30 June 2009

Got Busy?

As much as I wanted to spend a month+ in the 100 degree heat of the summer, I've come up with another plan that has teeth.
The second summer session at SMU, a local university, begins next week and I'm (hopefully) enrolled in a few classes to jumpstart my transcript at Texas this fall. I plan on taking Chivalry in literature, which fulfills a freshman English Literature requirement, and I'm taking Fencing which will fulfill 2 requirements. It takes care of physical education for the year and I get to work out some latent aggression with Chloe at the same time. I'll also try to audit a French class that she's taking.
Went to the YMCA and volunteered to be a coach for a kids' team that had no coach!
While I'm at SMU and the YMCA I can also swim in their pools to get the summer exercise without the heat! All this passes the "why I have good reasons not to spend the summer in the Oklahoma heat" test & continues my happy streak!!

27 June 2009

Welcome to Texas, under clear skies and 102°F

and that's still 39C said our Air France pilot in his Castillian accent! So began my short list of perspective enhanced things that just weren't right about summer in Dallas. Nevertheless, I was very pleased to get out of that plane and streeeeetch my legs out straight!

Occasionally there are some pretty places here, but not like the miles an miles of beautiful scenery that we just left this morning...sigh.... The people were polite and correct and proud of their culture. Dad threw a small welcome home party for me and my mom - very nice, but omg are we tired. He really missed her something fierce - happy to help, Dad.

Our revelers here provided some stark contrast to the civility and sweetness surrounding everything we did for the last 10 days. Gosh... even the way we eat is different. The flight attendant on the plane (badge said security), politely corrected me when I requested coffee at 10:00 AM - champagne, juice, water..., but cafe, no, eet is far too late, or pear-aaps too early for apres lunch.

I'm certain to have many small differences to share over the next few days, and now looking forward to my nice bed soon. Several of my cousins were here tonight and the closest one to my age invited me to go hiking - beginning tomorrow - in Colorado, Utah & Arizona. Kayaking, tent camping, Grand Canyon stuff... I just don't know....

26 June 2009

J'adore Paris!

If we had missed being out on the Seine after dark, then we would have missed too much.

The lights and the cooler air were magical!

This has to be the most romantic city in the world. When we were in the park around the Eiffel Tower there were couples kissing everytime you turned your head. I'm sure you remember a place where you wish you could've kissed, but were too modest or didn't want to cause a scene. Well... that doesn't happen here. You can kiss and touch pretty much anywhere you want and it's approved.

Paris is very clean (scrubbed nightly as I mentioned) and the parks are exquisite. The Seine is also perfectly maintained and compliments the fine art and architecture.

This has been the greatest thrill trip to date and wish to have shared it with anyone I've ever loved.
We met another couple, Juliet and Frederic (haha), and were invited back to their flat. I'd have to say that I conquered a concern that I had two weeks back after seeing "Taken". They are the sweetest couple - he's from a small town outside of Paris, and she has been here all of her life. Their cheese and fruit selection and wine were delicate and delicious. They seemed so interested in our simple lives in Texas while we kept trying to get back to their world here. It would have been nice to meet them at the beginning of the adventure instead of on our last night - they had so many recommendations, and applauded us for the things that we've been able to do and see in such a short period of time. We'd surely like to keep up with them and grow our relationship.
School let out today and the city seemed to be flooded with school children. They were all so cute. We saw small hordes of them at every stop squeezing in their last field trips of the school year.
When do I make it back, I wonder... will it be the same, and will it feel the same or better?

Lisieux, Rodin et Napoleon

These pics from yesterday and today are jumbled together, but that's appropriate with the way my head is spinning around. I've taken over 200 snapshots since Thursday morning. We mostly enjoyed the Rodin museum today, and visited Napoleon's tombeau.
Everything is SO wowsie, but I'm about out of energy for writing. It's almost 10 PM here and instead of going to bed early, Chloe and I are going out to see the Paris night for as long as we can stay up and function. Unfortunately, there may not be more than just a few cell phones pics from this coming adventure! The trip out to the French countryside yesterday was wonderful. The sights in the country and the people are truly french and delightful.
This will be our last night in France, and I may be making my next post once the trip is over, and I plan to add more wording detail to many of these prior posts.

