The Last Day…

Today was my last day in Paris and despite being a little busy what with moving my bags to their homes for the next month it was nice all the same. The weather was lovely and it felt like a nice sendoff.  For those of you who don’t know, I am heading to the town of St Jean Pied de Port to begin the pilgrimage to Santiago – also known as he way of St James (or the El Camino de Santiago). I start tomorrow and will be walking about 800 km over the next month through Spain. I will be keeping you all updated on my progress whenever I have a chance to use the Internet so check back when you have time. Thank you to everyone who has supported me up till now, I appreciate it more than I can say and am thanking you in advance for keeping me going during the next month. Feel free to send  an e-mail or leave a comment, I look forward to hearing from everyone!

See you all in a month!!!

Aujourd’hui, c’était mon dernier jour à Paris et en dépit d’être un peu occupé avec le demenagement de mes sacs, il était bien tout de même. Il faisait beau et je me sentais bien. Pour ceux d’entre vous qui ne savent pas, je me dirige vers la ville de St Jean Pied de Port pour commencer le pèlerinage de St Jacques de Compostel. Je pars demain et je vais faire environ 800 km au cours du mois prochain en Espagne en marchant. Je vais vous donner toutes les mises à jour de mes progrès chaque fois que j’ai la chance d’utiliser l’Internet. Merci à tous qui m’ont soutenu jusqu’à présent, je l’apprécie plus que je peux dire et je vous remercie d’avance pour me maintenir en allant au cours du mois prochain. N’hésitez pas à envoyer un e-mail ou laisser un commentaire!

A  bientot!

A little Paris panoramic as a goodbye!

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As my time in Paris comes to an end…

Hi everyone!

Today, someone said to me that they were checking into tickets for the Foire de Paris, which if you have been reading for a year will ring a bell. It’s a big exhibition show in Paris in May. I almost fell over when I came to the realization that my time in Paris, the one year mark, is coming up very fast. The sun is out in Paris, it is beautiful, and some days are feeling like Summer and the evenings like Spring. All the things I loved about Paris when I first arrived are coming back like a flood- the hustle and bustle, patios filled with people, and music. I had a couple of months where I felt down on Paris and I think it was definitely the winter blues. Now that it is nice out again, and that I can open the window in my room things are feeling lovely. I am trying not to wish the time away, spending as much time out with my friends as I can, because I know I will miss them once I am gone. Of course, like I assured them, I will be back to visit.

I’ve been out and about with my new camera taking shots of whatever I can, random things I like, this orange bicycle for example. I am trying to learn the camera works and what it can do, but for the moment I am a bit useless with it. It needs time.

I’m sure there are plenty of you that I have not told about what I am doing after I leave Paris, so here is the plan.

At the end of April, no for sure date as of yet, I will be leaving to walk the El Camino (St Jacques de Compostella) pilgrimage which is about 800 km depending on the route and brings me from France into Spain. This should take me about a month, perhaps a little over. I am anxious to get started and can’t wait to see what it brings and whether I am capable of finishing it in one piece. I felt it was really time for a new challenge, and I wanted to travel by foot so  that I can gain an idea of what a long distance feels like. We are so fortunate to have planes, cars, trains and all that, that I think we forget that we also have legs.

I haven’t decided on my route yet, but when I do I will post it here. I will continue to post as I walk, and will do my best to keep you updated on what I am up to along the way.

After Spain, I will be popping back through Paris for a night and then heading via the Chunnel to London! I am on the hunt for a room now and will be visiting in a couple of weeks for job interviews and all that good stuff. I can’t wait to get there and become a Londonian (I’m really not sure if that is the term, but I like it!)

My life is about to take an enormous leap forward and I am trying to prepare myself, but all the while, I don’t want to wish my time in Paris away.

I had a lovely little musical experience on the metro the other night and thanks to my handy iphone I caught a recording for you. There was a guy and a girl standing on seats opposite each other, one with an accordion and then other a clarinet. They sang and danced and said many times they wanted no money and that it was purely for us to enjoy. It was lovely, and another reason why I will always love Paris.

 

http://player.soundcloud.com/player.swf?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Ftracks%2F13171821 Paris Metro – Accordions and clarinet! by Specinthecity

Miss you all!

OX Spec.

