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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 24, 2012

Wednesday - and I'm in my new home

I was looking forward to my visit to Musee des l'Orangerie because I don't think it's on everybody's "have to do" list so I hoped it wouldn't be so crowded.  And knowing pictures wouldn't be allowed, I decided I would take pictures of shop windows on my walk to the museum.  I had taken one the day before and saved it to put with these.  But I guess it makes a difference doing them in the morning because I got a lot of reflection and couldn't use some of them.  But here's what I saved (wow! pictures right off the bat!!)

 Is this a chair for the Mad Hatter or what!!???  I LOVE it!
 For very special (and probably rich) little girls...
 A beautiful shop and nothing but umbrellas

And not shop windows but still walking to the museum.  I took two of this because I wanted to prove that they actually revolve.  They''re animated billboards I guess with ads for various things on them.  But how neat to have them be so picturesque with their little domed tops.

And, finally, just two more from my walk...

 This building had a really interesting surface texture which isn't showing up.  I kept walking and the building kept going - it is huge which you'd never guess from just this corner.  And it turned out to be the Department of the Army if I read it correctly.

I almost forgot to include this one which I took in response to Chris's question about the Art Deco metro stops.  I learned today (Thursday and another teaser) that this isn't one of the old ones.  But it's still pretty fancy, I think.

And just another great roof line.

The museum is on one of the two islands that are in the Seine - the same one as Notre Dame.  The other island is just a short bridge away, but apparently it is mostly upscale apartments and restaurants.  As I crossed the bridge I stopped to look around and there was the Eiffel Tower with its head in the cloud.

I'm not in love with it like I am the Duomo, but I certainly am impressed with it  -  instantly recognizable, (even when you can't see the top of it) so very tall, and so elegant somehow.  But I moved on cause it was cold and grey and I wanted to get inside.  No much line which was nice and they had English audio guides which I got cause they were all out of printed English guides (sigh).  The big, big deal at this museum is an installation of Monet's collection of 8 huge panels, all of which are of his lily pond.  He worked on them for the last 30 years of his life and his plan was to have them cover walls in an oval shape and that's how they've been installed at the museum.  All this was done in 2006 and there's a set of models showing all the various changes to the building, ending with the 2006 addition of the oval rooms.  The museum is in the Tuileries Gardens which are the gardens of the palace that became the Louvre.  I'd assume from all the glass that it was a conservatory. 

I did enjoy this museum - much more doable, even though I didn't take in every single picture.  The huge lily ponds were for me amazing because of their size and the time put into them, but I can't say I found them beautiful.  The art here was, I guess, impressionist and beyond.    They had a whole exhibition about Debussy and I kept looking at all the paintings and never seeing one by Debussy and finally managed to remember (idiot!) that he was a composer!  So I'm not real sure why he got an exhibition.  There were lots of paintings and busts of him, lots of photographs of him (with other people too), numerous paintings of members of his family, etc.  Also some musical scores, which until my brain clicked, I kept thinking what are they here for?  Obviously the audio guide didn't cover this special exhibition!

And look what I stumbled across and worked up my nerve to take pictures!

These are miniature versions of the study and dining room of one of the artists featured in the museum - I think it was Guilliame(?)  And I had noticed in paintings of artists by other artists, they would often be in a room in their home and the walls would be pretty much covered with what are now famous paintings.  Just think if those paintings had been handed down from generation to generation in the family...

So, a very pleasant visit and by the time I left it was getting more crowded so I was pleased that I had made an early start.  Got outside and the sun was out - still hazy, but I walked to where I could see the Tower and there it was - much clearer now.  While taking pictures of it, a man came and asked me if I'd take one of him and his wife with the Tower behind them which I did and then we ended up having a long (probably a little longer than his wife and I needed!) and pleasant conversation.  They're actually native Floridians - don't think I've ever met anyone that was born and raised there.

