Mittwoch, 30. November 2011



Shock and Awe Part 7 The End

thanksgiving was great! it was very fun and the food was amazing. when we were about to put the turkeys into the oven, we covered them in bacon. probably the BEST idea ever. it tasted so good. we also had assorted other dishes, but im not going into that at the moment. it would make me too hungry.
NOW TO FINISH THIS..................

as we made our way from the Tower we passed many great buildings like the library, some golden domed church. and we went into the metro and saw a plastic statue of the "Thinker." here's a picture of the station:
the station
i think it was near a university. but anyway, we went through a couple of markets, and walked some ways before we saw this:
First view of Notre Dame
i have to say this is one cool cathedral. its not ginormous, its the statues and the interior that is interesting. and of course the gargoyles along the rim of the cathedral. we got to the front and we were told we had 20 mins. 
next will be "20 mins" in pictures:
The front

The gargoyles 

One of the side hallways

A public mass or something, but there ist viele loiter

The giant rose window. So cool

A model, and a guy photo bombing 
From the side

Twilight shot
I had to make it look cool

after our "20 mins" and waiting around for a while, we made our way to the restaurant we went to the night before. we were all expecting a good meal to end off the trip. they served greasy chicken, and some side dish. everyone started at the chicken, but as we cut it open (there were bones to) we uncovered raw, bloody chicken. it was legit raw. it was a total disappointment, but i think the dessert was ok. (fyi i do NOT have salmonella) no one finished it. 

we boarded the bus and made our way toward Germany. home. i mean, it felt like home when we stopped at a rest stop. i was so relived to see everything in german. i almost talked french to the cashier. then it was a smooth ride back. and i will tell you, the floor is the most comfy. it really is. i got a really good nights sleep, and so does the person who was sitting next to you. 
we arrived back at Ostbahnhof, we said our long goodbyes to the people we wouldn't see again, and people we wouldn't see for a long time, then said the regular goodbyes, "see you tomorrow" or something like that. and then, there was one. 

WELL, that pretty much sums everything up. i hope you have enjoyed my explanation of my trip into Paris!

(not continuing............)

Donnerstag, 24. November 2011


i'm a bit hungry right now, so i decided to write this in honor of my country's infamous holiday Thanksgiving. no, it is not an info sesh about how this day came to be. sorry to disappoint who ever thought i would do that. that is Google's job.

well, when i woke up today, it felt like any other day of the year, just knowing that in 6 hours or so the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade was going to start and i'm not able to watch it with my family, or have dinner with them at 2 p.m.; because in the US Thanksgiving dinner is is in the early afternoon for some reason. i went to school thinking at least some one person would wish me a happy turkey day, but no one did. i was expecting no one to do that though. and even more surprising, no one mentioned it in my english class. well, enough of my wining. today i will not have the traditional dinner on thursday. i will instead be having it tomorrow, on friday with most of the US exchange students in the area plus some others. we are going to try to make it as american as we can, but there is one thing that is a slight problem. in the supermarkets there is chicken, ham, duck, goose, other whole animals (i'm not sure about that.) but i haven't seen a turkey. i'm afraid that we might have to switch to goose or duck. it would be an embarrassment to tradition, but people to have turduckin (i am NOT going into that)
anyway, i just wanted to wish all the people in the US and are from the states, a great and plentiful Thanksgiving. eat hearty my friends.

Mittwoch, 23. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 6

Turkey Day is coming up!!! and yes, i will be having Thanksgiving here, along with some 15 or so other Americans. and some foreigners who are hungry for more culture.


