Posted by: M.J. Bolstad | November 8, 2019

EU Go, Girl! Adventures in Europe: Part # 8

Back in Paris, in my budget hotel, and thinking that this is a nicer budget hotel than my last budget hotel. I’m in an Ibis, and though like all other places I’ve stayed in Paris, the room is small, I think this one is slightly bigger – or at least better laid out – than at the other hotel I booked, and though it is a little more out of the way, I’m still rather pleased with my choice on booking.com. The Ibis Place d’Italie Butte aux Cailles has a comfy bed, a clean room, and feels nice in general. Now if only my cold will let me get some decent sleep, because this room is certainly appointed for it!

The past three days have been two hectic days of sight-seeing, followed by one quieter day just bussing back to Paris. The first day started early in Rome, with an excellent city guide, Vito. We went to the colosseum, but only to the outside, which was fine by me – I’ve already been inside, and the outside is the most interesting part. Vito talked about how the colloseum would have looked like back in the day, and how it worked, and then it was on to more sights, such as through the Pantheon, the church we’d seen in Angels and Demons, and the Castle of the Angels as well.  We also stopped by the Trevi fountain, which I love. I threw another coin in, hoping to lead me back again. And then I ate delicious gelato.

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Trevi fountain

From there, we walked toward the Vatican, where we had lunch nearby. I had another plain margarita pizza at a cafe, since I was feeling like something plain, but had learned from Vito that the pizza had been made for the queen Margarita back in the day, because she loved cheese. Pizza had had only tomato on bread, but a cook added cheese because she loved it, and basil, so between the red, green, and white, it is like the Italian flag. Also, I do love a good margarita pizza.

After lunch, we toured through the Vatican museum, then into the Sistine Chapel. You can’t take pictures, because it is a chapel they want to respect, but I truly gained a new appreciation for it. There were pieces, earlier in the museum, that looked like they were carved into the marble when really they were painted, the 3D look an amazing bit of genius, and for the first time I saw that in the chapel, how the painting, when looked at from the right places looms away from the wall, as though statues and not flat paint. I’ve never been able to see those 3D images in those old pictures that were trendy in the 90s, but I saw it here, as though my eyes were finally able to shift from their stringent focus.

After that, it was into St. Peter’s Basilica. I looked for a place to light a candle for my Nana, but there wasn’t one. I didn’t miss it – I asked one of the staff members. They don’t do that in St. Peter’s. Then it was on to Arezzo for the night, and we were all glad – we walked about 12 kilometres!

 

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A perfect copy of Michaelangelo’s David.

The next day was more Italy. Florence was lovely, though rainy. My shoes soaked through (I’d brought a spare pair to throw away for Venice in case they got wet and uncomfortable there, as an alternate to heavy boots) but it was nice nonetheless. We saw some historical highlights, like the copy of the statue of David and other originals in an outdoors sort of museum, went to a leather factory, then had a Florentine menu with an enormous 2 kg steak (shared by four people, but still a massive amount of meat!). We also went to see the Leaning Tower in Pisa after that, where I did not spent 18 euros to go in and walk up seven flights of stairs, but I did watch about 7 hundred tourists take the “pushing the tower” selfie.

 

 

 

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A view of Monaco.

Overnight we were near Genoa, then into France the next day. Our Monaco stop was unfortunately a no-go; the roads that could support our bus were all closed, with only the roads open to vehicles at 7.5 tonnes open for access into the country. Disappointing, but no one’s fault, and certainly not going was better than collapsing a road.

 

 

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My sea glass finds!

 

Instead, we spend a little extra time at the Fragonard Perfume factory, where I learned more about perfume and may have made a couple of purchases. Then we went to Nice, where I had a nice lunch, before spending some time on the beach, listening to the waves and then combing through the rocks when I realized there were bits of sea glass in it.

 

After Nice, it was on to Cannes, where we made a red carpet stop. It was raining in Cannes, so I was glad of the relatively short stop (about 45 minutes to an hour, I cannot remember). I got my silly red carpet photo, checked out the handprints of the movies stars, and walked along the harbour to look at rich people’s yachts. Then it was onto the bus, and to the hotel for the night.

 

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I wasn’t really red carpet ready – see hiking boots in place of Jimmy Choo shoes. 

As today was all bus, stopping only at the gas stations to use the bathrooms and get some food (gas station food in Europe is pretty nice, actually). I napped a little and watched the movies Tim put on for us. Then it was off the bus, saying our goodbyes, and on to my hotel for the next few nights.

I’m looking forward to doing laundry tomorrow, believe it or not. Several days on the move has meant I’m nearly out of clean clothes, but that will not be an issue after tomorrow! Not sure what tomorrow afternoon will bring, but I am thinking I might go to the aquarium, since I just learned Paris has one, and I love aquariums!


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