Paris: Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Picasso, et moi.

Paris. It was a long time ago now. Even though I got back just over a week ago, so much has happened. But let’s leave that for another post. It’s PARIS TIME. C’EST LE TEMPS DE PARIS. (Oui, je parle un peu français.)

So Paris began with an overnight bus trip from Dortmund, which wasn’t nearly as horrific as I’d expected. Sleep didn’t really happen, but it meant that I arrived at my hostel at 6am. A little too early to go sightseeing and WAY too early to check in. Day one I spent all by myself, mostly wandering. I went to Sacre Coeur, a beautiful (but not Europe’s most beautiful) cathedral, which was delightfully close to my hostel. Wandering down a lot of streets full of semi-sketchy formal-wear boutiques (it was weird), I ended up feeling overwhelmed and hungry in Le Galleries Lafayette, which is a big big big department store. I even cracked and went to a Starbucks in the store (my first American chain restaurant since going to Europe).

The view from my hostel room!

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The rest of the day was a bit of a blur. I had hoped to meet up with my friend Nancy but it’s hard to meet up with people when you’re just kind of hoping to run into them. So I saw La Place de la Concord, the jardin du Tuilieres (a big garden in front of the Louvre), walked along the Seine, saw Notre Dame, bought a book at Shakespeare and Company, and went to the Pompidou Center. It ended up being about 11 hours of walking with few breaks.

Sacre Coeur before climbing the stairs

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The view from the top– the highest point in the city is Sacre Coeur

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Dome at the Lafayette Galleries

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Tapestry at the Pompidou Center

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Robert and Sonia Delaunay pieces

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Start day 2. Taking it slow in the morning, I met up with Nancy and Deena at the start of a free walking tour (can’t speak highly enough of New Europe free walking tours), and we went on a long walk with a lot of other tourists, then sat and had a long lunch, before meeting up with the tour guide again and doing a walking tour of Montmartre, the trendy, arty neighborhood which is home to Sacre Coeur, Moulin Rouge, Picasso, et moi (it’s where my hostel was). Deena and I got a nice dinner in the artist’s square (a really cool square full of portraitists) and I went to bed.

Le Louvre est mon chapeau.

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Le lock bridge

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Nicole Kidman’s place of work

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Picasso’s apartment (above “The Laundry Boat”)

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Jour trois. I took another stroll through Montmartre in the daylight before heading into the city, the LONG way, stopping along the way to eat my apple watching old men do tai chi in a park, and and another to eat the best pain au chocolat the world has ever known (fresh and still warm). Then I saw the Arc de Triomphe, walked some more down back roads, and came upon the Eiffel Tower. It’s still way too surreal, but there was a lot of ear-to-ear smiling. Nancy and Deena and I had planned to meet at a McCafe near the Louvre before going, but we missed each other and none of us got to go to the museum. So we met up for dinner and then climbed the stairs up the Arc de Triomphe! It was a great view of Paris without the lines that the Eiffel Tower had. We walked down the Christmas market on the Champs d’Elysees, which was great and we had potato pancakes (when in France?)

It’s a little smaller than a typical Parisian lamppost.

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Is it just me, or is it a little crooked?

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Champs D’Elysees lit up like a French flag

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Day four, clearly time is getting away from us– it’s the last day of 2013! We met up in the morning south of the downtown part of the city, and waited in what we thought would be an hour long line for the Catacombs. The day crawled by as it rained and we waited for QUATRE HEURES, and I still managed to get a pretty substantial sunburn. Then we got into the tunnels under the city full of millions of human skeletons which was mad creepy but definitely really cool (except for the fact it was about 70 and humid down there).

Flash photography was forbidden.

