Monthly Archives: October 2011

Metro Music and Paris scenes

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I’ve been traveling the Metro system here and Paris, having some good times, some strange times, exiting the wrong time and place or going around and around in circles until I find the right connection going in the right direction. In only three days I’ve survived multiple mistakes. One day my ticket wouldn’t open the gates. I’d seen that happen to another woman and she’d crawled under the gate and through the sliding doors to get through. So when my ticket didn’t work for who knows what reason, I got under the gate but the doors wouldn’t let me squeeze through. Now there’s a line behind me. But the young guy directly behind me helped me out by swiping his card and then barreling through the barriers pushing me through at the same time. He was very nice about it. I suspect this happens on occasions that are not as rare as one would like them to be! So I got through and on my way.

On my first trip solo through the metro, one car had piped in jazz. Or so I thought. It was nice, interesting, unusual to have metro music. Very Paris, or so I thought. But soon it stopped and a guy with a trumpet and a paper cup started circulating through the car. Apparently he had a boom box along and was playing along to the canned music. He left at the next stop and the music was no longer being piped into the car. Hmmm.

Today, I’m toodling along in the Metro and managing to do so without any mistakes or disasters when a young couple hops on the car with a boom box, starts playing some sort of foreign rap and dancing to it. Interesting. And flirting with people while singing and dancing. They were actually quite good and seemed to be having a fun time. Of course, subway cars have poles all over the car for standees to hold onto and not get splatted against the wall during stops and starts. And the guy starts pole-dancing since there were no standers. Very Funny. Finally they hopped off our car and into the next one. Interesting place, Paris!

Oh, and here are some pictures just so you know I was really there! This works like a slide show now. So, I’ll try to comment here. I stayed at a hostel at the foot of Mont Martre so I could see Sacre Coeur from the intersection. I also visited Notre Dame and St. Etienne du Mont – my favorite – a church that Ignatius Loyola would have seen and probably gone to during his student days in Paris. (That’s related to my thesis.) I was chuffed*! And for those of you Church History buffs: The Cluny!

The Pierre and Marie Curie Radiology Institute. I walked past the Louvre as that day’s ambition was to walk along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower. (You will see that I made it ALL the way!) I did stop at the Musee l’Orangerie, however, to view Monet’s Water Lilies. Absolutely lovely. And no pictures of that. There’s a bridge of love locks that was glittering in the sun. It was a beautiful warm day and so worth the walk. I’m glad I stopped in Paris even though it had never been on my bucket list. I guess I’ll have to write it down so I can cross it off!

* chuffed: UK for quite pleased and happy!

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The Grand Tour

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Research needs to be done in Basel Switzerland. And I should be able to do this without making many more trips to Europe. This might be my last time to see more than simply the research bits so I decided to get a railpass and visit friends. It’s not like Europe is all that big. Many countries and several languages and I always feel my lack of facility in anything other than English. I thought I would get more written on here while I was traveling but My Grand Tour is winding down. I still have another week to go but it is mostly taking pictures and doing touristy stuff until I get ‘home’ next Sunday.

I began my tour visiting friends in Amsterdam visiting Tyndale Seminary and meeting students from all over the world there before spending the weekend with my Greek professor from seminary, enjoying his kids and the English church.

We also saw a few windmills and very fat cows! I’ve never seen such fleshy dairy cows. They said it is due to the lush grass on the polders, the drained fields. That is also the reason the Netherlands has the tallest people on earth. The extremely nutritious dairy products grow people tall enough that the chairs and cupboards and mirrors are all too high for me. I would have to cut down the furniture if I lived there.

Next I took the train through Germany to Switzerland. An all day trip in lovely sunny weather. I carried my raincoat instead of wearing it – a major changed from the UK. I had a transfer in Cologne with a couple hours to wander around the beautiful cathedral and square.

I realized that if I went instead I’d probably get lost and miss my train so I contented myself with the activities on the square.

A choir was singing, a man was painted silver and standing on a block of stone.

A clown with balloons; a box on a table with a dalmatian painted man inside it!

A very tall Gandalf painted entirely gray. 

Bikes and dogs and bikes and people and bikes. Did I mention how many bikes there are in Europe?

Seeing the countryside in Germany made it clear that our Pa Deutsch ancestors came over and stopped when they recognized similar land. There seem to be more hills and steeper ones, but otherwise very homelike!

The lay sisters from the archives in Basel met me at the station and dropped me off at my B&B. That was a very good thing since I don’t think I would have found it. In my mind I pictured a house in a flower garden. However, it is a fourth floor flat above a grocery/merchandise store on a major shopping street. A little tiny button to push, keys and locks and doors to open and close and an elevator that has no sides by the doors so you can’t lean against them. And the doors don’t open on their own so I have to push open the door when it stops. So far, I’ve managed not to push at the wrong times.

The B&B is quite comfortable otherwise, the hostess very helpful, the rooms comfortable even if there is no view from the windows but balcony gardens and the stores across the street. But, it is an elegant old apartment. Parquet floors, a very large broad hallway with 6 rooms opening onto it, a couple of which are used by the hostess who lives here.

The sun shone warmly for the first few days and my studies at the archive were a fifteen minute walk down along the Rhine.            

I made that promenade 4 times a day. On Friday Autumn returned but I’ve not been caught out in the rain so it’s all good! My research went well. I transcribed a large amount of German to translate later. When my hands have rested up a bit. The sisters were a quiet but friendly group and invited me to lunch the last day I was there, a delicious “plain” lunch of soup, potatoes, fennel, bread and apples. Then they had coffee around the coffee table and everyone pulled out their knitting!! That, of course!! was the one day I had not left my knitting in my computer bag! aargh! So, I had to content myself with talking about strickenin and steeks.

That same afternoon, I had tea with von Speyr’s daughter-in-law and grandson. We had a lovely chat. They are more then pleased to counter the one-sided picture that has been painted of their delightful Adrienne. They gave me a packet of their memoirs and we had tea on a tablecloth that Adrienne had crossstitched for her son’s 40th birthday.

Those dates and stories are in German, too, so I have more work to do. And the last two days here will be hunting down points of interest and taking pictures. And I will get to walk along the Rhine wherever I go!

       If you click on the pictures you should be able to see a couple of swimmers next to the ferry!

After this I head for Paris and back home to Aberdeen. Since Ignatius Loyola is very important in von Speyr’s life (and, thus, my thesis), I hope to find some remnants of his time at the University there. Makes it more of a research project than “only” tourism!

Oddly enough, in all the traveling I’ve done, I’ve only been to one place that I’ve wanted to go all my life.My first overseas trip was to Romania. No reason to ever go there and I’ve been there 3 times! On the other hand, I had always wondered where my Great Aunt Annie had gone as a missionary-nurse in the 1920’s, but I never thought I would find it or go there. But, we did find out she was in Kenya and I went there in 2004 in conjunction with my masters thesis. I’ve since been to Scotland, London, Brussels, Rome in addition to Kenya. None of them places that I’ve had on a “bucket list.” But the places I’ve always wanted to go are Norway and Sweden. And, Scotland is the closest I’ve gotten to them! I wonder if I’ll ever get to Vikingland? Of course, now that I have friends in Australia and New Zealand, I’ve added those to my list, too. Meanwhile, I’m looking forward to being done here and going back to the farm to stay. At least for a little while… we have sheep now and I need to do some spinning!