Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Back in Paris

So me and Dev moved back to Paris last night, the night train was cool even if it was not as good of a night as we would have had in a hostel. We got off the train early at around 7am and then hopped on the metro and went down to our Hostel which is nearby Sacre Cour and is very nice, it is kinda spendy (25 Euros a night) but tehy place is very nice and is probably at the level of a hotel. We started the day at the Eiffel Tower after a quick breakfast. We paid the high fee and went up to the top of teh Eiffel Tower which was covered by a nice cloud and VERY cold at around 9 am, after the Tower we went wandered our way to the Rodin Museum and then from there we headed back to the neighborhood of our Hostel to find a lunch. We had a nice if spendy lunch of pasta and then walked around a bit more before heading back to the Hostel at around 4pm to get our rooms. We then crashed (I took a 3 hour nap) and then had a quick dinner from our groceries and some desserts we had picked up. It was a nice day but it kind of highlights that its almost over.
Expect more posts (1 maybe 2) and then a final post when I get home as a retrospective of my entire trip.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Moving back to Paris

So my time recently has gone from very chill and laid back to a somewhat faster paced orientation, I have one again left many days un written in my blog and I must rectify the situation immediatly.

So this day was spent at Conches which is one of the prettiest towns in France (a distinction is shares with many other villages in France). Still the town was very nice, it had a small church in th center of the town and a lot of cute little houses. The houses were split at maybe 50/50 that were really cute and then those that were diplapidated. Overall though the place was very nice, it was on a nice hill and I could totally see having a nice little house there. After the town we ate a lunch we had packed, salami, cheese, bread and apples before we drove the hour or so back.

This was the ultimate down day for me, I slept in in the morning and after a slow breakfast I played some games and watched a bit of TV online, I spent the whole day lazing and had a nice dinner. It was a great day.

So this day was spent at another of Frances many prettiest villages, the town was pretty small and had some nice winding streets in it, the highlight of the town was a castle at the highest point of the village which was supposed to be open but ws closed the day we went. This was unortuante since the church in the town was also closed and thus there was noting to do. We ended up going to a small restuarant in the village center and having some hot drinks before walking around a bit more and then leaving.
This was the same day we left Decazville for Tolouse, we headed out to catch our bus at around 6:40 or something and then from the bus we took a train to Tolouse. When we got to Tolouse we hopped on the metro for one stop and then got off. We were looking for out Hostel and we could not find it so we set our along the road we knew it was on. After getting to the next Metro stop (i.e. too far) we turned around and went back only to realize that the Hostel was literaly next to the Metro and we had missed it, we checked in no probs and that was that.

So I dont want to make this too long so I may skip some details, we started the day off with a breakfast at a nice resturant on the main square (the Hostel did not serve a breakfast), it was very well priced, you get a chocolate or coffee, orange juice, bread and a croissant for 5.5 Euro, we then headed out to visit a church which had an small museum of anicent Roman statues since it was part of the Roman empire at a point. After the museums we wandered around and found a nice Tea shop where we spent several hours drinking some very nice tea and doing crossword puzzles. After passing the time we met up with a freind of Devs friend (my sister also knew but not quite as well) for dinner, we went to a great crepe shp where I had a nice crepe that was very much like a crepe omelette and thena orange chocolate crepe for dessert. After that we visited the friends apartment in Tolouse, which was very nice, cozy with some nice quirks. After that it was somewhat late so we went back to the Hostel and after a bit of reading turned in for the night.


So today was a dissappointment, we started the day the same as the last with the ame good breakfast and then moved on. We had intended to visit a museum which housed modern art in a old slaughterhouse but it turned out to be closed, after that we ended up wandering around the neighborhood before slowly heading to another church. We were trying to find a resurant from my travel book that promised 9 Euros for a two course pasta meal, we could not find the place and had to settle on another that had meals for 11 Euro. The food turned out to be great, the deal was you could get a Appetizer and Entree or Entree and Dessert so we got one of each picking a Spaggheti carbonara and a Steak with a cheese and tomato appetizer and a tart for dessert. Both the entrees were great, the pasta was very good and it came with an egg yolk in a half egg shell to be put into the pasta which made me pause for a mintue before dumping the egg all over that pasta. The steak was also great and we split both the Entrees so we both got some of each.
After the meal we went to the nearby church and then found another Tea shop where we once again spent several hours before reutnring to the Hostel. As of now of the plan is to take a night train to Paris where we stay for our last three days before parting to go our seperate ways with me returnign home.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Revisting the Past

So I am very unhappy to announce that my computer decided to give up the ghost last night, the first the screen stopped displaying an image and then the whole computer stopped turning on. I believe the computer is completly broken and since it is old and was never a very high end laptop I am just going to ditch it and keep my hard drive. Unfortunatly this means that I cannot blog from my laptop any more. I am going to do my best to keep up the blog for the last week of my trip but it will be a bit harder so dont be suprised if there is only 1 or 2 more posts. That being said I should be posting my last few days sometime later today.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Apologies for the Delays

So I fell behind on the blogging, the past few days in France have been very fun though.

