Europe

Runaway Eyebrows

May 4, 2015

Our sleeping in on day two caught up with us as we snoozed our alarms for almost two hours. Since we were headed to Brussels that evening, we wished our palace days goodbye and headed to the Gare du Nord. After dropping our bags in a locker, we grabbed a sandwich and café to go to the Louvre.

Louvre Pyramid

We ate on a park bench looking out onto the famous Pyramid. As we walked in we stopped to take a few pictures in front, which apparently was the exclusive ground for a young Japanese lady in a silky purple evening dress taking what I assume to be senior class photos. We shrugged this narcissism off to proceed directly inside with our museum passes in hand.

We rented an audiobook, expecting that we would receive an antiquated MP3 player but instead received a Nintendo 3ds! This device was amazing and included an interactive map, selectable audio files for numerous pieces of art, and close up images of the art (as if seeing them in person wasn’t good enough). We walked straight for the grand gallery and the underwhelming Mona Lisa.

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It’s small size is driven home by the Wedding in Cana which is located on the opposite wall. The only thing remarkable about the Mona Lisa is that no one seems to care that she doesn’t have eyebrows or eyelashes.  We moved through the grand gallery to see many many works from the Italian masters, da Vinci, Raphael, etc. The works which stood out the most were The Raft of Medusa, Lady Liberty, and the Coronation of Napoleon. All of which are on a tremendous scale and have quite remarkable back stories.

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We moved on to the sculptures wing via the decorative arts wing. The place is absolutely massive, and every piece of square footage is covered in art. In my eyes, the sculptures were not as impressive as I had hoped. The Captives by Michelangelo was plain and rather boring which describes most of the wing, not very captiv-ating. The Venus of Milos is very interesting but again seemed to be overrated in my eyes.

With our feet tired and stomachs empty, we left the Louvre and found a delicious crepe shop right next to a scarf shop! Imagine Kim’s luck. After a scarf purchase, we walked to the
lover’s bridge and added another lock to the ten of thousands attached. The wire of the bridge is mostly covered with wood and it is difficult to find a spot to hang a new lock. We tossed our keys into the water after carving our initials into the lock (Update – the locks have all been taken down as of June 2015.  What will those lock peddlers sell now?!).

Probably the last surviving picture of this lock before it was taken down!

We walked on to Notre Dame but decided against going inside since Kim had already been and I was not too curious. After stopping by the famous Shakespeare and Company bookstore, we moved on to the Eiffel Tower.

This was our first planning mistake as we should have purchased tickets in advance. Even then we should have waited for the last day of the trip to go up to the top as we had to wait for almost 2 hours to get up and down from the top floor. However, the views were amazing and I don’t regret the decision.

We were both craving some Phó so we headed over to spot with a great yelp review and grabbed a bowl. It was fantastic and hit the spot. However, as we were finishing up, we realized that we were cutting it really close to make our train to Brussel. The situation was not helped by my metro mobilis ticket not scanning as valid in the stations. After some nervous and grumpy moments on the metro heading to Gare du Nord, we made our train with time to spare.

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My first experience on a high speed rail was amazing (zooming along at 300 kmph). The legroom is much greater than a plane and the seats are more comfortable. Kim was even been able to take a nap and you know that wouldn’t happen on a plane. It’s very cool to look out the window and see us flying by the cars on the highway.

We arrive to a rainy Brussels and take a taxi to the hotel. We decide to go straight to sleep but once we arrive to the swanky, hoppin’ hotel, we decide to drop our bags and head down to the bar for a drink! We ended up staying up later than anticipated but had a good evening. Of course, we took plenty of additional pictures of our final day in Paris.

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