Day #17: Continental Breakfast

Thursday May 6
We wake to darkness. Damn these curtains really keep the light out. It’s already nine and it still feels like 6am, but we decide to get up and get ready so that we can meet up with our free tour at 11 down at St. Michele.
I go to the common area to see what is for breakfast and it is the same continental breakfast as everywhere else, croissants, cereal, milk, yogurt, and orange juice. I get some orange juice and a chocolate croissant. I would rather avoid the croissants but I am really hungry and don’t have much of a choice before the tour. Larsen and I never eat together. She is already up and takes a shower to get ready before me. I am a slowpoke and always decide to remain in bed longer. I love sleeping and would rather take this trip slow and easy.
We are excited about our first day and leave for the metro early so that we make sure to get there on time. Though the metro here is easy enough, it isn’t difficult to get confused when everything is in another language. The tour takes us from St. Michel over to Notre Dame and across the Seine to the Lourve, then over to les jardins des tuileries. We end walk down the Champs-Elysees and make our way over to le Grand Palias and le Petit Palais to end our tour. The tour is historically informative and I am glad we are taking it because I learn more about Paris’s history in the 1st and 2nd world wars. Learning the history of city makes me much more excited about a city than just coming to visit it. Yes, I am one of those tourists that doesn’t know much about Paris. I’m not even sure if I ever really wanted to see Paris before I made it over.
Somehow our tour guide has convinced me that I must see le Musee de l’Armee before I go. She has convinced to see quite a few things before I go and now my ideal vacation of time spent over lettres et cafe’s has been all but taken from me.
Larsen and I decide to visit le Musee Rodin after our tour and it is a beautiful mansion with wooden floors filled with his sculptures. Yes, this is where you will come across Le Homme Pensive, otherwise known as the thinking man. I did take the obligatory picture of this because I’ve taken a lot of obligatory pictures of sculptures or monuments that I otherwise wouldn’t except for people back home asking if I’ve seen them. Though I did enjoy the thinking man, Rodin’s museum is filled with so many wonderful sculptures that in ways eclipse this one. I will put some of these on facebook for enjoyment.
Afterwards we head to Musee D’orsay. It is one of the smaller museums but it houses many fine paintings by artists such as Van Gogh, Manet, Degas, Monet, Gaugin, you get my drift. I get the audio tour because I fallen in love with audio tours and walking on tired feet I make my way towards Van Gogh. This is essentially where I fall in love with Van Gogh or the idea of him. He was born in 1853 and became an artist that cared more about documenting real life than idealizing it. He enjoyed emphasizing the unusual characteristics of people rather than hiding them. He ended up in a mental health warn in June 1890 and completed 75 works before the time of his suicide in July 1890. He was merely 37 when he died. I never realized he was so young until I did this tour. The tortured artist, what cliche, but often so true.
Though my back is aching after seeing Van Gogh, I soldier on. This is when I see a self portrait of Degas. I realize here that it is something about self portraits that make me gravitate towards an artist. When you can see or think that you can somehow see into his or her soul by looking into these portraits it draws you into their art even more, or at least it does for me.
I had to leave the museum to early, partially because it was getting late and both of us were starving and partially because I could not spend another minute standing. No seriously, not another minute. We decide after such a long day to find some food and head back to our little hotel. in the morning we will be changing to another hotel more centered in the heart of Paris. This will have a set of difficulties to be discovered by us later.
I know that I will have to go back to Musee D’orsay at some point, but I’m not sure when or how I will find time to make it back there because I see on my little map that there are dozens of museums to visit and the catacombs too. Ahh… I will find a way. If not, there will always be more art tomorrow.

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One thought on “Day #17: Continental Breakfast

  1. February 24, 1945 (continued)I found out today what it feels like to know one is going to die. To give up all hope and just sit and wait, wondering if it will come slow, or just one big puff, then you wouldn’t realize it. I wasn’t scared. I was past that stage. I didn’t think, because thinking would be too hard. I just sat by the window watching the black bursts, some I could nearly touch. For 19 long minutes I can’t remember doing anything except listening to the talk on the intercom. Hill was cranking open the bomb bays and we couldn’t drop our bombs. A piece went through his turret over his back as he was kneeling. You could feel the shock every time a burst went off under. The smoke from bursts were filling the plane. Morganello was telling Papy to raise it up and Papy couldn’t because of a plane over us. Then came a loud crack. Something whistled over my head. Glass showered my face. I could heard the tearing of metal. The ball looked like it was knocked halfway out of its position. Smoke was swirling over it and all over. Our bags laying in the waist jumped. Then my upper right arm felt numb as I heard a piece slam up through the floor. At this time Morganello let out a scream from the concussion of a shell going off. He was knocked off his seat in the ball. I could see myself trying to get him out, and give first aid to him – for I couldn’t see him. As the flak eased off, we dropped our bombs for Hill just got the door open. I noticed a big tear in my coat sleeve where flak has missed me. If I had been in my usual position, I would have been hit four times, three of them fatal. It was exactly 12:40 when we hit the target. One piece of flak entered near the ball, whizzed the length of the waist ankle high, past my foot about an inch. Another came in shoulder high in the same place. One came up through the bottom scraping the emergency bag I was on, cut my sleeve and out the top. One came through the window over my face. This is where I lose count.

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