A Travellerspoint blog

Entries about art

"Are Yous Goin' Saaaaafend?"

Paris

all seasons in one day 10 °C
View Paris on kmmk17's travel map.


Having already holidayed together twice in the summer, Chris and I had another getaway - this time a short distance across the Channel to Paris.

Once again taking off the Friday afternoon from work, we headed to the airport to catch a flight from Luton to CDG for a weekend in the French capital.

The "CDGVAL"

The "CDGVAL"

Upon arrival in Paris we quickly noticed the effects the ongoing state of emergency was having. After buying our train tickets to get to the city centre, we found that the station was shut due to an unattended bag, and thus we had to get on the CDGVAL (pronounced Cheval, like the horse) to the other terminal, and then transfer to the train. However this had now caused issues with the trains to the city, and when we did arrive at Terminal 1, the train we boarded wasn't leaving for another 35 minutes. We did however eventually find a train that was leaving imminently - though still delaying our arrival in the city by an hour or so. Getting through Gare du Nord and onto the Metro, we eventually arrived at the hotel, checked in and then headed out for a meal at a local restaurant.

Moulin Rouge

Moulin Rouge

After dinner we then headed a little bit further down the road to the Moulin Rouge. Having visited Paris twice before, I had already seen the majority of the sites in the city centre. However as this was located outside the inner city it was new site for me too. Taking pictures of the building all lit up in the night, we then took a look inside some souvenir shops, before heading back to the hotel via a local supermarket for some snacks and cheap fruity wine.

Sacre Cœur

Sacre Cœur

After a relaxing evening, the following morning we woke for breakfast before heading out to explore the rest of the city. Starting by walking up a large staircase we first visited the Sacre Cœur, another new sight for me, before getting on the metro and heading towards the Arc de Triomphe.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Most sights in the city have reduced rates, with a significant number being free for under 26's from the EU, and so luckily for me I had free entry. However with massive queues for attractions tickets, as well as extra bag security, it still took a long time to actually visit the attractions in the city.

View of Paris

View of Paris

The queue for the Arc de Triomphe was a particularly long one especially in the cold of a November morning - however upon entry to the roof it was definitely worth the wait, as there were some beautiful views over the nearby architectural beauty, La Defense, and the Eiffel Tower. Heading back down, we walked towards the Trocadero, where there are good views of the Eiffel Tower, before heading to the tower itself. Having still not decided whether we would head up the tower itself, we nevertheless went through the security check to enter the complex. After deciding we would walk up the to the lower levels, we then queued up and bought ourselves tickets.

The Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower

Unlike most tall city attractions, you can actually feel the wind through the structure, and see views of just how high you are. After stopping briefly on the first floor - where we were already at one of the highest points in the city, we then headed up to the second floor for even better views over the city. However unlike me, Chris was a little bit nervous of heights, and unfortunately the best form of encouragement I could provide was "Well we've paid for the second floor"....

Taking a look at the views from the second floor, we decided not to buy a top floor ticket, and instead headed down to the exit to continue our walk around the city. Taking in views of the Eiffel Tower once more, we then headed towards the Champs Élysées passing Les Invalides and crossing the Seine.

At the Champs Élysées, a large Christmas Market had been set up on both sides, and so enjoying some Mulled Wine and taking a look at some of the items on sale we then headed towards Concord and the Louvre. We would visit the Louvre itself tomorrow, and so enjoyed some dinner waiting for sunset so that we could enjoy our last site today - the Eiffel Tower by night.

The Eiffel Tower by night

The Eiffel Tower by night

Louvre

Louvre

The following morning after leaving our bags at the hotel, we headed back to the Louvre, where we managed to avoid the queues by entering through a shopping centre side entrance. Unlike the Vatican Museum, the Louvre clearly sign posts it's main attraction, obviously accepting that 95% of the people there simply want to see the Mona Lisa.

Kevin Bear at the Mona Lisa

Kevin Bear at the Mona Lisa

Located on a wall in the middle of the room, the queues to see the infamous painting are much less than we expected and so we were done with the museum pretty quickly.