The whole trip has been amazing (have I said that before?) and I feel that I could quite easily adapt to this land and its people.
The lack of sleep is finally catching up with us now. I officially overslept this morning, but there wasn't a tour guide or cab waiting so it was okay....

When are we going to return? I feel like it may be another lifetime before I again have an opportunity like this, but I'm sure it will happen.

Well... time to go live it up!!

25 June 2009

Completely whipped

After a very full day through Normandie. We departed through the mammoth central train station in Paris in near darkness and had a fantastic day in the french countryside. Having some connection issues with the internet right now and don't have the patience to beat it right now. Haven't needed much sleep... so I'll prolly be up early with some pics and more of the story + plan for the last full day in Paris. Planning more museums and a few other sites!!

24 June 2009

Running out of time

I've started thinking about how much we've seen and what we've done, and the excitement of the museums yesterday pretty much kept me up all night. Not much time left in France before bringing it all back home on Saturday.

We went back to the Latin Quarter for dinner last night and very spicy Indian cuisine (maybe that kept me up). Here's some juxtaposition in the street performers and some more of the pictures taken at the Louvre and the impressionist exhibits at the D'Orsay.

I scribbled some in my journal yesterday and some more watercoloring. Maybe I'll take a picture of the little paintings... later... when not in the company of the masters, Van Gogh & Monet...

We're all up early for an outing to Normandie - the town ofLisieux and then returning to Paris this afternoon.

Musée d’Orsay et Louvre

Spectacularly speechless! OMG... it was all there and I didn't want to ever leave, but they pulled me out of the Louvre so that we could shower and change for dinner.

After today there was no doubt that I would be returning to Paris many times before I leave this planet.

I, again, wish that y'all were here with us to enjoy everything and every one here in the city!!

It's time to dine!

Excuse-moi. Je ne parle pas français très bien...

Bonjour! Comment allez-vous? We have found Parisians to be fairly welcoming. All of the french we've met do appreciate that you, at least, do not assume they speak English... duh.... They also really like their dogs and it's the city's job to clean up after them - regional difference, I suppose.

We're just a few blocks away from the cathedral Notre Dame de Paris and are soon headed over for a morning service.

23 June 2009

Paris Architecture!

I Love Naps... in France

Back at home I've had trouble taking naps, but the general lack of sleep and 'Je ne sais quoi' has me loving them here. We arrived at our lovely little hotel on the Left (Southern) Bank of the Seine 'La Rive Gauche' at about 9:00 this morning, and the hostess served us breakfast. We all promptly took our afforementioned naps, and are now planning the afternoon. It seems that almost everything in Paris shuts down between Noon and 2 anyway. Our 15th century hotel is, more specifically, in the 6th arrondissement of Paris and is quite lovely. More later... time to tour!!

22 June 2009

Pyrenees and leaving Lourdes

We knew it was about time to leave Lourdes when the bikers came into town yesterday afternon - lolz.

Our train to the town where we took the trolley up the mountain was quick and regular. Met a bunch of folks from Ireland - having fun! They, too, were going into the mountains.

Both Chloe and I were pleased to be quiet, reading, drawing and even painting. I had my pad and doodled and scribbled in the ultra-pleasant mountain air. It felt so healthy.

We're waiting for our taxi in the lobby now. The moms are anxious because the plane leaves in one hour - oh my. The airport is only 10 minutes, at most, and I'm smiling. Mom asks me to settle down... haha. I'm expecting to have more frequent internet, but who knows whether or not I'll be in the mood to hook-up. The time today with no cares was priceless.

a Pi -

... Débuts...

A storm it comes and makes a gal tingle

Cool air it touches light a shy sweet face

Still green so grows and hot Argen this place
Hope fills her heart.. she is yes still single

In walk tandem can we and save stumble
And what does he in me want here, my space

It's late, no left alone not me - erase
Miss you, hello and wait for me you fool =D

What's this I look at me mirror do tell
I love the love he holds his love of glee

Melody sweet music to ear no scorn
Light change a twist season there spring here fall
She smiles without reason so nice to see

And yet it's too early on this bright morn

She fills her cup and thinks Ma-te is thus
And now awake what was last night anxious

21 June 2009

Sleepy day and ice cream!

