Archive for August, 2012

August 12, 2012

Back home safe and sound

Just to let everyone know I arrived back safely in Brisbane, Australia yesterday. My mum picked me up from the airport, insisted on carrying my backpack for me and drove me home where I was spoiled so much! πŸ˜€

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August 8, 2012

Flying back to Australia Tomorrow

I’m flying back to Australia tomorrow! It’s strange how one can get used to travelling. I’ve had the most amazing, life-changing experience travelling Europe. I visited England, Germany, Italy and France, four very different and interesting countries. I’ve seen so many amazing sights, met loads of great people and eaten lots of yummy food! This experience will be imprinted in my memory forever. Thank you so much for following this blog, commenting and liking my posts. You guys have been so supportive of me travelling from the very beginning and I thank you so much for that. Until my next travels then! πŸ™‚

August 8, 2012

Versailles the most beautiful place on Earth

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I went to Versailles today! It is such a magnificent, luxurious and beautiful palace and oh my gosh the gardens are massive! Words cannot even begin to describe the feeling the place gives you. I looked at the King’s Bedchamber, the Queen’s Bedchamber, the Dauphine’s Bedchamber and the magical Hall of Mirrors! The Queen’s Bedchamber had a giant jewellery box and a secret door by the bed which Marie used to escape to the King’s Bedchamber when the French revolutionists came and stormed the palace. Unfortunately the French revolutionists subjected both Marie and her husband King Louis the XIV to the guillotine. People dipped their handkerchiefs in Marie’s blood for a souvenir afterwards.
The King’s Bedchamber:

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The Queen’s Bedchamber:

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The Dauphine’s Bedchamber:

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I saw the table laid with cutlery where the King and Queen ate in public. The serviettes were styled in fancy shapes.

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I saw giant high heels at the end of the Hall of Mirrors. Marie Antoinette made high heels famous for women as apparently she was not very tall so used the heels to gain some height on the king.

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After the palace I walked into the amazing gardens. The Grand Canal runs through the centre of them where people can hire paddle boats.

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I walked to Marie Antoinette’s Estate which is just a small part of the enormous gardens. I didn’t have time to see all of the gardens except some people were taking a train to get around which I thought was clever. I prefer walking though so that’s what I did.
It was such a beautiful walk through tall maze-like hedges and past water fountains all the way to my destination.
I entered the gardens via Marie’s House. I saw her bedroom, kitchen and other rooms. It was much smaller than the enormous and extravagant palace but was cosy and homely…for a monarch πŸ™‚

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Then I exited the house and walked through a little door in the wall to Marie’s garden!

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I met a friendly swan in a pond there πŸ™‚

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I walked across a small wooden flower-covered bridge over some water to the beautiful white gazebo in the garden.
After that I meandered down paths through the trees which was fun.

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I found cute cottages with thatched roofs and a building which looked like a light house.

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I even found a village in her garden! But it was getting late and I didn’t want to get caught in the gardens after dark so I made my way back through the palace and to the train station.
I really had saved my best ever experience from this entire trip to last. Visiting Versailles was indescribably brilliant.

August 7, 2012

French Fries in France

I had French Fries today πŸ™‚ I am in France and they invented them, so why not try a food of theirs which isn’t snails? πŸ˜€

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August 6, 2012

Sacre-Coeur

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I walked to Sacre-Coeur today, which is a beautiful church just 15 minutes away from me in Montmatre’. It was fun to go inside the church and see the stained glass windows, statues and twinkling candles. People were praying and there was a sign on the wall demanding silence.
It was very soothing to walk through such a calm and peaceful place and be part of that relaxed atmosphere. There were areas where people made confessions and informative signs about the church on the walls which were mostly in French but many had pictures on them too. No photos were allowed within the church.
When I went outside the church,
after looking at everything inside it, I sat on the sunny stairs out the front and looked down at Paris from the high hill I was on.
The view was rewarding and magnificent.

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On my way back I turned left and sat in a beautiful green park with shady trees where a couple was picnicking and others like me, just sat enjoying the tranquility of the place.
Then I walked back to my accommodation past a chocolate and biscuit shop which had beautiful displays of delectable treats which I just had to look at.

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The streets were lined with souvenir shops and I bought a Paris tee shirt. They also had lots of sales on so I bought some other clothes too which I sent off in a parcel to Australia a bit later on so it wouldn’t add to my already packed luggage. Then my day was done and it was time to relax and prepare for tomorrow πŸ™‚

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August 5, 2012

Musee’ d’Orsay

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I went to Musee’ d’Orsay today! I walked past the Louvre’, past the orangery and along the River Seine, all the way to the Grand Palais (Grand Palace), walking just a tad bit too far, past my chosen destination. I was so glad I did though, for the palace was absolutely beautiful. It was just that magnificent architecture all over again which I love so much.

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After taking photos of the palace I walked across a bridge over the river and started walking back the way I came except on the side of the river the museum would be on. At last, just as the rain was starting to fall, I was there!

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Inside the museum I saw sculptures, fancy furniture, pottery and of course the paintings! I saw Impressionist, Experimental and many other types of paintings. I even saw works by Pablo Picasso and Vincent Van Gogh among many other famous artists! There was also a very cool clock inside the museum which you could look through to the rainy world outside. This reminded me of the movie “Hugo”.

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I went on all five floors of the museum, walking up and down the stairs to go to different levels although there was a lift there too. I took in as much of the museum as I could before it closed. When it closed many happy and satisfied museum-goers like me walked out its doors, content with our excellent experience there.

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August 4, 2012

Exploring Notre’ Dame

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I explored the Cathedral of Nortre’ Dame today! I caught the train RER B to St Michel Nortre’ Dame, walked across a bridge over the River Seine and I was there!

