July 31, 2009
Everywhere I went in Europe from the day trip I took to Windsor Castle and watched families enjoying the water on the Thames near Eton- to Lake Kontanz in Germany, water offered enjoyment for the Europeans in the summer. Unlike where I live in Florida where it is basically summer ever day, the Brits, the Parisians, and the Germans were celebrating summer. I saw them order ice cream or gelato every day. Stores are generally not open on Sunday's, so instead of fitting in Walmart shopping and getting the oil changed in the car, they are relaxing as a family.
I rode on severals ferries, as those on the Mississippi in America--- Water flowing down the mountain near Fussen, the home of Ludwig's castle- the prototype for Walt Disney for Disney World in Orlando. Monet's home offered the quiet of the stream with bird calls in the background.
Even though I chose a Jazz tune from Creative Commons, I wanted to hear the rush of the water in the background, the children laughing, and the water splashing to the ground.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 5:15 PM
July 13, 2009
It is hard to imagine the courtyard of the Versailles crowded with gawkers, vendors, and wanna bes... and yet there are so many instances of us as Americans doing almost the same thing. In Hollywood, in New York City and via the Inquirer, the habits continue. The amount of time and preplanning to create the magnificence of the Versailles Palace is overwhelming to me. I can't get a grip on that. Then when you add the amount of money and time in creation, it definitely does need to be still enjoyed by many people world wide. The gilded walls, furniture, and accoutrements was really pretty phenomenal.
As many others stated, the crowdedness of the summer throng made it very hard to enjoy. I have lots of pictures of ceilings and upper walls.
After returning to Paris, I instant messaged one of my former students on Facebook. She gave me hints of places that would be open on Sunday. So I left our District 4 and travelled across the Road to District 3- to discover the free Museum, Cartelet- a family park named Louis XIII, an opera miming transvestite performer and a shop where Claudio sold vintage clothing and shoes dating back to the 1930's. I would love to have gone upstairs to look at 1930's dresses, but acknowledged that 500 to 1000 Euros was not in my budget, so settled for conversation instead. My wanderings in that neighborhood were so much fun!
Then on the way home I ran into Nate, Stephanie, Michele and Joanna on their way back. I saw the poster advertisements for movies and could not resist making this my picture to post with this post.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 9:29 PM
July 12, 2009
Laurie and I shared breakfast in the dining room and then were off to Giverny. She knew so much about Claude Monet that I loved listening. Everyone on the train, and on the buses spoke in muted voices and it helped to create a quiet, graceful day.
What a nice change from the metropolitan city of Paris. I could very comfortably live in that town and ride the train to Paris for shopping, culture and diversity. We could have easily needed a new media card just for the pictures. The gardens are beyond breathtaking. Even at the turn of the last century, that home was built with windows on all rooms facing the gardens and pond. The aura in the home made it possible for me to imagine Claude entertaining friends on a joyous happy evening.
The kitchen made with artificial products would pale in comparison to the cobalt blue tiles that completely covered the walls.
For all of you cookers out there, the stove would make you yearn to create an omelet or cup of tea on the unique pot warmer with spigot- not forgetting a rising pumpkin bread to accompany a latte.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 9:45 PM
As I said on Facebook, Carolyn and I spent the day in the Louvre. We first made a mission of finding the sculptures and accomplishing the task of the day, and then we headed off to paintings, of which there are a few in the museum. The various rooms as well as the numbering of -1, 0 and 1 helped to throw us off in our Compass directions.
We each liked such different art that it made the day very interesting to get a different point of view. And then of course we constantly had the dreaded mistake hanging over us that we might "ignite" the flash on our camera unintentionally. We could not read the captions in French, so that helped to speed us along for the 5 1/2 hours, but limited our understanding, so we would create the annotated description ourselves. LOL The only other place very near to there that I would have liked to have seen again was the d'Orcy Musee, but you can't do it all.
The crowds at the Museum were not bad, and that contributed to the enjoyment. My principals' administrative assistant gave me money to buy her a scarf...so I bought the first one in an Indian Shop in Salisbury. In the Louvre shop I bought a silk scarve packaged elegantly and labeled and now I have spent the entire sum of money and when I can get photos to upload I will send you the picture of them. Very pretty.
