So, I’ve been worrying a lot about staying here. Things are a lot more expensive than I had anticipated. I’m fine, it is just that the cheap hotels are as much as I expected to pay for a medium/high priced hotel. Things have certainly changed in Europe since I lived here last. I got mad at myself for worrying so much. It isn’t like me, but unfortunately has been more like me lately. I don’t like it. Yesterday I refused to do it, and made my self walk down the street singing and whistling Bobby McFarren’s “Don’t Worry Be Happy” much to the annoyance of those around me I’m sure. I went to the flea bag hotel I was at for the last two days, and found another hotel online that is still on the metro line that takes me directly into the city center in one shot that is $20 cheaper than what I was paying. The room is what you would expect, no frills, just nice. So much better. See, worrying doesn’t pay…calm action does. Humility test number one.

Number 2:

I pride myself on the fact that I can take in, I mean breathe in a museum. When I do a museum, man I do it. The Louvre…humbled me again. All the guide books say you can’t do the entire Louvre in a day, but I was going to. I did 9 hours today non-stop in the museum, and I didn’t even do half of the paintings!!! Not to mention all the artifacts, sculpture, you name it that they have here. To say this is the best museum in the world is not enough, it is the Major Leagues and everything else is t-ball. The best paintings are here, and I mean the best. Only the Vatican can hold a candle to the quality of the collection. Humbled n0. 2.

Number 3:

When I came into the museum I B-Lined it strait to David’s Oath. I came to the Louvre 10 years ago with my mom. We had about 6 hours there, and while my mom is a trooper, the perfect museum mom, we saw as much as two people could given the circumstances. All the tour groups just head for the main halls, they see a little Raphael, a little Titian, Veronese, Leonardo, and Velasquez and they are tired and go home. The real galleries for those who really want to see art are hidden. I never saw these with my mom. While the main salons are packed with tourists, and Japanese tour guides with their umbrellas held aloft, the real galleries are quite with few visitors and no massive groups. So nice. But let me tell you the paintings go on and on and on and on, and everyone is top notch. I was a little cocky the other day when I wrote, “I will meet them as a peer”. And frankly I felt I did with the 16th-17th works with exceptions, but when I got to the 17-19th. century French paintings…humiliated. They were doing things back then that I have absolutely no idea how to do yet. And, there were sooooo many great great people that are totally unheard of. Humbled.

Number 4:

Then, I got to this painting: Pierre Subleyras’ “Le Repas Chez Simon” (Jesus eats dinner at Simon the Pharasi’s House and a woman brings a vial of expensive perfume and anoints his feet, and washes them with her tears and hair) This painting is by far the greatest painting I’ve ever seen. This man was a Maestro! Now granted I said the other day that Delaroche’s Napoleon painting was the best (BTW I discovered today that the Original is in the Louvre, the one in the Queen’s Gallery is a reduction, but I believe it is superior to the original) and granted at that time I thought it was…but now this painting is in a league of its own. Delaroche was good, but…

Humbled.

Number 5:

Went to a really great Moroccan Restaurant near the Hotel, but I forgot my dictionary in the room. So I did my best. I thought I ordered an avocado salad with a vinaigrette dressing and grilled scallops. What I got was a sliced avocado with dressing on top surrounded by tomatoes. OK not that bad, and actually quite good. However the scallops as I came to find out is Lamb chop. I don’t think I’ve eaten a lamp chop since I was 12…but I did tonight. Humbled. But I ordered a mandarin souffle for desert, which ended up being mandarin ice cream which was amazingly good, and tea. The tea was a green tea with mint leaves and lots of sugar, wow…so good.

Number 6:

This I can thankfully say was not my humiliation. The waiters had come by to laugh with me and my inability to order. Although my French is bad, my math is not. The cashier tried to stiff me $20 Euros, it could have been an accident, but he had to suffer his humiliation in front of his boss. All good.

Thank you all who are reading and sharing in this journey.  I would love to hear some of your comments, especially what you would like to hear more or less about. I am keeping several conversations going and don’t know what to write who. I am writing a young lady in Peru regarding our shared trips, I’m keeping a travel journal about my musings, I am keeping a museum journal of the pieces that I see that move me or discoveries that are worth noting (thanks again Chaz for that little green journal), and this blog. I don’t want to repeat things, but there are many things worthy of note in all forums…suggestions?

Neal

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