Jaclyn says harp Monday, Jul 13 2009 

Monday morning started way earlier than any morning in Prague did. The breakfast here at Snoozles (our hostel in Galway) is much earlier and shorter so that encourages early rising. We ate our breakfast and then just set out on foot to explore the city.

Galway is very friendly and adorable and I am totally in love with it. We just wandered down the same little streets where we ate dinner on Sunday when we got in and this time we were able to explore the shops more because they were all open for business. On our adventures we saw lots of traditional restaurants and shops, including several specializing in yarn and knitted goods. I was, of course, in heaven. I hadn’t planned on getting anything on this trip but when I saw the homespun yarn and the amazing price that it was at I was sold. It’s beautiful and warm and I can’t wait to work with it! For lunch we wandered along the riverside and found a really nice little tea/coffee cafe. The food was delicious and the atmosphere was just so cozy, it really made me miss Columbia and my coffee houses. Everything was so bright and welcoming, our table was the perfect still-life, I think I took a million photos of it.

The girls' cranberry tea in the bright red tea kettle.

The girls' cranberry tea in the bright red tea kettle.

My coffee and the shiny tea kettle again.

My coffee and the shiny tea kettle again.

The amazing tomato/red pepper soup and the tea kettle. Our table looked like it jumped out of an 18th century painting.

The amazing tomato/red pepper soup and the tea kettle. Our table looked like it jumped out of an 18th century painting.

From there we wandered along the river and looked at the gorgeous coast line and the swans swimming in the water. There was an old cathedral along the way that we stopped in at too. Before we knew it we were back on our side of the town, Galway is so small we walked across the whole city in one day. On the way back to the hostel we stopped at a grocery store and bought some pasta and sauce to make our dinner, along with a yummy looking chocolate cake from a bakery (it wasn’t as good as a French pastry but it was pretty good).

After dinner we decided to go find a pub and try a real Guinness since we are in Ireland. The desk clerk at the hostel gave us some suggestions on pubs and we set off to find one of them. I was actually surprised to find that I liked the Guinness, I think of all the beer I’ve tried in Europe it’s been the best. Good to know. The pub also had some really cool live Irish music so we stayed just to hear that. It was a really popular pub and before we knew it we had some new friends sitting with us. We met Lorraine and her boyfriend (we don’t remember his name) and their friends Johnny (who’s name was really Patrick) and Mike (he was obviously the wingman). They were all interesting and made the night hilarious! They were harmless, but at one point Johnny decided he was going to kiss either Jaclyn or Katie and they were going to flip a coin to decide who. Euros in Ireland have the number on one side (that’s heads) and a harp on the other. Jaclyn couldn’t follow the accent so Johnny decided she called harp… Jaclyn won but never paid up. Our new Irish friends were sad to see us leave but we have a tour in the morning so we had to head out. Maybe we’ll see them again later this week, then again we may find a different pub…

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We don’t need no stinkin’ stamps…o wait, yes we do Monday, Jul 13 2009 

Sunday morning got off to a great start when we left the hostel/apartment in Prague to head to the airport. The bus we needed when we got off the Metro took forever to pick us up, even though we could see it just sitting in the parking lot. From there we got to the airport and started the check-in process. When Katie and I tried to check-in the woman at the counter told us that we could just go straight to the gate because we weren’t checking any luggage, super. So Sarah checked her bag and we all set off for security. Security wasn’t a problem, we got our passports stamped without any problems and then we went to our gate to board the flight: problem. Apparently on RyanAir (the small European airline we were taking) non-EU passengers have to have a stamp from the check-in counter on their boarding pass or no dice. The woman at the check-in counter screwed us over. So Katie, Jaclyn and I then had to run like crazy back through the airport, out through security, back in, go to check-in, go through customs again and we barely made the flight. We weren’t too happy.

Once we made the flight though everything was good. We landed in Dublin and got a bus to Galway just fine and got to see some beautiful scenery along the way. I swear Ireland is the prettiest place we’ve visited this whole summer. The grass was so green it almost seemed to glow and it really did look like something out of a picture with the stone fences and the hills dotted with cattle and sheep. It really made me a little bit homesick but I can’t wait to explore it some more.