So I arrived in Paris on the 31st late in the evening so the 1st was my first day in Paris for real. Me and my sister decided that we would hit the Louvre out first day in Paris and get it out of the way. We first ran quickly through a part of the Museum to get the Mona Lisa ( not as impressive as you wold think it is) which seems to be obligatory. After the Mona Lisa we moved on to several other sections of the Museum including one section which was full of furniture and full rooms things like the old rooms of the royal palace and how they looked. We also looked at several collections of paintings around the Louvre. After the Louvre we wandered around the nearby shopping district where my sister suggested that we get me a coat for the colder temperatures that were hitting Paris, it was around 10 C (about 50) with some heavy wind chill so it felt a lot colder. I posted some photos of me in the coat on my Flickr account so you can check it out and see how I look. After the coat we went back and hung at the Hostel for the afternoon before popping out for groceries later in the evening and then eating in at the Hostel.

We decided for the day we would go to churches for the day and so we headed out to start at Saint Chapelle which is a small church that is almost entirely stained glass. The walls have large windows of stained glass and I have some photos on the Flickr account so you can get an idea of the place. Unfortunately the front of the church was having work done and so it was covered and thus one of the best views of the church was hidden. It was very impressive but not quite worth even the discounted price of 5 Euros. After Saint Chapelle we continued on to Notre Dame which was pretty empty since it was still in the morning. We went straight into the Cathedral and looked around, you get to walk around the base level and explore the Cathedral. After the exploration we went back outside to go onto the upper level tour of Notre Dame only to find that there was a very large, slow moving line now. We had made plans to meet one of Dev's friends for lunch and we decided that we would join the line and see if we could make it to the front before we had to go to lunch. Well we did not make it to the front of the line, we didn't even quite make it to the halfway point before it was time for lunch, we decided that we would come back another day earlier in the morning so there would not be as much of a wait. We met with Devs friend and went to lunch at a small nearby cafe that we had found in our guide book. The food at the cafe was good and the location was decorated with lots of books to be like a cozy little library. The food tasted good but the service was somewhat lacking and our server was somewhat rude to us. So after our quick lunch we went back to the Hostel to recuperate before we met another one of Devs friends and after meeting up we went back to her boyfriends apartment and cooked a nice dinner with them. We had chicken, zucchini, and an apple crumble for dessert. We ended up leaving at around 11:15 so we would not be caught by the closing Metro. We hopped two trains back to the Hostel and made it back around 12 and fell into bed.

The majority of the day was spent at the Rodin Museum which is housed inside of an old train station and houses Monet's Water Lilies which are some of his most famous painting. We met with Devs friend again outside the museum and we spent the rest of the day together. we looked at a good portion of the paintings in the main exhibit and then we visited the Art Nouveau exhibit that was also in the same location. The paintings were cool and the building was very impressive, we spent several hours here before heading to our planned lunch. We decided to have out lunch at Angelina which is a restaurant if Paris that we had been recommended as it serves the best hot chocolate in the city. We ordered a double serving of the chocolate to spit between the three of us and we all ordered a dessert. I chose to get a Mont Blanc which had no description but from what I could tell it was a meringue topped with a whipped cream like topping with the whole thing covered in a sugary smooth hazelnut paste. It was great but a little to rich to go with the chocolate. The chocolate itself was very rich and thick, I would say it was about the thickness of heavy whipping cream, maybe a bit thicker. The whole meal was great and very filling but on the expensive side (what do you expect I Paris though). After the chocolate I went back to the Hostel to take a nap while Dev and her friend went off to shop.

