or: 'the drinking continues...'
Between the warm up in ireland and the marathon in london I have regained my drinking powers! But lets keep me away from the absinthe!
I didn't do heaps of touristy stuff in london, but the thing I did do were awesome!( v and a, high tea, tower of london and general funnessCollapse )
I'm up in edinburgh now, fringing it up, averaging about 3 shows a day. Will tell all closer to leaving time!!
have to dash into fringe show now, so no photos yet, but london photos are here and RADA photos are here
i have photos from the tower on my phone but have not yet devised a way of getting them from said phone to computer!
ok, so I got slightly distracted in london, but here, at last, is my dublin update!
I arrived in dublin at around 1pm after getting up at 4.30am in paris, to catch a flight via frankfurt.
anyway, I arrived, but as many of you know, my luggage did not. They assured me it would arrive on the next flight at around 6pm, and I breezed my way through customs lol! Tom, my host in dublin was absolutely lovely and came and collected me from the airport. He was not at all what I expected. He was 40ish and I kind of expected this affable irishman... what I got was a guy with a sportscar, a bachelor pad and a bunch of friends who can drink me under the table several times over. He's a professional gambler!
I went into the main city and had a wander around in the late afternoon, got my bearings and all that, before coming back and being taken out drinking.
( adventures in pear cider and other dublin talesCollapse )</div>( adventures in pear cider and other dublin talesCollapse )
JC found me absolutely awesome people to board with in Paris – except they weren't there! They were in italy, but after some very awkward phone calls in french I got the address from their sort of house sitter, Laura, who had been told about me, and made it to the most awesome french apartment right in place de clichy. Laura is a 19 year old student, the daughter of more bridge players, who comes to the apartment in summer to stay in paris and feed the cats. She had a few friends staying too, including Lulu who spoke very good english, though the others were all pretty decent. So we had some great conversations in franglais! The cats are adorable – one is a bit mad and very strange, but very affectionate – she slept on my bed most nights. The other is a birman and super gorgeous but a bit aloof.
I went to the musee d'orsay with joanne, one of Laura's friends. Finally. Everyone always ways – what! You didn't go to d'orsay? Well, now I have! It's a lovely museum. The Art Nouveau section is fantastic, lots of furniture and homewares and wall decos as well as tradition art forms. The impressionist section is very impressive, though I find most of it a bit wishy washy emotionally. I like van gogh :) and they have a great selection of monets. I really like the sculptures, though joanne was not so keen on them. We walked past the restaurant. It's just stunning, but too expensive to eat there for anything other than a special occasion, even as a tourist. They also have a decorative arts section with an amazing ball room – so ornate!
I also went to the Dali exhibition at montmartre, something I really wanted to do last time and didn't get a chance to. It's mostly sketches and illustrations, sort of experiments and precursors to his best known works, as well as a lot of biographical material – photos and videos as well as the written information. There were also a lot of sculptures based on wax moulds he made of his favourite images - the melting clocks, the piano with the dancing legs, the elephants from temptation of st anthony... I really loved it :) Afterwards I wandered around montmartre and the sacre coeur which is one of my favourite places in paris, despite it's being completely touristy. The only thing I don't like is the stream of portraitists asking to draw me – usually I don't give in, but I was flattered into it by an italian brazillian who said he wanted to draw me for him and I didn't have to buy it. He also managed to flatter some little kisses out of me. Not sure how he managed that! I started to feel uncomfortable though, which he was quite understanding about, and we parted ways.
My really big excursion was to the palace at versailles. It's so lush and ornate and gorgeous and opulent and rich... the socialist in me thinks it's a testament to the terrible gap between rich and poor, but the rest of me just goes, ooooo pretty!! I went all through the palace, the king and queen's chambers, the dauphine's apartment, the king's mother's rooms and the hall of mirrors. The chapel is very impressive as is the hall of mirrors. All the furniture is so incredibly lush and even the freaking wallpaper is like plush lol! All the rooves are painted with either the same or contrasting designs as the wallpapers, or with beautiful expansive paintings with angels and cherubs and other ridiculous things, all nebulous and ethereal :)
the special exhibit was on the robes of state and fashions of the era. Yay clothes! They had a note that most of the clothes of the french royal family were not preserved, so they showed clothes from the other european royal families, most of which were made in france anyway. There were the big official portraits of the Louis-es in their state dress and sketches of various livery and heraldry. There were also examples of jewellery, fans and other accessories. Pretty! I can't believe how big the panniers were on some of those dresses though. And seriously none of the dresses could have been for a woman taller than 5 foot. Soooo tiny! With itty bitty shoes!
I walked around to marie antoinette's estate at petit trianon – unfortunately I couldn't walk though the gardens because it was the first night of their summer water and lights show. I saw a bit of it through the windows of versailles, but still disappointed. Marie Antoinette's estate is tiny compared to the main palace, but so lovely. It's just that little bit rustic :) there's a music room and her sleeping chambers and a sitting room and two dining rooms, all on a floor that's probably not much bigger than a three bedroom modern home. Quite sedate really for a woman of her stature! Outside are the petit trianon gardens, all lush and green and beautiful with marie antoinette's grotto and the music belvedere and a lake and an orange orchard and the 'temple of love' which is a dome in the gardens. I wandered through the greenery to the queen's hamlet. I'm not sure of the history of the queen's hamlet, but it's totally adorable. These quaint houses that make me think of sort of germanic construction (I guess that's why it's a hamlet?) and I would think are older than the main estate from the architecture. They're tiny little buildings – a house, mill, tower, guard building, reheating kitchen, billiard room, sleeping quarters and a little farm. All surrounding this gorgeous pond with carp and swans and water lillies. Just so peaceful and tranquil. The only bad part were the raspberries and red currents in the kitchen gardens just out of arm's reach. I was STARVING!!
Speaking of food I had all the french delicacies – escargot, frog's legs, confit de canard, tarte tatin, coq au vin (not as good as mine :P) and a few non french things, like the enourmous pile of spaghetti bolognese I made for the girls and the fricking awesome tunisian tuna salad that lulu and her cousin made. Boy was it piquant though!
As you all can probably guess if you didn't already know, I love paris. I really really love it. Except for the yarn stores. I ended up only going to two because the reviews I'd heard about most of them were pretty terrible – except for la droguerie, which means hardware store. This shop is a one stop crafting heaven and it's awesome. I loved it. They don't have a huge yarn range, but they have amazing colours and it's all on cones so you buy the weight you need. I bought some pure linen, a linen bamboo blend and some alpaca. I'm hoping I have enough of the linen bamboo to do a summer tank top. The other store I went to was in montmartre and it was pretty much what i'd expected from what i'd read online about parisian yarn stores. Limited range, a lot of man made fibres and no touching. I mean seriously. What the? No touching? No fondling, sniffing, rubbing and petting? I left within 10 minutes. When it comes to yarn, bring on germany!
( photos of franceCollapse )