And then it was back to the hotel to get my luggage, catch a cab and transfer to my apartment.  That took a while cause of the always heavy traffic and also, as it turned out, because the driver wasn't really sure where to go and when we did finally get on the right street he was searching for 17 instead of 117 and the hotel lady had given him the address in French!  And I got here much earlier than I had told the owners I would and was standing on the sidewalk with my luggage wondering what I would do til it would be time to meet them when a man walked up to the door, kind of looked at me, I kind of looked at him, one of us finally said hello and it turned out to be one of the owners.  I apologized for being early and said if I could just leave my luggage inside, I'd take off and get something to eat cause he said they hadn't cleaned it yet.  But no, come inside and he'd show me all the key business, etc.  By then his partner had arrived also and we had to go up in the elevator in shifts cause it is so tiny!  But at least it's an elevator! 

The apartment is very tiny too - very tiny - but that's fine with me - I don't really need a bunch of room.  But, of course, yesterday the sun was out full blast and it finally warmed up as did the room.  To about oven levels.  And even though rain and thunderstorms were forecast for today (I'm writing on Thursday evening), it's been another beautiful, sunny and warm day.  The little French doors that open onto my little balcony (which is so French) face west so the apartment just bakes all afternoon.  There's one of those tall skinny fan things that made me pretty nervous at first cause I think it's on its last legs, but I figured I was going to use it til it died and it's still working today.  And by bedtime, it had cooled down.  But I have a big question which is why, oh why, is there only a comforter on French beds?  No top sheet.  And it's not just my cheap apartment - the hotel was the same way.  You either sleep under a down comforter or under nothing!  But I like my apartment and just won't spend much time in it til evening sets in.  I'm in the park area right now while typing this.  And it's all set up for tomorrow's weekly farmers' market.  How's that for pretty darned exciting!?

 My building but I'm on the non-street side and it is so nice and quiet - more than any place I've stayed in Europe except Tuscany.  It has pretty wood entrance doors which you can't see.
I keep calling this a park area and it isn't really, I guess.  But it divides my street (Blvd. Richard Lenoir) in two and runs along for quite a distance.
So that's not the street they're skateboarding on - it's a real wide walkway which is on both sides of the area.
One corner of my room - and the lights are actually bright enough to read by!
 The other corner of my room and you can feel the heat from the sun even in a picture, right?
 The shower part of the bathroom...
 and after you step sort of through the shower, you in the business part of the bathroom.  And there are glass shower doors closing it off from the living area and then there's a shower curtain strung across this part I guess so you don't have to wipe everything down when you're done.  As I said...it's tiny.  :)
And my view from my little French doors.  Good thing I love chimney pots - I'm really up close and personal with them up here!

Once it got so hot, I went out to the park and worked on my blog for a while and then wandered around the neighborhood for a bit, getting a couple bananas and some yogurt at the local store (not, sadly, a Monoprix).  My biggest problem so far is figuring out which way to go to get to places I've seen.  I seem to get all turned around a fair amount of the time.  People at the cafes must think I'm a lost soul as I wander back and forth looking for something familiar. :)

And as a perfect ending to the day, my cell phone rang!!!  About scared me to death but it was Heather and it was so nice to hear her voice.  We had a nice visit - got caught up on the kids and the animals and such.  The guys who own this place told me that I can call the US for free from their landline phone which astounded me.  But I think at most I will call Chris and January once each and try and space them a little bit apart.  So, guys, if you see a weird number or weird message on your cell phones, answer it cause it will probably me your wandering mother. :)

I think that's about all for Wednesday.  And I think I'm going to like it here well enough that I won't always necessarily feel like going somewhere and seeing something.  Although I imagine once I get used to being in such a lively area that isn't a tourist area, I'll be able to tear myself away and be a good tourist.  But tomorrow, I'm staying here long enough to see that farmers' market, by gum!

A bientot!  (I think that basically means later, gator) :)


Christopher said...

I love that rooftop shot from your apartment! And the sloped ceiling of your room... Pity about the baking sun, but I guess, be glad you're not there in August? ;) How neat, the various miniatures you've run into along the trip... And I think I've seen pictures online of that oval room with the huge paintings, somewhere in my surfing.

Christopher said...

PS---I guess your apartment there is truly a garret? I've always thought that was the quintessential French apartment... "just a little garret along the Siene..."

January said...

That sounds like a pretty great day. How neat to find some miniatures there! Your apartment looks really pleasant, too - lack of top sheets aside.

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