Saturday, August 8, 2009
I am in France! I traveled through the night and arrived in Paris at 7:10 this morning. I spent the day walking along the Siene River, stumbling upon pretty amazing things like first- the Notre Dame then the Louvre, and then I found the Eiffel Tower. By then my feet had just about fallen off. Paris is a nice city, very big but not a bad big... Standing at one point on the river you can see everything around you and your sight follows down the river, uninterrupted by huge skyscrapers, it is very pleasant to walk around there. It was kind of an overcast day which cast this really cool, erie glow over the whole city..I think I captured it best in the golden statue against the gray sky. Later, I trekked back to the train station and was on my way to Southern France. Now I am sitting in some motel in Aix-en Provence with a badly dubbed French film playing in the background-where obviouslyAmerican actors' lips are moving in the wrong ways with the sleezy-sounding French voice-overs.
My train came in late tonight and I wasnt able to find a hostel. I met a really nice girl on the train who had helped me translate the conductor's announcements and she helped me find a place to stay. This wasn't what I was expecting (a super-8-like motel in the middle of a nothing-street), but I am glad to have a shower and get a chance to rest after my super long day. Tomorrow I will take the bus into town and see what I can see. I will try and find a hostel in the center of the town. My train mate suggested some things too see around here as well as told me that I should spend less time in Aix and instead travel to a few different towns in this general area. Well I am excited that I am here, and I hope I can find what I am looking for tomorrow!
PS- the language things is quite frustrating. I am so used to being able to communicate...even in Spanish. But here in France, I am completely at a loss for words... (literally) and I so wish I knew even some basic French. I would like to learn. For now, I have my tiny little French phrase book which is helpful, but It is hard to memorize things especially because I am not used to the pronunciation. We'll see! For now, Au Revoir e Bonsoir!
A a three-man band from Sweden camped out in front of the Eiffel Tower...so good! (keep watching, the video will flip the right way)
Friday, August 7, 2009
(r-l: My roomates!Lorenzo, Simone, Andrea, some other Italian we played volleyball with probably named Lorenzo, and Alexander..
Today is my last day here in San Sebastian. Tonight I will take a train to Paris and travel through the night on the sleeping car. Tomorrow I will arrive and then take another train to Avignon in the south. Last night was so fun! A bunch of the people from the hostel gathered in the tiny kitchen and cooked up a storm! Every night the group of Portuguese cook some culinary masterpiece and we are all so impressed. Last night it was shrimp stirfry with rice and vegetables. My Italian roomates yelled and gesticulated as they threw their pasta into the pot and strategized for their tomato and cheese sauce. And I ended up joining forces with these two Canadian girls. We made pasta with a delcious meat sauce. They threw in some chorizo and I made some bangin meatballs with onion, garlic and herbs. I opened my bottle of red wine and we all sat and enjoyed. I must say, we girls ate sooo well.Even my Italian roomates were impressed with our spread. By the time we had all eaten, the kitchen was a mess and there were drunken conversations happening in so many different languages that I think none of us actually knew what was being said. We all went out dancing and stayed out quite late. Today I had to leave the hostel so I am hanging around town until my train tonight. San Sebastian has been wonderful, and I will surely miss the shananigans at Roger´s House...
For now, adios
PS, This woman singing was simply standing beside the band holding their cd for advertisement. Then out of no where she emerged from the side with her a powerhouse-of-a voice and awed me..and the crowd.
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Hello! Greetings from San Sebastian in the North of Spain! Its so great here! I arrived yesterday after a long train ride from Madrid. When I stepped off the train all of a sudden the smell of the ocean filled my lungs and it was such a good feeling. I am staying in a Hostel called "Roger's House" and am sharing a small room with Roger. Just kidding. With four Italian guys from Genoa, Italy. haha.They are great. Right now they are in some heated conversation....of which I have no idea. But one of them, Simone knows the best English and he translates for me. I spent the whole day on the beach with them. The waves are HUGE! A few times the wave literally spat me onto the shore...like it picked me up and threw me onto the sand. It was great but then after the second time I started to get offended...like mother nature had something personal against me. I really like this hostel. Its right down town in the middle of everything..stores, markets, heladerias (ice cream shops), and bars...and the ocean. There is a kitchen that is open for us to use and last night I went grocery shopping in a market, came back and made dinner for myself. Its cool because while cooking, people come in and out and you get to know all of their stories. Last night there was a hostel terrace party, where two hostels converged on a terrace and schmoozed. Then we all went to a bar nearby. Tonight the Italians made dinner for all of us...delicious pasta with gorgonzola and brie. So good. It is sooo cool being in this hostel. There are people from everywhere. While we were eating our Italian dinner, a group of three Portuguese guys started cooking some delicious smelling meet and vegetable dish.we sat and talked with them, each of us trying to mend our language barriers, finding words in common, hobbies etc. My room has a terrace that looks out onto a bustling plaza with restaurants and screaming children. Its kind of weird sharing a room with four guys..it takes some getting used to, like I wasnt sure if it was totally wierd if I just started clipping my toenails. I felt a little awkward, but then I realized I didn't care. Its definitely a different experience. They are really nice though and Simone speaks Spanish as well so I practice with him. I've met a lot of Australians here too. And there is a ton of surfers. Since we are in Basque Country, the people speak Vasco...but not really. I haven't heard much of it, mostly with the older people. San Sebastian is a great city and I think I will stay a day later and then continue on to France. This video I took from my bed, looking out to the Plaza below. I never actually found the singers...I could only hear their distant singing.
Monday, August 3, 2009
Today I leave Granada. I took my last walk down Reyes Catolicos and Gran Via. I said goodbye to friends, and I am off to San Sebastian in Northern Spain. It has been quite amazing here. I look forward to remembering Granada through my many pictures, but there are some memories that simply are in the mind and no where else...these I like best.