Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Summer Absense

Paris.  Yes, I have just been to Paris!  Fortunately for me, I have been twice before, but there is no city like Paris anywhere.  It just has an energy about it.  A Vibe...a happy feeling.  The age of this country is evident everywhere.  Just to go back again was worth every frustration encountered (and there were many).   Still, a week in Paris.  And despite going before, I managed to visit many places I had not seen.

This was not one of them though!
It doesn't matter because the Eiffel tower is iconic.  It is huge, and wonderful, and everyone loved it. We did a tour organized by the Paris tourism board and it was fantastic -- highly recommend.  The behind the scenes things they show you make it worthwhile.  And then we climbed down each and every step, in the pouring rain (the first rainfall in 6 weeks for Paris)!

On this trip, I finally made it into the Louvre and the Rodin museum.  I can't claim to love art museums.  I barely like them.  I enjoy impressionist art in small doses, but most is just plain boring.  I do love the bronze statues by Rodin, and seeing the castings as well as the finished statues was incredible.  I had been to d'Orsay museum 20 years ago, so I didn't bother trying to drag the boys there, even if the building the art is in is gorgeous.  I did manage to get them into Orangerie, where Monet's water lilies are.  Those are amazing.  I have been to Giverny before, but never seen the full collection, in the round.  The Vincennes castle was a hit with the kids, and a nice break from crowds to be out of the city just a little bit.  Crowd lines were a bit crazy this time.  Luckily, there is much to be seen just wandering.  I have more photos of quilting ideas...

The Garnier Opera house is so magnificient, and our tour was just as good.  
My inside photos are a heap of crap, but hopefully some patterns drafted from the mosaic floors (the first of this kind brought to a French building allegedly) will become the basis for a new applique quilt next year.
 After a week of Paris, we flew to Edinburgh.  I loved the one short half-day we spent in Edinburgh -- it is old and has much the same vibe as Paris.  Sadly we drove from there to the highlands.  The roads are dangerous and scary by US standards...narrow, mostly single lane, no shoulders whatsoever, and windy beyond windy up through the mountains.  Oh, and add to that sitting on the wrong side of the car while driving on the wrong side of the road!  What appears to take one hour on a map, actually takes over 2.  Nothing was really as close as it seemed it would be.  We were on the south shore of Loch Ness for 3 days and then in the higher, more easterly highlands for 3 more.  The castle ruins were interesting.  The weather just plain sucks in Scotland -- very cool by our expectations for August, and constantly raining.  If it is sunny at 8am, by 9:30 it will be raining.  We thought we'd do more hikes, but constantly hiking through mud was aggravating.    While some of the scenery is beautiful, there was just too much driving to get there.  I like the walk or subway approach to sight-seeing better.
My kids loved seeing these unusual cows - Highland coos. And the castles (we saw 4) and cathedral (below) ruins were interesting.  My husband would love to go to Ireland, but there's not enough money out there to get me to go somewhere this cool and wet anytime soon...especially when the sights don't often have rooves!
 Here's another fun pattern...may have come from a bathroom wall!
And here's a quick view of the former monastery we stayed at in Loch Ness - way cool.  Convincing the kids that the apartment was not the "destination" was challenging at times.
If you are wondering if I tried Haggis - yes twice.  It's not as bad as the contents make it sound.  In a good meal, it's pretty good.  Blood pudding - I had one disgusting bite.  I tasted scotch too.  That I can say is still the ickiest taste I have known.  Embalming their bodies with this elixir is probably how they endure the climate though!  The food was touch and go, some pretty good, some typically bland and under seasoned.  In 2 weeks, I have seen enough french fries for a lifetime.  The Scots love them as much as the French!  Desserts in France were yummy.  And I did eat my weight in croissants.  Who could blame me?!

Now to get going with the wash and figure out how to be productive for 3 weeks until school starts~


Martha said...

What a wonderful trip and all those amazing designs!!! WOW!! So awesome :^)

Rebecca Grace said...

Margaret, I thought the same exact thing when I saw the floors at the Opera Garnier a few years ago. I took a ton of pictures but haven't done anything with them yet. So many quilts in my head, so little time! Glad you and your family had a wonderful trip.