Saturday, July 5, 2008

Crazy Paris

Today was one of the craziest and somewhat worst days I’ve had so far. I knew it would be like this but little things kept happening that didn’t help out the situations. We started the morning going to the Louvre after a light breakfast of croissant.

We had a special staff meeting about the procedure to enter the Louvre, they warned us it would be crazy, and it definitely was. Getting into the museum wasn’t too bad (it was supposed to be the worst part) as long as the kids paid attention. We decided to hit the “big three” pieces in the museum before we saw anything else. It actually wasn’t as hard to get through as I thought it would be, we saw Winged Victory, Mona Lisa and Venus di Millo in about 20 minutes time, which I didn’t think was bad at all. We next headed to the French painting section because the kids really wanted to see some impressionism. I guess the impressionistic era was a bit too late to be included b/c there were only about 10 pieces of impressionism. The kids were bummed but we managed to see some great artwork in our quest.

Madness at the Mona Lisa

This is where the day starts to head a little bit south: some of the kids were a bit perturbed that there was not much impressionism so they began to walk ahead (which usually isn’t a big deal) well since I’m sure you can see where this is going, the kids got way ahead while a few of us lingered on some really neat paintings. The group got split up and needless to say I was furious. If you have been to the Louvre you understand how insanely big and moderately confusing it can be. The kids really haven’t proven their map reading skills to me so I was doubtful they would make the meeting point on time, if at all. We managed to waste the last hour trying to find them, luckily they found another staff member while they were looking for me and stuck with them so they made it back to the busses safe and sound….and a little freaked and sorry. We had a good stern talk and things are ok, Dr. Speck even gave me a great compliment on how I handled the situation.

Under the Pyramid at the Louvre

After that fiasco, we took the kids on a walk to Notre Dame and on the way, I stepped off a curb, sprained my ankle and ended up splayed out in the middle of a crosswalk. I hurt myself pretty bad, I’m pretty prone to injury so this is nothing new to me….just need to get some pain killers in me and hopefully it will feel better tomorrow. I think my body is just rebelling against all this walking and lack of sleep. I kept slipping throughout our walk b/c the sidewalks were wet from rain and my flip flops have absolutely no traction left on them. It came to the point where one of my moms grabbed my arm and walked me to the restaurant to make sure I didn’t fall again…not one of my finer moments.

We ate lunch in a little café and ordered crepes. This was a challenge for the kids and myself, it was our first experience in a non-English speaking environment without a guide. I tried to use what little French I actually knew and used context clues to decipher the menu for the kids. The waiter finally ended up just talking to me b/c the kids were too nervous to get the communication done. We survived and ate lunch, by the way if you order apple cider with a bunch of kids, keep in mind that it will probably be alcoholic….at least in Paris.

We played a concert after lunch that went pretty well. We had a good crowd and got a standing ovation with encore of Stars and Stripes Forever, the Europeans just love that song for some reason, I don’t really know why but they really get into it with the clapping and standing during the final strain of the trio.

We ended the day with a quick dinner and then a boat cruise to see Paris on the Seine. That was one of the most fun parts of the day, well considering my day it was the most fun. It was really neat to get to see the sights in a relaxing way. Paris is known as the city of bridges and we traveled under many of them, some of which were built during Napoleon’s reign.

Notre Dame from the boat

Looking back on the Seine and Notre Dame

It was definitely an exciting day, tomorrow will be even more chaotic and fun.

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