Sunday, May 22, 2011

Last day in Paris

Today is our last day in Paris. It has been an awesome trip and I'm so glad I got the opportunity to study abroad. It's such a different experience than studying in class.

A couple days ago we went to Pompidou. It is the largest museum of modern art in Europe. There were paintings by Picasso, Van Gogh, Matisse, and many other famous artists. Pompidou was my favorite museum by far. Even the building is awesome. The pipes are on the outside of the building which is really strange, but at the same time it adds to the museum.

We had class in the park today once again. It was perfect weather and we got to sit as a class in a circle of benches under a tree. Unfortunately a bird pooped on my hand. That was really upsetting but funny at the same time. Later in the day we were walking around as a group and Brooke Martin got pooped on by a bird too. It's good luck for both of us, or so they say over here.

Tomorrow we return, and I will be glad to be back in the US but I'm really going to miss it over here. Europe is a really enjoyable place to be. The culture is so rich and the public transportation is so handy. I hope I can return sometime soon.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

More from Paris

Well, today is our fourth day in Paris. Our time has been really fun and we have been able to see a lot of cool places. Today we went to yet another museum. The Orsay actually used to be a train station. It was a really large beautiful building. It was awesome to see paintings that I have studied in different classes throughout the years. There was a Manet exhibit this month and there were a lot of his best paintings. My favorite of Manet's works at the museum was his illustration of "The Raven," a short poem by Edgar Allen Poe.

Yesterday we went to the Louvre. It was huge. My group didn't get to go through the whole museum, but we went through most of it. There were so many different works of art, from paintings to sculptures to artifacts from ancient Egypt. It was really tiring after a while though because of all the walking. Some of the paintings were enormous. They were bigger than a whole room in a house pretty much. It was really incredible.

After we got done at the Louvre, I went with part of the group to go eat and visit the Latin district again. We ate at a gyro restaurant which was not very good. Unfortunately once we had already got on the metro and were a good distance from the restaurant I realized I forgot my new jacket. Luckily my brother Caleb was nice enough to go with me to retrieve it.

Going back was an adventure. Luckily we found my jacket. However, on the way back we experienced a couple cool things. First, there was a dance crew on one of the streets and they were performing. They were break-dancing and could do some really impressive moves. A couple of the guys could do back flips and spin on their heads. Then, when we got on the metro there was a couple on our train who started playing music and singing and dancing. It was fun to watch and very entertaining.

In addition to going to the various museums and monuments in both London and Paris, we have had class and discussed both works of art and literature. Today we held class in a park and reflected upon our experiences in London and the places we have been in Paris. It was almost unreal to be having class in a beautiful park in Paris with the Eiffel Tower in the background. It just makes all my other classes in a traditional classroom much less exciting.

Who knew learning could be so fun? :) It's a blast and I'm so glad I got to go on this trip! I can't believe there are only three more days left until we go home! The time has passed so quickly it seems!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011


Yesterday we arrived in France after about a two hour train ride. It was actually much more comfortable than the plane we flew in to get to Europe. I slept the whole way.

France has a metro system much like London and I'm guessing like most European countries with large cities. It is a little bit dirtier than London, but I think it is much prettier. The buildings do not look dilapidated and many of the buildings have terraces adorned with flowers. It's very pretty. The food is so much better here. I did not care for the food in London much. I'm so excited to try different cheeses and pastries that they have.

We went to the Eiffel Tower yesterday. It was gorgeous! I can't believe how huge it is in person. A group of us stayed to watch it light up and twinkle. It was almost magical. We got to ride an elevator to the very top. I'm so glad we didn't have to climb steps!
Today we went to Notre Dame and Sainte-Chapelle. Notre Dame was very large. It was exciting to see the Cathedral that was the setting for much of the "The Hunchback of Notre Dame." Sainte-Chapelle wasn't as big as I expected but it was very pretty. The stained glass was amazing. It is so cool to think about how the glass tells a story. Before most people could read, biblical stories were painted or sculpted so they could be told to numerous people. The stained glass showed different stories from the Bible. You are supposed to read it from left to right and from the bottom to top. It was hard to understand the stories without knowing them though since we are not used to understanding things this way.

France is beautiful and lively. I can't wait to explore more of it in the days to come!

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Last two days in London

I can't believe our time in London is almost over!

We travel to Paris tomorrow. I'm pretty excited about that. We leave really early and then get to our hotel then go to the Eiffel Tower. That's going to be a lot of steps just like St. Paul's Cathedral! :)

Yesterday Jessica Neeley, Brandi Green, Lindsey Martin and I went all across London by ourselves. We navigated the tube and found the places we wanted to go. It was a pretty cool experience to get to travel around the big city without the entire group. We felt like independent women. ;) There is this store Primark that is like a huge Forever 21. We got a lot of cool clothing. We also went to Harrod's. Which is this huge famous department store like place. It is ridiculous, really. Everything is so expensive but it is gorgeous. There was a whole room full of just chocolate displays and another with just pet toys.