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Then Nancy left to try to go to Hotel d’Invalides, and Deena and I walked to the Jardins du Luxembourg (SO PREETTTYY) which quickly became one of my favorite spots in the city. It had statues of ONLY women– French queens and influential French women (sadly not Eleanor of Aquitaine though). Tres cool. We walked through the Latin Quarter and met up with Nancy, and ate some foodstuffs served by a really rude French lady (when in France!) and walked over to the Eiffel Tower, where crowds had begun to gather– there are no official fireworks in Paris, but the Eiffel Tower sparkles on the hour every hour in the winter , so this night was no different. We did a lot of posing as Nancy struggled with some nasty food poisoning. At midnight, we shared a group hug at the base of the Eiffel Tower while eating Nutella-drizzled churros. It was quite the night.

#SparkleTime

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In the morning, I went back to the Luxembourg Gardens, did some reading and drank some expensive hot chocolate. We met up a final time in the afternoon and ate some tasty tasty crepes (mine was egg and cheese :)), walked around the Montmartre Christmas markets, then we- went to the metro Trocadero stop to go to the Christmas markets over there (last day!), I bought some final souvenirs before we said goodbye.

I was over it.

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In the morning I said goodbye to Paris as I headed to Orly airport, after which I went to London, and because British Airways wasn’t flying to Boston because of the storm, I was rerouted to Montreal, where I spent the night trying to to adjust to the time zone and relishing being an adult (first time in a hotel by myself). My flight wasn’t until the evening, so I sat around, packed again, and hung out at the crowded airport (everyone trying to get home). I luckily hopped on an earlier flight, and before I knew it, I was back in America.

So there’s good news and bad news. They’re the same. My adventure has come to an end, and this marks my second to last post. See you soon.

And Then My Stomach Burst

God I just want to tell everyone everything but not actually write a post. That may be a bad sign.

Things. All of the things. I guess I’ll number them. The things I remember since my last post. You may be able to tell I’m rather tired.

1) I went to Tivoli with Amanda and Gabrielle last Wednesday, to see the Christmas markets and the amazing decorations. As with any time you go to Tivoli, we were not disappointed. We saw reindeer, drank some gløgg (hot spiced red wine) and ate some æbleskiver (think spherical pancake) with strawberry jam and confectioner’s sugar. It was a good time, and I bought some small souvenirs for some people back home.

The entrance to Tivoli

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Hotel and giant white peacock. There were live, real peacocks just strolling the park, too.

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Carousel in the Russian-themed area

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THE WORST PRIZE EVER (or maybe the best one?)

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Gløgg og æbleskiver

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More holiday cuteness

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It’s the most wonderful time of the year at the most magical place on Earth

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2) Thursday was Thanksgiving, but since my core course final was from 4:30-6:30pm, there was no chance of even making anything special for dinner. But I did skype with my Dad, Harry, and Nicole (Harry’s gf) from my Dad’s house in Mass. It was really nice to see them, hear about their Thanksgivings and talk about stuff a little. Harry’s moving (has moved, now) to the Boston area, which he’s really pumped about. And I taught my dad how to say “gløgg is good” which is very easy “gløgg er godt.”

3) On Saturday, we did Thanksgiving at my house. I got up and started to cook– cranberry sauce, cranberry relish, apple sauce, and apple crisp. Then I cleaned my room and waited for Becky and Bonnie to arrive from the city. They did, and we had a hyggeligt time making mashed potatoes, roasted green beans, and butternut squash latkes (for me, baby’s first latke cooking experience, for them, baby’s first latke eating experience). Becky also brought a brussels sprouts and apples dish, which was nommy. We even had a lot of extra time and oranges, so we made what I’ll call a bittersweet orange compote, and chocolate cake with chocolate ganache. Gabrielle came and we made some incredible stuffing, before sitting down to  dinner at 6:35. It was a perfectly planned and executed meal if I do say so myself. I love Thanksgiving a lot and it made me feel so happy to have that holiday. I was seriously beaming all night and then my stomach burst from food and wine and like 4 hours of talking. The group of the four of us also went for a very dark walk in the Slotspark, which was a little creepy (bats abound and Becky told me that 90% of bats carry rabies. Ha! Now that fact is on you to struggle with). And then I got them on the train, came back, ran the dishwasher, wiped down the counters, and went to bed. It seems that the cleanup impressed the host fam even more than the food did. What can I say? My parents raised me right. (But the food was pretty damn good).

