base is!

With my new camera in hand, I walked through the cemetery, amazed at what I call the Death Houses.

Of course, I also hunted down Oscar Wilde’s resting place, but I found the Death Houses to be cooler. From the cemetery, I went and sat at the base of the Eiffel Tower, waiting for the light show when the lights turned on. Once the Eiffel Tower lights came on, I walked back towards the Louvre to head back to the hotel and grab my suitcase before heading to the hostel I was staying in before going to the airport the next morning.

All I’m going to say about my airport experience is that Beauvais airport is the worst airport I have ever been to in my life, and I have been to a lot of airports.

And that’s the end of my trip! You can find all of my photos at my Eurotrip 2016 Flickr album and below is a map of where I went!

 

Posted in 2015 (Europe), Blog

30/08/16: Adíos, Barcelona

The weather has cooled and it’s raining. It’s been hot the past few days and I’ve spent most of them outside, walking the streets of Barcelona, so the light breeze that comes through the open door is nice.

When I first arrived, I didn’t have plans for much, I just knew that I wanted to go to the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya and that I wanted to get my feet wet. Day 1 (red) was spent getting acclimated to the heat, getting food since Alex’s fridge was almost completely empty, and figuring out what else I wanted to see and the best way to do it. I ended up going to the supermarket up the street from Alex’s apartment twice and I used my (limited) Spanish to find whole milk and sandwich bags. It was at that supermarket that I discovered I can’t read Catalan. I also needed to buy sunscreen, since I didn’t bring enough with me, and the pharmacy was right by the water, so I took a walk along the beach. While researching, I found info that some of the museums were free after three on Sundays and the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya was free after three on Saturdays, which was the following day.

My days all pretty much started off the same, I would get up around 10am (I’m on holiday and Ireland is an hour behind), have a bowl of cereal and a cup of chai, get my things together and slather on a layer of sunscreen, then walk along the beach to Montgat Nord train station. Saturday (Day 2, orange), I got off at the Arc de Triomf station, which was the first Barcelona station on the R1. I walked through the nearby park before heading to La Central bookstore to pick up a Catalan edition of Harry Potter, then to Plaça de Catalunya to eat my sandwich before making my way up up up to the museum. It was a hike, but it was gorgeous and worth it when I finally made it. The art in the museum was absolutely gorgeous and apparently I was also near the olympic stadium, which I discovered later when I was looking at a map and because I found the Font Magica.

Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya, Barcelona, Spain

Sunday (Day 3, yellow-orange) a lot of the museums were free after 3pm, so I started at Plaça de Catalunya again and this time walked down La Rambla towards the water. At the end of the big walking street was a huge monument to Christopher Columbus, the Mirador de Colom, but I kept meandering past him along the water, admiring my proximity to it. I love to be near/on water but not necessarily in water. So I like to be on piers and boats and the like. Once it was close enough to 3pm, I made my way to Museu Frederic Marès, which I thought was going to be like Ed’s Museum in Wykoff, MN based on its description, but instead it was a bunch of creepy wooden religious statues. A lot of versions of the same statue of Jesus on the crucifix and Mary and Jesus. There were four floors, but I left after three…

Museu Frederic Marès, Barcelona, Spain

From there, I went the Picasso Museum because it was also free but the line was way too long and I knew I would see something of Picasso’s again. Instead, I went to the Museu d’Història de Barcelona, which had a cool underground archaeology area that was the old city that they built the new one on top of. The coolest thing, though, was part of their temporary exhibit:

Museu d'Història de Barcelona, Barcelona, Spain
Her skull had been trepanned THREE TIMES.

At the end of the day, I had a ticket to the Palau de la Música Catalana tour and miniconcert and, honestly, you just have to look through the photos of this one. It was absolutely gorgeous. The detail work in every part of the theatre was incredible and the sun skylight/chandelier in the middle was amazing.

Palau de la Música Catalana, Barcelona, Spain

Monday (Day 4, yellow), I started back at Plaça de Catalunya and went down La Rambla again, this time because I was heading to the Oficina de Correos. At the Mirador de Colom, I wondered which way he pointed.

I was MONUMENTALLY disappointed that it wasn’t towards America or even India. After that disappointment, I got my stamps, went to a café called Clandestina, and finished writing/stamping my post cards.

My last day in Barcelona (Day 5, green) I spent at Platja Montgat. I had to pack and plan for Paris and finish writing my post cards before I left, plus I was spending the night in the airport…

You can find all of my photos at my Eurotrip 2016 Flickr album and below is a map of where I went!