Saturday, July 30, 2011

Through the Chunnel

If there was ever a reason to get up at 3:30 in the morning, it's to hop a train to Paris!  An early Friday morning and a very long day, but our trip to Paris was wonderful.  As promised, we were able to see a lot of the highlights, but I most enjoyed our time at the Louvre.  It would take days to properly tour the Louvre, but on this occasion we did not have that luxury.  However, I managed to see some very famous and significant pieces of work such as:  the Mona Lisa, Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, The Wedding at Cana, and the Sphinx.  Of course none of my photos will do these pieces any justice.  The Wedding at Cana was my favorite because of its size and tremendous detail; Veronese's painting nearly covered an entire wall.

Next, we hopped a bus and plugged in for an audio tour of Paris.  What a gorgeous city!  Everything is beautiful - the buildings, statues, bridges, shops.  I loved seeing the Eiffel Tower in the distance and then slowly making our way around the city until we were right in front of it.  For a different perspective of the city and some good photo opportunities, we took a boat ride on the Seine.  A great dinner ended the evening, and I had my first experience with escargot in the shell.  After I realized that I only had to dig the snails out, not crack the shells open to get them, my appetizer was much less work.  Live and learn!

My classmate, Theresa, and I were back at the train station this morning for a little side trip to Windsor Castle.  Fortunately, we arrived just in time to see the Changing the Guard ceremony.  This one is a bit different than the ceremony at Buckingham Palace as there are many more guards and they are preceded by an all-guard band.  Just up the hill at the castle gate, you start to comprehend the size of the castle territory - thirteen acres in all.  Although The Queen usually spends her weekends at Windsor Castle, her flag was not flying on the Round Tower today, signifying that she was not present.  The massive and grand state rooms were the highlight for me.  Just thinking about all of the significant figures in history who have walked in and out of those rooms gave me the chills.  It was well worth the trip.

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