the night came and went, and before our eyes was the sun soaring through the sky. and we, the 100+ Rotary exchange students, still occupied France. it was a sad day in our lives. we all knew it in our minds, but would not speak a word about leaving. we had our breakfast, packed our things and loaded the bus. we said our good byes to the hotel, and got on the bus.
(for this part, imagine a fireside chat. (the fireside chat setting- me, in a big comfy chair next to a roaring fire with a mantel piece strewn with random items, and filled book shelves in the background.) (oh and i'm probably drinking something out of a wine glass))
hi. i'm Mr. Exchange Student. and the mood that i just set in that last paragraph was dull, sad, not optimistic. well, i hope you don't take that seriously, because it was joke. thank you for your time reading this nonsense that i decided to put into this blog.
we were on our way to spend a good portion of our last day with the Eiffel Tower!
we approached the complex the same as we did the night before. they again gave us the "don't do stupid things" lecture. then, we were free to go as we please. first thing i obviously wanted to do, was to climb to the top of the Tower. i went with other people who had the same state of mind as i did. thankfully we had one of the two french exchange students with us. instead of spending 45 min to an hour in line, we asked one of the security guys where a better entrance would be. and we got a great answer. he told us to go to the south gate i think. when you are underneath, which is very cool by the way, and you are looking to the park beyond, it is the far left pillar. i'm still not sure. but we only waited 20 min in line, and the ticket was in the vicinity of 15 euros. i will next show pictures instead of describing the way up in words.
Making our way toward the Tower

View from the bottom up

The way to the top, and yes
that man is plastic

View from inside the elevator

They definitely used Google Translate
and then my friends, we made it. to the second floor:
We have that much left
to go.

The view
after our roundabout tour, we boarded another elevator that brought us the the third floor!

it was even better than the second floor! (more pictures!!!)
I give you, the city of Paris 
A loooooooong way
down (river side)

More Paris

Even more Pairs

A loooooooong way down
(park side)

It keeps going, and going, and going

If you look really closely, you
can see the statue of liberty

the Arc
it was like being back in the White Mountains of New Hampshire again, seeing forever the hills and other mountains, but here it was houses, buildings, parks, streets, alleys, restaurants, churches, cathedrals, towers; it seemed to go into oblivion. my friends and i stayed up at the top for a while, admiring Paris. then the wind started up so it got very cold. we made our decent soon after another round of the top. 
after we reached ground level, we made our way to the park where we were going to meet the rest of our group. 
Shot from the park (one of my best)

when we all grouped back together, we went on our way toward Notre Dame. 
(next post. i would like to incorporate Notre Dame with this post, but its too late, and i want to post this one now.)

here is one of my favorite pictures i took from the top. 
Telescope lens Notre Dame shot. Oh yeah, that
just went down

(to be continued..................)

Freitag, 18. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 5

sorry, i have been procrastinating again.
BACK TO THE STORY............

so, as we walked out in the plaza like i said in my last post, no one had any idea where we were standing. and in the next moment was the best part of that whole trip. thats my opinion. we then had a little lecture not to not wonder off, blah blah blah, then we were free to do as we pleased. i walked out onto  the plaza (and this was at night too), and was talking to the group of friends i was with. i then stopped very abruptly mid-sentence. the scene in front of me, made me want to laugh, cry, jump for joy, not wake from this happy dream i was in. it was a dream state almost. it was so immensely mesmerizing. what i saw, was the Eiffel Tower in all it's glory.

One of my best memories
nothing in the world at that moment was so beautiful and awesome. its just i hadn't ever seen anything like that. ive seen the towering skyscrapers in New York City, but nothing compares. ok, the TV Tower in Berlin is cool, but obviously not as cool. the Eiffel Tower has been where it's been for a long time, having the citizens disliking it, but then turing out to be the symbol of Paris, casting its glorious image where it may. when im out and done with school, with nothing to do, ill live in Europe, or i might as well go backpacking. and either i'll stay in Paris for a while then move on, or my finish line will end in Paris.
i took something like 180 pictures that night. let me remind you, i was once again in the mind state of "shock and awe." our party took it's time really, enjoying the magnificent setting the universe had formatted around us. my favorite part of the tower at night is not only when its lit, but when the flashing lights come on. it, it is unexplainable. go and experience it your self because i cant explain it. 
Lights are flashing