The Mona Lisa Wall

The Mona Lisa Wall

We then headed out towards Île de la Cité - the oldest part of the city, walking towards the Notre Dame, where we arrived just as the Mass was coming to an end.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Heading back out, we then made our way over to the Deportation monument, which is almost hidden behind the cathedral, before we stopped for a bite to eat. With almost all the city having been ticked off our list, we then headed past the City Hall, towards the Pompidou Centre.

Our final attraction for the trip was the Catacombs, located in the south of the city. Taking the train, we arrived not long after but found a huge and very slow moving queue. Unfortunately we ended up getting caught in a shower during the two hours we waited and debated whether to skip the attraction due to time running out before our flight this evening. Just in the nick of time, we made it in, and after quickly taking a look around and overtaking everyone we had seen in front of the queue, we viewed the tunnels filled with the bones of residents from centuries ago. This eerie but unique experience was well worth the wait.

Inside the Catacombs

Inside the Catacombs

We then headed back to our hotel to grab our bags and headed for the airport. Luckily no bomb scares this time, but once again the understaffed city meant many delays - with a very slow security queue.

We had arrived at Border Control in plenty of time, but the Essex girls in front of us had diced with danger. Hearing we were also British they hopefully asked "Are yous goin' Saaaaaafend". "Err no" we responded.

Eventually making it through in enough time, the group of girls individually ran towards the gate for Southend just about making it. Our sympathy ran slim however as they had already each bought their duty free rather than making it through in enough time....

Eventually getting to eat, we waited for our plane and after a short flight, we finally arrived back home. A great trip even if Paris was overly busy!

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in France Tagged art tower paris history city cathedral hill scenic macabre Comments (0)

A Romantic Getaway

Italy - Florence

sunny 32 °C
View Italy on kmmk17's travel map.


Waking up in Rimini after my side of the bed had been invaded throughout the night it was time to make our way towards the second stop on the trip - Florence.

Going back to the train station, we boarded a train back to Bologna, this time having a mooch around before our onward trip.

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Piazza Maggiore, Bologna

Dropping our bags off at the luggage storage in the station, we walked into the city centre, taking in the ambience of the historic Italian city, arriving at the Piazza Maggiore, taking a walk around the main square, towards the two leaning towers, before making our way back to the station. Quick, but enough to see the city itself.

Two Towers

Two Towers

After obtaining our bags we found out that we should have prebooked our onward travel, Unlike the other trains which were all regional and cost around €10-15, this was an express train whisking us through the central mountains, of which all second class tickets were already sold out.

Either we wait an hour to take a slow train that wouldn't arrive until 5pm, or we pay €40 and go business class for the half hour trip arriving in the early afternoon. We went for the latter and after briefly enjoying reclining chairs in AC, we arrived in the birthplace of the Renaissance - Florence.

Duomo

Duomo

The city is full of historical architecture, housing works by Michelangelo and da Vinci amongst others, and after dumping our stuff off at the hotel, we took a walk around starting with the Duomo cathedral, before making our way down to the Piazza della Signoria, where a copy of Michelangelo's David stands in it's original place.

David

David


Palazzo Vecchio

Palazzo Vecchio

Walking down towards the Arno river, we crossed the Ponte Vecchio, towards the Pitti Palace, before walking back along the riverside to the hotel.

Ponte Vecchio

Ponte Vecchio

A busy hot day much like the previous, we chilled out in the room before grabbing a pizza and having a relaxing evening before our final day of the trip...

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Italy Tagged art architecture history city italy2016 Comments (0)

Hassle Free Qatar

The Indian Experience - Doha

sunny 25 °C
View India on kmmk17's travel map.


After looking at options when booking my trip to India, it appeared the best route was to fly Qatar Airways via Doha. Never missing an opportunity for a bit of extra exploration of a new country, I decided it would be worthwhile also exploring the Qatari capital, and after a bit of research I found that staying an extra night in Doha would not be too difficult, and enough to get a feel for the city and country.

Having previously visited Dubai I had a lot of expectations of what it would be like (not all of them so great), but I was actually pleasantly surprised. I found that Qatar was a much friendlier, cheaper place to visit. Although not quite as developed as Dubai (no metro yet, for instance), it's much smaller size meant it wasn't such a problem as it was easily walkable.

