I’m back from Europe, back from being with Meredith and living the lazy life. Now I need to rev my engines and get up to speed for semester number two which starts tomorrow morning. I’ve barely left the house since I rolled in last Friday night as I try to catch up on email, weblogs, sleep, and Birdie love. Thanks to Christina and Andy for taking care of the little Bird while I was abroad.
The trip was great, completely satisfying and relaxing in all ways. After four months apart it was so good to see Meredith again and live life alongside hers in France. I’m jealous because I never got to do a study abroad and would love to live outside these United States for a while. Valenciennes may not be the best city in France but it’s something different, and that may be reason enough for us to deal with this apartness. Besides her temporary home we spent time in Lille, Paris, and Venice. The trips within the trip are what seemed like vacations and the rest felt more like living, which was great. Making food from the grocery store and huddling away from the cold watching downloaded movies from child sized beds.
We went to Paris on New Year’s but the one night there feels like so much more. We have both been there multiple times but this was different. This was our romantic get-a-way on the one day of the year when everyone is celebrating, regardless of religion, race, or class. A new year is a universal time for optimism and the city was exploding with people, fireworks, and the smashing of empty champagne bottles. The Champs-Elysées was packed to capacity with half a million people drinking, dancing, and cheering. The celebration continued all the way to the Eiffel Tower which was lit up sparkly style with flashing white lights. I’m counting on 2006 to live up to the start that we gave it in Paris.
A week later we flew to Venice via Brussels for another weekend trip. Venice is such a strange city, like something that shouldn’t even exist. Its absurdness gives it an air of a theme park, a land where cars and even bicycles are missing and tight little alleys hide beautiful campos until the last few steps. But unlike a constructed amusement park it’s embedded with history and life everywhere, decaying but still vibrant. It was smaller than I expected and we were able to walk through nearly all of it in the two days we had to spare. We were cold, but I think Venice in the winter makes sense. It’s less people, cheaper, and from what I understand less smelly. I’d recommend the winter trip; next time I’d like to go in February for the carnival celebration.
Why bother explaining the trip in words? Here are the photos instead:
Valenciennes and Lille
All of the above
# January 15, 2006 09:08 PM