evilhippo: hippo (46 [internets])
( Oct. 24th, 2010 06:25 pm)
I realized I never finished up the last days of London, and since I am incredibly bored this afternoon (I've read, I've written, I cleaned and made soup and made bread and I'm still bored) I guess it's time to finish that story.

Hopefully there aren't too many details that have been lost between then and now )

And finally, to bring this whole story arc to a close, since I ran out of space so quickly on Flickr, I've dumped practically every picture I took into a couple of scrapbook galleries: London and Paris. I haven't pared them down to just the pretty ones, nor have I edited any of them, so beware that there are a lot, and not all of them are good. But that's how trips work, so I don't think I'll be editing them anyway.
It's the end of my last day. The fact that I'm officially out of important things I wanted to do makes it a little bit better that I have to leave tomorrow. (It's going to be the longest day ever... 12 hours in airports and on planes, then I need to stay up until it's a reasonable time to sleep, Chicago-wise. Now that I'm finally adjusted to time over here. Adjusted enough, in fact, that I had an absolutely epic dream last night about the Doctor going all vengeful Time Lord and interfering with the past, which delighted me until I realized it was the set-up for me and a group of anonymous friends to star in some kind of Seinfeld-type comedy where all of us were vaguely horrible people and those that we'd wronged in the past showed up at random in various different time periods to have their revenge. There was a guy in black leather boots with crosses on the toes that was after me, because I'd done something to his disabled son. He chased me through ancient Rome, and in a stable in medieval England. Tonight, I think I will probably dream of stairs.)

So, today... Paris learns how to confuse me and earns several cool points, simple questions je ne comprends pas, I see a lot of bones and take a two-hour lunch. )

Lessons Learned: Cities should not rename streets. Catacombs are cool. I have had enough walking for the next year or so. Or at least the next month. Week... at least a day. Minus the walk to the train station tomorrow. And around the airport. Sigh.

I'll admit, I'm actually, just a little, looking forward to getting home and going grocery shopping tomorrow. I have come across so many open-air markets here and I really want groceries. I'm tired of sandwiches and meals-made-by-other-people. As good as they've been, I keep seeing all these fishmongers and produce sellers and someone offered me a bag of mushrooms tonight that I would've gladly turned into something if I, you know, had a kitchen. I wish I could take one of these markets with me, because I know shopping at home just isn't going to be as exciting at all. But at least it'll be food I know the names of, and that I can turn into whatever I want.

Oh, there are also three more pictures for today. There would be a lot more, but I've hit my monthly limit on Flickr. They could use some polish anyway, though, since they were almost all taken underground.

I also sent out the rest of the postcards today. You can expect them... some time after I get back.
evilhippo: hippo (115 [hippo])
( Oct. 7th, 2010 08:37 pm)
Two updates in a day, sorry guys. But there are more pictures now, because I have more than half my battery left and I might as well abuse it (there are actually more than that, but I'm running out of bandwidth on my Flickr for this month). There are pictures from the tail end of Paris, London, and just a few minutes ago.

My little walk up to Sacre Coeur was... not little. I'm not sure if this was overlooked in anyone else's study of Paris, but the thing is up a freaking mountain. (Chicago is flat, okay, so this thing is a mountain.) Stairs! Holy stairs, and people. So, my eternal disdain for stairs further cemented (they are now above cobblestone streets, which had surpassed them only recently when I was walking around Bankside in London and twisting my ankle every few feet), I made my way up to the top, dodging tourists, buskers, and peddlers. It was an adventure. And what a view! What a giant rabble of people. Suits and students and all other sorts. They kicked us out at 7:30, so I went in search of food. I ended up with a sandwich and a chocolate croissant, which I ate while walking to the Moulin Rouge. It's amazing the difference between this part of Paris and the part south of the river. In stark contrast to the tiny alleys, austere storefronts and quaint restaurants and cafes of the rive gauche, I just found myself on a giant mountain and then walked down onto a boulevard full of neon-signs and sex shops (mostly in tandem).

Also, the Moulin Rouge is right next to a Quick, which seems to be France's answer to McDonalds (most of them are right next to McDonalds). And across the street is a Starbucks. I... on one hand I find this very appropriate, and on the other... have they no shame?
evilhippo: hippo (114 [in transit])
( Oct. 7th, 2010 06:44 pm)
I am still alive! Despite the best efforts of London traffic and pedestrians and the Tube and scaffolding and everything else in London that was out to get me. It's always hard to pick up again after a few days of not writing, and I don't think I'll get around to transferring the London leg of the trip out of my notebook until I get back. It seems like every leg of the trip has had some odd sort of rationing. The first couple of days in Paris when I wasn't sure I had enough cash, the last day in Paris before London with no batteries left, London with no internet... I would've written something last night and then posted it up this morning before heading out, but I loaned my laptop to this Australian girl in my room so she wouldn't have to pay by the minute just to transfer her pictures off of her SD cards.

