Monthly Archives: March 2013

Spending Time with the Prisoners of the French Revolution

July 28 2012

We woke up early and had breakfast at the hotel since it was included in the price. The buffet was great! There was some hot food, but I ate my weight in different breads and cheeses. They had all these sweet breads with sugar, chocolate, and jam. Bread and cheese, my kind of heaven. I took some food to eat later in the day.

We took the metro and walked a couple of blocks to Place du Chatelet. There were sphinxes. So I posed for a couple of pictures. It gave us a great view of the Conciergerie. We walked along the seine. There was a fake beach set up. We walked to Hotel del Ville. The architecture was absolutely incredible. There was a HUGE tv with bean bag chairs set up so people could watch the Olympics.

Next we walked to Sainte Chapelle. We passed the Conciergerie and Palais de Justice. We were coming back to Conciergerie since it is not a popular attraction. We took pictures from the outside of the Palais de Justice. We joined the line for Sainte Chapelle. The line moved very quickly. Then there was a second line for tickets. We got to skip that line because of the Paris Museum Pass. The bottom level is pretty much the gift shop. We bought some pens for people. We took the winding stairs (very claustrophobic) to the room with all the stained glass. I was expecting to be amazed, but I wasn’t. It was just pretty. They were doing some construction work which took away from it. People hyped the windows up so much so I had high expectations. I couldn’t believe it was just one room. We exited by the Palace de Justice and headed next door to the Conciergerie.

We used the Paris Museum Pass again. The Conciergerie is where they held Marie Antoinette before they beheaded her. We got to see her cell and what the other cells looked like. We also got to see items from the revolution. I enjoyed it. They had picnic tables so we sat down and ate our leftovers from breakfast for lunch. Then we used the ladies room and left.

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Statues, Paintings, and Artifacts, O MY!

July 27 2012

After officially checking in to our hotel we started our walk to Le Orangerie and the Louvre. I mapped out a path that would allow us to see some other sights and walk through the Tuileries.

We passed Place Vendome first. It was surrounded by very fancy expensive stores. We took some photos and kept going. I was excited to see Place de la Concorde since it is Egyptian. The Obelisk of Luxor was given to Paris by Mohamed Ali.  The obelisk, 22.83 meters high and weighing 230 tons, which marked the entrance to the Temple of Luxor, was installed in 1836. I loved that the obelisk and the Eiffel Tower were diagonal from each other. It made for a great picture.

We went to Le Orangerie because of Monet’s Water Lilies. The museum was free with our museum pass. We had to check our bags and cameras. Monet’s work was incredible and definitely made me glad that we stopped. They encompassed the whole room. Then we went downstairs to see the other pieces of art. I was surprised that I recognized some of the paintings and some of the artists. We stopped at the gift shop so I could buy some postcards. We were only there for 30 minutes, but we really didn’t need any more time. We went right before they closed so it was almost empty.

We walked through the Tuileries. I kept thinking about King Louis XVI and his contemporaries leisurely strolling around the Tuileries. The ferris wheel surprisingly didn’t seem strange. There was a mix of tourists and locals walking around. We approached Place du Carousel and took pictures on both sides. I can’t believe the statues on top were once completely made of gold.

The Louvre looked absolutely enormous. I can’t believe people once lived in it. The pyramid didn’t bother me. I guess that’s because I am so used to seeing it in movies, pictures, and documentaries. Our museum pass allowed us to skip the super long line and walk right in. We chose to come on the Louvre’s late night. I decided to have us start with what used to be the moat and then the Egyptian exhibit. My mom was super tired and wasn’t interested in the Egyptian artifacts. I left her on a bench and ran through all the rooms snapping pictures. I really wanted to spend time examining each item, but I couldn’t. I really wish I could go back and spend half a day looking at them. Since my mom was so tired we tried to just walk to see all the highlights. We saw the Napoleonic Apartments, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo, and the famous paintings of the renaissance. My friends Janelle and Megan warned me that the Mona Lisa was going to be very small. They were right! It was super packed in front of the painting. I took a couple of pictures and kept moving. We went back to the lobby area. I dropped my mom off at a bench. I looked around the gift shop and everything was just too expensive. The cheap books on Egypt were in French. O well. I still needed to see Hammurabi’s Code and I wasn’t leaving without seeing it. I ran through a bunch of exhibits and passed Greek and Roman statues. I found Hammurabi’s Code and took a bunch of pictures. I ran back and was officially exhausted. I was looking for the inverted pyramid that Dan Brown talked about, but didn’t see it.

We started to walk back to the hotel and passed a bunch of souvenir shops. We picked up a t-shirt and a couple of other things. We also passed a cookie place and bought a small bag. We made those cookies our dinner. We went back to the hotel and settled in. We soaked our feet in hot water and went to bed.

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Short Man Huge Sarcophagus

July 27 2012

After the Eiffel Tower our plan was to walk to Invalides. My mom decided to stop a couple blocks away from the tower to look at souvenirs. I didn’t eat on the plane so the hunger was starting to kick in. I waited outside the stores and ate crackers while she browsed.

