Friday, 21 June 2019

In Which: all of my Devices Die

So- y'all heard about my phone done crapping out on day one of this trip? Well, my laptop is now also broken and giving me the blue screen of death with no working repair options.

So, I can't really continue doing blog posts anymore! which really sucks. I'm posting this from Rachel's phone.

Rachel will be posting some updates on their Instagram rachellevyosa if you want to check that out. Also I can still be contacted via email and hangouts and probably messanger- I'll be checking on rachel's phone periodically.

sorry!! This is just very bad luck :( :(

Saturday, 15 June 2019

Day Eighteen and Nineteen: In Which we make sandwiches and Eat the Mother of all Macarons

Yesterday we took a mostly rest day, as we were both pooped from our excursion the day before and Rachel was battling migraines all day. We made it out for groceries in the evening though, specifically looking for packed lunch ingredients for today. After yesterday we knew we can't always count on food being available, and it's much more cost effective. We got spoiled with all the free tapas and cheap portions in Spain! For dinner yesterday we cooked up some mystery steaks we found in the freezer here, as Florence had said to eat anything we could find in the space. They were really delicious, and we had them with fried zucchini.

Today our plan was to see the basilica du Sacré Coeur, and rent our masked ball de Versailles costumes afterwards.
We made our sandwiches in the morning, packed them in our daypack, and started the trek to the metro station. It's about a twenty minute walk, so we might try to take the bus next time. It gets a bit much after a long day out. We caught the metro and got off at the right stop, but I ended up getting us a bit lost with the paper tourist map I was navigating by. I used Rachel's phone with a downloaded offline map- turns out the tourist paper map wasn't actually detailed enough. I'm just glad we have at least one phone on this trip!
Because of the slight detour to the basilica, we ended up walking through a very cool neighbourhood very busy in food traffic and fruit and veggie and meat markets. I saw a couple of brains and hooves for sale, along with some more appetizing chickens and steaks. Everything available right on the street!

After walking through a lovely and steep park full of trees and plants, we found the basilica! We had to wait in line to get in as they were pretty tight on security with bag checks and whatnot. The cathedral was neat, very gothic, very stately. The best part though was climbing up the 300 steps and along parts of the roof to get to the main dome lookout! The seven euro entry fee was well worth it, as the really skinny stone spiral staircases, amazing views of the city, stone gargoyles, and graffiti from 1970 made it an amazing experience. We sat up there for a good while just taking it all in.

Me after climbing 300 stairs 

We had our packed lunch in the park nearby, on a steep grassy hill in the dappled shade. We watched as in the same small green area we were sitting, a man was doing aerobics, a straight couple was making out, a gay couple was enjoying wine and a picnic, a family had their own picnic, some people our age were exchanging and smoking weed, a dude was carving a jagged hole in the middle of an LP (to impress a girl?), and another couple was taking tons of selfies. A pretty active scene for a seemingly quiet park! But it was a really nice lunch and we both felt refreshed afterwards.

On the way to Aufourire, the costume place, Rachel found the mother of all macarons at a patisserie. It was double decker, and filled with raspberries and a sort of butter crème icing. It was absolutely delicious.

The costume place had lots of options, and we managed to find matching his and hers masquerade costumes! They were really nice and also very reasonably priced rentals. The costume stock we got to visit was also really cool- probably the most jam-packed and skinny-aisled costume stock I'd ever seen. Tons and tons of costumes of every kind, just layered on top of each other. We bought some masquerade masks too, but they were out of crinolines for Rachel's dress so we're gonna check out another place in town later for that.

Costumes in hand, we stopped at a rotisserie place on the way back where I had seen some beautiful roast chicken and potatoes for sale. I scooped up a good number of potatoes and a chicken for our dinner, which we had later at home while watching Penn and Teller on Netflix.

Quite a lovely day indeed!

Friday, 14 June 2019

Day Sixteen and Seventeen: in Which we do not "Louvre" Capitalism and "Eiffel" down because I didn't pack enough sustenance

Yesterday was our first day exploring Paris! We had tickets to the Louvre, and we tacked on an Eiffel tour trip too. The day before that was a big recovery day- we went grocery shopping and just rested.

We went through the process of getting metro passes yesterday, and I'm glad we budgeted an hour of buffer time into our trip because a lot of them were broken so we had to wait awhile until the guy found two that worked. Then we had to take our photo in the nearby photo booth and stick it onto our cards. Our headshots are not very flattering, but they do the trick!
After about half an hour on the metro we arrived at the Louvre. The weird thing was that we didn't even need to go outside to get to it, it was connected to the metro station! So to ground ourselves a little bit we went to the surface for a second. We were right in the heart of Paris, in the Tuileries gardens. There weren't too many people around because it was a rainy day, and a bit chilly for Paris (16 degrees or so). We didn't find it that bad though, and we had our raincoats so we were set!

Rachel's breakfast: 

Very fancy concierge pay toilets: 

Once in the Louvre (very good we had purchased online tickets- cut off about 45 min wait in line), we started wandering around. We saw lots of renaissance paintings, medieval paintings, religious paintings, etc. My favourite though has to be the Greek stuff we saw- after so much theatre history it's really interesting for me to see the actual urns and vases we saw pictures of in our textbooks. We found Dionysus and his satyrs and we were excited to see our god of theatre in person. There were also some very imposing statues of Zeus and Athena and pretty much all the other Greek gods too.
After about three hours we were completely worn out, so we stopped to rest in a little enclave in the African, Oceanic, and American art section. We decided to call it a day- I had a missive headache, was probably dehydrated, and needed food. So we started the 20 minute trek back to the exit. On our way out we passed some indigenous masks from BC- Kwakwaka'wakw variety. It was surreal to see halfway across the world, and a little bit weird, especially since museums in general have a habit of "preserving" cultures that are definitely still around.

The best lesbian knight (it was actually a young saint but who's counting):

Our pal Dionysus: 

Literally me: 

The Painting: 
The surrounding chaos and madness: 

Nike, goddess of victory: 


We took a break outside the Louvre, and I ate some oranges I had packed and felt better. Then we metro'd to the Eiffel tower to go see that. When we got there we found it had been completely put behind a wall- a paywall. Thanks to capitalism, you now had to pay to get even under the base of the tower. There were so many walls around everything that it took us awhile to even find the park we wanted to sit in. The main area of the park was also cordoned off because there was an art project happening there ironically called "Beyond Walls." The whole situation was completely ironic and pretty funny.

Me being tired at the end of Louvre visit:

After awhile my headache started to come back, so we packed up and started heading back to the metro. On the way home we got some genuine French macarons (all gluten free!) and a prize winning baguette for Rachel. By the time we got home I was too lightheaded to make food for myself, so Rachel heated up our Spanish tortilla for the both of us. After eating and resting for a bit I felt a lot better.