So. Let's see. Slightly abbreviated, but still a wall of text. )

Lessons learned: London, I am not finished with you, not by a mile. Paris, it is time for dinner and taking care of the rest of those post cards. (Some of you got London postcards, which I mailed out this morning. The rest of you will be getting the Paris ones I'm sending out tomorrow. Turns out I have no idea what to write on postcards, so please don't hold it against me if I resorted to complete nonsense by the time I got to yours. I love you anyway.
This one may be short, since I'm sitting on the public computer here in the hostel. We are officially on Battery Rationing, until I get to London tomorrow and buy a power adapter. (The secret justification here is my secret plan to secretly go to grad school in the UK somewhere. Yes.)

So, originally I was going to have to censor this for the benefit of my mother, who didn't want me to go to the Eiffel Tower for fear that I'd be terrorism'd. But! Since today was kind of a crapshoot, I don't have to worry about that.

No pictures today, unfortunately, due to the battery situation. They'll go up soon enough.

Rain, pain, and travelling with an international menace )

So, I think today was the first day I spent completly conscious and mostly not jet-lagged. And of course I have to leave for London tomorrow. It's great timing, because I'm almost done with my list of Big Things to Do in Paris, but at the same time... I'm just starting to get comfortable here and this city is amazing, and I know once I get back I'm really only going to have one more day to do things, and that's sad. Oh man. (I guess this wasn't that short after all.)
So, now that I'm no longer as likely to pass out in front of major landmarks... today was a lot more manageable. I found neighborhoods that made a lot of what I saw yesterday make more sense. Here I am, making my official retraction on Paris being "homogeneous." Here I am also saying I think the part north of the river is kind of pants. But that might be because it's Sunday and most everything was closed. That's absolutely no excuse for how far I walked in search of a bottle of water, though. Maybe I'm just really, really bad at this but it should not be possible to walk miles without coming across a store that sells cold bottles of water.

Of course, there are more pictures today. You know the drill.

And then, further attempts to stay awake. )

So, what I learned today: Just because an area is interesting to me, or historical, does not make it "touristy." Touristy is very definitely independent of what I think of something. It is actually possible to turn the wrong corner in Paris and end up somewhere you don't want to be. And slowly, slowly this city is clicking into place for me, and even though I am still severely out of context here, it's starting to make sense in and of itself. The architecture is relentlessly (almost disconcertingly) consistent, but at least there are neighborhoods that aren't sorted entirely by what they are selling.

tl;dr I walked, and then walked some more. And then there was some walking, and a bit of walking and more walking. Also impressionists and walking, Oscar Wilde and walking, medieval relics and walking, and walking with walking and hipsters and tourists.
evilhippo: hippo (45 [shock])
( Oct. 2nd, 2010 08:57 pm)
Okay... I really don't know where to start this. (This is mostly a way to keep myself awake past 9:00 here. I feel like I've been up since Friday morning at 5. Which... I sort of have, if you don't count the three and a half hours of half-conscious sleep I got on the airplane).

For those of you uninterested in a wall of text about how many things have tried and continue to try to defeat me, there are pictures! Cliquez ici! Tomorrow's ought to be a little less typical-touristy, but today's aren't too bad.

C'est un mur du text? )

tl;dr Brain fail from overwhelming city. Will sleep and figure things out later. So far... things are amazing. Also I have not thought about work once, nor do I intend to, even though I forgot to put my out-of-office message up and so should technically be checking my e-mail.
evilhippo: hippo (84 [victoly])
( Jul. 3rd, 2010 05:48 pm)
Je vais à Paris! I have a lot of brushing-up to do on my French, and a lot of studying to do of winding streets and nonsense transit (apparently they have public bike rentals, though, which sounds absolutely fantastic).

Point being, now that I've finished waffling on the matter: I'm going to spend a week in Paris, from October 2 to October 9! And now I'm going to have to decide whether I want to nip off to London for a day or two in there (I probably will, if it won't cost me that much). Thankfully, the hostel situation looks reasonable, so as long as I don't sit around waffling forever over whether I want to go to London too I should be okay.

Yaaaay I'm going on a real vacation for the first time ever! (I can't believe I just spent that much money. And I've committed to spending so much more, because I'm obviously going to have to eat, and get around, and buy interesting things. Oh man.)

Vacation!

Yaaaay!

So, any recommendations on what I should do while I'm there?

Edit: Aaaand two days in London, the 5th and 6th. Woo! I am not sure I haven't gone mad, but if I'm going to vacation for real, I might as well do it properly. (Honestly, after booking the tickets I did a little dance. I am such a geek. But... eeeee, Paris and London! Finally!) I wonder if any of this will finally trigger some kind of fraud protection on my card...
.

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