Monday, April 11, 2011

Recap of the last month from an airport in London

This blog is just a quick recap of what I've been doing since I last blogged. Sorry it's been so long! Olivier and I did get PACSed. We had our appointment on March 17 at 8:30 am, arrived at 8:20, and left by 8:35. Then we walked to the train station and headed into Monaco to go to work...very romantic. LOL. Here we are outside the public building right after our PACS.

I finished my babysitting job and spent a week and a half just hanging out while Olivier was at work. Then he went to Avignon for a week for work, so I decided to join him on a Wednesday night and spend the days exploring by myself. Avignon is a medieval walled city with its wall still intact. Here is Palais des Papes in Avignon. The papal seat was moved to Avignon, France for about 100 years in the 1300s, and this is the palace.

In France, Avignon is also known for it's bridge, which was long-ago destroyed and finally left as a ruin. However, tourists can still venture upon it. There is a children's song called "Sur le Pont d'Avignon," which means "On the Avignon Bridge." It actually called the Saint Benezet Bridge. The song is about people dancing on the bridge. However, it was originally called "Sous le Pont d'Avignon," meaning "Under the Avignon Bridge," as it was more likely that people actually danced under or beside the bridge.

One day in Avignon was plenty, so I decided to take the train to Arles the next day. Arles was a Roman town and has many ruins still maintained in the city center, surrounded by walls. Here is the Roman Arena. It is under construction, as they are trying to preserve it. It was actually a bit eery as I walked the shadowy halls, imagining what took place hundreds of years ago.

I really enjoyed Arles. Along the Rhone River, Van Gogh painted his famous "Starry Night Over the Rhone."

We drove home to Nice on Friday night, and headed to Paris on Saturday morning for the week. Olivier had to work there, so I decided to come along and enjoy the city. It was very nice to see friends and visit our favorite areas again. I had a pizza dinner with the family I lived with as an au pair last year.

I also did a few cultural things that I had been meaning to do for years, including visiting the Musee de l'Orangerie, which contains Monet's enormous and breathtaking water lily paintings.

I also went to the Catacombs. I dragged Olivier along because I was scared to go alone. The Catacombs is an underground cemetery created in the late 18th century to house the remains of about 6 million people. Paris had to find somewhere to put the remains from several cemeteries because of sanitary conditions and other reasons (I don't know the whole history), and decided to form this mass grave. It is really cool how they have arranged the bones. Most of what I saw were skulls and femurs, as the other smaller bones were piled behind. I'm glad I dragged Olivier along because I get freaked out in these kind of things when I'm by myself.

"Stop! Here is the Empire of Death" is written above the door that leads to the area where the bones start. Yikes!

We flew back to Nice on Saturday evening and spent a relaxing Sunday in Antibes with Olivier's family. Now I'm sitting in the airport in London waiting for my flight back to the states. See you soon!

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