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West Virginia
When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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May 25, 2012

A nice day for me, but probably not very exciting :)

I was very good this morning.  I washed my bits of dishes, did a tiny hand laundry which has now dried (how could it not?!), and had my first shower here and it worked pretty well, actually.  I was kind of surprised.

Around 10:00 I went out to visit the market right outside my door and my gosh!  It's huge - all types of vendors, a majority were the fruits and vegetable types, but there were meat, both raw and processed, cheeses, olives and bread and pastries.  Then there were a number of vendors with clothes, shoes, jewelry, household items...just a great mix.  So, of course, I had to buy some food stuff.  Tried not to go overboard though cause it dawned on me I'm not really going to want to do a bunch of cooking up here in my garret.  (Chris - you're right - that's exactly what it is.  When I'm out on the balcony the sides of it butt up against the slanted, metal roof that all the buildings have.  Oh, and I sat on the balcony tonight and it was/is a delicious evening - just hoping it gets in here pretty soon, although it didn't get as bad as it was yesterday.  Anyway, I bought some strawberries, a half dozen eggs, some nice olives, one little slice of salmon which stunned me with its price but by then it was too late.  It was such a nice little slice I figured I'd use it in an omelet which I will but it sure better be good! :)  Oh, and I bought two ready-made salads - one a Greek salad and the other an I don't know what but really tasty.  It has those very thin green beans in it (raw or close to it), cheese, tomatoes, red onion, and whatever else and I kept trying to decide if the seasoning in it was dill.  Anyway, I had some of that for lunch before I went jaunting off and then had some of the Greek when I got back for dinner and before I went jaunting off again.

So that was all very successful, I think.  Not so sure about the jauntings, though. :)  I did several metro trips, even two that involved transferring and except for the last one where the signage was really poor, I got to feeling real competent.  It's a shame the last one was the bad one cause I really was too tired to deal with it well.  But I finally beat it and got home.  My plan was to go the Marais district of Paris today just cause it sounded like a neat place to visit, and then go further down or out or whatever and find a needlework store that I had looked up on line and also walk along the Viaduct des Arts which sounds real neat  It's a 2-mile stretch of flower gardens and trees basically built on an old elevated train track.  But having wandered around Marais for a while (part of the wandering being lost - I seem to have no ability to figure out which direction I should go when I look at my map) and walking to and from the metro stops (I know - I could take a cab, but I'd have to walk around trying to find them too - they have taxi stands in Paris or you call and request one) I was already tired when I got to the place and it dawned on me I hadn't brought the address of the shop with me but I knew it was 17 something and that the something was either Viaduct des Arts or a street named Daumnesil, so I texted Chris to see if he was available and could look it up for me.  Turned out it was on the Daum street so I gave up walking the Viaduct and walked back up to that street which is where the metro station was.  When I got to the street I saw that the number on the first building was 255 so I texted him again and asked how far it would be between 255 and 17 and when I got the answer to that I decided I was going home.  But 3 nice things from such a strange and sort of failing jaunt - I got good Metro practice, I had my first two maccarons (WOW!!) and I visited the apartment Victor Hugo lived in for 14 or 16 years and found it quite interesting.  Oh, and before I post the pictures, I've come across an interesting phenomenon twice now, the second time being this morning when I asked two guys on the street where I had gone wrong trying to find my metro station.  They didn't understand me, of course, and I didn't understand them, but I showed them he note I had put into my phone that told me how to get to the station except it wasn't getting me there.  And when I showed it to him, he read it - out loud.  Same thing the other time - I showed them something in English and they read it.  I wonder if like me, they're afraid to speak what English they might know.  I know I am cause every time I do, it turns out I'm saying the word totally wrong.

Anyway, took some pics at the Hugo house.  It's in yet another massive building project of one of the King Henrys.  He built an entire square of "houses" with 9 on two sides (like townhouses) and then 6 with a bigger center "house" on the other two sides.  The two big ones were for the King and Queen - apparently separate bedrooms weren't enough - but they never did live in them.  So Victor had an apartment in one of them and lived there with his wife and two children.

 Almost forgot this - seen while I was finding my way to Vic's house.  I think it is just delightful!

 So this is one of the two tall ones and the big square park in the center is wonderful - filled with kids playing, grown-ups visiting, people sunbathing - really nice.  There's one of these fountains in all four corners of the park and a great big sandbox!
 Didn't realize how crooked this was when I was editing it...
And this is the King Louis that was son of the King Henry who built all this.  And I'm sorry I'm being so imprecise, but I just can't keep up with all of them and in a way, when it comes to houses and statues, how much does it really matter?  My guidebook says he's pointing at the tall house in front of him saying "look at this great thing my dad built!"

 Victor Hugo and his son in the formal reception room.
The Chinese Room which the whole time I was in there a man I think was a teacher was giving a long lecture to a group of kids about everything in the room and so I didn't get a whole lot out of my audio guide about this one nor could I get close to things to get some detail shots.  But it was an interesting room for sure.
Here's the poor group of students who I think would have been going slowly out of their minds...he did go on and on.

