Monday, June 29, 2009

Glancing at Glasgow, Eyeballing Edinburgh, Perusing Paris and Looking at London

I just returned to Glasgow after a week exploring some of the treasures of Europe. My Mom arrived ten days ago and since then it has been nearly non-stop with the sightseeing. I showed her some of the highlights of Glasgow, covered a fraction of Edinburgh and then we hopped on a plane to Paris to see what the fuss was all about. Post Paris, we chunneled back to the UK and spent a few days in London. After spending this morning at The Tower of London, we boarded a train and spent the afternoon looking at the English and Scottish countryside as we headed back to Glasgow. Words cannot describe how much we took in over the past week. Our brains have nearly reached capacity. But we are back to Edinburgh tomorrow to finish what we started, so we have to leave a little room for those goodies.

Paris was brand new to me. This city, however, is pretty darn old. You could spend a lifetime just at The Grand Louvre. There is so much to do! We stayed at a quaint little boutique hotel and spent the day on the tour bus and visiting all the “must sees”. Notre-Dame, The Louvre, Musee d’Orsay, Grand Palais, Petit Palais, Champs-Elysees, Arc de Triomphe, Tour Eiffel, Conciergerie, our favorite; Sainte-Chapelle and the list goes on. The architecture is splendid; Napoleon was a serious fan of development and renovation! Sainte-Chapelle wins the prize for us though. Sainte-Chapelle is a small church (that is a relative term when you talk about cathedrals and churches in Europe) situated within the walls of the Palais de Justice. Louis IX had it built and it was consecrated in 1248. The walls are almost entirely stain glass. The ceiling and columns are painted and decorated in the richest reds, blues and golds. You feel like you are standing in the middle of a rainbow. The lightshow provided by the sun and stain glass is breathtaking. If you ever go to Pairs, you have to go to Sainte-Chapelle! It is worth the wait if you have to stand in line! When I have a moment to sort out my photos I will try to post one for you. Unfortunately, photos taken inside the fabulous old buildings rarely come out well. And even if I do manage something, it won’t do the place justice. It is simply something that must be experienced in the flesh.

After Paris we headed under the English Channel to London. I’ve been to London a few times before but this was Mom’s first trip, so we had to check out all the sights there too. Friday night we went to a play. We saw a new adaptation of J.M. Barrie’s “Peter Pan” in Kensington Gardens. As mentioned in my previous blog, this show was directed by Ben Harrison; one of our workshop leaders on our MA CCT course and a world renowned site specific theatre director. The show was an absolute delight! It took place in a tent; kind of like a circus tent but fancier. The show was performed in the round and the audience was raised in stadium style seating so we all had excellent views. Above us was a 360 degree screen. Almost like you would experience in a planetarium except the center at the top was screen-less to make way for lighting and the wires that allowed the core cast to fly around. On the screen was the scenery. The graphics were amazing! We flew over London with Peter and Wendy and the rest. We swam with the mermaids under the sea. We fought on the Jolly Rodger to defeat Captain Hook. The stage had a plethora of trap doors and sections that flipped upside down to bring in or take out furniture and other props. There was puppetry and aerial stunts and beautiful costumes and marvelous actors. We loved every second of it!

There is so much to tell about the trip, I could go on forever. Upon my return, my Academy email was full of new assignments I have to prepare for our return on July 6 but I will try to get photos sorted and posted soon! In the meantime, we have a few more places to hit in the next couple of days and then Mom heads home and I get back to work!

Stayed tuned for photos and exciting new tales of Europe, Scotland and the MA CCT!
Take care!

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