After an eight hour flight from Heathrow, and witnessing the smell of curry breakfast (something to look forward for the next week!) and views of snowy Anatolia, I eventually arrived in Doha at sunset - and after getting diverted directly into departures, and having to go the wrong way back through security, I eventually made it through immigration, where all my Israeli stamps were nicely stamped over, and into arrivals, where I was picked up by my hotel.

Souq Waqif

Souq Waqif

After checking in at the hotel, I then had the rest of the evening to explore the capital, and made my way first through Souq Waqif, which I would return to later, towards the Museum of Islamic Art.

Inside the Museum of Islamic Art

Inside the Museum of Islamic Art

The museum was only opened seven years ago, and is beautifully built in Islamic style, as well as having free entry. Although the collection inside has pieces of art from across the Islamic region, without focussing very much on Qatar itself, it is still a must see attraction for its architectural beauty as well as its location overlooking the Corniche and with views of the skyscrapers across the bay in the newer areas of the city.

The Corniche and the MIA

The Corniche and the MIA

Heading back out along the Corniche I made by way to the Clock Tower and the Emiri Diwan Parliament building before heading back into the Souq. Having visited the souqs in Dubai, as well as Tangier before I felt ready to be hassled just by looking at anything. However I was pleasantly surprised. Instead I was able to browse even in non-busy shops at my own pleasure. And with fixed prices that were not already heavily inflated I didn't even need to bother with the hassle of bartering! A truly pleasant experience.

Deep inside the Souq

Deep inside the Souq

After exploring the winding back streets of the souq, and taking some pictures in the night time light I made my way to the final place, the sword arch monument, just south of my hotel.

Sword Monument

Sword Monument

Although construction in Qatar never stops, with building works next to my hotel in the centre of the city never ceasing to end, it didn't prevent me from getting a good nights sleep, and the following morning I awoke for breakfast in my hotel, before making my way to the bus station, where the pleasant Qataris once again surprised me, and eventually the airport for my onward flight to Kathmandu in Nepal.

Bazaar inside the Airport

Bazaar inside the Airport

The recently built Hamad Airport was also a pleasant experience. Plenty of shops, including a WHSmith, as well as plenty of seating and free WiFi. Something to look forward when I returned to transfer in a week's time.

Tips

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Qatar Tagged art market airport islam souq indianexperience Comments (0)

"I love rain, it reminds me of home"

German Adventures - Worpswede


View German Adventures on kmmk17's travel map.


Hey guys!

Hope you enjoyed the Jubilee Weekend! I managed to see most of it whilst I was here, and it looked great, even if it did make me a little homesick - although its only two months until I'm back properly, and a month today until my weekend at home! As before, the weather is generally the same as at home, just slightly warmer, and so yes, we have also had plenty of rain (the most I've ever seen here) which came as a bit of relief at first after the sunbathing weather of two weeks ago. At first I was so pleased to be reminded of home, that I announced during my German class that I actually quite like rain, as it reminds me of home - to which they all laughed! It also let me use my Union Jack umbrella, so there are some good sides too.

Rain!

Rain!

Today me and 3 of my friends who also take my course went on a trip (not by our own willing, I care to admit) to the artist village of Worpswede, to the north of Bremen. This was to measure the place's sustainabilty - by which we walked around looking at the village, and then spoke with a woman from Tourist Information. I think had it been a nice sunny hot day like two weeks ago it would have been a great day out - however trapsing round an artyfarty village in the rain is not quite so great. Although it we made the best of it, and it was a nice day out! This month I have 5 presentations, which of course includes one on Climate Change (I've produced so much information about its role in the tourism industry, I literally need to copy and paste 99% of it!), and another that I only found out about on Friday afternoon, due in for Saturday morning - What better way of spending an Erasmus Friday night!?!

Worpswede

Worpswede

So with all the work to do, as well as miserable weather outside, it has been quite depressive and boring (or so I keep telling myself) - this all culminated in last night's fiasco, when I decided to cut my own hair, which in hindsight it probably would have been better not to have done. Although after completing most of it myself and then getting the rest tidied up by my new flatmate (yes Halina, you have been replaced), I kind of like it! (April's hat is still in the cupboard to be reused if necessary.

Posted by kmmk17 17:00 Archived in Germany Tagged art rain uni erasmus Comments (0)

(Entries 1 - 4 of 4) Page [1]