If I lived here, I would often go on a rainy day say like on Winter Break as a teacher and be able to once again stroll leisurely.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 9:11 PM
July 10, 2009
After the nice visit to the British Library, we headed back to the Study Center to retrieve our luggage and head to the International EuroChunnel to France. Compared to so many things in England that date back to what seems like the dawn of time, as opposed to America, the library in London seems almost anachronistic....but to draw today's digital natives, we surely can not have the musty smell of old books, or the scuffle of brown and orange carpet. So after sipping on tea and munching on freshly warmed cranberry muffins, the patrons can wisk their new acquisitions into a specially marked clear (of course) plastic bag from portage to their next stop- even if it is the Apple Store.
I took lots of pictures of the countryside of France while I personally listened to an audio book on my ITouch that I downloaded in Ft. Lauderdale from the Broward Public Library site with OverDrive.
The trip to the Eiffel Tower was a marvelous as the first time I went. However, that time I went in the morning and this time Darkness set in at the early hour of ten PM. All of my new found skills on my camera keep coming in handy as I explore settings and options. I would have left it on the red box for "Auto" my whole life, if I had had my way. I have pictures from all four compass directions- nord, sud, etc. And I must seem like the person to ask to take your picture, as last night 8 families or people asked me to take their picture....and then as we left the last steps one of the young men in the grey suit offered to take my picture without me asking...what a nice surprise!!!
I am hoping to load the picture of the Gendarm catching the Eiffel Tower Key Chain Selling Bad Guy , if the internet will allow me.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 10:57 PM
July 8, 2009
As we walked around Hyde Park today, I predominantly used my Flip camera. I am trying to learn how to use it and hoping I will have some time on the Internet in our room in Paris to see if any of my filmings have turned out. Since the park was originally set aside by Henry VIII, I find it almost unbelievable that it is still preserved for the beauty of the city and has not been made into high rise buildings. For whatever reason that happened(that will be another thing for me to look up when I have time), it is very good.
The variety of flora and fauna in the park boggles the mind. The animal life is drawn to the deliberate plantings partially I am sure, but also to the areas that are left to fallow. I did not see Eucalyptus today, but it was planted at Windsor Palace and I saw it in the gardens yesterday.
I went to Harrod's mostly to say that I had. I looked at things I could never afford, just so I have an idea of what must be in the homes of people who are wealthy. A young man in the silver settings section and Lladro Porcelain asked me if he could help me and I replied...."Oh, I am just looking, I am a teacher and on my salary I have to just look, but it is so beautiful to look at..." And he replied, " Yes, madam, I am sure it is." People are so polite here to me and that is very pleasant.
Now it is late and we are still packing...off to Paris during tomorrow!!!
Last night I had the pleasure of being with a Blue Badge guide and 18 other of FSU's Study Center Students, when we saw remains of the Roman Wall while learning about Jack the Ripper!!!
Posted by Connie Hardy at 11:26 PM
July 7, 2009
Merle had the most delicious looking chocolate croissant the other morning, that I decided that I had to have one. So this morning I went to the Small restaurant on Bloomsbury, and I should have been buying my coffee there as it is 50 p. cheaper than where I have been going. Did not get the croissant, but instead I chose a granola type bar TOTALLY COVERED WITH CHOCOLATE. I had it with my lunch and Merle it rocked. Thanks.
The audio tour definitely helped with the knowledge of the Castle. Carolyn and I went to the Religious Tapestry showing where they lit up the gold and silver threads of this one of eleven religious tapestries King Henry had commissioned.
The technology to do so had taken them 5 years to develop so it would show in a darkened room, because over the years the gold and silver threads had tarnished and would have appeared blackened to the guests. Queen Elizabeth liked it so much that she had it moved as she travelled. The huge wall covering tapestry took less time to make by an all man team from Brussels who spent two years, than the technology took to show it. The tapestry is over 500 years old and the technology to view it will be ancient in six months to one year. Situational irony right?
Carolyn and I had fun in the kitchen before we left also Dillan. The pretend "Boiling Soup" and the "Chopping of the knives were quite realistic.
Posted by Connie Hardy at 5:28 PM