Friday, September 11, 2009

Cover your shoulders, miss.

Keeping a running mental list of all the things I want to blog about on this trip is so hard! I've actually hard to start jotting things down on the notes feature of my iPod Touch to keep from forgetting what's happened.

Speaking of my iPod, I had a terrifyingly frantic 5 minutes on the train this morning when I thought I'd lost it. It wasn't in my purse, it wasn't in any of my other bags, and we were slowing down as the train approached Paris Bercy, our station... but I'd remembered checking on my villagers on the iPod about an hour earlier (I am completely addicted to Virtual Villagers 2) so I knew it couldn't have gone far. Of course, ever the pessimist, I worried for a moment that our previous cabin mate (who'd left by then) had taken it with her, but eventually I found it hidden in the folds of my blanket. Stupid. I'd never been so happy to see its pink rubber casing.

Anyway, yesterday was our last day in Rome! Eia and I woke up at a pretty early hour, for us at least. By 9:30 we were watching Phil of the Future in Italian (whatever happened to that show? He was cute xD) and by 10 we were out the door on our way to the Vatican.

We took the Metro over to San Pietro (now that I have learned the London Underground, the metro system in every European country we visit is a total breeze) and made our way up to the Vatican. We waited in the sweltering heat in line, put our bags through the security screening, and finally headed up to the entrance, where a serious guy in sunglasses abruptly told me to "cover your shoulders, Miss".

"Um," I said, timid and confused.

"Put on your jacket."

"I don't have a jacket sir. It's hot."

"Then go buy a scarf."

SIGH. So Eia and I had to go all the way back out to the square, where I bought an ugly touristy Roman scarf, and waited in the long line a second time. As I passed seriousguy the next time around, he winked at me and the stupid scarf covering my shoulders. He must do this every day to stupid girls in tank tops who don't know how to read signs. *I* thought the picture looked like a bathing suit. No bathing suits at the Vatican; that's a rule I can stand behind.

So then we spent a good deal of time walking through the tombs and the church. I was too chicken to go into one of the confessionals, even though I had my first reconciliation as a child and would totally be eligible to do so. I felt like if I came all the way to the Vatican to confess my sins, I better have done something really bad. I have no such sins to confess, so I kept it to myself.

I made Eia take a picture of me doing the sign of the cross with the holy water so I can send it to my grandma (pretend to be a good little Catholic girl, even though I haven't gone to church in years) and we went on our merry way.

At this point, we realized we needed to keep with an ongoing tradition we have, and set off in search of a Hard Rock Café. It didn't take us very long to navigate our way to the Rome chapter of our favorite restaurant, and I made a joke about our day being two parts church, one part rock and roll. I think Eia was feeling a little too churched up, because she ordered herself a "sinful sundae".

Then we had to head back to the apartment, because our train for Paris left at 6:40 pm, and we had to pack up our things. A bit later we said our goodbyes to the place (I particularly took a moment to say goodbye to the Rhino and the deer heads; I felt a special connection with them after my night alone in the apartment where I tiptoed by them multiple times in the dark on my way to the kitchen saying aloud, "Please don't come to life, please don't come to life, please don't come to life.")

The night train to Paris was an experience. We shared our cabin with one French lady, and an Asian man later that we never really saw because we were already asleep by the time he joined us. Eia and I watched the last episode of Season 1 of Weeds and the first episode of Dollhouse on my laptop, meandered down to the food coach to buy ourselves a snack, and dozed off into a fitful, crappy night's sleep around 10pm. I woke up and started on "The Hunger Games" this morning, and if I weren't in PARIS right now, I would probably still be reading it.

Our hostel is amazing, and I would say the name but I have no idea how many blog readers live in Paris and would just, like, turn up here, so I will tell you all the name on Monday when I leave. But for my first hostel experience, I am impressed.

Today Eia and I had wonderful nutella and banana crepes that we couldn't finish, toured through Notre Dame, walked along the Seine, and ordered toasted ham and cheese sandwiches with a fried egg, which was literally a toasted ham and cheese sandwich... with a fried egg on top. Not between the bread, but situated right on top in all its eggy glory. It was amazing.

I am not sure what we're doing tonight, but we have decided that this weekend, we're going to have one intense day of generic Paris sightseeing, and one day entirely devoted to Disneyland Paris. I DON'T CARE WHO IS JUDGING US. We love Disneyland, and the option to go to one of the parks we've never set foot in is too great to pass up. Plus I think our hostel can get us a special deal or something.

I am loving it here. France is awesome, and so far everyone we've talked to has been really nice.

Days until I leave: 12


IFTBA said...

Haha. You and your provocative tank tops. :P

Martin K. Smith said...

Twice I've been to Paris, not once have I paid for the RER journey to Disney.

