Nikki and I spent most of the afternoon wandering through the myriad of alleyways and shops that make up the Camden Market, a street-based market that started in the 70s and has gotten even greater and sprawling ever since. (Found a fabulous OWL WATCH NECKLACE that is very steampunk-y and something I’ve wanted ever since The Soozinater (<–clickable) showed me this Etsy site (<—clickable).) There were a lot of things I might have bought if I had an endless supply of money, but as I don’t, I only got the watch and something for my sissy.
We went to the British Museum.
So we only had about an hour-and-a-half because we spent so much time at the Camden Markets, but we did a quick breeze-through of some of the Egyptian, Grecian, and Assyrian exhibits, commenting ironically about the “benefits” of imperialism. Regardless! Everything was fascinating. The above photo is of a remade monument to nereids, greek goddesses and nymphs of the sea. The carving of the female statues purposely mimics soaked clothing, almost transparent. Really cool.
It all made me sad-faced that I don’t remember as much from my European history classes. From high school. ANYWAY. Nikki and I plan on going back tomorrow to see more. That cool, despite the hordes of tourists. (Have I mentioned that British museums are free? The British Museum is no exception.)
After a late-ish start in which I got to read more of my romance novel (huzzah!), we went off for a walk. As it’s Christmas (PS: Merry Christmas!), the tube and most shops were all closed. We walked around for hours. My chin went numb. Eventually we stumbled across a pub that was actually open and went in for some beers and defrosting. (I actually had a cider.) My first English pub! It was fabulous. The few other guests there were kind, and they had a pub cat. Seriously. A cat living in the pub. His name is Henry, and he is 14 years old.
Christmas is a time for taking it easy, apparently. And then eating some super delicious roasted ham. Mmmmmmm….
Paris is amazing. Fabulous. Unlike any other city I’ve ever been to. (Makes a great deal of sense, considering I have really only traveled abroad in Asia.) Wherever you look, there are fantastic old buildings butting right up against each other, even though they were built at different times. There’s history on every street. Different languages dance through the air. During Christmas, you can grab a cup of vin chaud (mulled wine) and a baguette sandwich. The streets are relatively clean, and the architecture is fabulous.
We spent the afternoon at Notre Dame and walked from there to L’Arc de Triomphe, about two kilometers away. This gorgeous stained glass is clearly Notre Dame.
I gotta say, things like Notre Dame totally make me understand why people are Christian. There is something otherworldly about the atmosphere in the church, even though it’s filled to the brim with tourists, or the occasional flash that disturbs the low-light. The ceiling towers in intricate arches overhead with carefully laid bricks adding to the decoration. And then, of course, there are the windows. Color in a grey world. Totally fabulous. At one point, I turned to Nikki and said, “You know how in books, people’s jaws drop when they’re shocked? Yeah, my jaw? It dropped. And I can’t seem to keep it shut.”
Sometimes in tourism, reputations are well deserved.
I took Cathay Pacific to Paris, so my flight out of Fukuoka had a layover in Hong Kong. Said layover was long. Super long. Nine hours long. And my computer died about three hours in. So I couldn’t crit, I couldn’t write. And the food was expensive.
But don’t get me wrong: this is a really nice airport. Easy to get around, clean, good architecture. It’s just kinda boring to spend awhile there. Makes me miss my kindle a lot.
Luckily! My flight was neither delayed nor canceled despite the madness with European travel due to Epic Snow. I arrived in Paris on time and exhausted. But didn’t fall asleep for another twelve hours. After having a fun adventure searching for my friend Nikki at the station.
Though my students may believe that Christmas is about Santa putting presents next to your pillow after you partake in Christmas sponge cake and KFC, they do know how to get me into the Christmas spirit. Some of my hard-of-learning students made these great pinecone trees for the staff members–and they let me choose the one I wanted! (I went for the silver pipe cleaner.) It is now sitting on my desk, spreading Christmas cheer as the teachers jog to the second term finish line.
It’s after Thanksgiving! That means people can’t make fun of me for setting up my Christmas tree anymore. (I set it up the week before Thanksgiving.) YAY CHRISTMAS. (PS: I’m not religious. I just loooove Christmas. Yay secular-ish holidays!)