When we got to Galway we checked into our hostel, which is a convenient 5 minute walk from the bus station. We explored the area a little and got some dinner and then just relaxed in the hostel. It was a pretty great evening and I’m really looking forward to the rest of the week!

Sitting on a cornflake Sunday, Jul 12 2009 

Saturday morning I think we did the best at waking up and getting around. We didn’t have any definite plans so we were a bit more relaxed and able to take our time getting ready before heading out to our last day in Prague.

After breakfast we made a short list of the things we wanted to see in Prague before leaving. Re-visiting the Prague gardens around the castle, the John Lennon wall and the Petrin Tower were all on the list. By consulting the map we decided to start with the wall and then visit the other sites. We were a little off in how far the wall was from the Metro stop so we actually started at the gardens. They were beautiful and we took about 60 more pictures of the same view of the city. Granted, it is a beautiful view of a beautiful city but I think we just might have a few too many pictures (I’ll have some up as soon as I get home!). The gardens were so pretty and really fun to explore, but the Czech weather got the better of us and it started to rain after about 45 minutes. This time we only had 2 umbrellas so we left pretty quick. Czech weather is pretty tricky and by the time we made it down the hill to the street the rain had stopped.

Prague Castle sitting on top of the hill overlooking the city.

Prague Castle sitting on top of the hill overlooking the city.

The view of the city from Prague Castle.

The view of the city from Prague Castle.

Since we were pretty close we went to the Lennon wall. I had seen a little picture in the guide book and immediately decided I had to see it. The wall is a continually changing memorial to John Lennon and the Beatles and the impact/change they had on the world. After Lennon’s assassination, Czech citizens began leaving favorite quotes and other tributes on the wall. Today it is still possible to visit the wall and write something special to you. Seeing that wall was my favorite part of Prague and I never cease to be amazed by the impact those men had on the world. Their songs were a little glimmer of hope in a very scary and dark time. They were so diverse in their music and managed to touch so many people in so many countries in so many generations all over the world. It’s amazing to me.

One of the many elaborate tributes to the Beatles on the Lennon Wall.

One of the many elaborate tributes to the Beatles on the Lennon Wall.

I left my mark on Prague.

I left my mark on Prague.

When we left the wall we went to find some lunch. Choosing an eating place is always a little tricky because we all have different wants in a restaurant. We finally found one and all had goulash… again. It was good as usual but it was still goulash. From lunch we went on to Henry’s Bell Tower, the last major Prague monument to see (other than Petrin Tower, which we skipped because of the rain)  but it wasn’t really anything special. The best part of the bell tower was it’s proximity to our apartment so it was easy to hop on the tram and go home for a bit. Jaclyn, Katie and Andres ran to the grocery store for a few things while Sarah and I just chilled in the apartment and did some packing before dinner.

The others came back and we all headed out for dinner. Because the Czech food is pretty heavy and we’d been having a lot of it we decided to go to a pizza place pretty close to the apartment and we were all glad we did. The pizza was delicious, I got jalapenos on mine and it was amazing, I’ve really been missing spicy food! The others all got genuine Budweiser beer, which actually originated in the Czech Republic. I never knew that it wasn’t an American beer, I guess you learn something new every day.

Originally we’d planned on going out for our last night in Prague but instead we decided to stay in and hang-out because we didn’t want to risk missing our flight in the morning. We all just drank some wine and goofed around, definitely having a good time. Prague has been a blast and I’m a little sad to leave but Ireland is going to be just as much fun!

Have you seen snow? It’s white Friday, Jul 10 2009 

Friday morning we all managed to wake up at a decent hour despite hitting snooze about 30 times. We’d decided to go on “The Ultimate Tour of Prague” we’d seen in a pamphlet so we ate breakfast really quick and set off.

The tour met in King Wenceslas Square and the ticket man was very impressed with Andres for traveling with 4 girls alone. We all just laughed because he’s been getting that a lot. The tour was totally worth the money and we got it at half price! Our guide was incredible and he really knew his stuff about Prague, but then again he was a native Czech. I loved seeing all the architecture and learning all the history. I now know why it was called the Velvet Revolution again the Communists (because it went smoothly and no blood was shed) and why the metronome is on such a giant platform (it used to be the site of the world’s largest statue of Stalin before it was torn down after he was declared a war criminal). Every day I’m hear I just learn more about this city and love it a little more. The tour included a boat tour on the Volta River and a traditional Czech meal, as well as seeing the Prague Castle from the outside. We didn’t get to go in the castle but we got to go in the chapel and I think it easily rivals many of the ones we saw in France. Because it took over 600 years to build (thanks to a long break during the switch from Catholicism to Protestantism) it has many modern touches from the 1920s when it was completed, including Art Deco stained glass windows.

