So, last time I updated, I was in London.
The rest of London was just as awesome as the first half. Brandon and I spent the next morning around Buckingham Place, where we saw a bit of the changing of the guard, and then we hit Westminster. So beautiful! I loved seeing where Henry V is buried (my favorite English king, thank you Billy Shakespeare), and Poet's Corner was super interesting. After that, we walked past Big Ben, which is utterly stunning in person, then along the river a bit and had yummy soft serve that tasted like frozen cool whip. Delish! Then it was a very early dinner at a pub. I had a yummy jacket potato with baked beans. Quel British.
That night, we saw a production of Boris Godunov at Covent Garden. It was the Bolshoi company, and they were truly phenomenal. The cast was incredible, and the opera house is beyond gorgeous. It was four hours long, but it really flew by. And the tickets were waaay cheap, which was a plus.
The next morning, we ran around Harrod's, which is huge but very very cool. We looked at $700 jeans designed by Victoria Beckham (aka Posh Spice), and gorgeous wedding dresses, and baby kittens. I bought several presents, including one for each of my doggies. Yay!
After that was a trip to the Globe where we saw The Comedy of Errors from the mosh pit, er, I mean yard. Normally, as some of you may know, I despise plays involving twins. Because they never, ever look like twins, unless you have infinite casting possibilities or infinite makeup budgets. Case in point: the Shakes production of Twelfth Night. Lovely acting by the Emilys, and hair and makeup did what they could, but they just don't look at all alike.
But, this was truly hysterical. The twins looked pretty good, and the whole show was played slapstick, including drumrolls and cymbal clangs when people got beaten up. Even a really cute young guy who played something like "Guard #2" and a funky guy who played the one-scene Doctor (complete with mystical jewelry and a braided beard) totally hammed it up and rocked the joint. Only one actress bothered me, and that was clearly a case of bad direction, not bad acting.
Also, there was fabulous audience interaction! There's a chunkle where a servant is telling his master that a fat lady is like a globe, and the master asks where different countries are, and the servant makes witty retorts. At one point, the master said "And where is..." Well, I guess he paused a bit too long, because an audience member yelled out his own country of choice. Everyone cracked up, including the actors, but they ran with it and it came out very well. A highly enjoyable production. Very very nicely done, Globe. I even think Brandon enjoyed it. ;)
Then, we ran around Covent Garden, this time for shopping. Brandon bought a very cute lion for Chris, and I bought a very cute bear for... me. Like the lion, he's dressed like a poet from the 17th century and I dubbed him Billy Shakesbear. He's soft and snuggly.
Then it was dinnertime (more jacket potato and Magner's cider from the White Nag), and an early bedtime, because we had to leave early the next morning. And by early I mean oh my god so early.
But then we got back to Paris safe and sound, and spent yesterday doing little beyond housekeeping and grocery shopping and catching up on our rest.
Today, Brandon and I went to the Sainte Chapelle, built by St. Louis, who I studied a lot in Art History. The chapel's small, but absolutely stunning. The stained glass windows are phenomenal! They're huge, and each section depicts an entire story or book of the Bible. The first huge window tells all of Genesis in glass that's about 15 feet high and 5 feet wide. And when the light hits it, it's just incredible!
Then we got crepes for the first time in Paris. He got Nutella, I got Grand Marnier, but we also got to nibble on each other's. And then we bummed around, looking at gift shops on the two islands. And got rained on a lot. Oops, left the umbrella in the apartment. We also went to the Deportation Memorial, which was just as touching the second time. It was hilarious, an American lady came up to me and asked "Parlez-vous anglais?" in the most horrific accent I've ever heard, and I just responded "Yeah, I'm American too." She said she was sure I could tell from her terrible accent (ha), and asked me if someone who's claustrophobic would tweak out inside. Silly Americans.
We were going to go to a service at Notre-Dame de Paris, but my back started tweaking out (nerves twitching painfully), so we headed back to the apartment for me to take my pain pills. Once I was sufficiently wonktastic, we found a restaurant for dinner, which was a cute little Mexican place on a teeny-tiny back road. Very yummy! I <3 guacamole. Avocados make me less homesick.
Then, we saw Stay, which is that Naomi Watts/Ewan McGregor/Ryan Gosling flick that came out a while back in the States. It was actually not craptastic like I had heard. I mean, I have no idea what happened because it was totally confusing, but the acting was decent (for a movie of this type), and the director had a really cool style. I enjoyed his shots, the quick pacing, and the cool, crisp editing. (Sounds like a Doritos ad, I know.)
Also, I found a copy of an Agatha Christie book for only .20 Euro-cents. So, converting to American makes it about a quarter. Into the collection it goes!
Sleepy time now for the cousikins. Overall, it's been a productive few days, with souvenirs purchased for Mom (1/2 of it, anyway), Uncle Steve and a few friends. Plus, I partially know what I'm going to get Uncle Jack. Now, I gotta figure out the rest...
Love, from Paris! I promise I'll update more often, darlings. (Flicks to Betty Sue!)