Our planned movement took place on the 4th, we went from Paris to Decaze where Devs friend works and has a apartment she shares with several other people. The town is rather small but is in a great location near some of the nicest towns in France. The trip was pretty easy, we hopped up earlier and grabbed our bags, we had a quick breakfast at the Hostel before getting onto the Metro to get to one of the larger stations to get out train. We made it the large station with plenty of time and found our train easy enough. The first train ride was around 3 hours long and from there we transferred to another train for around 2 hours. When we arrived at the station we were picked up and driven back to the apartment. We went shopping and cooked a nice meal for dinner, chicken, carrots, rice, and a mango salsa with cake for dessert. We are planning on staying here and leaving on Sunday to go to Tullues then leaving Tullues on Wednesday and going back to Paris to finish up there and be ready for our flights.

Devs friend had work today so she was up early in the morning to be ready for her early class and she was back very soon after I got up at around 9 or so. Me and Dev had a nice breakfast of some Nutella toast and yogurt, I also had a piece of cake. The breakfast was good and we decided we would go down to a town nearby where the guy who translated the Rosetta stone was born. There was a small museum there with artifacts about both ancient Egypt and how the stone was finally figured out. After he Museum we returned to the apartment and had a nice cal afternoon lounging before cooking up a nice dinner of Mac and Cheese

Sunday, November 1, 2009


Well my blog has not been updated in a while somewhat due to the fact that I have been having some slower days. So I will begin with my time on Olympia the home city of the Olympics. I explored the city for most of a day and the city was not too great. It was not to pretty but it was kind of a cool place to say you have been. The city was not too awesome and I soon found myself once again in Athens to be ready for my flight. I spent an enjoyable night near the Acropolis and I found a nice little cafe to print out my boarding pass and the next morning I went to the airport and got to my gate nice and easy and for maybe the first time flying in Europe. The plane was very nice, I had Aegean Airlines again and the plane ride was great. Unfortunately the plane was about an hour late and I was forced to wait at the gate before we boarded and the plane seemed to take longer then it should have. I got into Charles De Gaul airport at around 7:30ish and I grabbed a train into Paris and then walked from a stop to my Hostel near the Louvre. I found the place nice and easy and when I got in I found my sister waiting for me at the Hostel just as planned. This was my first time that a planned meeting worked out for me. We went out for a nice dinner where I had a duck dish that was a nice dish with a sort of mashed potatoes that had pieces of duck in it. It was great and we had a nice glass of wine with the meal. It was really good to see my sister after such a long time and we got a great chance to discuss our respective lives and what had been happening. Today we went to the Louvre which was a short walk from the Hostel and it was good luck since the Louvre is free on the first Sunday of the month so we were able to avoid the 9 Euro entrance fee. The museum was cool, we went through several exhibits as well as seeing the Mona Lisa which was packed. After the Louvre we wandered through the neighborhood before finding a small Asian restaurant that was decently priced for lunch. After the quick lunch we hopped over to the grocery store to grab some stuff to take back to the Hostel and then walked through a light rain to the Hostel.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Getting wrapped up in things

Well as you may have noticed I have not blogged in a while, I fell of the wagon when I arrived in Athens and I spent several days in a city that really should be 2 days at the max. I have to say I am much more inclined to blog on days that I have spent a bunch of time exploring a city, I guess I have more stories that I want to write down after days like that.
In the interest of sanity I am going to cut down what I write here so I do not end up with another 3 page blog entry.
I spent the first day exploring the ruins around the city, my Hostel (Athens Backpackers) is a five minute walk from the Acropolis and most of the ruins centred around there. I started the day at the Acropolis and moved onto several nearby temples. This took about half the day and provided great photos of Athens although my camera was not really good enough to do the view justice. In the afternoon I visited the Acropolis Museum where most of the artefacts from the Acropolis are housed. Not surprisingly they had tons of sculptures in varying levels of completeness as well a lots of carved walls and roof pieces that were the remains of several temples that existed on top of the Acropolis.
The second day was spent at the other varying museums of Athens the most notable being the Architecture Museum, the museum was within walking distance of the Hostel as well and contained some really amazing pieces. Mostly what you would expect from the place though, pretty extensive collection of statues. Very good, easily a must see if you visit Athens.

So I spent he next two days in Athens, the first day being planned and the second being me trying to plan what to do in Greece since my original plan fell though as did my second plan. I had wanted to visit the islands but was warned against it and the ferries to Crete which I wanted to visit were at prohibitive times (I would arrive at like 3 am) so I had to scrap that plan.
Anyway I finaly got a plan together that looked to work, I would spend two days in Delphi and two day in Olympia then return to Athens on the 31st for my flight to Paris.

