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Barcelona: Day 1

The first night we got into Barcelona around 9, grabbed some food and hit up the night clubs.  A lot were pretty similar, except the jazz club one which was almost identical to the jazz clubs we’d been to in Paris, except instead of jazz music, American hip hop was blasting through the speakers.  A lot of their songs seemed popular among the people in the club, but were songs released in the U.S. anywhere from 6 months to 2 years ago.  I wonder if they genuinely like our music, or are just a little slower to discover the good songs.

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Musée Rodin & the Palace of the Invalids

Explored the Rodin museum and then checked out the garden around the Palace of the Invalids, but didn’t get a chance to go inside the museum.  We saved that for another day; those pics will be posted soon.

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Musée d’Orsay

The museum was a lot larger than I expected, considering it was placed within a train station.  I didn’t think so much art could be displayed as it were.  There were so many different sections with such a variety of paintings and sculptures.  I enjoyed the layout and general atmosphere of the station, too.  The cool thing about being “art” students and getting into museums for free is that some of the museums just use your school ID card in place of a ticket and so we get to skip the ticket line entirely.  Studying abroad in Paris as an art student is most definitely the best way to tour the city–free museums and discounts on so much more!

Last Sunday–little discoveries

My roommate discovered that the church she attends in Los Angeles has branches throughout the globe…including Paris!  So Sunday morning, we headed over to worship through Hillsong Church, which was incredible.  Everything was in French with English translations (or vice versa), except the worship songs, which were sung in French and had English subtitles projected on the music video screen behind the band.  It was pretty cool.  Everything except the language seemed natural to me; here in Paris, half way around the world, people were worshipping Christ in essentially the exact same way that people would worship back home.  I thought it was so cool that culture was not an issue and worship was still the same in another country, regardless of location.  Service was held in a theater.  Ironically, it was the theater that Josephine Baker gave her last performance.  Josephine Baker is an influential woman we have been studying in class for the past few lectures.
After church we checked out the local farmer’s market by the Bastille.  Apparently it’s one of the bigger, more well known ones and after walking around a little, it was quite apparent as to why.  The market was huge, spanning several blocks.  The fruits tasted better at the market than at any grocery store I had previously shopped at in the past few weeks.  We stocked up on fruits and groceries for the next week’s meals and headed home.  Buying produce from a farmer’s market was a fun experience and gave me a little more sense of maturity and independence.  It made for an excellent start to a great day.

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All the foods!!

A collection of various plates I’ve encountered during my time here:

Posted: July 14
Additions:

  • July 20
  • July 30
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Bipolar Weather

The weather here is so unpredictable.  For a couple days it’s hot and humid, and the next thing you know it’s chilly and pouring.  Complete changes in weather have occurred within the course of 12 hours…warm and sunny in the morning and then sudden showers in the afternoon.  It’s odd and hard to adjust to or plan for.  But with rain comes quality time in cafes working on my studies.  At least it gives me incentive to get work done without the distracting weather tempting me to explore Paris a little more before it’s time to leave.

Thoughts on Culture

People here are so prim and proper; I’ve come across women taking their afternoon stroll in stilettos! They may have just decided to take the scenic route on their commute to work or home, but walking around on a pathway of compressed gravel in heels does not sound like the most attractive leisurely activity.
Another observation is the quality of grooming seen on dogs around Paris. It seems as though Parisians take doggy hygiene pretty seriously–and it pays off too. The fur of these dogs gleams in the sunlight and flows with the wind; they’re practically glowing. On top of that, I have rarely stumbled across an unhappy pup. Going off of the observation that Parisians take an extra effort to make leisure a part of their daily routine, it seems as though bringing the dog along is equally as important. I think it’s great.

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The Palace of Versailles

Visited the palace and accompanying garden–I was amazed.  The whole thing was monstrous and I just stood there and gawked for five whole minutes, taking in it’s entirety.  I could not imagine living in such a massive mansion.  The palace was gorgeous and paralleled the garden’s charm.  The crowds put a damper on my mood and didn’t allow me to fully appreciate the palace because each room was so packed and stuffy, I just wanted to get out and move onto the next attraction.  I still got to see everything, though.
The palace was holding a special event in the gardens, so although we got into the palace for free (because we’re art students and Paris allows free entry to art students in most museums), we had to pay a discounted price to enter the gardens.  I regret nothing.  The gardens are usually left morbid with fountains dormant, leaving you to create your own fantasies of life in Marie Antoinette’s shoes on her mid-afternoon stroll.  However, for the event, the gardens played classical music all throughout the vicinity and for a few hours every day, the fountains would become active and spew water to create the most beautiful and fantastic visuals.  Each fountain looked beautiful while dormant, but adding the effects of water and making them active brought the fountains to life, creating the most perfect stroll.  I would not have expected the water to be projected from the fountains in the way that some were; water spewing from hands, rumbling from rubble…bringing the sculptures to life. Magnificent.