Of course, I love Asian decor and art so this really appealed to me.  Some of the paintings on the cabinetry and wall panels were cariactures of some of his characters but as I said, I couldn't get close to get pictures of them.
The two children who lived here.  I think he had a total of four children, but perhaps the other two came after they moved from here.  He outlived his wife and 3 of his four children, with the last child being in an asylum.  Poor man...
And I never knew that he was a poet - I just knew he wrote "Hunchback of Notre Dame" and "Les Miserables".  But apparently when alive, he was almost as famous for the poetry as for the novels and also plays.  And...he was an accomplished artist - at least with pen and ink.  They had a room with small works in pen and ink or pencil all of which he had done and they were great.  The audio guide said that his art work numbered in the 1000's and this museum, itself, has 700 pieces.  Wonder what it's like to have such talent?
And his very red bedroom.  I don't think he and his wife ever divorced - at least none of the things on my audio guide said they did, but they did have a "rift".  And he ended up with a mistress who was with him til his death - almost 50 years I think the guide said.
The stand-up desk where he did his writing - I've never understood how anyone could work for any length of time at a stand-up desk.
 And the view from a window in the reception room.  So pretty...
And this is a somewhat whimsical painting of the infant Victor Hugo.
These arcades are also on all four sides of the square with shops, mostly art galleries, and cafes in them.  Shades of Bologna, is what I thought.  Although not as decorative as a lot of theirs.

So that was that, and then as I reported, I was unsuccessful with the needlework store.  I got home, had my nice little dinner and decided I would go ahead and do what I had sort of halfway planned which was to try going to the Louvre in the evening cause they're open late on Fridays and Wednesdays.  And I would use an entrance that isn't the main entrance and can be somewhat quicker.  It's in an underground shopping mall and I found it with no problem (that was one of my transfer trips).  The shopping mall is incredible, just the little bit I saw of it.  But the place that sells the tickets was closed, who knows why.  But, truthfully, I had already begun to think I wasn't leaving myself enough time even to just hit the high spots and I wasn't too keen about staying until 10 which is when they close which meant I had even less time.   Plus which, I was really kind of dead dog tired.  Finally found out how to get out of the place and discovered that I could go into the grounds of the palace/museum and there was the glass pyramid.  So a few more pictures before I started home.

 This is an upside-down glass pyramid in the underground shopping mall and I'd be curious to know if it's under the outside one.  It's not as big as that one but it could be that a portion of the outside one's floor is glass and looks down into this.  If and when I get back there (and I'm going to try again) I can check that out, maybe.
 And here's the big one which somehow serves as the entrance to the museum.  Maybe you go underground from within it cause it doesn't connect to the building.
 Just your average building corner!  Why would you build this and then decide you needed to build another one somewhere else?  Unless this one was just too big.
And, Chris,, here's your metro stop.  This is the Louvre-Rivoli metro stop - quite a hoot, don't you think?

And as of tomorrow I only have 7 days left here and I'm feeling kind of guilty cause I really haven't done much.  But I've been enjoying myself.  My plan right now (if the weather stays nice) is to try and get to the Eiffel Tower early Sunday morning and after standing and sitting for a while with my jaw on the ground, wander around that area and see what all I can see.  And if I DO try the Louvre again, that will probably be Wednesday evening but getting about an hour earlier start.  But I should be planning a day trip and doing important things and stuff!  There's another house-type museum I'm going to search out - I think the smaller museums are much more my speed and I do love house museums.  And I want to go in search of a few "Passages" that I've read about and are scattered around the city.  These were shopping arcades during the Belle Epoque era and still have lots of shops and eateries in them.  One of them has a mini shop, so I'll search for that one and I noticed on the map that there are two others near it.  And, of course, aside from the heat in this place, I'm enjoying my little home and getting familiar with the neighborhood.  Tonight when I went into the local boulangerie (think BREAD!) for the third day in a row, it was the same man as always so this time in addition to "bonjour" I added "comment allez vous?" and he replied "tres bien" and we were both quite pleased with ourselves.  He went on to comment on the heat which I was able to understand and respond to by fanning myself.  All of which gave me the nerve to ask about 1/2 loaf baguettes (as did the fact that there were some laying on the shelf already cut) and sure enough, I was allowed to buy a 1/2 loaf.  And then the delicious evening on the balcony was nice too.  So I may not be the world's most practical or accomplished tourist, but I may be one of the happier ones ::)

Bon soir!  (and I made it on Friday - it's 2 minutes to midnight!)


Elga said...

Hi Mary Lynne it is all just so beautiful, red brick buildings with stonework is my favorite, my Victorian dollhouse is in the American Second Empire Style that was based on French architecture.

Have a good Saturday and see you next Saturday!

Chinch said...

I'm thinking maybe you should give yourself a "well, duh" moment of "that's why I'm here" because that is why you're there -- to see all the little things, wander all the various places, find all the good eats, etc, etc. You can always take a tour of the Louvre online once you get back home. :) I'm loving your pictures and looking forward to someday sitting down with you and going through them all over again with lots of questions and extra details. And I love your little garret and the fact that you have a little balcony. So I hope you go back and find your miniature shops and keep up your struggles with the Metro -- you're already beginning to sound like a pro and given another seven days, you will be!! xoxo

Lisa in WV said...

Mary Lynne, I think Victor Hugo's bedroom would be phenomenal to reproduce in miniature. In fact, I think Chris is really a budding miniaturist and should take on the project. Too bad you didn't get a better picture of the rug - that could be stitched. It would be a fabulous piece.


Christopher said...

You know, that square of grand townhouses just appeared in a series I watched, about England... and how that square influenced much of England's city residential development, such as in Bath...
Neat day's outing... that final Metro entrance is something else! Makes DC's metro entrances look downright brutal.

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