The first time, it was an accident. It was our first time on the RER system and when we went through the barriers at Nation, we just used our Metro ticket and it worked fine, at the other side, we went through the barriers with some french guy and I don't think we used our ticket at all.

It wasn't until we were leaving again that we tried to use our metro tickets, only to find that they didn't work. We tried buying tickets from the machine, but couldn't figure it out and ended up with just a heap more metro tickets that wouldn't work.

So, we jumped the barriers and felt guilty the entire train ride back, hoping no guards would stop us.

They didn't.

The second time, we decided to try and buy tickets, we were planning on spending 2 days at disney, one at each park (the Studios park definitely doesn't need a day, but we had stuff to do that night anyway) - We found out how much the train tickets would be and we found out that for the total journey cost, we'd be around €24 (for both days). It was a journey we knew we could make for free, given that there are/were no guards on the train. So, we didn't bother.

I think the first day, we went to the Studios park, we came back and went to the louvre at night, which, that night, was free for those under 25 (either a thursday or friday, I can't remember... I believe it's also free on sundays).

But yeah, that's my story of my illegal travels.

If you're interested, I'm sure you're not, but if you are, I wrote a blog all about the last time I was in Paris -

Also, if you haven't seen it already, when you get back home, I recommend buying/watching "Paris, Je t'aime".

Sydney Swift said...

ahaha, 'please don't come to life', that so sounds like something i would have done xD

Thomas said...

Martin K. Smith, you're lucky. The gendarmes are brutal if they find people with wrong tickets. Go to the Galeries LaFayette (get of at Opera on the metro, and you should see it behind Opera Garnier), and go all the way up the escalators. You can go on the roof and it has stunning views, and it's free.

Ravenclaw2313 said...

I really hope you keep that scarf, maybe get it framed. Glad Paris is so wonderful and that the entire trip seems to be looking up. Have a fantastic time!

Gina said...

Woo! So jealous of you in Paris. And I'm so glad your iPod is ok, because I got exactly that (my iPod touch) stolen on a night train from Vienna to Venice last year, which kind of majorly sucked, though I was really lucky that nothing else was taken.
Enjoy Paris! If you're looking to do a museum my favourite is the Musee D'Orsay... not as overwhelming as the Louvre.

BretterThanRealLife said...

Thanks for reminding me to get Hunger Games from the Library!

Is it wrong I find it funny that my word verification is 'butfir'?

BretterThanRealLife said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ben said...

Hey, you said you went to Notre Dame, did you go up? Because if not you so should, I was in Paris not long ago and it's really cool up there. But it was also funny/scary. There was a person up there who I at first thought was a mannequin like thing, and then when it opened it's eyes I nearly died of fright. I thought the person was a homeless person, turns out it's someone acting as Quasimodo xD


P.S there's nice views up there too. not just scary homeless Quasimodo mannequins


Melody said...

I want to start a business selling scarves by the Vatican. They must make a lot of money. Seriously, I keep reading stories similar to yours about people having to buy scarves just to go in. Dirty scandalous shoulders!

Caitlin said...

Yeah Kristina, who do you think you are, what with not wearing lots of clothes on a hot day? PFFT.

Enjoy Paris<3

seurat2 said...

i have to single out the "please don't come to life" line too, that made me laugh so much. Glad you enjoyed the Vatican, hope you at least saw some art out of the corner of your eye as you were rushing through. And no, Disneyland Paris would be far down my list of activities there but I won't judge and I sincerely hope you have an amazing time there, you deserve it.

Martin K. Smith said...


the only encounter we had with guards while we were in Paris was when we were on the metro. They came and checked our tickets (we all had valid tickets, but I think one of us had jumped the barrier)

They ran it through, but because it was a valid ticket, just hadn't been put through the barrier, they didn't really mind.

I honestly didn't see any sort of official throughout the entire RER journey - which seems really weird as I can imagine we're not the only ones to try it. Especially when the first time really was an accident, how many other tourists do the same?

Rachael said...

Glad you are having fun! What did you think or the dollhouse episode? :)

eibbore said...

I must know about this hostel, obviously not until you leave, but I am DYING to go to Paris but unfortunately it's a tad expensive so if you can recommend accommodation that would be more than fabulous.

Have a fantastic time. Enjoy Disney.

jessica said...

Ah, that's incredible. I am so jealous that you were in Rome. When i went to europe last summer Italy was my favorite place. It's so amazingly romantic.

My mom and I went to that Hard Rock cafe, after have been in Europe for 3 weeks we wanted something that was familiar (we would not give in and go to McDonalds, lol). So we went to Hard Rock, and i had never felt so sick in my entire life. Not that the food was bad, just sickening. After eating teeny tiny sandwiches and salads everyday and light things, that meal was just so heavy and gross, i'll never eat there again.