Latkes and Cranberry relish

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Green beans, brussels sprouts, and stuffing

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Round 1: My plateIMG_4539

An unfortunate light fixture (seriously, one step to the right would have solved this problem) but over all a cute pic of my and my short friends

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I realize I have NEVER BEFORE posted a pic with the host fam. That’s because this is the first one I’ve taken.

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Dessert (tastier than it looks)

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4) This movie happened with my class, designing communication campaigns. The process of making it was much too embarrassing for those involved to write about here, but we had a good time. I did next to nothing but am still really proud of how it came out. I’m the featured disembodied hand writing at the end. Wait. I actually can’t post it here until it’s on YouTube. Check in next week for the updated version!

While we were not working on the project, we played a lot of games with this whiteboard, including one where you stand against it and the two others write speech bubbles. Then you make a face having never read the bubbles. Then you take a picture. This one is incredibly me. (besides the incorrect grammar)

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5) Uhhh… I bought a bunch of souvenirs after a trip to the fabric store for my mama turned into a trip to the fabric store for me. That’s right, my mom sent me into a fabric store and expected me not to fall in love with yarn and beautiful, beautiful fabric. Not likely. Unfortunately, out of my relatively small reader-base, and there is an even smaller gifting-base. Stuff is pricey pricey pricey here, and I still need to finance another month!

6) Speaking of which, my ticker on the right tells me my time left in Europe is no longer at months, we’re at days!! It would actually make more sense to do weeks next, but whatever. On December 15th, I’m headed to Berlin for 5 days, then on the 20th, I’ll go west to Dortmund for Christmas, to spend with former host-sisters Lara and Lena, and their parents, as well as a teacher my mom hosted, Friederike! I’m really excited for that part of the trip. Then I’ll go on the 27th to my FINAL DESTINATION: PARIS and spend New Year’s there, hopefully living it up by myself, with my friend Nancy from DIS, and with new buddies from the hostel (just speculating). At the very least I’ll see the Louvre and walk by the Seine (swooning as we speak). Then home on January 2nd– Paris to London, London to Boston, Boston to Grafton. This trip is what’s keeping me going right now through an emotional finals season, the horrors of packing (haven’t happened yet), and a lot of homesickness. As much as I have love love loved seeing things and experiencing and living it up, there are few things I look forward to more than hugging my parents, seeing my cats, and baking cookies.

This post feels like it needs this:

Love, Eleanor

P.S. I wrote this post in about 20 minutes. If that’s not something to be proud of, I don’t know what is.

Which in Spain Means You’re Insane

I realized two important things today. 1) I haven’t posted in a week! Time to start writing! 2) I haven’t told y’all about Barcelona yet. Which is definitely the most important thing that has happened that I haven’t gone over in detail.

October 1:

We resume the adventure flying from Rome to Barcelona. This was my first experience with picked RyanAir. I really cannot complain. I paid $35 for a flight. An unreal price. It also encouraged forced me to pack lighter for the whole trip, which overall was probably a benefit.

After the worst landing I’ve experienced (already my least favorite part of flying BY FAR) all the people start clapping. It was soo unexpected, and so funny. And so real. I was grateful we made it too.

And make it we did, meeting our friend Drew (Bonnie’s friend from Smith, my friend through DIS and Bonnie) at the hostel at midnight, as prearranged. The hostel was lovely and we had some beers with some guys in the kitchen before going to bed. (Maybe worth noting: Said guys were a Canadian IT guy and two German prison guards. A motley crew it was).

October 2:

We have a breakfast at our hostel and walked a couple miles towards La Sagrada Familia. Even in the heat, it was but really nice to take in Barcelona, which is much more chill than Rome. We also split a very cheap, pretty good paella. Because there are some things you just have to eat.