Things slowed down considerably today and spent some time meeting people and seeing new parts of this small town that we hadn't yet seen. This region must be well known as the ice cream region because it's sold on every corner and is wonderful!
We've decided to part from our moms again in the morning and tour some spots on the train line heading South and East into the mountains. We don't have any agenda, yet, except that we'll be back in Lourdes for dinner.
We fly out for Paris very early Tuesday morning (probably late Monday night for most of you).
The Gave de Pau River shot above is where it passes by our hotel (and many others).

Bon après-midi à tous!

Chloe and I were welcomed back to Lourdes this morning as the wayward travelers in a very crowded train. Apparently, Sunday is the big day here. We promptly took a nap and are up for a late lunch now.

Not a great shot of the girls, but here's some of the spanish group from last night.

The bidet was Chloe's favorite fixture in the bathroom :-/

Everytime we left the room - something changed. We went for a walk on the beach this morning at dawn and the bed was made when we came back. They had packed most of our stuff, too - folded neatly!!

...and a couple from our hotel rooms in Lourdes...

20 June 2009

Sleeping troubles...

We have thoroughly enjoyed our day and night so far in Biarritz! It helps considerably here that we can either speak English or Spanish with everyone we met. I'd say that we mostly had fun with spaniards today and would like to stay longer, but are returning to Lourdes on the 8:00 AM train.

The Hotel du Palais is unlike anything I've ever seen before and hope to stay here again. We were told that it was the palace for Napoleon III and it passes for regal in my book.

Chloe has been a great travel buddy today and just a joy to be with. She's entering her 3rd year at UT and so we've talked just a little about what I should expect in the Fall.

Wow! The food here is amazing! And the chocolate...well I'll probably be dreaming about it soon.

We might venture out again tomorrow after hubbing back in Lourdes and checking to make sure our moms are still having the time of their lives. Talked about Bordeaux or maybe hopping over the Pyrenees to Spain, but we'll see. The trains make getting around so easy.

I'll do some pics tomorrow (a bunch) since I took so many, but being hailed now.

Soon again... Mon amis -

OK, Kat...

...since you haven't replied to my last email.

(All - note to sister to be deleted later)

Thank you again for all of your help with the blog, email & pics. I did see that email that you sent in my name - I'm going to punish you when I get home!!!!

If you're visiting blogs and checking out all of my bookmarks, then you might as well leave comments so the blogger knows you liked it - please sign with your gmail account and not mine!!

Mom really needed you last night. Call her at the hotel room at about 2:00 PM Dallas time - they should be done with dinner by then.

Be smart - or I'll get even with you later. Bye!

19 June 2009

Not the best pic of
Château fort de Lourdes because it really is impressive, dating back to the 8th century. The weather today was drizzly so we spent a fair amount of time indoors.

I'm about done with the internets until we get to Paris - Lourdes is wonderful, but not equipped for the 21st century. I found that there's a much much better signal in the hotel lobby (where I am now), but it's still exxxxtremely slow and the connection doesn't like web browsers or uploading anything.

We're having a good time meeting people from all over and everyone is so happy :-)

Chloe (travel mate) and I are going over to Biarritz on the train for the day tomorrow. Seems that the moms are loving each others' company and it seems so safe here!

I'll probably get up early and do another post in the morning before we head to the beach!!

Warm nights, Cool mornings

What a tourist, I am. Everything is so terribly interesting. Got lucky with the wifi this morning and am uploading some pics with decent resolution. This one is "scene at the train station in Toulouse" on the 17th - travel day, parte deux.

The volunteers in Lourdes are so wonderful and the water is sooooo cold, and bluuuuue.

Can't hardly get enough of the crepes. Think I could have breakfast all day! Speaking of which... think I'll go get some while the next few pics are slooooowly uploading.