Saturday, 28 July 2007

End of Cruise, back to London

Sitting in the Airport waiting for my airplane back to London. We are sitting in the Treviso airport, and a little bumbed about the end of the cruise.

I will put more information up here when I get a chance!

Thursday, 19 July 2007

Airport to Venice

I am all checked in and doing some last minute internet details at the Airport. Excited to finally get there. Didn't sleep well the last two nights, so hopefully I can catch some zzz's on the plane. I will try to keep everyone updated on the travel over the next 9 days, but I am not sure of my internet Access.

Here is a copy of the ships details:

Ports of Call:
Venice, Italy
Dubrovnik, Croatia
Iraklion (Heraklion), Crete
Kusadasi (Ephesus), Turkey
Santorini, Greece
Corfu, Greece
Venice, Italy

Monday, 16 July 2007

Back in London

Back in London for a few days, and then off to Venice. Not sure what I am going to do for the next two days, minus get a hair cut and send my suitcase back home. That is about all that I have planned!!!

Paris Day Six-Bastille Day

What a wonderful day to be in Paris.

We took our time waking up in the morning, as we didn't have much planned for this day. We watched some of the military parade on TV, and then decided to head over to the Tour Eiffel and get a view of the city. This was spectacular. We grabbed some bagettes and waited in line, which looked like it would take forever. In an hour we were in! Not bad at all. In fact, it worked out great because they opened the elevator to the top while we were in line, and thus we were one of the first groups to be able to go all the day to the top. We took pictures from the very top and from the second level, and then I decided to make the trip to the bottom by stairs. When I got to the bottom, I wish that I would have climbed the entire way via the stairs. NEXT TIME.

We then continued the day by going over to Rue Cler and stocking up on the necessary picnic goods for the evening. We eat a quick afternoon meal and headed back to rest up before the big night. We met up with Dr. and Mrs. Maxwell and found out we had to pour our wine into plastic bottles. I have never seen adult feel so out of place. People just out of the doors have this down to a science, but I stood back and laughed at my mother and the Maxwell's stuggling with this. We decided to sit around our hotel for a few minutes and chat, and then head over to the Champs de Mars for the viewing of the fireworks. What a fireworks show it was. The entire thing was set to Music. A spectacle indeed. Reminded me of the Fourth in Washington DC (essentially thats what it is).

All in all a great trip to Paris. The next morning we took off and headed back to London!

Paris Day Five

The weather today was aboslutely beautiful. Couldn't have beat if for anything. About 80 and no clouds. The weather that I have been waiting for the entire trip.

We started the day with a Rick Steve's Guided walk. This started us around Notre Dame and Point Zero. I stood on top of Point Zero which is wear the world according to Parisians is measured from. This is about 30 meters in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral. From there we looked at the Notre Dame. What an amzing sight. It is absolutely huge and an architectural wonder. We wondered around the side of the building and looked at the Deportation Museum which we finally figured wasn't open and moved on.

From there we headed to the Left Bank after taking a quick detour from the trip to see if the "best ice cream in the world" establishment was open. It wasn't, so we decided to come back later. On the left bank, we saw many things including the Latin Quarters in which we sat and had a coffee at a Cafe, the oldest resident of Paris (a tree planted five hundred years ago), and the Place St. Michel (a big waterfall wall thingy which had a bunch of tourists around it).

We continued our tour going back onto the Ile de la Cite and viewing the outside of the Sainte Chapelle (the line was huge and our Museum pass didn't get us any advantage, so we moved on), one of the only Art Noveu Metro stops left, and the Conceirgerie. The Conceirgerie was the final stop of all of those that lost their heads by the Guillatine. It was an interesting location, and a great quick stop on the Ile de La Cite.