After the tour we came back to the apartment to relax for a little bit before going on the Ghost Tour that was included with our ticket for the Ultimate. As great as the Ultimate was is as horrible as the Ghost tour was. Our guide was a moron and couldn’t tell a single story without making all of us bust out laughing. Everywhere we went she stammered and stalled, attempting to make the stories longer, we soon realized this was so her accomplice could change into costume to jump out and scare us. I swear at one point we were standing in a passage way and she was describing the “cold, dark winter” to us and asked us if we’d ever seen snow and when the Australians in the group said only in movies she told them it was white. Gee really?

The tour lasted an hour, thank goodness, because any longer would have killed us and then we would have started haunting Prague. Afterwards we found a nice little pub/restaurant for dinner and really enjoyed the meal. Czech food is definitely growing on me but it’s definitely a heavy cuisine. When we left the pub, in the rain again, we just came back to the apartment. Katie was really disappointed in the Ghost tour so we decided to tell our own ghost stories. Luckily for me, so many years of camp as a child has left me with a ton. We all had a great time, except Jaclyn, who got a little overly scared but fell asleep pretty soon so it was okay. At first Sarah was worried because she’s always hated ghost stories but quickly realized she’s not as scared at 21 as she was at 12. That was a relief. We all had a good time and some good laughs before calling it a night. I hope no one has nightmares!

Dumplings and goulash and whipped cream, oh my! Thursday, Jul 9 2009 

Wednesday morning Jaclyn and I woke up bright and early to meet Katie, Andres and Sarah to continue on our journey through Europe. Our flight left at 9:20 AM so we needed to be at the airport by 7:20, that was fun. The flight wasn’t too bad, Andres got a little motion sick but not horribly so and we didn’t even have to go through customs when we landed. That made me a little sad because I was wanting another stamp in my passport.

We got transport tickets and found the bus that would take  us into the city to their Metro system to get to our hostel/apartment. On the scale of Metros/underground travel I would rank Prague’s above London’s Tube but a little below the Paris Metro. It must be really deep underground though because the escalators in and out are ridiculous. I’m pretty sure they’re at such a steep grade that no vehicle could make it up and they have to be at least 3 stories and go crazy fast. It was interesting.

When we left the station we found our hostel pretty easily and got checked in. It’s by far the nicest accommodations we’ve had here. It’s more like a small apartment, with two bedrooms with beds for each of us, a bathroom with a shower and a small kitchenette. We were stoked. After unloading our bags we decided to go find lunch and to stop by the small grocery store we noticed along the way to get some food for the rest of the week. Grocery shopping in a foreign country where you have absolutely no grasp on the language is entertaining to say the least. We relied on pictures and basic recognition to make it through but I think we did fine.

By the time we got back to the apartment after shopping, mine and Katie’s friend Keegan, who is studying in Prague for about as long as we were in Paris, was out of class so we gave her a call. She told us she would take us to a traditional Czech pub where we could get good food and then she would show us some fun night activities for the rest of the trip. The dinner was incredible! Keegan doesn’t speak Czech either but way more people here speak English than in Paris so we were fine. We all had goulash, which was really rich gravy with cooked beef, and it came with flour dumplings on the side. The only strange thing was that the beef was topped with whipped cream. I wasn’t so sure about that but it ended up being really really good.

The pub was right down the street from Keegan’s apartment so after eating we went there to meet her roommates. They were super nice too and decided to come out with us for the evening. Keegan and Brooke knew of a really cool club right along the Volga river by the Charles Bridge. This bridge has been around since the 14th century, much like most of the city and the architecture. Even in the dark we could tell just how amazingly beautiful the ancient architecture is. I can’t wait to see more in the daylight!

Keegan ended up showing us two clubs and both were really fun. Between the two we got fried cheese sandwiches, which are apparently a Prague specialty. Just imagine mozzarella sticks on a bun. Catching up with Keegan was a blast, I hadn’t talked to her since school got out and we typically worked together several times a week so we had a lot to chat about. It’s too bad she won’t be around the rest of the week to show us more of the city but she’s taking a trip to Hungary, lucky brat!