I had walking directions to the Invalides, but they seemed wrong. We kept stopping people to ask for directions but everyone told us our directions were correct. We just under anticipated how long the walk would be in a straight line. We finally found it.

We walked around to the front of the building, which has great architecture. We took out our Paris Museum Pass to use for the first time. We bought a 2 day pass at the airport. We walked right in and they stamped our pass.

The courtyard looked like it was undergoing renovation. The statue of Napoleon was very life like. We made our way to the area that his tomb. My mom was surprised how large his tomb was. It actually was a beautiful sarcophagus. There were two floors to walk around and a mini gift shop.

Next we did the bottom floor of the museum. We saw lots of armor from different time periods! It was all very fascinating. We decided not to do the second floor because we still had so much to do. We used the bathroom and left. It was raining so I decided not to walk to our next destination. We hopped on the metro and headed to the Madeline.

Once we came out of the Madeline I decided I was still hungry so we stopped at Fauchon. Everyone told us to go here. They have beautiful but expensive macaroons. I just bought a cheese roll. It was good and hit the spot. We crossed the street to the Madeleine. The view from the steps was fantastic. You could see the obelisk in the distance. The Madeleine is free and I was glad about that. It only took us about 10 minutes to walk around and see everything. It was pretty, but boring.

We then walked back to our hotel to see if our room was ready.

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Climbing to New Heights in Paris

July 27 2012

Before arriving I knew about the elevator situation. Some of the elevators were down because of repair. This was causing long lines for tickets. I had resigned myself to the fact that I would not be going to the top of the Eiffel. I had decided just to walk to the 2nd level.

After an eight hour plane ride and not sleeping for over 24hrs I thought it would be a smart idea to do the Eiffel Tower first. I have no idea what I was thinking. We took the train from our hotel to the tower. The view approaching the tower was amazing!

We waited on line for the stairs. The line was directly in the sun and we were melting. It was also about to rain so the humidity was ridiculous. I was drained before we even started climbing the stairs. The stairs felt like they never ended. I just wanted to sit down and catch my breath. I kept chugging water. This was so not the thing to do after a long plane ride, lack of sleep, and a time difference.

We finally got to the first level and I sat and rested for a while. When I finally felt like I could move I walked around. The view was beautiful. I took tons of pictures. It was worth the climb. It was a great orientation to the city of Paris. We debated walking to the second level, but I was just way too exhausted.

We spent time shopping at the gift shop. We used the tiny bathroom and started our climb down. It started to drizzle as we walked down. It was cool watching the elevator as we walked down. One couldn’t help but admire the workmanship on the tower

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Paris Trip Plan July 2012

My mom and I spent about 3 full days in France in July 2012. We were able to do Paris and Versailles. I wish we had one more day so I could have spent the whole day at the Louvre. I saw everything on my list (all the highlights plus loads more). We had a great time even though we were exhausted. Click below for our detailed trip plan.

Trip Plan

Postcards from France

From: Paris, France To: Versailles, France

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Paris July 2012-Hyatt Hotel

We have stayed in Hyatt hotels all around the world and this definitely was one of the best. The staff were all helpful and friendly. We asked for a quiet room and actually got one! No noise at all. The free chocolates in the room were a nice choice. The bed was extremely comfortable. The room was a great size. The bathroom was quite large with both a shower and tub. There was a walk in closet and lots of outlets. The breakfast was very extensive and delicious. We loved the quiche, breads, and cheeses. The location can’t be beat. It is within walking distance to the bus for the airport and two train stations. It is also close to many great shops and restaurants. Cons: Our toilet barely flushed. It would take 3 times to flush before anything would go down. The internet was very spotty. It only worked for me in the closet. Click here to visit the hotel’s website.
Photos of Park Hyatt Paris - Vendome, Paris
Photos of Park Hyatt Paris - Vendome, Paris
Photos of Park Hyatt Paris - Vendome, Paris

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Russian Tourists in Giza Climb Pyramid

Yesterday I read an article about a group of Russian tourists who climbed to the top of one of the pyramids of Giza without permission. The last time people did that was in the 1980’s. The images are incredible, but I really wish they didn’t climb the pyramid. They could have gotten hurt or have caused damage. You can read the article here. Thoughts? One of the images is below. The image belongs to Vitaliy Raskalov.

Vista: The Russians claim to have arrived early at the famous site on the outskirts of Cairo, where they waited in the shadows until official visitor opening hours were over to make their climb

Categories: Egyptology, Mish Mash, Travel | Tags: , , , , , | 1 Comment

Baltimore

I’ve been to Baltimore many times. I decided to go back in 2011 for a refresher. I really wanted to go to Charm City Cakes and Blue Moon Cafe. If you go to Blue Moon Cafe, stick with the Captain Crunch French Toast. My mom ordered a cinnamon bun and our friend ordered pancakes. The pancakes were thrown out and the bun was picked at. My french toast was really good though. I did a couple of history museums, but I still want to go back and view the Egyptian Exhibit at the Walters Art Museum. I highly recommend Maryland Historical Society Museum. They have performances that are quite entertaining and educational. The Baltimore Civil War Museum was very quick and not what I was expecting. The Flag House and Museum was great. I just missed the group tour, but they gave me a private one. We took Amtrak to get here, which was a piece of cake and we used public transportation to get around. The best meal was at Cheesecake Factory. I got fried mac n cheese balls (see picture below), mac n cheese, and oreo cheesecake. YUM!  To view my trip plan please click here. To read my Charm City Cakes post click here.

