Today was Versailles Day! First we ate breakfast at a cute little boulangerie patisserie. Delicious croissants for all! Plus, I had some fantastic hot chocolate. They really do chocolate well here.
Then we headed down to the RER (after some arguments about how to pronounce R-E-R and for the record, I was right), and went to Versailles. Apparently Mom read some facts at my sisters and dad about the palace, but I don't know what since at the time I was asleep.
The view walking up to the palace was breathtaking. There's so much gold! And the sun was behind us so it sparkled. The gate was entirely gold and simply fantastic.
Less fantastic were the lines. Even with our museum passes we had to wait for a very long time. And once we were in there was a line for the bathroom. I decided to hold it. That was a horrible, horrible mistake.
I quickly grew sick of the crowds. We had originally planned to get there earlier, and maybe it would have helped. But as it was, the place was so packed it was hard to get a good look at anything. And most of the palace was cordoned off. Sure, some of it probably needs restoration or whatever, but some of it, like the chapel, seemed to be cordoned off just to control traffic. It bothered me. I hate being told where to go.
The rooms and paintings were pretty, but the crush of people was so unpleasant that I had trouble enjoying it. All right, I kind of hated it. I did find things to admire, like the beautiful architecture and some styles of paintings I recognized from Roman studies. The art itself wasn't Roman, but the style was similar enough for me to recognize it. I skipped out before the Dauphin's rooms. The completionist in me wanted to go on, but my bladder said screw that. Plus, I was not enjoying myself. I left to find the bathroom.
There was a very, very long line. No problem, there'd be other toilettes. No such luck. Well, some such luck. But the line for that one was long too. Reluctantly, I got in line. Luckily, I had Harry Dresden to keep me company.
A few chapters in, my parents found me. At this point I was very cranky, but my mother claimed to have a better, cleaner, less line-filled bathroom. We moved. There was still a line. I read more. I peed. That made it lunch time.
I managed to snag the last tomato/basil/mozzarella sandwich, which was great for me, less good for the rest of everyone. Still, it was delicious, though we later saw a dozen other places that would have been better.
After lunch, it was time to look at the gardens. The first side was very pretty, if not as exciting as we hoped. Then we turned the corner.
They stretched out as far as we could see. Further, possibly. These gorgeous hedge mazes and lakes and statues poking out around the bushes. We had to look closer.
We wandered through the hedges, turning at random and enjoying the pretty statues and topiary and down to the big lake in the middle. We sat down and admired the ducks and the terrifyingly huge fish. FISH SHOULD NOT GET THAT LARGE, OKAY? IT ISN'T RIGHT. I lay down and started reading because I love reading outside in the grass. I should really do it more often. Then my parents and sisters decided to go check out the boat-rentage deal. It turned out they could rent a boat, but only four people were allowed. Me being the martyr I am, I volunteered to sit it out. I read a little, but mostly ended up taking a nap in the sun. This was very fun and good, except now I have a very mild sunburn on my cheeks. Oh well. I regret nothing.
Then it was time to head on home. We stepped into another hedgemaze, managed to get lost between paths, had an exciting time with a bathroom sans toilet paper, and saw another statue of a woman with a snake biting her nipple. Now we know it's Cleopatra. I don't remember the snake biting her nipple. I think people made that part of the story up.
We eventually found ourselves again and boarded the RER. Our stop was right by the Eiffel Tower. I shun touristy things when I can (see: my attitude towards Versailles), and I've been up the Eiffel Tower on both previous trips, so I was more than willing to skip the lines and hassle of going up. My sisters and parents did want to go, though. But first we stopped for tea and crepes. The crepes were very mediocre. They also gave us croissants we thought were free but they made us pay for. Which sucked because they were crappy croissants and we didn't order them.
I split off after that. From what I heard, my dad and Elise climbed the tower while Julia and my mom watched skateboarders trying to jump off the tower. There's some record they're trying to break. I don't know, I was busy losing my way.
Which I did, of course. Strange city? No map? Limited sense of direction? I got lost. Luckily, I knew my way from the apartment to my metro station. After crossing the bridge accidentally, finding a 50¢ piece, looking at a map on the side of a metro station, and recrossing, I eventually oriented myself and reached the apartment. I had my chocolate truffle from the french store to celebrate. It was utterly divine. I'm having a taste flashback now. Oh, man, was it good.
Then the rest of the family came home with bread, cheese, and wine. We ate it. Unsurprisingly, it too was delicious. Some of the best brie, goat cheese, and other cheese that certainly is called something I've ever had. Good wine, too. I was sad when we finished it.
None of us were ready for dinner, so I retreated to my room for Buffy time while the parents and sisters finished the movie they'd started when I was writing my essay. I'd seen it before and had no interest. They enjoyed it, though. And I enjoyed Buffy.
We went across the street for dinner at an Italian place. I had a wonderful pasta dish with tomatoes, almonds, and salad all mixed in. It was a little spicy, but I loved it.
The we went home. They watched the movie's sequel and I, of course, watched more Buffy. Elise watched the end of the episode where Xander falls for the praying mantis woman before she went to bed. I read in the room with her for a while when my Dad stole the computer. It was nice.