Au revoir and ciao
Hello again! It's been a little while. I've been meaning to post but I'm so tired after dinner that I often go right to bed!
When I left off, I'd just had my second to last day in Paris, and the last day of my museum pass. For anyone going to Paris in the future, I highly recommend getting the Paris Museum Pass. With the pass, you can get into around 60 museums and monuments around Paris as many times as you want without paying each time. You can get either a two day, four day, or six day pass. I think it was a great deal and I saw some really amazing things!
For my last day, I decided to visit the Parisian residence of Victor Hugo, the author of Les Misérables. Unfortunately I didn't finish reading the book by the time I got to Paris (something I'll regret for a long time), but I love the musical and what I have read of the book. For some reason I refused to take the Metro and decided to walk instead. Though it was probably a 10 mile round trip, I saw plenty of cool things along the way. It's good to be observant when you're walking in Paris because you never know what neat places you'll pass by. I can't remember what it's called, but I stumbled across this indoor shopping street on my way:
It's located right next to a wax museum. As it was pretty early when I strolled by, it was mostly deserted. I walked by a wall of curtains and when I saw a creepy wax figure peeking out from behind I almost screamed. There was also a shop at the end full of taxidermy, demonic masks, and other creepy objects. It was a charming area but, upon closer inspection, rather unsettling.
Hugo's apartment is situated in a square with a quiet and pleasant park in the middle. When I got there I sat in the park for a while and reflected on how it was the author's view for about 16 years. I imagine that the neighborhood doesn't look much different from how it did in the mid-1800s.
I headed into his apartment and couldn't quite process that I was in a place where Hugo lived. Most of his original furniture was sold in an auction a very long time ago, but it was neat to see other objects from his life.
Afterwards, I roamed around the neighborhood a bit, and then I got lunch in the park near the Louvre. Some very friendly birds joined me and I was glad for their company. I sat by the fountain for a while, but it started raining as soon as I started drawing a statue in my journal. Bummer!
That afternoon I tackled doing laundry in a French laundromat for a while. It was surprisingly enjoyable. While my clothes were being washed, I people watched on the small street next to the laundromat. An Australian traveler staying in the same hostel came in and we talked for a while.
At 7 am the next morning, I headed out in the pouring rain to catch my flight. I felt like I was in a noir movie. I took a combination of the Metro, a train, and a bus to get to the Orly airport. I got on my flight without any problems and landed in Rome in the early afternoon. A train took me downtown and the scenery going by was nice when I was awake to see it--I was exhausted. Finding my bed and breakfast downtown was a struggle. The lack of street signs once again hindered me and when I found the door (which didn't have a sign), I couldn't figure out how to get in. Eventually I figured out how to use the intercom and someone unlocked the door for me. I decided not to chance the rickety elevator with myself and my duffel bag and climbed up five flights of stairs. The host greeted me at the top and I was so relieved. I checked in and the host, a kind and enthusiastic Italian man, showed me a map of Rome and pointed out a ton of places to go. He spoke in a mixture of Italian and English, and sometimes he'd go off on Italian tangents. Fortunately, I could understand the gist of everything he was saying (though in my nervousness I forgot all my Italian).
I took a nap for half an hour and went out to explore at around 5:30. The sun was just beginning to set and everything had a gorgeous rosy glow. I could see giant pink clouds in the distance and I felt like I was in a Renaissance painting. Spotting something cool in the distance, I decided to go check it out.
I still don't know what this was, but it was gorgeous, especially with the stars just starting to come out. I think there were some Roman ruins next to it, and there was a rather ancient atmosphere. I had dinner at a place called L'Angolo di Napoli, a delicious (and messy) pizza.
I'm heading out late this morning, but it was nice to sleep in a bit and relax after a packed week, and I have plenty of time in Rome. Today, I think I will take a walk that my host suggested to the Colosseum and check out some Roman ruins!