The day we went to the Vatican we set up a tour and they told us to meet by some tourist shop, so we did. After about an hour of waiting around we called and found out that we were in the wrong place and to meet them where the line started at the vatican. So we hoped in a cab (like they told us to do) and asked him to take us there, after 3 minutes he stopped, obviously not where we wanted to go and he said "okay, you walk from here. 15 euros." 15 euros? it was not even a mile, but being the incompetent people we were we gave him his 15 euros and walked half a mile further. then discovered that they did not wait on us, and had to wait another 30 minutes for the next tour and meet them in the same place we had just come from. The tour was 4 hours, the day however ended up being 7 hours. oh, and this was all happening in the rain with no umbrellas.

have a wonderful time in Paris!

RhianonLives said...

Hehe, you got barred at the Vatican xD How lame is that?
Aw, why haven't we seen any pictures of all this stuff you're seeing?? =/
(My verification word was creeptart. That rocks.)

Maggie said...

I'm so jealous of your adventures in Rome!! Have an amazing time on the rest of your trip.

The shoulders thing is most commonly enforced in the Vatican, but technically shoulders shouldn't be exposed in any place where there's the Blessed Sacrament- it's a reverence thing. In college my roommates and I made some pretty fabulous scarves we could fold in our bags for hot summer days when we planned to stop in at Mass.

I would totally spend an entire day at Disneyland Paris. Two days, if I could swing it.


kira902k said...

Oooo, I went to Paris last March and it really is gorgeous! The crepes are beyond delicious (try nutella and caramel. *drrols*) and I love all the touristy spots. Also, my hostel there was beyond adorable and marvelous. Europe really does everything better than North America I think. (saying this as a Canadian.)

Enjoy the beauty and the Frenchness.


Joycie_ke said...

aw, Disneyland is awesome! I went there last year with friends, so I won't judge you! you have to go to the studio's park though, it's way better! and it has beautifull shows and the nicest rides!

Elayne said...

Omgoodness... Disney Paris! You are officially the luckiest person on the face of the planet. Has anyone told you that?

It is true.


It makes me want to cry just for knowing you'll be where I was just six months ago and not meeting you. Sometimes I really effing HATE living here.

Andrew said...

I always thought those were for swimsuits aswell. Oh well, not that i will be wearing a bikini anytime soon... in fact its probably less likely i'll be at the vatican anytime soon.

Anyways glad you are having a better time of it in Europe. I just spent 2 days watching all your 5AG videos (because last week i finished the west wing and im bored) and i think you are awesome :P.

flitwicks_choirgirl said...

oh my goodness, it's just like Eurotrip... mi scusi. oh, and my friend went to the vatican and they made her put on this chucks like cloth on because she was not covered enough. the picture is hilarious. And the little les mis freak in me got excited when you went to the Seine. Paris sounds amazing!

Hollishillis said...

Ooo I just bought and started The Hunger Games today! I'm excited about it! Sounds like Europe is treating you well! I'm jealous!

the_who_ru said...

I've never been to Disneyland. I feel like I've missed out on a vital element of Western childhood.

Sasha said...

I was a night train in Russia.. We had to board at midnight, but it was so worth it. I thought it was really cozy.. but I was just with my family and no strangers.

jello said...

I LOVE PARIS! I go every April because my grandparents live right outside of Paris. I was just there in August also, because of some other occasion. If you want some tips, probably my number one tip, is GOT TO A FRENCH SUPERMARKET. Carrefour, Monoprix, Super U, any of those. They are completely different than American ones. The products are also 10x better! Oh yeah, and I guess you should go to the Louvre and Musee d'Orsay. In August I was in Paris with my cousin, and it was his first time in Paris so we went to the Louvre, Saint Chapel, Notre Dame, Musee d'Orsay, l'Orangerie, a boat ride from pont neuf down the seine, all stuff I had already done, but fun. Enjoy Paris, it's a great city!


TheAdventureBegins said...

Disneyland Paris should be amazing! My cousin went and loved it.

dizzylizziee said...

the one say in paris and one say in disney is exactly what i did with my school (except we did one da in this awsome science museum aswell (i sound like such a nerd but watever nerds are cool)
and make sure u get to disney as early as possible and leave as late as possible so u can go on all the rides :)

Astrid said...

Disneyland in France is totally awsome, I was there about 3 years ago. Just make sure you buy a ticket that will take you back.
Not doing that was one HUGE misstake

Anonymous said...

Heehee, we went to Rome but we didn't go in the Vatican, the line was just too long! We did go to the Sistine Chapel though. Ahh, we went to Disneyland Paris too! It's a lot like Magic Kingdom in Orlando, but I liked it. We wanna visit the park(s?) in Asia to complete our Disney tour. ^^ We also rode the night train, though from Venice to Paris. It was an experience, but it wasn't especially exciting and I spent most of the trip re-reading Half-Blood Prince. ^^

idyllic said...

The grilled cheese with an egg on top is called a croque-madame :D I looove them.