Sunday, September 30, 2012

Failed attempts to see dead people

Today was a lazy Sunday morning. We took off walking to go check out the Catacombs (sp?), which basically is a large underground area where there are hundreds of dead bodies/bones. I guess someone concerned about hygiene decided to vacate a burial area and throw all the bodies underground. They details are sketchy to me, but no matter, when we got there they were closed. Ventilation problems I guess. We weren't too bummed though because there were a lot of festivities we got to see on the walk.
Did I say I was going to cease food posts? I lied. We had lunch at a sidewalk café again. 

Doug got bouf bogouinon (sp?), which is like a beef stew, really similar to pot roast. 

I got a cheese sandwich, duh.

Is this sandwich shot delectable or disgusting? YOU decide!

Doug also got some tea. This is how I want all tea served to me from here on out.

Pinky's up!
We walked through Luxembourg Park. It was a beautiful park. There were a ton of people out sunning, napping, and picnicking (lots of bottles of wine spotted). Dreamy. 

There was a band playing inside the park, and a dueling band right outside the gates of the park. The in-park band was annoyed I think.

In the center of the park was a big pond with little sailboats. Thee were sticks so when a boat got pushed near the edge you could send it back out.

All around Paris there were a ton of street entertainers out.
And there was this band playing on a moving truck.

No idea what the fuck they were singing, but they had a pretty big hipster crowd following the truck. Does that mean they sucked or were underground awesome? YOU decide!
Paris kind of shuts down on Sundays. Pretty much every single store, and about half of the restaurants and shops are closed on Sundays. Even the big department store was closed. On all other nights everything but restaurants and cafés close at 7pm. It's definitely a different consumer culture here.

Piano in the middle of the street seems practical. Street jazz band, singing included.
This lego-esque Oscar the Grouch was funny.

It was our last day in Paris. So in addition to feeling wistful about our time here, I had to tolerate Doug stressing out about our travel plans to Germany tomorrow and the packing we had to do tonite. After almost two weeks with his parents I now see where he gets it from :-)

Saturday, September 29, 2012

My Napoleon Complex. Also, an Ode to the Fromage Shop

Doug's guest blog post is so nice and sweet. Makes me seem like a mean girl, which is a bummer because that was the last good thing to happen to Lindsey Lohan. So I'll stick to doing what I do best: narcissism and sarcasm.

Lots of window shopping today. I wanted to buy this dress but could not think of a single place or event to wear it. 

Paris is bustling on Friday night and all day Saturday(night). Tons of people out and about on the street we are staying on, eating, shopping, browsing. Its a neat scene.

The sidewalk cafe across the street, view from our window.

Me posing out our window for Doug's dad. Totally not looking like a tourist.
Once again we stuffed ourselves today. Had brunch, which was just OK. We had a hard time ordering since our server didn't speak English. The pre fixe brunch seemed safe, but we had to make all these choices. I pointed to a glass of citron as my juice choice, which ended up actually being a glass of straight lemon juice. It gave me shivers.

I had mine sans syrup, since I haven't seen any maple trees in France.

Our breakfasts. Just OK, not great.
Walked along the river Siene again, checking out the little pop up shops.

Next was Napoleon, who had a total ego trip, BTW. His tomb was ridiculous. It was adjacent to a armory museum so we checked it out too. And check it out, I'm not in he exact same air of jeans I've been wearing every damn day of this trip!
I'm in the mood for some minesweeper.

Over a hundred military uniforms on display, including a full Nazi uniform... it was eerie and we could not bring ourselves to take a picture of it. I could, however, bring myself to take a picture next to a canteen woman, in uniform no less.

I guess women were shorter in the late 1800s. And eager.

There also just so happened to be a bunch of French soldiers at the museum at the same time. Sexy! Oh excuse me, I mean, le sexy!

Now I'm going to post a bunch of pictures of the cheese shop we've been raving about (and visited again today). I had to sneak take them when the owner wasn't looking, didn't want to come off as a weirdo rude American or anything :-)

Doug was scared of these moldy ones on the left, so of course I grabbed one.

Final selections at how. Made some tough calls.

Le dinner.

Our dessert was a small piece of each of these little pies

and whatever this thing was.

It was the most delicious dessert I've had here, almost like a cross between a doughnut and a croissant with powdered sugar. I intended to save half for tomorrow, which failed to happen.

This blog has pretty much become a documentary of me and Doug: Becoming Fatasses in France. For my own sake when I look back on this trip (especially during all the house I'm going to have to put in at the gym) I'll try to post pictures of something other than food tomorrow!

Parting: Not much sweet, plenty of sorrow (guest post by Doug!)

Guest post number 1, and it comes at a time already 10 days into the trip (11 if you count the first travel day, which was basically a fog of jet lag). This morning my parents left to continue their journey to Rome, which should be lovely. My mom informed me that the weather will be warm; the mid to upper 80s. That sounds great, and a decent contrast from the mid 60s here in Paris, of even colder in London.
I can't help but feel sad as our travel companions bid us adieu after having shared with us this European trip so far. The portrait museum, the Museé d'Orsay, meat pies, an occasional pint, and nightly wine with recaps of the preceding day's events.

To be in Paris (and soon Zweibrücken), and having spent time in London with my wife, the usual author of this trip blog, has been a dream come true of course, and I look forward to continued days of exploration and relaxation.

Being in a reflective mood while still in the middle of the trip...I'm partially convinced that the city of Paris has something to do with it, especially considering all the renowned artists who have called this place their home.
Onward with the relaxation and exploration. Today, I think I'll get a cappuccino. That should whip me back in to shape.

