Monday, July 10, 2006

Quick update

so just a quick update to show that i am still alive. i hadn't realized how long it had been since i last updated. i am in cologne right now and am going to hamburg this afternoon before finally getting to denmark. i am so looking forward to that!
so since berlin, i've been to bruxelles where i saw grand place ( the main square, totally impressive, you would think that the city hall is a church it is so ornate!), the manneken pis ( the little peeing statue), a bunch of churches and the next day went out to tervuren, a suburb to see a museum about the belgian congo( the place has some dutch name that i can't remember). the museum was great and the gardens around it huge and the most exciting thing was to be able to see a squirrel! i hadn't seen any form of 'wildlife' in a long time and the only animals in the cities i's been to were pidgeons and sparrows.
after that it was off to granville, a small french town on the atlantic. since i hadn't been able to see mont st-michel the last time i was in the area, i would be able to make a day trip from granville. unfortunately, when i got to the tourist office, they told me that there was no way to get there on the weekend unless i took a taxi. the weekend trains and buses only started after july 5th and it was june 30th. so instead, i got tickets to go to sark. sark is part of the channel islands and the reason it is 'famous' is that there are no cars on the island. to get around you walk, bike, use a horse drawn carriage or a tractor. i was suppose to go there when i was in guernsey but the weather had decided otherwise. so for july first, my canada day celebration was to go to a commonwealth country and walk around an island with no cars. it was great! the views of the channel were great, the country side was also really nice. you could hear birds sing and there was fields and bushes and wild flowers. it was nice to be in the country for a bit. the island is run by the seigneur of sark. there is the seigneurie with beautiful gardens and a hedge maze and a pond and some really old buildings. so then it was the boat trip back to granville. england was playing against portigal and when england lost, you could hear the french rejoincing on the boat! france played that evening and it was crazy when they won. the churche bells rang and everyone was yelling 'on a gagne' until at least one in the morning.
the next day was sunday so everything was closed so i spent the day at the beach. it was great b/c i hadn't gone swimming for a month. the water was cool and the beach was quiet. and there was beautiful shells on the beach so i collected a few to add to the collection started on the beach in guernsey.
the next day it was off to paris. i stayed in the appartment of the son of a family friend. he was on holidays so i had the place to myself. it was great. i was able to cook! it's interesting to see what you miss when you get to do it again b/c you don't necessarily realize that you are missing it. so i cooked and watched tv and slept in late. in paris, i saw notre dame de paris and got a free private guided tour of the inside of the church (no one else had showed up for the visit even thought that place was full!), i saw versailles (the place is huge and beautiful), le louvre, l'arc de triomphe (climbed to the top), went up the towers of notre dame, saw la sainte chapelle (the walls are made of stain glass windows, so beautiful!), la conciergerie where marie-antoinette spent her last days, the eiffel tower (of course i walked to the second floor, it was only 700 steps and you can stop a lot along the way, probably the easiest climb so far), the pantheon (and also went to the top of the building. a bunch of famous frech ppl are buried there such as victor hugo and alexandre dumas but i was more impressed to see lagrange's tomb, i must be a scientist!), and a bunch of other places that i will try and describe when i have more time for the update.
my brain was happy to be in france b/c i could talk with ppl and not feel to isolated from the main population and not have to ask if they spoke english. and everywhere ppl understood me. in versailles though, b/c the place is so touristy, everyone would switch to english as soon as i opened my mouth. i told the first person who did that 'tu vas me parler en francais svp' (you will speak to me in french please). i have probably been speaking french longer than she has been alive! elsewhere after a few words, ppl realized where my accent was from and would just keep talking in french.
so this has been a bit more than a quick update. photos should be arriving soon as denmark is but a few days away. i am so looking forward to the food!


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