So far I’ve got a good internet connection here so I’m going to try to keep up the blog. Because I’m using Sarah’s computer though I can’t upload photos. I promise to get those up once I get home though!

Paris was so sad to see us go she cried…again Tuesday, Jul 7 2009 

Tuesday Jaclyn got up to go in to IES to take her last final and I got around to go in to the final picnic they were providing.

Lunch was a blast, it was a great way for everyone to chat and discuss plans for the last night in Paris. Afterwards we all did a little bit of last minute shopping and then we headed home to do last minute packing. Katie came over with her suitcase because she’s leaving it at our apartent while we travel because her family is going on vacation too.

The grand plan of the night was to have a final picnic at the Eiffel Tower with everyone but the weather did not cooperate. It rained off and on all afternoon/night so we decided to go to a nearby fondue restaurant instead. It was the best decision yet! The food was delicious and we all had a blast! There were 8 of us there and it was amazing! I was the only one that had been to a fondue place before (thanks Tom & Deb) so I guess that made me the resident expert. I tried not to screw it up too hard.

After the fondue place, the gang headed to the Bastille to meet Meaghan, Emma and Harrison for one last hoorah. We all went back to the Indian restaurant we visited a few weeks ago and had one last round of drinks and chats together before saying good-byes. It was a little difficult, I’m not going to lie. It’s going to be so strange not to see the same people all day every day for the rest of the summer. At least I’ve got an extra week of travel with some of them to help soften the blow.

On that note, the rest of the updates are going to be few and far between, if they happe at all. Katie, Andres, Jaclyn, Sarah and I leave bright and early in the morning to head to Prague and after that it’s on to Ireland. I’m hoping we’ll have computers with internet at the hostels so I can update the blog but if not I promise to do retrograde posts when I get back to the States. Thanks for following along with me through Paris and I hope everyone enjoyed reading this as much as I’ve enjoyed writing it!

All Venezuelan stories have sad endings Saturday, Jun 27 2009 

So Thursday was Katie’s birthday. We went to Contemporary France and I got her a pain au chocolat (remember-croissant with chocolate baked in) and Meaghan brought her a hot chocolate cake thing. That was fun to watch Katie eat because it was a too hot to pick up with her hands but she didn’t have a spoon so she had to use a small plastic cup. Not the best idea but it still tasted amazing so it was okay.

Impressionism had another excursion so again we had a lot of extra time between classes. I actually had to run home because I’d gotten roses from Ben for my birthday and they needed to be put in water. When I got back to IES (fasted Metro ride ever) Harrison, Andres, Meaghan, Katie and I got lunch at our favorite bakery and then just wandered around close to IES for a while. Us girls went in a few shops to look at the sales and Meaghan found some shoes while Katie and I found jackets for less than 20 euros, it was a good shopping excursion.

When the boys had to head to class, the three of us got on the Metro to head to the meeting point for our excursion. This time we went to the Rodin Gallery. It was pretty awesome. I’d never realized just how much his sculptures broke from the classical idea of sculpture. He rarely used marble and his figures were hardly ever the perfect, smooth, beautiful creations from the classical era. Instead he focused on movement and human form and left rough edges. His “Gate to Hell” was a very intresting piece that is based on Dante’s Inferno. Rodin did such an incredible job showing all the levels of hell and the anguish of the people stuck there.

After the museum I had to go home because Jaclyn and I had dinner with the Chalufours. I got home none to soon because just as I walked in the door it started pouring down rain. I’ve never seen such hard rain in Paris before, I felt like I was back home for a minute. This was bad news though because Katie had wanted to take some wine and maybe some desserts to the Eiffel Tower and sit outside and relax for her birthday.

When dinner was over Jaclyn and I called to find out what was going on. It turned out Katie had talked to a friend of ours from Mizzou who’s been studying in Paris since February. Stephanie had gone to dinner with Katie and some others that didn’t have family dinner and Stephanie said she had a friend with a big apartment where we could all hang out. Jaclyn and I met up with them at their cafe and off we went.

