9.1.12 - 9.3.12 70 °F
September 2nd: Barcelona and Paris
Sagrada Familia was well worth getting up early for, despite being sick as a dog. The first outer entrance depicted scenes of the crucifiction in a heavy-handed, angular fashion, while the opposite entrance depicted the conception and birth scenes in a realistic, organic style. Inside, giant columns supported a ceiling of sunburst and sunflower-like shapes and the walls hosted beautiful stained glass windows in a fractured gradient of colors. Afterward, we boarded an eight hour train ride to Paris, where we made friends with a French boy and his mother. We learned a few more phrases and enjoyed the French countryside. After checking into the Oops! hostel we found dinner in a nearby restaurant. Red wine, duck, potatoe cheese casserole, salad complete, and rumpsteak with bernaise sauce helped us forget our runny noses and aching feet temporarily and we slept very well.
September 3rd: Paris
We stumbled upon a little bakery after a late morning and breakfasted on eclairs, croissants, tarts, and macaroons. After that Notre Dame was first on our list. Mass was being held as we walked quietly through the darkened hall of columns and monuments to saints. My favorite part was climbing the towers to the top of the church after a lengthy wait. From a walkway between the towers all of Paris could be seen with her many churches, museums, white buildings with orange chimneys, and the river Seine winding through. Gargoyles along the walls ranged in shape from gryffins to monstrous people and in the South tower was a giant bell. Next, we grabbed quick hotdogs from a street vendor on our way to the Louvre, which was just a few blocks North. We focused our efforts on the Grecian and Egyptian artifact collections, as well as the Italian paintings. We saw Venus, Psyche and Cupid, busts of philosophers, Aphrodite, the Mona Lisa, The Wedding Feast, The Coronation of Napolean, sarcophaguses, hieroglyphs, a mummy, pottery, and so much more. By the end of the Champs 'Elysees we were ready for a break and stopped for dinner where we had rumpsteak, fois gras pate, entrecôte steak, duck, creme brulé, sweet cheese in raspberry sauce, and meringue with custard. I had an unfortunate chocking incident that scared everyone, but a few heavy whacks on the back by my friend Matt set me right again. And then we were off again! Our next stop was the Arc d'Triomphe for some photo opportunities. Next, of course, was the Eiffel Tower where Audrey and I convinced the others to climb the stairs to the top with us. We counted 677 stairs to the windy top where we could see the city lights and all the places we had visited during the day. Finally, exhausted but happy, we drug ourselves home and got to sleep around 2.