Thursday, May 5, 2011

Paris with Katie, Tamara, and Alyssa
Friday 4/29
It was pouring rain in Granada as we packed our bags and headed out to catch the bus to the airport. For the first time we were flying out of the Granada airport so we only had to take the bus for 45 minutes from the city center to the Granada airport. However, on our way to the bus station we got COMPLETELY soaked. It was not a good way to start out our trip. We made the bus just in time and arrived to the airport with plenty of time before our flight. The Granada airport is tinyyy but we settled in on the floor and played cards. We are expert travelers now. Our flight ended up being delayed for about an hour due to the rain so we continued playing cards until we took off. We arrived in Paris at around 7pm at the ORLY airport. We took the bus to the metro and then took the metro for 15 stops to our hotel in Monmarte (spelling? I’m a Spanish major okay?!) The hotel had given us the wrong directions so we were wandering for awhile and our street wasn’t on our map but we finally found it. It was quaint and our room didn’t have much more than a bed but we were only paying 25E a night so we couldn’t complain. We put down our stuff and went out to find dinner. It was about 10pm at this point. We found this chic place with red velvet sofas and we settled in. Our waiter spoke a little English so that was good. We all ordered French onion soup and savored it while we warmed up and began to relax. Katie and I also ordered tortellini to split and it wasn’t until Alyssa and Tamara were done with their entrees that he informed us that they were out of tortellini and did we want salmon instead? It was kind of strange but Katie and I split another appetizer instead. I ordered tortellini with mushrooms…no I do not want salmon. Duh. We went back to our hotel and fell asleep.

Saturday 4/30
We woke up early and hopped on the metro to the Lourve. Now in the past 2 weeks we have been to the Uffizi, Accademia, Vatican museum, Prado, and now the Lourve. We were a bit “arted out” as we like to say. We learned later on our boat tour that the Lourve is the 3rd largest art museum in the world. However, we simply looked at the most famous works (Mona Lisa, Winged Victory, Venus de Milo) and some of the Egyptian work and left. There is such a thing as too much art. From there we wandered through the Touilleres (again spelling…sorry) and ate our apples and peanut butter by the fountain as we watched the ducks. Then we went to Plaza de la Concorde and ate crepes while we watched the crazy tourist groups and enjoyed our first view of the Eiffel Tower. Then we decided to brave another art museum and went to the Monet Water Lillies Museum (the name in French escapes me) I had gone here with Alex and have never forgotten how it made me feel. It just feels so peaceful and simply beautiful. I saw in the big oval rooms for awhile just absorbing the water lilies. I love this museum!! After that we went over to Notre Dame. There were a lot of people but not unbearable. We went inside and took pictures of the Rose windows. Being in the Notre Dame reminds me a bit of Kari because when I was there last time with Alex, Kari was sick and we lit a candle for her strength. This time, I lit a candle in her memory. It was emotional. It is such an incredible place. After the Notre Dame we went over to Saint Chappelle and Le Concierege. Saint Chappelle is famous for its incredible stained glass windows and we spent time just looking at the beautiful artwork and colors. Le Concierege is where Marie Antoinette was imprisoned before she was beheaded. We saw her cell and everything! It was a bit freaky but cool to see. Then we took the metro over to Tocodero (spell?) to look at the best view of the Eiffel Tower. It was so beautiful! We were pretty exhausted by this point so we took the metro back and grabbed paninis and sat in the park behind the Notre Dame just enjoying the sunset and the Paris atmosphere. At about 9pm we went over to the Seine and got on a night time boat tour of the city. It was so beautiful to see everything lit up! Alex had taken me on this tour and I had remembered how much I loved it so I thought the girls would like it too! We had, had quite the day and were poooopped. So we took the metro back to our hotel and passed out.

Sunday 5/1
We woke up early and took the metro over to the Eiffel Tower. Alyssa, Tamara, and Katie went up but I sat in the grass with my book enjoying the weather and the view. It was such a beautiful day. After they came down we went and got sandwiches and sat in the park behind the tower just enjoying the sun. That was when we looked over and saw this girl Julia who is in my sorority back at Bucknell and lived on Katie’s freshman hall! It was crazy to run into someone from Bucknell in Paris! After that we walked over to the Arco de Trioumphe and then walked down the Champs Ellyess (ahh spelling!). It was really crowded but we stopped at my favorite paris coffee shop chain PAUL and grabbed macarons and watched street performers. We went home to rest up and then went out to find a place to eat. All the restaurants around us were really tiny and expensive. It was kind of discouraging and we couldn’t find a place. Finally we stumbled upon this American restaurant and we all looked at each other and knew exactly what we were all thinking. BURGER! It was really funny but we were so happy to just sit down and have a big burger and fries. We were exhausted so headed home after dinner. We were to have an intense day ahead of us…

Monday 5/2
We woke up around 10 and packed up our bags. Katie and I have itouch ipods that can access wifi so we went down to the lobby to check our e-mail before we headed out. That was when we got an e-mail from the US embassy in Madrid advising us not to travel and to stay close to our residences in Granada. We were so confused so I decided to check CNN. That was when we saw the news. Osama bin Laden was dead. I was speechless. Katie and I just sat there in the lobby in shock. We had no idea what was going on in our country and could only barely access the internet. We had just received an email not to travel and to stay at home but we were in Paris…and were unsure of what to do. We gathered our things and took a walk to the Sacre Cour where we lit a candle for the victims of 9/11 and all of those that have been victimized by the terror of Osama and Al Queda. It was a very emotional day and we ended up spending most of it talking about 9/11 and our lives since then. We hadn’t heard anything from Delgado or any new news so we began our journey to the airport. We were suddenly very aware of how little Americans there were in Paris and how obviously we stood out. We spoke very little and tried to keep a low profile although it still seemed as if everyone was staring at us. As soon as we got off the bus at the airport we saw lots of army men with HUGE guns. They immediately approached us and offered to help us find our terminal. They escorted us to our terminal where another officer guided us through security. Obviously it was solely for the purpose to make us feel safe but I could not help but feel more vulnerable. Security was insane and very strict. Usually the airport security throughout Europe has been very lenient and nonchalant. However, today it was the opposite. We settled in at our gate and tried to avoid the glares and whispers from the French around us. There was the news on that kept flashing (what turned out to be false) photos of a dead Osama Bin Laden. I finally got in touch with my family before we boarded our plane from Paris to Granada. Obviously, we arrived safely in Granada and took the bus back home. Lolita was ecstatic. She was like HAVE YOU HEARD HAVE YOU HEARD HES DEAD HES DEAD. Katie and I were kind of numb and still pretty freaked out and tried to brush her off. Then she turned on the news. IT was Obama’s speech translated to Spanish with a slide show of the most graphic photos from 9/11 that I have ever seen. The news here is much more graphic than in the United States. I just started crying. Lolita didn’t understand why I was upset. “El era un hombre malo y ahora esta muerto…por que estas llorando…por que estas llorando…no entiendo” HE was a bad man and now he is dead…why are you crying…why are you crying…I don’t understand. I just could not explain to her the emotions that the 9/11 photos brought up. I wanted nothing more than to be back home in the US. It was a weird way to end our trip to Paris…


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