The apartment was the perfect size for a big group and Stephanie’s friend (also an MU student) and her French boyfriend were super nice. Everyone just hung out there and enjoyed some wine for quite a while. Eventually though, just when we thought things were winding down, Stephanie asked if we wanted to go out for a while because she knew a really great club with good dancing. Now there’s nothing Katie likes more than dancing so of course we went. At this point though, one of our new friends, Marissa, was feeling her wine. (Marissa and her younger sister Taylor are really fun and we hope to hang out with them more in the last week or so.) For some reason, Marissa was convinced she was Venezuelan like Andres and could speak “Venezuelan” as well. When we got to the club and got in she thought she needed a beer too and needed to be on the dance floor as well. That was a bad idea so Harrison and I kept her preoccupied by asking her to tell us a Venezuelan story. She told us one about a boy and his coconut that went out on the ocean in a boat and sank. All Venezuelan stories have sad endings she said.

Before too long the sisters went home. The rest of us stayed for a while longer. Katie, Jaclyn, Meaghan, Emma, Andres, Stephanie and her friend were having a blast dancing while Harrison and I held down the fort. Eventually though I was tired and we all decided to go home because we had to be up early the next morning. When we got outside we realized it was raining again…harder than before. It was a truly bonafide thunderstorm going on. We saw lighting and heard tons of thunder. Somehow we all managed to grab cabs and get home without being completely soaked, just 80% or so. Off to bed we went to sneak in about 3 hours before we had to be up for the IES excursion to Giverny!

Sing-a-long with the guys in fuzzy hats Monday, Jun 22 2009 

On Saturday we got up just in time for the continental breakfast at the hostel. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a peanut butter and nutella sandwich but it hit the spot. None of us had really realized just how much we missed sliced bread. Baguettes are nice but sometimes you just need a slice of plain white bread.

After breakfast we headed to Buckingham Palace to catch the changing of the guard. At first this seemed like a total waste of time that was just going to be the cause of a major headache. We were stuck in a crowd of thousands and couldn’t see a thing. Then we kept getting jostled and pushed and all-around annoyed so Meaghan, Katie and I got out of the throng. Instead we crossed the street to a place a little less crowded and sort of watched.

The flag was flying so the Queen was in

The flag was flying so the Queen was in

As people moved we moved forward and before we knew it we had worked our way up to the front and the other two were able to sit down…right across from the main palace gate. We had a perfect view now of all the goings on!! Pretty soon the guards began their march out of the gates and around the grounds, but not before the band (yeah, those guys are a marching band too) played a few songs. Most were pretty well known, both American and British songs, and one was “Hey Jude” by the Beatles and so the entire crowd was singing along while they played. It was a little fun and a little strange to be singing in front of Buckingham Palace.

The ridiculous crowds at Buckingham Palace

The ridiculous crowds at Buckingham Palace

These guys can play a pretty mean version of "Hey Jude" and "Eleanor Rigby"

These guys can play a pretty mean version of "Hey Jude" and "Eleanor Rigby"

When the guards had finished their thing and the guards on horseback let us go, we decided to go find some lunch so we could get that out of the way so we could do all the other things in London we wanted. Lunch was pretty basic fish and chips and cheeseburgers. Not that great but not bad either.

The thing I really wanted to see in London was the Tate Museum of Modern Art. No one else really wanted to go so after lunch we all split up. I headed across the river to the Tate while they headed up to the British Museum (I think).

The Tate was incredible!! It houses one of the biggest collections of modern art in the world! I don’t even know where to begin to talk about the art. I think I spent about 3 or 4 hours there, just walking through all the exhibits and I didn’t even see the temporary ones. The thing I love most about modern art is how much it makes you think beneath the surface. Don’t get me wrong, I still love Impressionism, but even it and all the older movements can just seem a bit dull. They’re based so much on subject/content and about following the right rules and portraying the right people that they don’t always have a whole lot of feeling in them. Modern art is all about the emotion. Like Picasso, nearly every one of his pieces from the 1930s on was a peaceful statement about the atrocities of war, Kandinsky was all about trying to show that there could still be peace and light in the world and Warhol was a terrified young man trapped in a world of violence.

Splitting from the group to go there was a great decision that I’m very happy I made. I think they really enjoyed their alternate activities but I haven’t fully discussed them with them yet.

