Thursday, July 23, 2009

Just 'Cuz I Like it...and You Should Too!

Listen to David Byrne's collaboratin with Brian Eno. My absolute favorite tracks are: Strange Overtones, One Find Day, and Life is Long. I can't get enough...I hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Oh, Louis Quatorze!

Today we took a day trip to Versailles. Due to having previously missed an adequate morning dose of caffeine and thus suffering the massive headaches that followed, I woke up early to ensure that I had cafe and croissants before the long day ahead. The plan was to leave at 8am...did I mention that we went to sleep at about 3am? Oy! At about 7am, I ventured to a local cafe for some goods - to go. The problem was, I could order everything in French, but could NOT remember how to ask for everything "to go." It was no problem, the waiter helped me with my French "a portir!" There was a little old man at the end of the bar who started speaking to me in English. Was I that obvious? Yeah, probably. He was very friendly; we had light conversation, "where are you from, how long are you here, must 'sees' in Paris..." When he asked why I wasn't going to enjoy my cafe & croissant in the restaurant, I let him know that we were about to leave for Versailles. He replied, "I am heading to Versailles, today, too." It's a beautiful day to enjoy the gardens and it's only about 10 minutes away. "Really?" "I thought the train ride was about an hour." "Oh, I have a car, it's a quick, easy drive." When my items were ready, I wished the waiter and nice old man a "bon journee" and rushed back to meet my brother and Etienne.

First, I told Etienne about the friendly old man and he replied, "is he driving us to Versailles, then." Um, no, I don't know that guy, he could have kidnapped us and sold us into slavery for all I knew. Then I told Dave, who responded EXACTLY like Etienne. Oh, and Dave *did* see the movie, "Taken." Ha!

So, we left a bit later than we expected, but we all had cafe and croissants and that was a good thing. We arrived at Versailles at about 9:45am to find a pretty long ticket line forming. No worries, the line moved rather quickly. By 10:15am, we had our tickets. Now off to the Chateau! Wait, what? We have to wait in an even LONGER line to enter the Chateau?
Um, yeah...see the people to the left? They're ahead of us and we're not at the end of the line!
We finally entered the Chateau. Impressive? Yes. Decedant? Very. Gold and marble covered practically every inch. And the garden...!
View of the Jardin (garden)
Nothing can compare to the grandeur that was - the Hall of Mirrors. Just as the name indicates, one side of the massive hall is completely lined in mirrors, the other side is a stretch of windows overlooking the garden. King Louis XIV created the hall of mirrors so that when the sun shone into the windows, the sun reflected off of the mirrors to remind everyone that the sun king lived there.

Entering the Hall of Mirrors
The arched ceiling was lined with paintings of different scenes; old Greek scenes; party scenes; war scenes. One thing I noticed, as I meandered through the hall, like rushing water through the crack in a dam (yeah, it was crowded), was that Louis Quatorze was the center piece of every painting. It made me laugh. I hear ya Louis!

Taking a picture of the Hall with the massive windows overlooking the garden behind me.
Jardin from the Hall of Mirrors

King's Chambre
After walking through the Chateau, I couldn't help feeling sad that so much of the original contents were destroyed when the French stormed the palace. Oh, I completely understand...if I were starving, I would be the first to melt down curtains made with gold thread so that I could buy food!

Unfortunately, we didn't have enough time to take a stroll through the never ending jardin or check out the canal, Petit Trianon or Grand Ecurie, where the horses are kept. To really do Versailles right, it's necessary to arrive as soon as the doors open. Maybe even get there when the gardens open 2 hours before the Chateau opens. Not only can you beat most of the crowd, but can thoroughly enjoy all that the Palace has to offer! Maybe in Euro-Sprint, Part Deux!