Daily Archives: June 10, 2014

Spring Break 2014 – Paris: Street Art

Standard

Saturday, Sunday & Monday, 24 – 26 May, 2014

Location: Paris, France

 

Something I really enjoy looking at, when exploring a new city, is the street art.  The Graffiti, the tags and the little unofficial pieces that get put up every few blocks.  I’m sure that some of them have deeper stories than I’ll ever know, but I like to think that I can get a basic feel for a city from what they have.

For example, much of what I saw in Venezuela was quite intricate and artistic… mostly due to the fact that the president had actually commissioned a number of pieces to “spice up” the construction barriers filling the city.  Or in Hawaii, where the pieces were large and showed a lot of mythology – since people had more time and light to work.

Paris, by contrast, had a lot of sprays and paper pieces – things that could be stenciled or applied quickly and easily.  There were a few much larger and more intricate pieces as well, that obviously took a lot of time and effort, but the majority could probably be applied in mere minutes.  Maybe this means that the police are cracking down a bit more?  Or that the artists prefer to put the time in someplace that they feel safe, and then do a quick application in public?

 

Either way: enjoy a few of the sights…

Spring Break 2014 – TGV Ride to Paris

Standard

Saturday, 24-May-2014

Location: Cassis and  Aix En Provence – traveling to Paris

 

I honestly did not expect Daniel to be this excited about trains when he first brought up the idea of taking the TGV from Cassis to Paris.

To me, it was just another facet of our trip; the most efficient way to get from one area of France to another.  In hindsight, I must have missed a glint in his eye… maybe a subtle grin and shiver of excitement.

Because Daniel?  He loves trains, I learned.

And after riding the TGV, I have to agree.

It wasn’t like any train I’ve ridden in the States – it was fast, quiet, and didn’t stop constantly to let people on and off.  The ride was smooth, and the seats were comfortable.  What was this devilry?   But let’s not get ahead of ourselves.  We couldn’t just waltz onto the train carrying our tiny little BMW crossover.  First, we had to return the car.

There’s not really much story to returning the car, actually.  We sort of just returned it.  The drive was unique, I guess, since a BMW Crossover cannot in fact hold five people and their gear comfortably… instead, we sort of packed ourselves below the gear… it was super-safe though, since there was nowhere for us to move, and we were protected by bags in every direction.

But so we returned the car, then walked over to the station and sat down to rest and wait for the train.  I even bought myself a quiche.  Speaking purely in French, no less.

Then, the docents called us all forward, we showed our tickets, and waited at the platform as the train slowly cruised into the station.

 

Packing our bags onto the car was interesting, though not particularly difficult… we had noticeably more luggage than most, but that just meant that it was easier to find room to put it.  And once it was done we sat ourselves into a pair of “facing each other” style seats and locked ourselves down for the journey… Daniel and I did get up to explore the food car for a bit (aww yeah cappuccino and twix bars), but for the most part we chilled, read, and chatted.  And I may have stolen subtle glances at the super-cute French girl sitting next to us.  But since she was playing cards with her parents… I wisely kept my nose shoved into my book.