Click to view the Diners Drive-Ins and Dives info on:

Blue Moon Cafe

Brick Oven Pizza

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Greece Trip Plan

To view the trip plan I created for our 2008 trip click here.

Greece Map

 

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Exploring Ancient Greece

6/25/08
We woke up early in order to eat breakfast and catch the 9am shuttle into Athens . The breakfast was buffet style and it was amazing! They had everything you could possibly imagine. I loaded up on danishes and pastries. My parents ate some eggs and potatoes. We all took granola bars for later. We caught the shuttle and we got stuck in traffic for a bit. The ride was about 40 minutes long. We got dropped off across the street from the Amalia Hotel. We then walked to a travel agency to buy our train tickets to Thessaloniki. We wanted to buy them ahead of time to make sure we got seats.

We then walked to the entrance of the Acropolis. The first thing you see is Dionysos’ Theatre, which is amazing! You’re allowed to walk around and sit in some of the seats. We continued our journey uphill. We then came upon Odeon of Herodus Atticus, which is a bigger version of Dionysos’ Theatre just remodeled. They still hold concerts here. It was quite pretty. On the way up the views of the city are amazing! It’s worth stopping for a second and taking it all in. We then reached the top, which is the Temple of Athena Nike . It’s nice, but it would have been better if the entire thing wasn’t covered in scaffolding. The Parthenon could take your breath away. Though I was tad bit disappointed because I always imagined it to be bigger and grander. The Propylea and the Erechtheion held my interest despite the fact they are smaller buildings. The women on the Erechtheion are really cool, but are not the original ones. The original ones are in the closed Acropolis Museum . On our way down hill, my mom slipped on one of the shiny rocks and landed on her back. It was a scary moment!!!!! Luckily she didn’t do too much damage. She had a bad bruise and was in a lot of pain. Advil to the rescue! We continued down hill until we were at the exit. We stopped at a little shop for water and postcards. We bought 3 water bottles and I bought some postcards, which I later found out was very over priced. The water was reasonable.

We walked through Thisso, which is quaint. We then arrived at the Ancient Agora. The admission was part of the Acropolis ticket. The Temple of Hephaestus was in great condition. The temple is also at the top of a hill, a mini hill. At this point I started to feel pains in my chest and I started to hyper ventilate. My advice, take the hills slowly and drinks tons and tons of water. We explored the grounds and then went to sit by the Church of the Holy Apostles. After cooling off from the intense heat and catching our breath, we went inside the church. There were still some paintings on the walls and ceilings. We then went to the main building called the Stoa. It had a lot of great statues and a museum. The museum was small, but some of the items were really well-preserved. It was a nice collection. We used the restroom facilities and left the Agora. We then proceeded uphill once again to get back to where we started for the Acropolis. This part killed me. I couldn’t breathe and I felt like someone was sitting on my chest.  We took a couple of breaks and I purchased some cheap postcards on the side streets.

We finally made it back to the entrance of the Acropolis. We stopped at a place called Crepe World for a strawberry slushie and cheap beer. The slushie was good and hit the spot. We then headed over to the Temple of Olympian Zeus (completely ignoring Hadrian’s Arch). The Temple was extremely disappointing. There were only a couple of columns left. It was once the greatest temple in Athens and now there is nothing left. Soon there will be even less because those columns were seriously damaged, one of them had even fallen over.

We then went to the Grand Bretagne Hotel to make sure we were set for Saturday when we were staying there. We used the restrooms downstairs, which were so clean and beautiful. We stayed there an extra couple of minutes to cool off from the intense heat. We then went in search of Doris, a restaurant I read about for great doughnuts, we took a long walk and finally found it. No one spoke English, you couldn’t take food out, it was dingy, and the doughnuts didn’t look good. We left. We walked around and bought some pastries and gelato from the stores in the area. We went back to the Grand Bretagne Hotel to cool off again.

We went to Coffee Right for dinner and had the best food! I got the best spinach pie I’ve ever had and my mom got cheese pie, which was good too. The water was cheap! The food was cheap! Great dinner! We then walked down Ermou Street and looked at all the stores. I stopped and took some pictures of the church which was right in the middle of the block. There were lots of vendors selling breads and doughnuts. I really wanted some! We went back to the Grand Bretagne Hotel to use the restrooms. Then we went to the Amalia Hotel to wait for our shuttle. My dad had a beer in the lobby bar and it was way too expensive. We boarded the shuttle and came back to our hotel. We watched How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days while we fell asleep.

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Categories: Europe, Family Vacation, Greece, History, Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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