Continuing now after dessert, cheese, wine, bread, and dessert, in that order. I've had a bit of time to collect my thoughts and today was spent doing wonderfully relaxing things such as walking too far in my "nice" shoes and socks, giving myself two bloody blisters. Awesome! To be fair, I did gaze upon Napoleon's tomb today, which was certainly worth the blisters. Just imagine it, standing there, witness to the tomb of the person that gave us the term "Napoleon complex." The tomb, in that regard, did not disappoint. Coffins within coffins, like those stacking Russian dolls, immense in size, and I think no less than 42 holy and prominent historical figures in statue form looking on. Just how I'll be entombed as well I'm sure.

Judging how I look in this picture, I might as well be in a tomb!

So how about some shopping? We've got that covered. The Macy's-like department store was cool, but too much perfume in the first 6 floors. Right, there were only 6 floors in the place.

Not sure if this is runway ready.

Moving on, dinner beckoned. What should we have tonight? The same thing we have every night (insert Pinky and the Brain picture here), bread, wine, cheese, and pastries from the local patisserie. Cheese from the stink shop across the way...check! Wine from the guy who now I'm good friends with...check! Bread from the same woman who still doesn't understand that I don't speak french, so telling me the price very quickly in french language with french numbers isn't going to work...check! Desserts from...well, Becky got dessert. Nice, some cheesecake. Not enough cheese already?

What are we going to eat tonight, Becky?

Now that I've begun to ramble stream-of-conscience Jack Kerouac style, it's time to put down the tablet. Good timing. I'm not sure I'm cut out for the blogging world.

Friday, September 28, 2012

720 steps climbed

So obviously we went to the Eiffel Tower today. 

Needless to say my dogs are barking. Those steps are hard metal and the cute (yet on a fast road to being destructed)  Mary Janes I had on were probably not the wisest choice. (In my defense they were the most fashionable choice... pre sweating my ass off, of course).

Doug took a foot posing pic.
Inferior shoes for hundreds of metal steps.

Climbed the stairs to the second story then the elevator to the top. It was a warm sunny day and the views were spectacular.

On the subway over to the tower there was a two person jazz band. This isn't necessarily unique to Paris, acts like this are common all underground tunnels, but these guys were pretty good. The grouchy old man didn't seem to appreciate it, I focused in on his grouch face in this little video.

Walked thru yet another incredible old and beautiful building after. There are so many here I've stopped keeping track of names. France is pretty old and full of history. I'm sure a million people have said this but in normal fashion I probably tuned them out since it didn't directly involve me at the time :-)

Went to a little Patisserie again, and got another bomb ham and cheese sandwich. I think if a french person ever came to the states and got a ham and cheese they would be really sad. I mean, look at this thing!

Ham and cheese sandwich

Speaking of really terrible sandwiches, there are a lot of Subway's here (England too). Its perplexing. Nasty foot long sub with stale bread, prefabricated cheese, and sad, limp vegetables, or a glorious "ham and cheese"?

Beautiful Paris building, blemished by a shitty sandwich spot.

After seeing this sandwich, if you still advocate for Subway you need to reevaluate your life.

 For those confused here is the answer: man up, go for a jog and get the better sandwich. Life is short, don't waste it on shitty food!

OK anyway, we also got this incredible pecan pastry thing. Look at what a perfect bite I took! I have excellent bicuspids, no doubt. 

Robert Pattison has nothing on me.

 We continued on to the Arc due Triomphe (war memorial), where there was also a wedding going on, so I snuck in a picture of the bride and groom. 

Walked down a street called Champs-Élysées which is the fancy/ expensive part of town (I.e., Louis Vuitton, Cartier, etc.). If you've been to Vegas this is nothing new so we walked through quickly an on to the Tuileries Gardens which led again to the lawn of the Louvre. Ton of walking today, I was beat (so yes, the cheese sandwich is justified dammit). Coming home we stopped by a cheese shop I've been wanting to try for a few days. When we first walked by, it smelled like a stinky foot and moldy cardboard with just a touch of BO. This place was a winner! (Making cheese is a really funky process FYI). We got a cube of Mont Briac (my favorite) and two smaller cheeses that were actually sitting out in the open under wire covers (continuing to 'ripen' I'm sure). Also gabbed a little homemade sausage/pepperoni stick, aso sitting out unrefrigerated. Joined the in laws at home where they picked up a fresh baguette and some wine from the little shops on our street. It. Was. Amazing. Speaking of, I've been doing my best to bully, err, explain my food goals to the in laws while we're here. Coming to Paris, I was really excited to immerse myself in to the revered local food culture, where choices are spontaneous, fresh, and eating out requires double the time it does in the states - I have yet to find a local cafe that serves coffee to go. Sit down relax, and drink it there, even if it just takes five minutes. I have been actively avoiding the things I can get in America (no Starbucks, no familiar restaurants, etc.), otherwise what's the point? So anyway, while during the first few days in Paris the in laws were buying prepackaged bread, coffee, and presidente brie (which you can buy at Costco) and eating at Chinese restaurants, they are now buying local fresh bread, pastries, quiches, and wine from all the little patisseries and shops on our streets, and returned to he same sidewalk cafe where Doug and I treated them to dinner to enjoy some Soupe à L'oignon (french onion soup). Success! :-) Not that I am responsible for instilling culinary or culture in to them, they are world travelers after all and far more experienced than me, but that I sincerely appreciated their efforts to indulge me and join me in my plight for a French experience :-) 

Here's another tripod shot Doug's dad took of the group. Notice his pose, I think he's warming up to me :-) This I our last night together. They are off to Rome, while we have two more days in Paris then head off to Germany.