Sunday, December 14, 2008

Something is Rotten in the State of Denmark

The other night I went and saw the most amazing production of Hamlet by the Royal Shakespeare Company. I was a little dream of mine to see it while I was in London, but I pretty much dismissed the idea when I realized nearly all the tickets were sold out, and the ones that were available were being sold for insane prices. Later I found out that they reserved 25 students tickets every night for only five pounds. On Thursday morning I got up and took the tube to Covent Garden at, waited an hour and a half in front of the theatre to get my hands on that ticket. It was an incredible performance. It was definitely the best Shakespeare I have ever seen, and one of my favorite performances I have see in London. The man who played Hamlet was the understudy, but he gave a very impressive performance that received a standing ovation.

Before I went to the play, I remembered a funny scene from the 1993 movie Last Action Hero. Not one of Schwarzenegger's best movies, but good for a few laughs. It's about a young movie fan who gets thrown into the movie world of his favorite action film character. In this scene, the Danny is imagining Schwarzenegger as Hamlet because Shakespeare's Hamlet is too sissy. Youtube never fails me...

Monday, December 1, 2008

Paris Holds the Key to Your Heart

Paris was an experience of epic proportion. We basically had five days with only two scheduled excursions with the group. The rest of the time was left up to us to navigate ourselves through the beautiful city with just a metro map and a few basic French phrases to get us by. Our professors basically dumped us on the streets of this huge, foreign city, and said, "Okay kids, go have fun!" Short on time, direction, and French vocabulary, we were what the French would call "l'incomp├ętent." Still, we spent those five days to the fullest-- cathedrals, museums, monuments, shopping, FOOD. Paris had us going and going and going non-stop! The result was extreme exhaustion, but it was very satisfying. Paris is such amazing city. The beauty, the food, the art, history, the friendly Parisians-- Paris has got it going on.

On the bus in Paris.

In Chartes Cathedral.
Malcolm Miller-- the incredible Chartes scholar who gave our tour. A very learned man.
Miller explained a lot of the symbolism of the stained glass to us-- very cool.
Chartes Cathedral.
Draggin our western talks down thousand year old blocks...
And Chartes again at night... sorry these are out of order.

The town of Chartes at sunset. Charming little place.

The Hall of Mirrors in Versailles.
The art of Jeff Koons, an American contemporary artist, was on display at Versailles. This his porcelain sculpture of Michael Jackson and his monkey "Bubbles." It seemed a little out of place in a Baroque palace, but I found it very amusing. Apparently, the French really love Koons' art.
Versailles-- home of Louis XIV, the "sun king."

Notre Dame
The Grounds at Versailles. 
I don't know.

Us staring at Jeff Koons art.

Lauren is a hunchback!!
Transcendent gelato.

More Notre Dame. I was singing "God help the outcasts" constantly, and was surprised to find that I somehow knew all the words even though I never watched The Hunchback of Notre Dame when I was a kid. Thank you high school talent shows.

The Louvre

The pantheon.
World-weary friends.
Arc de Triomphe 

The grounds at Musee Rodin
On top of the Arc de Triomphe
Musee D'orsay was incredible! I saw these...

Alison Lost and Found her credit card at the Louvre. Thank you, honest people in Paris.

Monet's "Water Lilies"
This is basically the celestial room of art.

so many stairs to get to the top of the arc!! I went a second time with alison, and huffed and puffed all the way up!

you know who.
We found an abandoned carousel in a park.

Ghost Carousel.

The Seine River

A cute market street that I cannot remember the name of. This is where we had the most amazing crepes ever!
Modern art cave of wonders.

The Pompidou-- modern art mecca.
The gorgeous stained glass of Saint Chappelle

Shakespeare & Co.
Cutest book store ever. It is an english book store/dormitory for travelers who earn their stay by working at the store a few hours each day. The original store used to be a meeting place for the literary elite-- Joyce, Hemingway, Fitzgerald, etc. Loved this place.

One of the last things we did in Paris was indulge ourselves with French desserts. oh la la!

Au revoir, Paris!