Not that impressed (and other happy thoughts)

Things that happened in Paris today:

  • I made friends with some cats at Versailles (and fed them half my lunch)
  • Came very close to crying in the Basilica of Sacré-Cœur because it was so breathtaking
  • Made friends with one of the painters up at Montmartre
  • Met some very nice baristas and accidentally tried to order espresso in Italian
  • Successfully avoided all pickpockets and hawkers
  • Cracked up at macho, Jersey Shore-esque French men acting cool by doing pull-ups on a children’s playground
  • Saw police pat one of them down for a reason I’m sure would have made more sense if I understood French
  • Allowed my generous school to buy me lots and lots of coffee and pastries since, let’s be real, that’s really what I survive on anyway

Oh, and I went to Versailles! And, if I’m being honest, I was really not that impressed. Impressed with the opulence of the palace, yes. The gardens? Not so much. They are enormous, but that really was the only thing that stood out to me about them. Lots of statues, gravel, some still ponds, some grass, some very leaf-less trees. I’m sure it has a lot to do with our super-late winter here, but…really? There’s a lot of fuss made out of that garden! I know much smaller, prettier places. Also, if we’re talking about palace gardens, I really thought Caserta Palace in Campania, Italia was much prettier.

I sound like a globe-trotting snob, so I’m going to stop now.

It was still really cool! Now I can say I’ve been to Versailles! And the barista who made my double espresso there was very nice (it was a damn good espresso, too).

Anyway, with everything on the list above, it was a pretty good, pretty entertaining day. Yesterday was also pretty nifty; went to Rouen and Giverny and went to Monet’s house (AHHHH), saw a bunch of his paintings, his gardens, loved every minute of it. Again, the late winter is screwing with the gardens and stuff here…spring really isn’t in full (or even half-) swing yet. Normandy’s countryside was beautiful, though, and Monet’s gardens were really something! There were so many pansies and daffodils (and lots of irises that just haven’t poked their pretty little heads out yet!). I’ll put pictures up later.

ALSO on the list of cool, yesterday I met one of the other researchers here who lives in Alabama but just happens to be an old West Lincoln boy, who just happens to know the high school I graduated from, and also just happens to have gone to school with my old band director!!! We hung out some again today and it was so…it was really neat. The world is such a small place. It was incredibly refreshing, to be honest. I literally felt invigorated, energized by making that connection, that link to home. It made me realize even more how much strength I draw from my sense of place, of home. I feel so lucky.

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