After this morning tour, we headed over to the Pompidou Center and to the Modern Art Museum. This was a very interesting building because all of the infastructure was on the ouside. No way to miss it. The Modern Art, however, was over the top. It focused more on contemporary Modern Art (in my opinion) than the famous names that we know for modern art. There was only two Jackson Pollacks. They did have many Picasso's, but only one that I recognized, so that wasn't even that cool. It my mind it was not nearly as fascinating as the Tate Modern in London (then again, I am partial to London now).

We then headed over to the Arc de Triumphe. This was pretty spectacular, and a must do. We took many pictures and then went down the Rue de Champs-Elysees which was cool, but nothing spectacular. Interesting to view all of the similarities that it had, and the effects of the global economy on it. Most of the companies represented are the same in London, New York, and Los Angeles.

We headed home, got some dinner and went to bed to prepare for Bastille Day!

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Paris Day Four

Another early morning and started our trek to Giverny to see Monet's gardens and residence where he spent the last half century of his life. I have never been so confused on how to get to a train station in my life. We walked for walk seems like miles on the underground system of tunnels until we finally popped up at the right location and got on our train to Vernon, the closest stop to Giverny. The train to Vernon is about 45 minute ride through the French countryside immediately surrounding Paris. From there a public bus takes you Giverny, about another 15 minute drive away, seeing some of the wheat fields that were famous paintings by Monet.

Once arriving at the Gardens we immediately headed to the famous Lily Pond and Japanese Bridge. Amazing. That is all that I could say. The flowers were not all in bloom, but you can definately see Monet's work in these areas. You can imagine huge canvases spread along the shores catching the light from a particular time of day.

We grabbed a quick bite in Giverny, and headed back to Vernon around noon. We were early for our train back to Giverny, and thus waited around, getting some ice cream in the mean time. Hopped on the train and slept the entire way back to Paris. From here we decided to hit up another museum that housed multiple Monet paintings. It turned out that the Musee Marmottan was pretty much entirely dedicated to the life of Monet. There were works spanning the entire distance of his life. It was interesting to have paintings housed in a single large room that ranged from hand-drawings as a teenager to some of the last works before his death.

From here we walked down Rue de Passy (a shopping road apparently) until we hit the Eiffel Tower and went home. We were planning on heading back out that evening, but that did not happen. Fell asleep and didn't wake up until 11:30 at night!

Friday, 13 July 2007

Paris Day Three

The third day in Paris was started at the Louvre. We got there plenty early to avoid lines, and our Paris Museum passes allowed us to be about the 20th person into the Meseum. This was great. We followed the Rick Steve's Ipod tour and were able to complete the museum in a matter of 3 hours. We didn't see everything, but were able to see the big hits including Venus de Milo, Winged Victory, and of course the Mona Lisa. The lines to see the Mona Lisa were not that bad, and I was actually able to get a picture of it without being hassled by a guard.

After the Louvre we headed throught the Jardin des Tuileries, and grabbed a coffee and some crepes at a cafe around the great basin in the middle of the gardens. These gardens were definately less impressive than those at Versailles.

From here we walked to the far end of the Gardens to the Orangerie. We had to wait for a quick minute until they opened at 11:30 and went in to see the famous Nymphéas. These are the actual completed works. All of the other Nymphéas paintings that you can see at other museums are apparently studies for this series in the Orangerie. The biggest of the paintings is several canvases that were stitched together and stand 5.5' high and stretch 55' in length. Absolutely amazing.

After the Orangerie, we walked over to the Musee d'Orsay which is located in an Old Train station. The museum is quite amazing, and once again we took a Rick Steves Ipod tour around to see everything. Great works from Van Gogh, Monet, Rodin, Picasso and many others. This museum picks up where the Louvre takes off, and ends in the early 1900s with the start of modern art.

We then took bus 69 towards home and stopped at the Rodin Museum on the way. It was quite interesting, and included the famous Thinker statue. I also like the Gates of Hell statue based off of Dante's Inferno. The thinker was actually a study for this piece and is found overlooking the gates.

A very busy day in Paris, and quite enjoyable.