La Sagrada Familia is a FEAT in architecture. It has been in progress for almost exactly 100 years, and will not be done for another 20. Cathedrals take a long time, but if you consider the advancement in building technology in that time, it’s… a freaking long time. This place is unmissable.

La Sagrada Familia, from the front.

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There are two distinct sides, the “Passion Facade” and the “Nativity Facade.” I believe this is the latter.

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Windows.IMG_3281

The Ceiling. European ceilings are just so good.IMG_3282

Godly.

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Over the pulpit.

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Me and a window.

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A very attractive selfie of the three of us and the Nativity Facade.

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After La Sagrada, we made our way down the widest streets I’ve ever seen to the most narrow ones, then back out again. The old part of Barcelona has winding alleys unlike those in Rome. Much narrower, and curving, so you never know where you’ll end up.  We ended up at La Rambla, a very famous shopping street, and possibly the European Capitol of Pickpocketing. So I clutched my bag close and we walked. Drew is practical and destination-oriented, setting goals, reading maps. I read maps, but I’m content to mosey and wander for a while before I do. Bonnie does not read maps (well), but usually is game to wander or find the destination. A good in-the-middle. So, we spent less time on La Rambla shopping and meandering than I would have alone, but it was still good. We also found a very famous food market, and luckily for me, all of us were down to eat some free samples and look at food stuffs. I got a Horchata and struggled to tell the others what it was. Just did some research to better explain it, and the word Horchata is actually Orxata, which is Catalan, the language most widely spoken in Barca. It is a sweet, creamy drink made from Tigernuts in Spain (google it) and made with rice in the U.S.

When we got back to the hostel, we ate a dinner cooked by the hostel staff, and played some pool in the basement. A great hostel, it was. Then the three of us, plus another DIS kid, Kenny, went out clubbing. We did not realize 1am is WAY too early to go out in Spain, and we were greeted by a sad, empty dance floor, and we left before anything exciting happened. The club we were at played the following songs twice in the hour and half we were there: Ain’t No Mountain High Enough and Call Me Maybe. Make of that what you will. We walked about an hour to get back between 3:30 and 4:30am, all the while having a raucous sing-along of Taylor Swift, Rent, and Mika, to name a few. It was the most fun I’ve had in a long time.

October 3:

Destinations of the day: Park Güell and the beach! We picked the right times to do both because it rained in the morning for a bit, when we were exploring the beautiful architecture, landscaping, views, and very talented street performers of the park.

Drew pointed out that one time the ANTM finale was here! Caridee’s season!

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But like, woah.

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Barca, the Med, and oh yeah, La Sagrada on the left.

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Stand up base is my weakness.

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Parchitecture (see what I did there?) and the city

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By the time we got to the beach the weather had cleared and it was perfect. My toes were loving the Mediterranean, and Drew and Bonnie relaxed on the sand.

Oh look, the perfect non-touristy Spanish beach (the trick: get off the Metro at Via Olimpica)

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A goal of mine. So perfect.

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We headed back into the city for a Tapas Tour we were going on. Tapas were great, and our tour group was rather excellent. We went to three different tapas places, and, we learned, you have to order drinks with tapas (by custom, not law or anything) so we had some traditional style apple cider, beer, and sangria, which was served in a jug that you pass around and pour from a distance into your mouth (or not from a distance if you have terrible aim and care about your clothing, like myself).

Yup, this thing.

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We then went back to the hostel, and one of the hostel staff was giving a lesson in making sangria, and it was the most sensual demonstration of basically wine and fruit salad that you could possibly imagine, from a Brazilian Johnny Depp lookalike, again, if you can imagine that.

Because Spain, we went out clubbing again, this time me and Bonnie with two guys who were also staying at our hostel. After walking around and going to a bar, we got to the club around 2:15am, aka PRIME TIME in Barcelona. Bonnie and I got in for free because we’re girls (sometimes sexism is kind of ok) and inadvertently ditched the guys in order to get this deal. We danced and danced and danced and went home in a taxi around 3:30 with significant hearing loss. Oh well. It was really fun.

