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Archive for March, 2009

For St. Patty’s Day weekend, my roommate, Kassie, and I went to Dublin!!  Where else would be better?!  It was both our first time there, and Ashley was also going with some of her friends from GSE Barcelona…so needless to say, we had a MonAsh reunion!!  It had been over 2 months since I last saw her!  I can’t tell you how amazing Dublin was.  What a beautiful and lively city…with some of the most friendly people I’ve ever met!

We first arrived in Dublin on Friday night, so we checked into our hostel quickly,  and then met up with Ashley and her friend Shaina to go grab a drink at a bar before they closed.  We didn’t have much time before they closed but we were also tired from the traveling, etc.  So that night we went to bed early because we were going to get up early the next day and explore Dublin!  On Saturday morning, we did the Free Walking Tour of Dublin which was REALLY good!  Basically, this company called New Europe believes that every visitor should have a tour of the city at no cost, regardless of their budget.  They have volunteer tour guides who work on a tips-only basis, so their tours are really good.  Most of the tour guides are college or grad students so they’re very knowledgeable, friendly, and funny!  Basically, they want to make the tour the best it can be so they can get tips!  And if you don’t want to tip, you don’t have to – that’s their whole idea.  Anyway, our tour guide was Conor and he was really great!  Here are some pictures from the tour:

Christ Cathedral

Christ Cathedral

Tour Guide Conor!

Tour Guide Conor!

Me & Ash on tour :)

Me & Ash on tour 🙂

Temple Bar!!!

Temple Bar!!!

Liffey River :)

Liffey River...O'Connell Bridge in distance 🙂

The story behind the colorful doors in Dublin: Women painted their doors different colors to help their husbands distinguish which door was theirs when they were drunk, so they wouldn't end up in the wrong house and in the wrong bed! :)

The story behind the colorful doors in Dublin: Women painted their doors different colors to help their husbands distinguish which door was theirs when they were drunk, so they wouldn't end up in the wrong house and in the wrong bed! 🙂

They had these reminders on the streets at every crosswalk to remind tourists to look a certain direction when crossing....HAHA! Ireland and England are the two crazy countries that drive on the opposite side of the road ;)

They had these reminders on the streets at every crosswalk to remind tourists to look a certain direction when crossing....HAHA! Ireland and England are the two crazy countries that drive on the opposite side of the road 😉

The Spire!

The Spire!

After the walking tour, we walked around because every Saturday in the Temple Bar District they have a market where you can buy all types of food.  There was Indian food, Asian food, all types of nuts/cheese/fruit, and then there were OYSTERS.  Since I’ve never had an oyster, I decided to take my first oyster shot.  I like to try everything once!  So, Kassie, Ashley, and I all had our first oyster shots in Dublin.  They didn’t like theirs – I was the only one who liked them!  🙂

About to try our first oyster shot!  Mmm.

About to try our first oyster shot! Mmm.

Then after the food market, we headed over to the Guinness Storehouse to take a tour of the factory!  It was AWESOME!!  We learned all about Guinness and how they brew their beer!  And at the end of the tour with your ticket, you were entitled to a free pint!!  You got to pour it yourself and get a certificate as well!!  After we poured our pints, we could go up to the top level of the Guinness Storehouse which was called the Gravity Bar.  You have one of the best views of Dublin up there!!  Overall, one of the coolest tours I’ve ever been on.

Guinness Storehouse!

Guinness Storehouse!

Me & Ash!

Me & Ash!

This is true!  Since Kassie & Ash are actually Irish...it wasn't necessary for them to be in this one!

This is true! Since Kassie & Ash are actually Irish...it wasn't necessary for them to be in this one!

Guinness pelican ad

Guinness pelican ad

Me pouring my pint!

Me pouring my pint!

The Perfect Pint!

The Perfect Pint!

Perfect Pint Success :)

Perfect Pint Success 🙂

View from the Gravity Bar...Wicklow mountains in the distance

View from the Gravity Bar...Wicklow mountains in the distance

Shaina, Kassie, Ash, and I in Gravity Bar

Shaina, Kassie, Ash, and I in Gravity Bar

Then Saturday night we went out of course!!  Dublin has over 800 pubs so we went to a good amount of them 🙂  For dinner, we went to this place called Gallagher’s Boxty House in Temple Bar district and had some good Irish food!  I got a chicken boxty for dinner and I also tried my first soda bread!  Then afterward, we went to Porterhouse Brewing Co. where they had this AWESOME live band that played really good Irish music.

My chicken boxty for dinner.  It was delish :)

My chicken boxty for dinner. It was delish 🙂

Streets of Dublin @ night

Streets of Dublin @ night

Porterhouse!!  Our favorite bar!

Porterhouse!! Our favorite bar!

Live Irish Music!!

Live Irish Music!!

Me & Shaina in Porterhouse :)  Having a great time!

Me & Shaina in Porterhouse 🙂 Having a great time!

Then on Sunday, Ash and I walked around Dublin.   We checked out Grafton St. which had really cool shops and things to look at.  While walking around, we even got to see some Irish dancing!!  They were so cute!  Ash got a really cute Ireland track jacket and we both got claddagh rings.  We walked all around and did some souvenir shopping until Ash had to leave.

Ash & Me on Grafton St.

Ash & Me on Grafton St.

Irish Dancing!!

Irish Dancing!!

So far, the weekend in Dublin was BY FAR my most favorite.  Dublin is a FANTASTIC city and I had such a great time.  Got to see so many things and just really enjoyed myself.  I highly recommend visiting if you ever get the chance 🙂

And then for actual St. Patty’s Day, my friend Rosy and I went out to Corcoran’s Irish Pub in the Latin Quarter here in Paris.  It was a LOT of fun!!!  So they were giving out free Guinness hats and we managed to get one for ourselves!