Discovering Berlin

I have to admit that prior to being proposed the idea of going to Berlin by Paul, it was very low on my list of places to visit in Europe. I think Germany in general had been put aside in my mind because of it`s history with the Holocaust and Hitler. I think I learned about it too early in school and it gives me the willies to the point where I would really be interested in going but fear that I could never be or feel the same after. Anyways, I am so glad that I was given the opportunity to go because I loved Berlin so much, I am now trying to work it into my schedule to live there for a couple of months at some point in the next couple of years. It is a city where artists can be artists and the usual economic and artistic/creative binds do not exist in the same way as other major cities.

Paul and I went to Berlin to visit his friend Matt, who has been living in Berlin for over a year. Not only is Matt a great guy, but he was a superb tour guide – if not the best I have ever had when visiting a city. He knew so much about the history of the city, which for me was a plus, because aside from general grade 10 history I don`t know much detail about what went on in Berlin a little over 20  years ago and beyond. He took us walking around the city, told us stories and showed us tons of little places that only a Berliner would know about, artist hang outs, little hidden spots that have great art or interesting things about them.



On the first day we went the Holocaust Memorial, however we did not do the museum below it. We wanted to see the city, acknowledge it`s history but also stay upbeat – and so we chose to not go to the museum. Next time I am in Berlin, I am going to make a point of going. Regardless, the memorial is enormous and looming and as  you walk through the aisles of concrete blocks that get taller and taller, they overwhelm you, shadowing and towering above your head until you become the smallest thing in it`s vicinity.  Although the artist never wrote a statement explaining it, I think it`s clear what it symbolizes and the way it makes you feel, this gradual taking over, like that of Hitler step by step taking over the Jewish people. A very powerful memorial.



The longest part of the Berlin wall that is still standing has been painted with amazing murals the entire length of it.  Many different artists from all over the world participated in the murals and they all are either done in the name of peace or as a memory of the day the wall fell and the people were liberated.

I love this picture because it so simply shows that anything and everything in Berlin was and is part of their history. Throughout the city, on streets lined with fairly new buildings pieces of the old Berlin still sit, as a reminder of how it was and as a way of showing visitors a past life.

 

I can`t help but think that Berlin is  a city that was given to young people to rebuild, or at least that is how it feels. The city is as young as it`s artists and is budding growing with them. From old warehouses springs rockclimbing gyms, skateparks, art galleries, night clubs, bars, and beach like sandpits for the summer. Berlin is a city that encourages sharing and participation in a way that I have never seen or felt when visiting a place.

If you have the chance to go, really go, you will love it. It`s refreshing and really historically interesting and recent, a rarity in most of old Europe.

To see more photos visit the this link for the entire album on Facebook: (You don`t need to have Facebook to see it!)

Have you been to Berlin? Did you love it as much as me???

Thanks for reading!

Spec.





 

A tourist in Paris – Part 1

Hello everyone!

I know I have been MIA for a while, but since nothing particularly interesting was happening I thought I would wait to update you all when I had something fun to tell you about. This past week I was off work and my good friend Paul, who I met back in Halifax, decided to come and visit me in Paris.  We had made a plan to do 2 and a half days of Paris and then jet to Berlin for 3 days to see his friend Matt and to see the city. It turned out to be a jam packed week that was so much fun I am sad to say it’s over.

On Paul’s first day in Paris, we walked around, ate at a little cafe and went out for dinner with friends at an English pub (an odd choice of restaurant, yes). We waited until the following day to start our whirlwind tour of Paris. When I first arrived, 10 months ago, I spent a lot of time wandering the city alone, which means I now know a lot of places and how to get there on foot, but I avoided the touristy spots like the Eiffel Tower and The Louvre, because it just didn’t seem interesting to go alone. When Paul was here, it was my first chance to go with someone to see all the tourist hot spots and so it felt like a whole new city for me, only I knew how to get around.

We spent part of the day at the Louvre, walked to Notre Dame where we saw point zero – the centre of Paris, and attempted to go to the Catacombs (which sadly were closed). Upon finding out that they were closed, we abandoned our tourist sightseeing efforts for a glass of wine on a heated patio – one of the best things Paris has to offer, in my opinion.

We did so many tourist spots that I can`t even quite remember in what order we did things. We spent a half day at Versaille pretending we owned it, or at least letting Paul `pick out the furniture` for his palace back home.  Check out the throne he chose below.

