Monday, February 4, 2013

Vacation from Athens, or, Why It's Awesome to Live in Europe

On my sticky note To-Do list for the week, which I made last Friday, I included "blog about how AWESOME Paris was!"  This was a bit presumptuous on my part, but also designed to cheer me up when I got home and not be too sad the adventure was over.  Well, one way to be excited to be back home in Athens is to get stuck on your Paris vacation longer than you intended due to a missed flight.  That part is boring and depressing, so I'll skip it.  But maybe it was just the universe's way of making me feel happy to be back, happy to be in Athens, happy to be home.

But! Back to weekend vacation adventures!  One of my college roommates lives in London now, and we had been planning all fall to figure out some time and some place to meet up in Europe while I was in Greece.  We chose this weekend, in Paris.  It turned out that we are excellent travel companions because we both like to 1) go to museums, 2) eat food, and 3) walk around looking at stuff.

The first Sunday of the month in Paris, several museums are free.  That meant that we went to the Louvre on Saturday, but saved the Musee d'Orsay for Sunday, and threw in a visit to Sant Chappelle while we were at it.  The Louvre completed my pilgrimage to the three museums containing the majority of sculpture from the Parthenon (more about that in another post, I think).  It's hard to gauge my overall impression, so I'll share a few impressionistic thoughts:  I was most struck by the historicity of the building itself, which is integrated into the museum presentation in a very cool way, with the history of the architecture and the objects held within the space not really competing, but not existing in complete harmony either.
Hall of Glass.  Hannah is bored but doing an admirable job pretending not to be.
On the way to the Mona Lisa - which, actually, impressed me much more than I thought it would - were fantastic examples of medieval paintings with elements of Greek and Roman myth which I found fascinating.
Also this.
Running out of time, I was walking quickly through the Roman galleries when a low relief sculpture caught my eye, and I thought to myself "that looks like the Ara Pacis."  Turns out, that's exactly what it was. Just, you know.  Hanging out.  Did you know it was there????  Because I sure didn't.
Ara Pacis, on the right; Augustus on the left.
I didn't take photos of our fancy 'bistro' meal at A la Biche au Bois, mostly because we were so tightly wedged into our table that I couldn't really get to my bag to get my camera. The food was good, but not exceptional after reading all the glowing online reviews.  However, I did take pictures of the better splurge, which was our tea time at Laduree in St. Germain, famous for their macaroons.  Did we each order both cake and macaroons?  Yes, yes we did.

We found another, cheaper but less posh, place to get takeaway macaroons to bring home.  Although they got a bit crushed* and didn't really make it all the way home, I sure enjoyed them in the airport.  The cheese did make it back to Athens, where it awaits me in the refrigerator. Cheese, while smellier, is more crush proof.

All in all, it was a really lovely weekend.  Thinking about and planning for the trip really got me through the last couple weeks here in Greece, and I'm very happy to have had the experience of jetting off to Paris for the weekend.  But, I have to say - it's quite nice* to be home. Home, as in the country where I have figured out the airport transportation, know my way around the city, and can sit in peace in my little room eating a gyro or go down to the saloni to drink ouzo with friends whom I will be happy to see.

*Side effect of only speaking English with a Londoner all weekend: picking up all sorts of Britishisms, or at least things that sound like Britishisms in my head for the moment.

1 comment:

  1. I think you've been gone too long. We say crushed and nice here too :)