August 19th to 23rd Amsterdam & Paris

August 19th, 2015

Pretty quiet day as far as site seeing went.  Did the hop on hop off bus tour, checked out a Diamond place which was supposed to show you the steps of cutting etc, but was really a waste of time.   Went also to the Rijk’s museum, which is huge, but went really to see Rembrandt’s Night Watch painting.

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After, it was time for my flight to Paris!!   It was quite an adventure arriving at the Paris Orly airport and trying to find my way to the hostel so late!   I found my way to a shuttle that took us to a metro station, then 2 transfers and a 15 min walk in the dark in an area I was not entirely sure was safe was probably not the best planning, but it went smoothly, and I will learn for next time to plan flights/trains/transfers earlier in the day.  As I was walking to the Hostel I could see the Eiffel Tower.   Really is not an emotion or feeling I can describe to finally see something you have dreamed about for years! The hostel seemed a bit sketchy at first, but when she gave me the code to the door it was a very familiar number to me and I was instantly calmed.  It turned out to be a great place!

August 20th, 2015

Relax day walked to the Eiffel Tower and explored some of the area near my hostel, had a few coffee stops and generally just enjoyed the sites.image image image

August 21, 2015

Did a hop on Hop off tour, as well as the Louvre to see the Mona Lisa. I went straight to her and man was it amazing!   It is really a lot smaller painting then I expected, even though people have said that to me before.  The Louvre is MASSIVE, and I also got to see some paintings by Rubens, whom I learned about in Belgium.  His paintings are incredibly large and so much detail, it amazes me that these artists could paint the entire thing to scale.

August 22, 2015

Today was a very full day, first was the Sacred heart Cathedral with a magnificent view, I  happened to pass by Moulin Rouge on the way there.

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Sacred Heart Cathedral
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Amazing view!
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They kicked this lady who was begging out of the cathedral. Seems a bit ironic for a church.
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Moulin Rouge

August 23, 2015

The Pantheon was first, where many famous and significant French people are buried, however it was Voltaire that I went for.  Voltaire is a famous philosopher, who has many quotes you would know.  Some of my favorites:

If God did not exist, it would be necessary to invent Him.
I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.
Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do.
Each player must accept the cards life deals him or her: but once they are in hand, he or she alone must decide how to play the cards in order to win the game.
It is forbidden to kill; therefore all murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets.
Prejudices are what fools use for reason.
It is dangerous to be right in matters on which the established authorities are wrong.
Appreciation is a wonderful thing: It makes what is excellent in others belong to us as well.
Life is thickly sown with thorns, and I know no other remedy than to pass quickly through them. The longer we dwell on our misfortunes, the greater is their power to harm us.
I really could go on, but search for yourself, the man was a brilliant thinker, and often in trouble for his speaking against the Catholic Church and any authority in general.
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Inside the Pantheon
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Exterior
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Hanging with Voltaire!
Next was the Notre Dam Church, which is really stunning and huge, but I have to say the Church in Metz was more appealing to me.
I then rushed over to O’Chateau for some French Wine tasting and lessons.  Our Somlier was incredibly funny and I had a ridiculously good time!  Maybe the wine?
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Notre Dam Cathedral
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Inside the Cathedral
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Stunning details
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The ceilings absolutely soar!
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On to learning French wine!

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Our Somlier, was very flamboyant and hilarious!
All this and I was still not done for the day!  I headed over to the Picasso Museum, who I have to say, is my favourite out of ALL the amazing painters I have seen.  I love the abstract, and I love that he was really the first to dare go outside the box. Every room and every painting was delightful to me. Reading about his life (when it was translated) was so interesting.  Definitely a highlight of this trip! I must have looked a bit strange with a huge grin on my face as I wandered through the rooms.
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The day was not done yet if you can imagine!
  I also did a late night river cruise on the Seine River.  The Eiffel tower gets lit up and every hour on the hour it sparkles:  Click the link to see
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Notre Dam a la nuit
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Bridge over the Seine with thousands of Love Locks that shimmer in the night.

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After an incredibly long day and having walked over 17km I headed back to the hostel a very happy girl!
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