It was after the Tate that I realized that I hate the London tube and I couldn’t wait to get back to the Metro. I called the others and they were done and heading up to King’s Cross station, the train station from the Harry Potter books. I wanted to see it too so I told them I’d meet them up there. I walked to the closest underground station only to learn that it was closed for renovations. Peachy. I walked back along the river then to find another one and stopped along the way to ask a police officer for directions. The place was crawling with police officers because there was a demonstration going on in the area against genocide in Sri Lanka. I got my directions and realized I had to make it through the crowd of people to get there. As I was making my way through, some people tried to give me a protest sign and when I said no thank-you and tried to keep going they started to yell at me. They said it was people like me who don’t care about third world countries that are making the world what it is today. It was great. I finally made my way through and to the underground station.

On the underground wasn’t really any better than getting there. The train I got on that should have taken me straight there ended about half-way, no real reason why, it just stopped. I followed the signs to try to take a different train but that one was the wrong one and I wound up back where I started. Finally I got on the right combination of trains and made it to King’s Cross to take a picture on Platform 9 3/4 with the others. It was fun and I laughed because the train station has really made a platform complete with trunk cart half-way through!

Platform 9 3/4 really does exist!

Platform 9 3/4 really does exist!

When we were done being silly (like that’ll ever actually happen) we headed back to the neighborhood where our hostel was for dinner. We found a really good Indian restaurant and had probably the most delicious meal I’ve had yet over here. It was so good and so much fun.

After dinner we just decided to get a couple bottles of wine and chill in our room at the hostel. That was fun too. We just chatted and goofed off and thought about going to bed early. We thought wrong. I’m pretty sure we didn’t go to bed until about 3 am and we had to be up at 6:30 to get ready to catch the bus. It made for an interesting morning.

I really need to learn the words to the French national anthem Sunday, Jun 14 2009 

Saturday morning Jaclyn and I got up and around and met Harrison at a garden called La Place des Volges in an area of Paris called La Marais. Yes, those of you from Bates Co. that’s like the Marais des Cygnes, it means marsh. That area of Paris used to be entirely marshland, now it’s very historical and relaxed and pretty tourist-free.

Place des Volges

Place des Volges

We enjoyed the park for a few minutes and then literally walked across the street to Victor Hugo’s house. It’s now a museum and the best part about it was the fact that it’s free (just kidding, that wasn’t the best). We got to see his home and his study and several other cool rooms. There’s even a room that was originally in the apartment he kept for his mistress (they had an affair for over 50 years!) and was decorated in an Oriental motif and once the apartment was made into a museum the entire room was transferred from across Paris. Other cool things were his writing desk and all the portraits of Hugo, he could make some interesting faces for sure!

Hugo's house

Hugo's house

The writing desk used by Hugo, it was also used by Lamartine, Sand and Dumas.

The writing desk used by Hugo, it was also used by Lamartine, Sand and Dumas.

After Hugo’s house we headed towards the Picasso museum. Along the way we saw an incredibly long line outside a bakery so we figured it must be good if all the locals were eating there so we got in line. It was so worth it! I got a quiche that was to die for and we all got different desserts so we could share. We went back to the garden/park to eat our lunch and enjoy the amazing desserts, yum!

The Picasso museum wasn’t far and it was so worth it! We had to pay for it but I would have paid double for it! All the exhibits are set up in chronological order, which is fantastic because that way you can really see his progression as an artist. Another interesting thing about the museum were the walls, about half of the walls that didn’t have artwork on them were mirrors. Some were normal mirrors and some were funhouse mirrors. I’m not entirely sure why but it was an interesting effect and it certainly added to the disorienting feeling some of his pieces give. I think the piece that stood out the most to me was one titled “Massacre in Korea.” It was just an incredibly moving painting and I could have spent twice as much time looking at it as I did. Someday I’d love to see “Guernica” but that’s in Madrid, as it only should be.

