Thursday, November 28, 2013

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris...

So this is what you see as you exit the subway... 
The river Seine and...
The Notre Dame cathedral standing tall on the other side...
The facade... 
The holy water font... 
 The altar, mass was going on when we went in.... 
The white smoke of incense wafting upwards.
 The priest holding out the gospel to the congregation...
 The angel and his magnified shadow, looking over everything... I like this picture, it just fits in with the whole surreal vibe of the place.  
 The lights and stained glass windows...  
The famous rose window...
 The rose window up close with sixteen saints depicted in the stained glass below... 
 The Notre Dame candles casting a soft glow... 
 The lighting inside in incredible... 
More candles... 
Windows and lights...
It was spell binding... 
Takes you back to medieval ages... 
The french hymns and soft musical chanting inside was so beautiful, it was like being transported to another realm. 
It's a nice cathedral, a little too extravagant on the outside, but fabulous lighting inside... 

More about Paris in the next post...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

First day in Paris...

So Paris was every bit as exciting and fun as I thought it would be, it became a little too exciting when tempers started running high and a few people came close to stoning me, by few people I mean my siblings and Antonio. You see, Paris, and probably the whole of Europe, ought to be explored by foot and if there's anything I love it's exploring and walking. So I loved the whole walking around part, I loved hopping on and off their wonderfully efficient metro system to discover the well known and not so well known sights of Paris. The others were pretty excited too, but by late afternoon they would get tired and say abominable things like, 'let's go back to the room.' And I would gasp and look at them in open wonder, who does that... who comes to Paris and spends most part of the day in a room!!!!! I was genuinely baffled by their lack of commitment to my well laid out plans. 

So anyway, there we would stand, three against one, me refusing to go back and they refusing to go any further... at times like this I automatically switch into the drama queen mode. With hands flailing and tears almost forming, I would launch into an explanation about how we can't be back, how far we've come, and how if I die tomorrow, at least I'll die happy knowing I've explored till my last breath. When all that didn't work, I had to resort to reverse psychology, saying, okay, let's forget it, when we are old we'll sit together and talk about the times we watched tv in a room in Paris. Now when I think about Paris, this is what stands out the most, I mean we did see all the major monuments, but they were teeming with tourists so we would take our pictures and then explore the less touristy places nearby. But the memories that stand out the most are our drama filled walks and our tackling of the metro system. 

Oh, the metro system there is super impressive, it's like a giant maze that functions like clockwork under the city. Once you learn to read the map, you'll realize that travelling in Paris is a piece of cake. And the characters you see on a train, wow... I wanted to photograph every single one of them. There was one Audrey Hepburn like female with the black dress and hair in a bun clutching a bunch of flowers, there were Snoop Dog like people in baggy clothes along with the dangling chains and rings bigger than your palm, there were super cool french men oozing charm with their light stubble and a scarf wound lazily round their neck, there were the business types in the smart suits, there were the intellectual types in jeans and a t-shirt and the elbow patched blazer, the overly made up teenagers with clothes that barely fit, the elegant older women and the musicians who suddenly appear with their harmoniums and mouth organs singing songs that make you smile, even though you don't understand them. 
The Eiffel tower, this is one massive structure.
Up close it doesn't look that great, it is pretty charming at night though when it's all lit up, and when it sparkles every hour you understand why this is the most visited structure on the planet.
Near the Eiffel saw a group of children with a Ryan Reynolds (never really liked the guy, but he's hilarious as Berg in 'Two guys and a girl') like music teacher, performing some well known songs instrumentally, it was rather cool.
Next we went to see the Arc de Triomphe, and this is how it looks as you exit the subway...
Then you have to cross this tunnel to reach the other side...
Names of soldiers inscribed on it...
The tomb of the unknown soldier and the eternal flame...
The road opposite the Arc, called Avenue des Champs-Elysees is apparently one of the most beautiful avenues in the world. It was quite nice strolling around here... 
 Seeing ornately ...
decorated buildings.
Then it was time for lunch.... this is some kabab and rice.
My brother had some minced meat...
Espresso and baklava.....
Cheesecake for dessert...
This is the church of Saint Pierre de Chaillot...
A collage depicting the interior of the church...
Church of Saint Severin ...
A stained glass window near the baptismal font... 

By this time the others were pretty beat but I was adamant on seeing the Notre Dame before heading off to our rooms, so after my little tantrum we did visit the cathedral and I am pretty glad we did, -gosh!- the Notre Dame is so beautiful in the evening with lights, it was almost magical, next post will be about that. 

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Feeding animals on a farm...

After visiting churches, we set out to meet a cousin who lives near a farm.
Nice houses on the way...
 Quaint roads...
A week old calf...
 Pretty horses... fed them apples that were lying about. 
 The curious one...
This black one is an Icelandic horse...
Sheep grazing away...
We banged their lunch pail around and they came running...
Feeding them...
A flowering trough..  
 On the way to another aunt's place, saw a rainbow...
 At the other aunt's place... pretty lace curtains...
 Creates such a charming affect.... 
 An owl statue in the garden...
 Celebrated our last night in Germany with champagne and cheesecake... 
Took this picture from the train on the way back to Geneva. We had an amazing time with relatives in such a beautiful place... thanks guys for the fun memories. 

Next post will be about our trip to Paris...