October 4:

Drew went to Geneva early in the morning, so it was just me and Bonnie hanging out once again. We went to MACBA, which translates to the Barcelona Museum of Contemporary Art. The museum was one of the best I’ve been to, and the art was all from after 1960. Which even in a contemporary art museum, is rather contemporary. Impressive.

I really liked this one.

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Wedding trunk, I think? With army men coming out.

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Some really innovative music composition

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YES, TOUCH IT. (no, not all of it)

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A poem on the wall in English, Spanish, and Catalan. (I think “majeure” is supposed to be “major”). I really like this poem.

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This is not art, but just a sign as we were leaving. But I really liked it.

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Then I really wanted to go shopping, so Bonnie humored me and we walked around La Rambla again, until I finally found something worth getting: stud earrings, which are black stones dipped in silver paint. Fairly cheap because Spain, and handmade in Barcelona.

We got back to the hostel to pick up our bags, and asked for directions to the airport. It was 5:00 and our flight was at 9:30, which in Spain means you’re insane because everything is relaxed and runs late. The Jonny Depp guy at the hostel told us we should stay another hour, and to get us to, he bought us a chocolate cake, and then made us and another guy who worked at the hostel lattes. We went up the the roof and ate and chatted, and the guys smoked and it was fun. The topic changed to acro-yoga (acrobatic partner yoga) and they told us they were learning it and did we want to see their routine? (they were definitely not smoking tobacco). We said yes, naturally, and they showed us this amazing routine in which Johnny Depp was holding the other guy with his arms or legs the entire time while lying on his back on the ground, and the other guy balanced. Then they finished, and asked if we wanted to try. I did.

IT. WAS. MAGIC. Bonnie tried, and then we split for the airport, all smiles, and when we got back to Copenhagen, we put on all of the clothes we brought (Copenhagen is COLD) and went back to her place, where I crashed on her floor. It was quite the week, needless to say. But I’m glad to be back in Copenhagen. At least for another week.

Stay tuned: London is next! No city is safe from my tourism!

A Long and Short Week

So, I just got home from 10 weeks working at a summer camp in Vermont. It’s called Farm & Wilderness, so you can imagine the surroundings (farm-y, wild). Here’s a cute picture from the summer.

Oh look! It’s a picture of me facilitating a rousing game of “Sharks and Minnows” on the waterfront. (I’m in the background on the dock in a red one-piece looking particularly lifeguard-y)

This photo is credited to Indian Brook Camp

Anywho, that was my summer. I have gotten some very important emails this summer, my favorite was one from my host mom, Jytte, introducing herself to me and her family (dad Ole, and daughters Maria and Linea, who are 18 and 16).  I’m soo excited to meet them. The whole family seems artistic, and altogether like me, so I’m glad I spent so much time on my host family letter. They sent me this really cute website which they seem to have made for me and the other DIS student, who they hosted last fall: They don’t live in Copenhagen though, they live in Fredensborg.

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I live on Slotsvaenget, which as you can see, is really close to Fredensborg Slot, aka the royal palace, aka, I’m the luckiest ever. This photo is from the Danhostel website

The cool things about Fredensborg: It is the home of the coolest royal family in the world in the spring and fall (aka– now!) and is close to a beautiful lake, national park, and isn’t too far from the Louisiana Museum of Modern Art, a place I have wanted to go for years. It’s one of the world’s most famous modern art museums.

The uncool things about Fredensborg: It means I have a 45 minute commute twice per day. ew.

More on the host family all semester as I learn about them and we have adventures.

Right now, as I get ready to go (ON SATURDAY! SO SOON!) I’m trying to get my stuff together. First I’m unpacking from camp (10 weeks of my life, taken out of my luggage) and then I have to begin packing for a very different climate (20 weeks of my life, put into luggage). And get my finances together (stressful, but not really stuff I can go into detail about here) and have to buy  my return ticket back to the states and saying goodbye to my family and friends. It’s going to be a very long and very short week.