soon we made our way down some steps passed illegal street vendors and onto the street below. i could not keep my eyes off the Tower for less than a minute. by then we were walking on the bridge over the Seine River. it was like a dream that you dont forget. we didnt get to go under or to the top of the Tower. we instead descended some stairs down to a river docking with a cruise boat. our leaders contemplated on whether we should go on a ride or if it was too late. it took about 20 minutes for them to talk it out, but with in those 20 minutes, our group was gazing and laughing, having a great time with each other. we soon boarded the boat one by one, and on the gang plank there was a photographer who took photos of us getting on. i ended up purchasing the photograph after we got off. the boat its self had an inside and an outside. our massive group took the outer portions of the craft. the seats, i remember them looking like the seats at Fenway Park, (not wooden) but more comfortable. they also had tour translators attached to them, but no one really paid heed to them. we were all focused on our grand tour of Paris at night, by river.
One of the Eiffel Tower shots I got

Notre Dame by night

Eiffel Tower by river
the tour was actually really fun, me and a friend of mine did the "flying" from the movie "Titanic" off the stern of the boat. unfortunately, the crew and rotary wouldn't let us pose on the bow. we motored by Les Invalides, L' Aeemblée Nationale, Le Musée d' Orsay, L' Institut de France, La Bibliothéque Nationale de France, La Cathédrale Notre Dame, La Conciergerie, Le Louvre, La Place de la Concorde, Le Grande Palais, Le Palais de Chaillot and lastly loitering within view of the Eiffel Tower where we got off. we unfortunately did not see the sister to our own Statue of Liberty. it was one the best times i had with my friends there in Paris.
after our amazing tour on the Seine, i think we went back to our hotel to get some rest.
in this blog, i try to write the best i can, describing the best i can. but sometimes words cant explain. that is why i urge you all to experience this. you definitely will not regret it.
(to be continued...........)

Sonntag, 13. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 4

Last time on "Shock and Awe"............
(imagine this as a TV show flash back of the previous episode, but also include the pictures in your interpretation of this "flash back")
no bacon! reappearing bacon!! bus tour! drive by of the Eiffel Tower!! Arc de Triomphe! Versailles! gun shot! o.0
(end of flash back!) ......... we turned our heads to the loud bang only to see absolutely nothing but the foliage of the trees in the background. more shots were fired and we soon discovered that on some field that some people were doing an arms demonstration (hahaha fooled ya!! no, there wasn't any gun violence at Versailles. thank GOD). my friend and i wanted to go check it out, but it was to far off. and, getting lost was one of our favorite things to do. so we decided to start down one of the many paths with covered statues in their forever dignified positions, to the lake beyond. when we got to the lake we saw the famed statue of Apollo crashing up through the waters of the Grand Canal.

The lake beyond

it was a time well spent at Versailles. the ceiling art especially inside the castle was amazing. my friend made many panorama shots of most of them. they are so cool. but i wish we had gone in the the spring or the summer because it was a grey Versailles that we saw, and i don't want grey being my memory of the palace.
next stop, i remember going to was the restaurant near the hotel. this time there was no piano, no planned entertainment. i felt like drawing, so drew this:
My Drawing of the Eiffel Tower (free hand)
the food we had was lasagna, which wasn't that bad, but my mothers lasagna is SOOOOOOO much better. i enjoyed it all the same. the dessert came, and i think it was ice cream. maybe it wasn't. i don't think it tasted that good, so thats probably why i don't remember it. afterwards we departed the restaurant and headed down under to the metro to bombard yet another subway with our exchange student mob. we were riding for a while, then walked out onto a plaza that was unfamiliar to us all. well, not to the two french exchange students that were with us, but to most of our group. 
what happened next was probably the best part of the whole trip. and there, ladies and gentlemen, i will stop for now. this will continue next time on "Shock and Awe Part 5" coming soon, to a theater near you.
(to be continued..........)

