Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Versailles and Parc Asterix

PICTURES: (in order from top to bottom)
1. Me being bored in the gardens
2. Some of the gardens in the back of the Castle
3. Me frolicking in the meadow!
4. Dolphin show at the amusement park
5. Picture of the Eiffel tower for Dad
6. Me in front of my future home
7. The Hall of Mirrors
8. One of the art pieces by the scuptor mentioned below (its a balloon animal dog. GO AMERICA)
9 & 10. Proof to Dad how big this thing was. It took 2 pictures. AND there are a bunch more parts of it behind these.

This weekend Karen and I went with the school to Versailles. We left Saturday morning and got back Sunday night. We had to be at the school at 5:45AM on Saturday (yea it was rough) and we took a big bus. It took about 4 hours to get there. First, we went to the home of Marie Antoinette but once we walked all the way to the entrance it was not open. A worker guy came with keys so we thought we were going to get in, but then he just emptied the trash and drove off! So we got back on the bus and headed to the chateau. We began with walking through some of the rooms. They were extremely elaborate and ornate, reminding me of the Newport mansions we toured this summer. They were modeled after this Chateau, so I guess that makes sense. However, in this chateau there are 2000 rooms. It’s ridiculously massive. I decided that I want to live there. My favorite room was the Hall of Mirrors. It's exactly what it sounds like with a ton of chandeliers and huge windows looking out into the gardens. It's absolutely beautiful.

As you will see in the pictures there were art pieces on display throughout the chateau done by an American sculptor, Jeff Koons. The only thing is they were all ridiculously tacky and odd, such as the giant balloon animals, the pink panther, vacuum cleaners in boxes, etc. They made the very elaborate rooms somewhat less...elaborate. It was actuallly quite comical. Look through the pictures to see more.

After going through the chateau we went out into the gardens that are again, massive. There are over 50 fountains, a pond/lake thing, and huge tree-mazes that you can get lost in. We first wanted to find the restaurant because we were STARVING. They only problem was that it was located in the middle of one of the mazes and of course I was looking at the map but still went the wrong direction. We finally found it as we were about to pass out from hunger and exhaustion. I got a big greasy cheeseburger and french fries and Karen got a cheese pizza. We are adapting quite well to foreign food, don’t you think? ((Just as a side note, as I seem to have forgotten to mention this previously, they sell beer EVERYWHERE. They sell beer in McDonalds. How crazy is that?? HAHA))

So after we sufficiently stuffed our faces we were pumped and ready for some garden action! We walked around and took pictures, took a snooze on the steps, made friends with a pidgeon and a duck, and watched the “water show” which just happened to be the turning on of all the fountains. It was a beautiful day, warm and not a cloud in the sky. The only problem was Karen and I have very pale skin and therefore wound up with sun burnt faces with white sunglass marks. After a while we were getting pretty bored so we bought some ice cream which was delicious! We also took some random pictures which you can see on PhotoBucket. Then we laid on the grass that you are not allowed to lay on. All in all it was a great day and being in the presence of something so immense was a great experience.

Once we left we went to our hotel and to dinner. The dinner was a “buffet” of all cold food. Every single thing looked totally foreign, not to mention disgusting. I saw something that resembled fish and took a tiny bit of that. I was thinking I would go to bed starving but then they brought out bread and butter and I consumed about 20 pieces and was satisfied.

The next morning we woke up around 8:00am and took off on the bus to Parc Asterix, an amusement park based on a comic book character that is apparently very popular in France. I was talking to the Irish boys and they thought the park was amazing and so much fun, but in reality it was a lot smaller than Kings Island. I found out that they do not have many large amusement parks here so that explains it. Besides starting out really cold, the day ended up being a lot of fun. Karen and I rode the swinging pirate ship, the haunted house ride, a bob sled coaster, a painful version of the scrambler, and the big swings. We also went to a dolphin show, TWICE! They were awesome. There was also a stunt/special effect show we attended, and luckily there was no speaking so I was able to understand it all! ((Dad, just to let you know they had an Eiffel tower make of some stick-like material on top of one of the buildings. That was the closest thing I found to resemble ours at PKI haha))

We got back to Dijon around 11:00pm on Sunday night. We went straight to bed because we had class at 9:45am on Monday. We have early class everyday this week except Friday. I am now sitting in International Money and Finance class on Tuesday as my German teacher rambles on about some chart with a bunch of numbers. We don’t have tests so it’s somewhat hard to pay attention. I guess I should end this before my Dad gets too angry at me! He is pretty interesting, however, because any time he talks about something he uses the example of buying beer. These Europeans are alcoholics!

Goodbye all! More later!


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