Thursday, June 18, 2009

the adventures of max and kaitlin in paris- part two

and we are back with another exciting installment of the shennanigans of two american girls wandering paris.....
episode nine
in which kaitlin and max tackle the most terrifying of all paris or even possibly european tourist stops:the louvre! waking to a torrencial downpour they layer up and head out through the metro to the museum, arriving ten minutes before it opens and manage to-running up over six flights of stairs and bypassing any sort of maps or guides and only stopping to flash our tickets- be the third and fourth people to view the mona lisa, behind her protective glass and guarded and roped off in her own enormous room, in the entire day. the room was empty except for a couple who weren't even looking at m.l. and, breathing a bit heavily, we took a victory picture in which one can see a out of focus painting in the background.
we then proceeded to view the rest of the museum or as much as we could handle, being particularly interested in the sulley wing full of egyptian antiquities and napleans 'small' apartments furnished all in red velvet and the most sumptuous chandeliers i have ever seen.
episode ten
in which kaitlin and max walk all the way from the louvre to the islands and arrive at the famouse berthillion ice cream parlor looking distinctly like drowned cats, only to discover that it is closed on mondys and tuesdays. very sad, but we find a cafe across the street which sells their icecream anyway, and have a banana split and the most glorious caramel ice cream i have ever encountered. visit notre dame which is so breathtaking but marred slightly at the sight of idaho-ean tourist posing their chocolate stained tshirt wearing children in front of all the prayer candles and saying 'make a silly face' or whatever. also distracted from my enjoyment by two southern california women complaining about the lack of the usefulness of their french driver and oh communication and how difficult it is to get anything across to their spanish speaking maid and how they really shouldn't get a sports car what with the recession but hey if they do they want the extra features which is just logical.
episode eleven
in which we climb the arc de triumph at night, oh glorious spiral stairs in all your dizzy inducing clausterphobic splendor how many of you i have stepped up and how little i will miss you post europe. i am forever going to choose the lift option after this. the view was stunning and so vast, you could really pick out the other landmarks well, the eiffle all lit up in the settling dusk, the rows of cars streaching out gracefully from all the streets emerging from the base of the arc like some sort of unfurling flower. and all of this magnificence for the tomb of some unknown and un named soldier who died forever ago. it is really impressive. we made it back to the apartment late and with very cold feet but a head full of such beautiful scenery.
episode twelve
dawns our last day and a rush to the de orsay where we are again ahead of the pack in entering and enjoy our stroll throughout this once-a-train-station-now-a-museum and sort of focus on impressionism with forays into poinilism and art deco furniture(the lines were so fluid considering they were made out of wood!) and just generally appreciating the beautiful building and a cup of very satisfactory hot chocolate in the cafe from which we could peer through the gigantic station clock that graces the river facing front of the structure. after this we booked it straight to the rodin sculpture garden where we were rewarded by some well deserved end-of-week sunshine as we meandered between rows of perfectly manicured shrubbery and peered up at the thinkier and the fates and finally the gates of hell and all of their splendidly expressive suffering. k and m conclude that he really did exceptional work on both feet and hands.
episode thirteen
wait in line for what seems like eternity at the entrance to the catacombs then decend the tightest and narrowest spiral stair ever just to walk for fifty minutes. signs adorn all the walls posing the question: do you suffer from anxiety or shortness of breath? we are freaked out enough by the gaping metal-gated holes in the passageway behind which lurks such thick darkness but after what seems like forever we emerge suddenly into passages lines in five foot deep shoulder high 'piles' of bones. really they are exceptionally organized, with the sculls and long legbones used to form decorative patterns in the sides of this endless winding wall of dead people relocated from so many spread out french gravesites. there is something distincly unsettling abou the missing sculls and the shapes they leave behind, as who would steal that. and after loosing track of the group in front of us and wandering forward a bit on our own (through a section where the previous days rain has soaked through the mile of ground above to dampen the floor to a treacherous level of slipperyness) we emerge at a cathedral high ceilinged opening and the stairs up which chuck us out at some unknown and far away destination.
episode fourteen
in which k and m buy wine on the way back at the petit casino grocery store and drink an entire bottle of rose with their dinner (both massive and masterpiece as it utilzed everything left in the refrigorator in a cocophany of vegitable/cheesy/pestoy goodness) in order to shake of some remnents of goosebumps sustained from their long sojourn underground. they then stumble slightly to the metro where they journey once agian deep into the montmarte/louve areas of paris for some heavy duty wandering followed by dinner at a resteraunt with red velvet seats and gold painted chairs where they have dinner and a pitcher of wine (hey it's france) and they staff try their hardest to keep max and kaitlin in their establishment plying them with chocolates at regular intervals until the only way they can escape (not wishing to miss the eiffle tower lit up at night on their last paris evening) is to go beg for the bill from the bartender-who has been watching then all evening and been thoughroughly entertained.
episode fifteen
eiffle tower at night. lit up and with an hourly light show which turns it into the biggest sparkler in the world. not much to describe this but it is so beautiful and perfect.
episode sixteen
kaitlin and max journey to the cdg airport and discover upon arrival that they depart from the same terminal and even the same section in that terminal so they are able to remain together past security and through the long amount of time between check in and boarding. goodbyes are not easy even when the blow is softened by an enormous bag of peanut m&m's purchased at the duty free shop. even when knowing there will be further reuniting soon.
max and kaitlin part ways and fade to black, el fin, roll credits.
i would like to thank kaitlin for meeting me in paris, pushing it up past it's average awesomeness to trip highlight status. how well did we do that? we should sell our plan to fund a return trip!
and now, some scotish 'summer' aka torrencial rain and wind so strong you can lean into it and remain standing. i will miss paris and i understand how everyone raves about it. i understand what the 'big deal' is with the most visited and most expensive city in europe. i know i must go back, there is so much to see just simply walking down a twisted cobblestone street that periodically ones brain must explode with excitement. and the food...well i will most likely drool on myself even thinking about it so not going there but let me just close with saying that hot chocolate has never been experienced in this way before, it is truly life changing!

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