 

We spent an evening at the Eiffel Tower followed by a visit to Scare Coeur to see the view of Paris by night.

Look how far we are from home!!!

  

 The three days went so fast and we crammed in as much of Paris as was humanely possible, that is if you are drinking wine while tourist-ing.  Paul was pretty excited about how cheap wine and cheese was, somehting I got over a couple of months after moving here, but I was happy to have someone to share all the good parts of Paris with. We were so lucky to have nice weather, with lots of sun and we survived living for 4 nights in my tiny apartment. What a week! I hope Paul visits me every year depending on where I live 🙂

Check out this link to Facebook for the entire album of photos. (You don`t have to have Facebook to see them)

Spec. 

A weekend in the Alps

Hello everyone!

Sorry for my major period of neglect for my blog – I have been so busy at work  that I haven`t had the energy or time to write anything that would interest you all.  I also don`t want to bore you with general everyday stuff so only try and post when I do something interesting or exciting. Anyways, I want to start off by thanking everyone for the birthday wishes you sent me, by skype, facebook and e-mail – it was so nice that you all thought of me on my big day. 🙂 I will be doing a post on my birthday festivities soon but first, I want to tell you about my weekend in the French Alps.

About 2 weeks ago, myself and 3 friends headed 6 hours outside of Paris to the town of Combloux (in the Mont Blanc region) of the French Alps. We rented a car for the weekend and a little chalet styled apartment on top of a hill. It doesn’t matter where you are in this region, everything is spectacular. They have been without snow for over a month so there was a lot of grass and dirt poking through the snow all over but even still, it was incredible.

We spent two days snowboarding and despite my boots being ultra uncomfortable I got through it and had a great time. The weather was warm so we sat on the patio at lunch over looking the alps all the way to Switzerland!

I was super excited to see hot air balloons as well! I have added that to my to do list in life – ride in real a hot air ballon. They are really very majestic in the sky and look like they would provide an amazing view of everything around you.  It was a super weekend filled with snowboarding, hot chocolate, raclette (mmmm) and a picture perfect view in every direction.  I could have stayed forever and abandoned Paris to be a ski bum in the Alps – oh what a life!

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A foggy day at the Eiffel Tower…

Hi everyone!

So this past week I had the opportunity to go up to the second floor of the Eiffel Tower! It’s been over 8 months since I arrived in this delightfully old world European city and this was the first time that I could really take it all in from above. I have been to several other areas, like Sacre Coeur, a church on a hilltop in Montmartre in the 18th arrond. where I have seen magnificient views of Paris, but there is something very different about being atop the Eiffel Tower. For one, it’s the only view of Paris that doesn’t include the famous tower itself. Since my camera is currently not working, I was forced to rely on my trusty iphone to take pictures, and it didn’t do too bad a job! I’m positive I will go back once the weather gets a little better and when I have my regular camera as well.

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I really loved going up the tower and it gave me a new outlook on Paris. It was nice to see it from above, a new angle to take it all in from.

Tomorrow I am heading to London for the weekend for a fashion blogger day so I’ll be sure to report to you on that just as soon as I get home.

Until then my trusty friends, take care and see you soon!

xo Spec.

Miss Tic @ Gallery W, Paris

Hi everyone!

I know you are all surprised to see me back so soon, but I wanted to share with you a little something that I did yesterday with a couple of friends.

 Up in Montmartre, on the Rue Lepic, which is a lovely place, full of interesting bars and shops, there is a gallery, called Gallery W that often has art exhibits open free to the public. We went to see an exhibit on Miss Tic, a female graffiti/tag artist in Paris.  Her art is hidden everywhere in Paris, on corners, in alleyways and on closed shutters of shops. Most of her work features pcitures of men and women with sassy French phrases about love written along side them. I took a few photos to share with you and you can see the rest here on facebook if you`re connected there.

It was a really great exhibit and here is a last photo of me in front of the gallery.

To add to the marvelous afternoon I was having, it was warm in Paris and the sun was shining atop the hill that Montmartre sits on. After visiting the gallery we sat on a patio outside an Irish bar and had warm drinks. I think this will be added to my list of favourite ways to spend a Sunday afternoon.

Cheers, les amis!

Spec.

Ps. I know I have changed the layout on this blog several times, but I am finding these layouts are often disorganized and hard to read. I think this is the best I have found yet and hope it`s easier for you all to read and enjoy 🙂