Today we went to do laundry before we leave tomorrow. That was an experience. It cost nine pounds just to do one load of laundry, that is about $15. Luckily a few of us combined our loads of laundry so it wasn't as expensive. After we did laundry we went to a Hyde park to talk about poetry. We read sonnets by Shakespeare and Wordsworth. One was entitled London, 1802. That was pretty neat to read considering we are in London.

Hopefully we will have internet in Paris, but if not this will be my last post until we get back to the US.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Westminster Abbey, St.Paul's Cathedral, and Shakespeare's Globe Theater

Thursday and Friday:

Yesterday we went to the Globe theater to see Hamlet. It was an awesome experience to watch a Shakespeare play the way it was intended to be performed. The acting was great and it was very entertaining. However, we got ground seats so we had to stand for the whole time.... 2 1/2 hours.... it was a feat! I think all of our feet were in serious pain after the play. I think it would be such an honor to perform at that theater. The play helped me to enjoy Shakespeare much more than I had previously. I think I would enjoy Shakespeare's other works much better if I saw all of them as plays rather than read them.

Westminster Abbey was enormous! There were tombs everywhere, which I thought was very interesting. It's hard to believe the many of the skeletons of England's royalty for the last thousand years is in a church. It was amazing to be able to walk where Kate walked for the Royal Wedding. There was a small chapel that had pictures from the Royal Wedding. Those were neat to see.

St.Paul's Cathedral was even bigger than Westminster Abbey. We had the opportunity to climb to the top of the Cathedral and look at London from the top. It was 529 steps, which may not sound like a lot, but it was! I thought I would be better prepared because I have to climb five flights of stairs to get to my room everyday. However, I was not! I was ready to sit down and take a break after the climb.

We also went to the Somerset House today. I thought it would be a small house but instead it was a very grand building with a huge water feature in the center. It was really surreal to see paintings by Monet, Manet, Pissarro, Cezanne, and Seurat in person. I have learned about these painters in humanities courses but seeing the paintings in the book was nothing like real life. A lot of them are huge and thought the dimensions are usually included in text books, it can just not convey the grandness of the painting.

We have free days tomorrow and Sunday and then we will be traveling to Paris for six days. I'm excited to see what Paris is like!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Second Day in London

Well, It's my second day in London. We got here yesterday morning and have been on the go ever since. The jet-lag still hasn't worn off unfortunately. I guess that will just take a couple of days.

It's a lot different here than I had expected. London is a huge metropolis and while I realized that, I don't think I understood how different it would be from home. When I first arrived I was surprised at how dilapidated most of the buildings here are. It's a lot more run down looking than I had expected. However, the streets are very clean and free from litter which is nice.

There is barely any grass anywhere! There are a few select parks where there are patches of sodded land, but most of the city is concrete, asphalt, stone, and brick. While there are obvious updates that have been made to the buildings through the years the city still looks very old. The paint is peeling on most of the buildings and many roofs are uneven. While we were on the tube (which is the public transportation that runs like a maze through underground London and can get you just about anywhere) it was hard to tell the probable socio-economic statuses of the families in the different areas based upon their houses.

Another thing that shocked me was the cultural diversity. There are so man different races and ethnicities represented here. I have not heard the oh-so-anticipated British accent nearly as much as I had expected upon arriving in England. Many conversations I have heard have been in languages other than English. Many of the restaurant and shop employees do not speak English very well or have a foreign accent at the least.

We visited the London Eye the first day we arrived. It was pretty neat to ride on. It is basically like a huge Ferris Wheel that can fit about 15-20 people in one thing. Once you arrive at the top you can see much of London.

Today we went to the National Gallery and the British Museum. It was really neat to see paintings I have learned about at RSU in person. They are much grander than a book could ever convey. We got to see paintings by Michelangelo and other famous painters. At the British Museum there were artifacts from all over the world. It was incredible to see stuff that was made hundreds of years ago. The mummies and the Rosetta Stone were particularly fascinating to me. It was exciting to personally see those things.

I'm looking forward to seeing where else we go on this trip. :)

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Adventure Begins

Today we leave for London. I'm so excited! Our flight leaves at 6:00 p.m. and is an overnight flight. Hopefully that will make the flight seem a lot faster. It's going to be awesome to experience a new culture. I have been to Mexico, Costa Rica, and Nicaragua, but I think London and Paris will be a lot different.

There are 16 of us going on the trip. I think it will make for a fun time. We have a wide range of people going. There are freshman, sophomores, and juniors who will be going on this study-abroad trip.

Well, I have to finish packing before we leave. Hopefully I'll be able to post again soon!