When we left the Picasso museum we headed towards St. Michel because Katie and Meaghan were waiting there to look for rugby paraphernalia to wear to the game later. We found a rugby store but everything in there was ridiculous, go figure. Instead we decided to just get some food and go hang out at the Eiffel Tower for a little while before we had to head to the stadium. We got there, after a very interesting Metro/RER experience, and claimed a spot on the lawn and Emma came to join us bearing tons of food. We wanted to take the RER so we got on at St. Michel and headed towards the Eiffel Tower. It took off and stopped at Invalides… and stayed stopped. We were sitting there a good half an hour (we were just enjoying the comfy seats and chatting so it wasn’t bad) before it finally started moving again… back to Invalides. We don’t know why it wouldn’t go to the Eiffel Tower but whatever, we just took a more complicated set of Metro lines and still got there to enjoy a picnic with the others. It was delicious and a really fun way to spend a few hours. Martin joined us just in time to head to the Metro.

The stadium wasn’t too far away and when we got there Bertrand, the student affairs director for IES and a really cool guy, was already there waiting. He heard we were going to a game and loves rugby so we got him a ticket. Everyone else arrived and the game started.

I don’t even know where to begin describing the rugby game, it was just awesome! The French team wasn’t the greatest (that’s being kind, they lost by over 60 points) and England’s really good so that was a bummer but it was such a fun game. I have a very basic understanding of the game now, I actually think it was easier to follow than American football. Before the game started they of course played the French national anthem, I don’t know the words (neither does Meaghan or Harrison) so we just stood and hummed, and the interesting thing was they also played the British national anthem. Both sides were very polite all through the game, we applauded the Brits when they had a good play and they cheered for the French when they scored.

They 'politely' suggest you don't hop over the gate, maybe if they were a bit more forceful they wouldn't have had a streaker...

They 'politely' suggest you don't hop over the gate, maybe if they were a bit more forceful they wouldn't have had a streaker...

These guys were beasts!

These guys were beasts!

We all tried to cheer in French but sometimes we just couldn’t help ourselves. I’m pretty sure I was yelling “just pass the ball!” a lot in English, but I got “allez-les Bleus!!” down in French. I’m definitely a little hooked on rugby now, I will be going to MU club games for sure in the fall. While I loved the actual game I might just have to say the outstanding moment was when the man jumped the gate (security is much loser than in the States) and streaked the field. That took a good 10 minute time-out.

The French team, Les Bleus (the Blues)

The French team, Les Bleus (the Blues)

They do lots of running, a bit awkward in style, but still incredibly impressive!

They do lots of running, a bit awkward in style, but still incredibly impressive!

After the game we all (nearly 20 from the program) hopped on the Metro and went to a more active part of Paris to find a cafe to just chill. We found one that had enough outdoor seating for everybody and ordered coffee and beer and great conversations all around. Bertrand is also from a really small town so we chatted about that for a while and he gave us some great traveling advice. We just might be headed to London next weekend now…

When everyone finished their drinks it was pretty late so we all headed home and had sweet dreams filled with brutal tackling and bad singing.

Somehow Rhett Butler just isn’t as attractive with a falsetto voice Tuesday, Jun 9 2009 

So last night (Monday) my family found Gone With the Wind on TV so of course we had to watch it.

It was one of the best family-time experiences I’ve had yet. Flore and M. Chalufour hadn’t seen it but Jaclyn, Mme. and I hat. Jaclyn had to write a paper so she didn’t watch it all and Mme. fell asleep so it was just me and Flore and M. but it was awesome.

For the most part the dubbed voices were right on, I swear it was the same voice for Prissy. The only one that was off was Rhett and to me that is just an atrocity. He had a really high, falsetto voice and it totally ruined the air of Captain Butler.

Other things that didn’t translate well were Scarlett’s “fiddle-dee-dee” (de de de in French) and the classic “frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn.” I shared the proper way of saying these though and I feel the family is better for it.

Watching the movie was also an interesting experience in sharing history. M. Chalufour had a few facts about the Civil War a bit confused, for example he didn’t realize it reached all the states, including Missouri. He thought it was only fought in Virginia and the rest of the South. I did find it interesting though that the book he had on Civil War history supported the South. For some reason I’ve always thought that only the people still living the South support their side in the Civil War. I was actually able to give him quite a bit of history on the battles and such (thanks Mr. B!)

The other funny part about the movie was trying to help the two of them keep up. I never really realized just how confusing that movie is when it comes to all the various love interests/marriages/deaths. In the end I think Flore summed it up pretty well, “everyone dies and the snobby girl cries.”

This isn’t to say I don’t still love Gone with the Wind, it’s an American classic and watching it in French is just one more memory for the books (or the blog).

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