Saturday, February 9, 2013

London, England: 4 days left.

New video!!!!

221 B Baker Street!

This cute little alley known as Leadenhall Market starred in a movie! Any guess as to which one?

Leadenhall Market. One of my favorite movies...

This monument was dedicated to everyone that lost something in The Great London Fire in 1666. The fire burned for 3 days and destroyed thousands of homes and businesses.

You just can't understand how great this is for us after the last month.

In front of the Tower of London! (Originally built as a castle, not a prison. It only became known as a prison after several generations inhabited it. Only 7 people were executed in the tower itself. Most executions were public and took place on Tower Hill. There were also 12 more executions during the World Wars when the tower was again used as a prison!)

Scary stuff!

Big Ben!!!!

The London Eye! I was getting artsy trying to capture a seagull in the shot :) Mission accomplished!

Shakespeare's Globe Theatre. Originally known as the Rose Theatre it was dismantled and moved to this spot and given it's new name. 

Dumbledore's Army. The wands of the greatest witches and wizards! (England brought out the nerd in us.)

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

London, England! Home away from home :)


HMS Belfast with the London Bridge in the background.

The London Bridge

Walking the Bridge.

Buckingham Palace!

The circle in front of the Palace.

The Royal crest. Found all throughout London.

It had to be done.

I'm clearly way more excited. haha

Cool little procession we caught walking down The Mall.

The National Gallery. An art museum filled with paintings from 13th century to 1900. So, all the boring stuff. But a great place for us to enjoy our lunch.

A random, but very happy find :)

Piccadilly Circus! 5 major roads meet here, this photo only shows three.


Sunday, February 3, 2013

Paris, France: What a freaking great city!

We have such incredibly amazing hosts here in Paris. I am so thankful for Margaux, Laurent, and his mother. Nothing we could ever do could show our gratitude or appreciation! They have not only let us stay in their homes and fed us, but they have spent all their free time showing us the beautiful city of Paris and introducing us to the food and the culture and taking us out to eat and to parties to meet their amazing friends. They are even super patient with Randall and myself especially in teaching us French! We will be totally fluent by the time we leave! :p Margaux showed us the Opera building and Laurent met with us to spend nearly 4 hours walking the Louvre. All of the descriptions were in French so it's a good thing we had translators! Laurent is also very knowledgable on a lot of the history in Paris. Which I just think is freaking great! Laurent then took us to see the Modern art Museum that was built in the 80s and was even more controversial than the Eiffel Tower. The MODERN art museum was built dead in the center of the oldest part of Paris. It sticks out like a sore thumb in this district. It could be a very cool building, but it looks like a giant factory in the middle of traditional Paris. Ugliest thing ever! Then he took us to see the Notre Dame! Gorgeous cathedral! They are celebrating the 850th anniversary! As part of the celebration they are replacing some of the bells in the tower so we got to see the new bells inside the cathedral before they put them up. Then on our way to the metro he showed us the oldest pub founded in 1686! People like Robespierre and Ben Franklin drank here! Margaux then hosted a French wine and cheese party in our honor. While France only has about 15 kinds of wine they have over 500 kinds of cheese! We met some great people that they have known since our equivalent to like junior college. It was an awesome time. The next day Margaux made us homemade crepes! We had nutella and sugar and jam and butter and anything you could ever think of putting on a crepe. From there we went to the Champs Elysees where all the shopping is. We met with Laurent and saw all the huge name brands and nice glitzy shops. At the very end of the road is the Arch de Triumph! Then we went to Montmartre. It is basically the name of a district in Paris. This is filled with painters and artists. We walked through and saw the Basilica of Montmartre. It is the highest natural point in the city so we got a great night view from there. Then we walked down to the next district, Pigalle. Home of the Moulin Rouge! We had dinner at a great restaurant there called Marmite. I had duck and potatoes and green beans and bread and we tried some of Laurent's escargot. Actually tastes a lot better than you would think. From there we went to a party of their friends. We met even more great people and then it got broken up by the police! Well not quite that bad, but there was a noise complaint so it basically had to shut down. We were leaving anyway... So that's what we've done in Paris so far!

At the end of the Champs Elysees in front of the gardens of the Louvre. 

The Opera house, Palais Garnier

In front of the Louvre. 

Us in front of the Louvre. The glass pyramid was absolutely hated by the Parisians when built because it ruins the view and is tacky. 

Margaux and Randall.

My favorite sculpture and I finally got to see it in person! This is the Victory of Samothrace. It was the very first work we saw when we entered the Louvre. You walk up the stairs and it's there at the very top right in the center. It was the most brilliant thing I've ever seen!

The Mona Lisa. I don't freaking get the big deal. But we did see it.

A view of the pyramid from inside and upstairs. Just past it you can see the gardens that go on for a couple blocks.

Playing statues in a room dedicated to Greek and Roman sculpture

Margaux and I at the wine and cheese party.

Notre Dame! Constructed in the 12 century. A Roman Catholic church built in French Gothic architecture.

The greek and roman sculpture room

The Arch de Triomphe. Built under the order of Napoleon I to honor all those who fought for France in 1806. 

Crazy French girl standing in the middle of the street talking on her phone. Pedestrians rule over cars!

The Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. At the base of the Arch de Triumph lies this tomb of a French WWI soldier. The flame never goes out. 

Basilica of Montmartre. 19th century Roman Catholic church with the best view of the city.

Montmartre district. In the summer this plaza is filled with artists and tourists.

Myself, Margaux, and Randall in front of the Moulin Rouge! Built in the 1880s it is the birthplace of the can-can dance, which is why it is so famous. The name actually means 'red windmill' which makes sense because there is one on top of the building.