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It was a magnificent sight with its fierce gargoyles, giant stained glass circular window and gothic architecture. Upon closer examination I saw its door frames had figures around them. So much detail!

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I went into the silent church part of the cathedral first. I looked at many intriguing things: saints, statues of Mary, baby and adult Jesus on the cross and so much more! I could have paid for an audio guide but I decided against it as I wanted the silence to enjoy the sights in my own way. Then I paid to go into the Treasury and saw much gold and sparkling jewels. There were gold chalices, jugs and so many more things. There were jewel incrusted heads of male statues and a giant purple sparkling ring. I even think I saw diamonds in there as part of a gold and diamond object!

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Then I walked up many stairs on the right hand side of Notre’ Dame when facing ahead coming out of the church part. I ascended the staircase the hunchback would have once climbed. I went to two platforms, eventually pretty much standing on top of Notre’ Dame with amazing views across Paris. I saw the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and many other sights in the distance.

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I saw gargoyles and the Hunchback’s big bell. It was absolutely fantastic!

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Then I finished my day with a glass of champagne since I am in France. Bliss! πŸ˜€

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August 3, 2012

Paris day of Adventure

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Today I caught the Metro to the Eiffel Tower. I had my printed online ticket to go in a lift up the tower at 12pm with access to the summit handy. When I got there I was so glad I’d booked online. Like Lonely Planet had warned, the queue was huge so I was glad I followed their tip of booking online. I went to the “Customers with Reservations” area and waited until 12pm with the others, when we’d be allowed to ascend the Eiffel!
Finally the time came and I was so nervous but incredibly excited at the same time.
We stopped at the first floor with the restaurant and then the second floor which the rest of us got off at who hadn’t got off at the first.
It was pretty high already and I did a circuit around the outside, getting snaps of the marvellous view. However, this view was nothing compared to what was to come at the summit.
I went in the lift for the summit queue and when my lift group’s turn came my excitement intensified.
We climbed much, much higher than before. The lift was pretty fast. We reached the summit! I gazed out at the green River Seine, the Louvre and all across Paris as far as the eye can see. I felt on top of the world!

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Click on this link to watch my video from up the Eiffel Tower:
https://vimeo.com/47354194
They were selling champagne at the summit which was nice. I didn’t have any but admired the cleverness of the idea, drinking on top of the world.
Then I went down to the first floor and had lunch in the cafeteria and not the restaurant as I’m on a backpacker’s budget. Lunch was great though. I had a baguette with chicken and salad (French) and a white chocolate Kinder Buono bar (German).
Then I bought a mini golden Eiffel Tower for a souvenir of my courageous experience (heights can scare me).
Next I took plenty of photos of the tower and walked to a museum which I looked at until it closed before returning to the tower to wait for night to come and the lights to turn on. At about 9.30pm I think it was, the tower glowed a brilliant gold! I was absolutely mesmerised and enthralled at this. Then I went back to my accommodation to get some sleep before the Cathedral of Norte’ Dame’ tomorrow! πŸ˜€

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August 2, 2012

In Paris!

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I’m in Paris everyone! I caught the night train from Milan in Italy last night to here, sleeping in a room with five other women (they only do single sex rooms). They all chose pink blankets but for some reason I decided to be different and chose blue. I don’t know why haha. They checked passports and the police kept our passports until the next morning. Then we all got off the Euronight train at Gare de Lyon Station in Paris, (unfortunately not covered at all by my Eurail Pass so I had to buy a full price 99 euro ticket).
I decided since I was in France I’d have a crossiant for breakfast. It was so delicious! Then I bought a five day metro pass and caught trains to my accommodation. Paris’s metro is a lot like London’s tube except the metro is better in my opinion because I think it’s faster and covers more distance.
After dropping my big blue backpack off at my accommodation I caught trains to the Louvre! I was so impressed with the amazing architecture of all the buildings around it as well as of the Louvre itself, a giant glass pyramid next to a smaller glass pyramid. I think the smaller one was just a window. I didn’t have to buy a ticket to the Louvre as I’m under 26 and a European citizen (as well as an Australian citizen) so that was awesome although I still had to queue for the bag security scan. But the queuing didn’t take long at all with the line moving forward remarkably quickly for its big size.
I walked through the great archways and pillars of the Louvre entrance, past grand statues and fancy ceilings. I looked at sculptures and then antique sculptures. Then came the exciting part, paintings! I knew the Mona Lisa was there somewhere but I didn’t rush anything to get to it as I knew it’d be crowded no matter what. I passed works by Leonardo Davinci and other great artists. I tried to stand in front of paintings as long as I could to take them all in, the face expressions, gestures, figures, landscapes and actions. I saw many powerful works all evoking different emotions within me. There were lots of religious paintings, paintings by French and Italian artists (with the Italian ones having their own special section). Finally it was time for the star of the show, the “Mona Lisa!” I braved the fierce crowd taking photos of the painting as if Mona was a real life celebrity! It really seemed like she was looking and smiling at me, like she does to everyone.
After the Louvre I went through a big archway and out into the gardens. I ate Keish Lorraine and chocolate cake under a shady tree. Then I walked through the gardens, through a maze and across a bridge over the Seine River and back again.
I relaxed by water fountains and bought and wore a black beret. I spied the Eiffel Tower in the distance which I want to check out tomorrow! It has light shows at night so that would be enthralling to watch. Then I went back to my accommodation after an awesome first day in Paris.

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August 1, 2012

Rome Today Paris Tomorrow!

I have one last day in Rome today and then am catching a night train to Milan, then another night train, (this one with beds) to Paris, which arrives there tomorrow morning! Oh my gosh I am so excited! πŸ˜€