Me & Rosy at the Irish Pub. Happy St. Patty's Day!

Me & Rosy at the Irish Pub. Happy St. Patty's Day!

That’s all for now!  This Saturday I’m going to Versailles, which will be my 2nd time visiting, but I can’t wait!  Look out for another post soon 🙂  Bon week-end!

Bisous,

Monique

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Salut tout le monde!!!  Haven’t updated in quite some time, so I shall fill you all in now!

First things first.  Just a forewarning, actually: I visited a lot of cemeteries/cathedrals/museums so there will be many pictures of all those!  Hopefully you’ll find them interesting 🙂

Two weekends ago, I went to Reims, which is about an hour away from Paris on the TGV.  Reims was somewhere I’ve been wanting to go for a long time so it worked out that my program planned a day trip there.  I read all about the Cathedral of Reims in my French textbooks for years, so to see it in PERSON was just absolutely incredible.  Many French Kings were crowned there and Clovis was baptized there!  Any Francophone knows what I’m talking about!  And if not, Clovis was the King of the Franks in the 6th century, and is also considered the founder of the Merovingian dynasty (which ruled the Franks for the next 2 centuries).  Enough of being a nerd!  We also took a tour of a champagne cavern, since Reims is in the Champagne region of France.  Here are some pics:

Cathédral de Reims

Cathédrale de Reims

the back of the cathedral

the back of the cathedral

Champagne tasting at Vranken-Pommery!

Champagne tasting at Vranken-Pommery!

The next day was the first Sunday of the month in March, so all the government-run museums are free!  I went to the Musée National Picasso in the Marais district of Paris, and then to the Musée Rodin with Matt, Beth, and Kassie.  It was a really good day.  It wasn’t too cold and it wasn’t raining!  I don’t really have any pictures from the Picasso Museum because they didn’t allow you to take pictures.  Bummer.  But, I do have PLENTY from the Rodin Museum — and I really loved this museum, so I was happy that we were able to take pictures inside!

Me and The Thinker!

Me and The Thinker!

Kassie, Beth, and I all posing with The Three Shades

Kassie, Beth, and I all posing with The Three Shades

The Gates of Hell

The Gates of Hell

The Kiss :)

The Kiss 🙂

Random sculpture that I really liked

Random sculpture that I really liked

In my free time, I’ve checked out a lot of different places.  I made a list of everything I want to do/see while I’m here in Paris.  I’m totally a list person!  So far, I’ve visited Saint Sulpice (the 2nd largest cathedral in Paris after Notre Dame), and if you’ve ever read The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown, you’ll be familiar with this cathedral, le Cimetière du Montparnasse where many famous people are buried, Les Invalides, where Napoleon’s tomb is, and just the other day I visited Les Catacombes!  All these places were very interesting…well, at least they are to me!  Haha.  I’m really starting to get to know Paris…every district..every metro line.  I’m totally loving it.  It always feels good when you really start to know a city – inside and out.

Saint Sulpice (with construction)

Saint Sulpice (with construction)

The gnomon on the floor inside the cathedral

The gnomon on the floor inside the cathedral

The organ inside Saint Sulpice. It was HUGE!

The organ inside Saint Sulpice. It was HUGE!

Me inside Camille Saint-Saëns' mausoleum.  One of my favorite composers!

Cimetière du Monparnasse: Me inside Camille Saint-Saëns' mausoleum. One of my favorite composers!

Beckett's grave

Beckett's grave

Sartre & de Beauvoir

Sartre & de Beauvoir

Baudelaire

Baudelaire

Les Invalides by day

Les Invalides by day

Les Invalides by night...from across the Seine

L'Académie Française at night...from across the Seine

Me with Napoleon's Tomb behind me.  Such a large tomb for such a tiny man. Hm.

Me with Napoleon's Tomb behind me. Such a large tomb for such a tiny man. Hm.

Entrance to the Catacombs: Stop! This here is the empire of death.

Entrance to the Catacombs: Stop! This here is the empire of death.

the bones are literally right in front of you...

the bones are literally right in front of you...

lots and lots of skeletons...

lots and lots of skeletons...

I’ve also taken a few other trips with GSE as well.  The most recent trip was this past weekend.  We took a train from Gare Saint-Lazare up to Normandie…about a 2 hour ride.  Not bad at all.  When we first arrived, we went to see la Tapisserie de Bayeux, which tells the story of events leading up to the Battle of Hastings in 1066.  Unfortunately, photography wasn’t permitted in the museum, but I found some Google images of the tapestry that I’ll post.  Then we grabbed some lunch at this galette place, which was really good actually.  Afterward, we went to some of the D-Day beaches (Gold and Omaha), visited the American Cemetery, where there are about 9,400 soldiers buried, and if you’ve ever seen the movie Saving Private Ryan, the opening scene is filmed in the American Cemetery, and then lastly went to Pointe du Hoc, which was a point of attack during WWII.  I had been to Normandy once before when I visited France 4 years ago, but it was nice going back and seeing some more things.

Part of the Bayeux Tapestry thanks to Google Images :)

Part of the Bayeux Tapestry thanks to Google Images 🙂

Gold Beach

Gold Beach

American Cemetery

American Cemetery

another view

another view

Me standing between the flags of my two favorite countries!!! :)

Me standing between the flags of my two favorite countries!!! 🙂

Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc

C’est tout!  I leave tomorrow for Dublin for St. Patty’s Day weekend!! WOOO!  I am SO excited!!  I’ll be posting again soon 🙂

Ciao!
Monica

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