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Dear Diary I,                a tale of 2 cities.. and 2 cups..
    11~19 May 06

*** 1ST DAYS IN LONDON ***

Reunion with LONDON began in unfamiliarity when I arrived at Russell Square's underground station. Surely the bomb didn't blow away Harts and Brunswick Square? I see Tesco and a construction mess instead. The entrance to my old school hostel, International Hall, has migrated to the * 'noisy peacock park' direction and I thought I had walked into a Matrix movie. Whatever happened to the old wooden broken-down crickety (and frankly dreadful in an endearing sort of way to us ex-IH-lers) recep of old? So modern and cold now..

* For those unfamiliar with IH, we used to be plagued nightly by the eerie calls of peacocks in the children's park next door. They mysteriously disappeared one day. No evidence was ever found against any IH-ler.


          


Luckily the rest of London was the same, right up to the exhorbitant prices (3 times now!), smog and annoying lighting up, sun-starved people sitting in the park during office hours, and tsk tsk.. the British Museum has got a gay exhibit - a previously rejected Greek cup depicting the clandestine act was now proudly displayed, in keeping with changed modern feelings aptly illustrated by a Brokeback Mountain poster. Now that's change for you.

            

* Erm, I may be open-minded but this is a PG site, no gay cup exhibits. Left pic is surreptitious Oxford Man (Shaggy, there's you!); right are Benin plaques looted (what isn't?) from (where else?) Benin City in 1897.




*** CROISSANT COUNT: 5 ***

My Parisian adventure started with a Euro-nightmare, I mean Eurostar. Paid a bomb only for the trains to be delayed and mad frenzied crowds abound. Quite an unexpectedly rowdy send-off for me, I must say.

            

And the rowdy English followed me to PARIS. Instead of Alliance Francais, I hear bloody English on the metro. It's true. Apparently I not only made the cinematic opening of Da Vinci in French Code, but the Champions League final. Paris was invaded by Ronaldinhos and loads of gunpowder from a certain London club. Singing and shouting matches everywhere. Desperados begging for tickets on Champs Élysées. The French were not amused and some Barca clowns got arrested in a park.

For the record, apart from the usual    ,    ,    ,

I stayed at lovely Monmartre,
           

which was not too far away from the ahem, legendary cabaret show,

                      

visited tourist-mad Louvre,
                              


and my absolute 'queue-worthy' fave, Musée d'Orsay.
           

The & museums were closed, but I
          (Pompidou)                (Picasso)
managed to slip in Musée Auguste Rodin's Gardens to ponder for 20 minutes before it closed. Hm, wonder who would win the cup tonight..

          



Good thing I booked the hostel in advance. Girlfriends of football fans started turning up while others were turned away in the downpour. Yes, we could see the grainy live TV broadcast of the match getting worse. And Barca fans continued to celebrate through the night, including the ones behind bars I would imagine. The score was 2-1.

          

* Heady night, museum fatigue, or per chance Van Gogh stayed at my hostel before?



DIJON was my next quiet stop. Had an extensive bus tour taking 3 buses to get to my dorm "10 minutes away from the centre". Never trust Lonely Planet or tourist info or even the hostel's website. Gesticulate to the friendly french bus driver instead.
          

* When passing by the Église Notre Dame, do as the locals do ~ touch the lucky owl. May I not get lost again, coo.. May the rain stop, coo.. May I win the lottery, coo..


          



Was pretty inspired by the Musée des Beaux-Arts here, learned that after Impressionism, Contemporary Art can be beautiful and very novel and interesting. I also learned never to use Internet kiosks again. It gobbled up my 5 euros for something like 10 clicks over an hour.

          


Off to Chamonix & the famed Mont Blanc next... to be cont'd.



* Musée National Magnin, Dijon.



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© Ong Hwee Yen 2006
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Comments



wee nee


Enjoyed reading about yr recent Europe trip and the picts... the flowers, the scenery...please load more! France has never been one of my "must go" list of European countries but now, i changed my mind. I will constantly visit to see new paintings (which by the way, are great) and your other travel updates.




claudine


Am TOTALLY impressed by the number of towns you got to and this not a driving holiday!! Just reading the French names makes me want to be there, let alone your great travelogue! As for the French, believe me there are nice ones ...




ah choon


really really enjoy your travelblog. very funny + brings back the memories of backpacking Paris ...




yvonne


i had an enjoyable time reading your travel updates twice and particularly the photos ! am sure u had a great time and ur photos brought back memories of my trip to stockholm, copenhagen and oslo for me. =)




Sze Chiung


Hi Yen,
After 6 yrs, I accidentally came across your website again. In 2002, I left a message in your guestbook after seeing your Rockies pics. Just gone thru your journal of France & Scandinavia. Very entertaining, very nice pics. Wish I could travel that long like you! Was this your last trip?




Other europe stories:
Gaudi - Barcelona's Famous Son & Charming Geneva.