Donnerstag, 10. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 3

apples here Germany, are mostly mushy and gross. ive only had a couple of good crisp apples here. its just a warning for those who are unaware of this......... disappointment  

the next morning i got a fairly good sleep, and got my self ready to go gorge myself on breakfast. being in France, i suspected the breakfast to be a croissant, other bread, spreads, fruit, and other unknown french hotel "gourmet" wonders. as i entered the buffet, i spied an egg tray (the eggs were literally paper mache) and an empty tray next to it. to my horrible dismay, the tray had contained BACON. ALL OF IT GONE. WHY!? i was so upset. but luckily when i went back for seconds, the tray was overflowing with the beautiful, gorgeous, crispy right of the oven hotel bacon. it tasted so good, only because it was the first time having it in a long time.
Drive by
after the nutritious meal that i just had, we got on our bus, and had a bus tour around the city of Paris. the tour was all in german, so i understood some of it. there was only one rule: if we fell asleep, we would not be able to go on the euro-trip in the spring. most people stayed awake after that; only our oldies fell asleep (exchange students who have been here since january). we traveled passed lots of old churches, libraries, and got a closer look at the Eiffel Tower. every one was in a commotion trying desperately to get a snap photo of the wondrous site. we soon passed it not knowing when we were going to gaze upon it's beauty again. i think we circled it once more then traveled far away from it.
we soon came into view of an arcing structure, as we made our way down the Av. des la Grande Armée.
Drive down the avenue
we saw before us the Arc de Triomphe towering before us. it was similar to when we saw the Eiffel Tower, the feeling of "we are in Paris."
we got free time, so my friends and i decided to try at the giant round-about but we soon found about that you cant cross, but there is an underground passage. we reached the top and then we were underneath. i mean, it isn't AS cool as the Eiffel Tower, but the architecture is amazing. after our sightseeing, we made our way down the famous street Champ de Elysée, and looked for food (of course we would). we had baguettes with the foreground of the Arc. it was so great. soon we clambered onto our bus, and made our way to the grand castle of Versailles.
most people on both buses just crashed on the bus ride there, and i was one of them. it was really the only time we could sleep at that moment. i had no idea that Versailles was so far outside Paris center. i got all the rest i needed. when we arrived, our group got off out in front of the golden gates of the old esteemed castle.
The Golden Gates
we waited for a little bit, while our chaperones got their wits together to get us inside the castle. never the less, we got in, and were let loose off our leashes to sniff out amazing artifacts, art, and history all in one building. the castle is very stunning with all its ceiling paintings and its tapestries. but mostly i was looking forward to the gardens outside. even though its november, the gardens were very cool. mostly the designs of some of them. as my friend and i meandered through the court yard and into flower-vacant gardens, gun shots were heard and we turned our heads to look...........
(to be continued..........)

Mittwoch, 9. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 2

After Le Louvre, our gigantic group walked toward the metro to go watch the Opera. on our way we passed street shops, AND we got our first glimpse of La Tour Eiffel. the enormous structure towering over the renowned city was one site never to forget.
at first sight, it seemed unreal. i mean, yeah we were in Paris, but it just still didn't feel like it. i seriously can not explain. it is a feeling that is unexplainable. everyone there got it. we kept saying to each other, "holy crap, we're in Paris. we are in Paris." we were all in shock and awe basically the whole of the trip. and when ever i see this picture, for example, i just go back to the moment that i first saw it. maybe you readers have experienced this too, so you might know what im talking about.
First glimpse

sadly there was a confusion during the time we spent at the museum or the pace we were at, so we ended up missing our chance to experience the Opera. instead, we went to the building which the Opera is housed in and is also the Academie Nationale de Musique (to the left <---) we were granted free time so a couple of friends and i sought out a cafe in the area. we finally found one, and the name is "Crepe World" and they lived up to my expectations and my friends. it was straight up stuffed pancakes. they were so freakin' good. once our bellies were satisfied, we went into a couple of stores. the prices were through the roof. they were almost too expensive. well, thats Pairs for ya, but almost in every shop reeks class so its obviouly fun to go in and try on all the clothes you can.
by then it was around 5ish so everyone was peckish so we traveled to a hill and climbed up SO MANY STAIRS. it was a literally marathon on stairs. i swear, my legs were cramping. and there are no ramps. once our group of 100+ finally finished climbed onto the hill were the Sacre Coure stands, we wandered down into the narrow streets. they were full of piano bars that lined both sides of the street. we walked until we found our restaurant: La Bonne Franquette.
Small street
it ended up having a piano! and i ended up playing
Our restaurant

 Fur Elise and Deaux Arabesques No. 1.

