Saturday, October 3, 2009

Flashback Saturday: 2005 European Vacation

Yes, it's a slow week; I'm spending the day cleaning and getting ready for Jeff's opening tonight. But um, kind of related--I found these snippets from a journal I kept during Jeff and my first-ever vacation, which we took to Paris and Provence in the fall of 2005 (this is pre-blog, people! I wrote in an actual journal. So primitive!)

Jeff actually took a photo of me writing in Provence, so you know it's true.


I had been to the Pantheon in Rome (perhaps cities all over the globe have them??) but didn't know Paris had its own. It was massive and full of ... columns?

Jeff took pictures of the sights, and I took pictures of him taking pictures of the sights.

We continued on to the Louvre, which was pyramidically shit on by I.M. Pei sometime in the '80s.

The Louvre, full frontal

For 3 Euro, we fucking climbed the Eiffel Tower. We walked up 680 stairs, baby. On the second tier of the Eiffel Tower there is a snack shop and a museum, and, in between, a bank of computers with internet access. I was tempted to log on and write emails to friends and family that started out, "I'm writing this from the top of the Eiffel Tower!", but then I realized that that's the reason that the computers are up there—that everyone wants to write "I'm writing this from the top of the Eiffel Tower!"—and that the Eiffel Tower is banking on the idea that everyone has the exact same thought. It really sucks to realize that the human brain is so predictably trite.

Everybody takes this photo atop the Eiffel Tower, too


Jeff merged into French traffic while I stared blankly at my Mapquest directions. Mapquest hadn't been able to find the address we were starting from, so it had helpfully provided a string of unfamilar street names somewhere in Paris ... somehow, amazingly, we found our way onto the Boulevard Peripherique, which led to the A6 motorway. We drove triumphantly out of Paris proper, just as the sun broke through the clouds.

The view from our front steps in Provence...

The French have a death wish. [This was in response to their driving. People would speed past us doing 80 on a two-lane, two-way highway!] We found the D994 after a few misses and drove through the mountains as the sky turned pink. The scenery was truly breathtaking—the mountains rose, the color of dusk, sheltering little villages with rust-colored roofs and turquoise shutters, clusters of houses built right into the rock, making it seem as if they had grown from seeds. The trees were lush and colorful, and the sky seemed to cloak the entire countryside in quiet. Too bad we were going in the wrong direction.

These signs were everywhere as we neared the tiny town of Moydans, deep in the mountains of Provence. Sheep crossing! SO much less scary than deer.

I had been nurturing a rather macabre fantasy that Laurent [the B&B proprietor-slash-sheep farmer at our rustic accomodations... now, I believe, under new management, as there was no infinity pool during our visit. But we did see a sheep give birth, which is almost as good.] would be a Norman Bates-type psychopath, but my fears were assuaged immediately. How could anyone with sheep-shaped salt shakers be bad?

Our Hobbit hole-esque "gite"


Sisteron is home to a famous citadel built in the 11th century (or something like that). It is amazing—I said to Jeff that I felt like I was in "The Sword in The Stone" (It is admittedly sad that most of my knowledge of medieval history has been culled from Disney cartoons and "Ladyhawke" starring Michelle Pfeiffer, but what can I say? I am a graduate of the School of Life.)

Posing on the ramparts of Sisteron

We climbed up the ramparts and saw the prison that held Prince John Kazimir for six months in 1638. It was creepy to climb up the narrow stairs, and of course they had put a dummy in the room to re-create the prince's bedchamber. There is nothing scarier than a wax figure—why can't people internalize this?

In addition to the wax sculpture, there were cartoonish cut-outs all around the ancient grounds, a weird but fun anachronism.

You can see all of my photos, with captions, here. I'll be back in 2009 tomorrow, promise.

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