Anyway I spent yesterday going from Athens to Delphi where I checked into my new Hostel, The place is fantastic and so is my room....which it should be I had to get a Private Single for 40 Euros. My usual accommodation is a shared room with up to 11 other people and they cost around 16-24 Euros a night. The costs for Olympia are going to be about the same so I am dropping a bit more cash then I would like to in these cities.I spent today seeing the famous site of Delphi which was somewhat of a let down. The hazards of off season traveling struck when about half the site was closed for some sort of renovation or something. What I saw of the site was fantastic though,once omiting detail for the sake of space, I have been really impressed by what the ancient people could build, between Greece and Italy it has been crazy to see all these old structures and how amazing they look even in there dilapidated state.

Tomorrow I make the move to Olympia and then spend the next day there before heading back to Athens to be ready for my flight. Also keep an eye on the Flick account since I am putting up new photos soon.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Wraping Up Italy

Well I have made my way safely to Greece and found my new Hostel in Athens almost completely hassle free thanks to the great instructions they had on there web site. The Hostel is superbly located a 2 minute walk from The Acropolis and in a small, more residential block. More on the Hostel later, for now lets talk abut Italy, I did not blog for the last 2 days so to remedy that here I go. The first day I missed was my trip to Pompeii. I had held out not visiting the site in the hopes that the weather which had bee cloudy with a little rain would improve, boy did I make the right decision, the weather cleared up beautifully, sunny and much warmer for my trip to Pompeii. Unfortunatly, the Gods of technology were not smiling upon me as bright as the sun since along the way to Pompeii my cameras batteries died, while not completely unforeseen I had yet to purchase new batteries so I was stuck camera less for my trip to Pompeii, so no photoos for the trip. The visit was interesting though, the ruins are very impressive even without a guide to tell you what they all are in detail. This is as good a place to go off into my tangent as any so why the hell am I charged for tours and audio guides. I mean cmon, I just paid like 10 Euros to get in to see the ruins and now you want me to pay another 4 or 5 to explain what they all are, shouldn't that be covered in my entry price. This problem is most notable at places like ruins where without a guide they can be completely incomprehensible, I flatly refuse to pay for the audio guides since I feel that they are a complete rip off and taking advantage of tourists.
Anywho, were back on topic, Pompeii was an amazing place to visit, its one of those sites that you hear about so often and see all this stuff about and then it was like, hey I'm here, this is the real thing. The detail to which the plaster duplicates could be made was amazing, they even had roots of plants they had done.
After the day at Pompeii I headed back to the Hostel to meet back up with my Hostel mates, we decided that since the Pizza we had was such a good deal and delicious that we would go back with 2 new people who wanted to go so we could also show them the way since the place is kinda off the beaten track. We had another great dinner and I went back to the Hostel and crashed.
The next day I did not blog was a very calm day, I woke up late and the plan was to head out to Rome so I would be there for my plane the next morning to Athens. It turned out that the one of the girls who was in my room at the Hostel was also headed to Rome so we decided to go together both for the company and since I knew at least to a small degree my way around the city. We got into Rome at around 3pm and headed to our Hostel a few blocks away from the Train Station, it was a different Hostel then the one I stayed in when I spent my time in Rome but it was very nice. We went shopping at a grocery store which are very few in Rome, that city seems to have the fewest and hardest to find grocery stores of any place I have been. We ended up with a variety of vegetables and we made a stir fry in the kitchen that the Hostel had for guests to use. I went to bed early, like 10 pm so I would be able to make my 8:30 train to the airport, I missed the train but was able to the 9:00 train and made it to the airport and around 9:20, with plenty of time to check my bag and get to gate. The flight was fantastic, I would like to give major props to Aegian Airlines, the flight was schduled to be a short 2 hour thing and they served a meal that was included in the cost, full meal with drinks, I was shocked and the flight went very quickly. Athens airport was also a fantastic experiance, I made my way easily to the train station and got the train into town. Just as a side not my opinion here may be jaded since I had great instructions from the Hostels web site. The place was nice and easy to find and is very good looking with nice bathrooms and all the rooms have a nice little outdoor patio thing, the place is great and the weather here is good too, its nice and warm which is a nice change from the colder temps that I had for most of my past days. I am hoping the weather will stay fair for my time in Greece. Well that is all that gas happened to me, I have plans to visit the main buildings of Athens one day, then the museums another and probably Delphi another day.