The group was aloud to roam for a little bit but then meet on the steps of the Sacre Coure. i went with a friend to search for items of interest, but some shops were closed so we back tracked then got VERY distracted when we spied one of the most beautiful sites of all. we found the view overlooking Paris, and on the side of our view was the Eiffel Tower all lit up. it was another of those "shock and awe" moments, and "holy crap im in Paris." it was an incredible site to behold. i will never forget it.  
after admiring the panorama that was laid out in front of us, we backtracked once more to the steps of the 
Night view from far away
monster church where more pictures were taken. we passed a music circle singing "Hit the Road Jack," (a very popular song here) which included a couple of guitars, drunk singers, and a harp. of all the instruments, a harp. so cool. 
the hike down wasn't all that bad from what i remember, and then we flooded into the metro station. it was a total chaos. our mighty rotary leader was roaring not to get on, then telling us to get on, then telling us not to. i think we gave France a good show of "EINSTEIGEN!!! NIEN!! NEIN!!! NICHT EINSTEIGEN!!!. ok! AUSSTEIGEN!!!!!" (translation: GET ON!!! NO!! NO!! DO NOT GET ON!!! ok! GET OFF!!!!!) it was very funny. we got off and emerged above ground to the site of porn shops and dance shows. yep, we were going to the Moulin Rouge. 
The Moulin Rouge

we arrived, saw the outside because we weren't aloud inside, cracked our jokes, talked, then headed back to our hotel. 

all and all, is was one hell of a good day. but that was only day one. 
(to be continued.......)

Montag, 7. November 2011

Shock and Awe Part 1

from the most resent blog it shows i am in one of the most beautiful cities in the world. well, i can tell you that i was the time of my life and i really, REALLY want to go back. i spent 3 days in Paris with a whooping 100+ exchange students and 8 awesome rotarians. in this post, i will show pictures and tell you about them.

the bus ride was i think 17hrs long, but we had lots of fun. the down side was that no one got a lot of sleep because the seats were very uncomfortable, so there was always someone awake. some even slept on the floor (which i did on the way home and i got much more sleep!)
i was up at around 6:30am as the sun rose in France. i had the brilliant idea (which i have been wanting to do for a while now) of playing the "Circle of Life" from the movie "The Lion King (the opening song in it). luckily my friend had a speaker so i plugged my iPod in and waited for the opportune moment.
Started playing "Circle of Life"
as the song played, the crescendo grew. it was perfect. my companions stirred and awoke to music.

The entrance to the Louvre
we arrived in a hotel outside of Paris. most of us tired out of our minds, and hunger eating us from the inside out, but we were in an excited mood. after a breakfast that consisted of a croissant, yogurt, and other french hotel offerings, we made our way into the metro. when you begin to live in a foreign country, you are so confused and you try learn everything you can. for me, a big part is transportation and the language. when i got into the metro, i felt like i was back in august. i was lost, confused. i could only guess what the words were. but speaking the french that i know, was so fun.  my friends and i ended up drawing pencil mustaches on our fingers then putting them on our upper lips and speaking in a french accent most of the time. anyway, the mass of a group of 100+ can most deffinetly take over a train, and we sometimes overflowed it. we made it to our destination: Le Louvre. 
i dont know where to start with this. well one of the destinations was the Mona Lisa, but i wanted to see everything else. here are some pictures:
Hercules invents baseball

Wings of Victory

The Mona Lisa

Wedding Feast

Le Louvre

French Revolution
Venus von Milo

From the inside

go to the Louvre. if you have, go again. i know i will. the museum is immense, intriguing, imaginative, intimidating. the Louvre is a place of a million words. i could spend a good day inside there just lost in years of fantastic artworks of talented dead people who we have come to appreciate so much.

(to be continued........)