Thursday, September 26, 2013

Adieu Paris, Hola San Sebastian!

Wednesday was our last day in Paris, as we broke apart for the independent travel portion of our trip on Thursday morning. We had a nice "last dinner" on Wednesday with our professor, who left for Blacksburg Thursday morning. Our next prof, Mario, will be joining us in Barcelona on October 5th.

First view of the tower on Wednesday!

We visited two more museums on Wednesday, and then had lots of time in the afternoon to check off a few more tourist things. Our first stop was the  Branly Museum, designed by Jean Nouvelle. It was a magnificently large and colorful building, with lots of neat spaces and nooks for exhibits.

It had a really cool green wall on the north facade. Because the north side of a building gets the least amount of light, they had to select plants that can grown without direct sunlight

And I met a French slug

I really liked the building. It's a large building suspended off the ground by columns, with a garden underneath. I thought the exhibition space was dynamic , but not so much that it took away from the exhibits on display. There was plenty of space for artifacts and the flow of traffic was good. We were there at the same time as at least three elementary school groups, and it never felt crowded.

The exterior, a view of the "boxes"

A column under the building

The inside! Rich and colorful, and magnificently laid out

The North side of the building had those boxes and nooks, while the south (which gets the most sun) had adjustable louvers and sun shades.

The coolest thing was on the outside though. The Branly Museum is situated along a busy street, so to block noise from the road, they built a huge, tall, glass wall on the edge of the lot. Glass is a massive material and absorbs sound very well. So stepping through the glass wall and into the gardens under the museum was surreal, all of the sound from outside disappeared.

You can see the edge of the glass wall in the left photo!

We broke apart for lunch, and Erica, John and I visited a market across the street. I had a peach, paella, and a sugar crepe for lunch. The three of us made a crepe song and dance too, to sing while we ate.

We visited the Cite de l'Architecture after lunch, where they had lots of models on display. And coincidentally, we saw a model and a designer leaving a fashion show in the building. Paris fashion week for the win.

The lower floor had stone ruins on display. You have to wonder, how are the stone carvings mounted on the wall so they don't fall?

A model of the Saint Genevieve Library that we visited on Tuesday

Our afternoon ended there, and a small group of us headed down to the Eiffel tower. We plopped down in the gardens of the Champ de Mars, and I had a wonderful nap. It was such a nice day and the temperature was perfect, I was so comfortable.

Checked that off on my tourist list!

Pardon the tummy and the grimace on my face. I swear I'm having fun, haha!

We ended our day at the Arc de Triomphe, where a military parade was going on. I listened and watched as a band and flag carriers marched past me.

Overall, I enjoyed my time in Paris, but I don't feel like I actually did much. Heiner didn't take us to many buildings, and I didn't know how to best fill my free time. I'm a little embarrassed and sad that I feel this way, but I still had fun, so it doesn't really matter, right? We will be back in France (in the south) in October, so I'll see this fine land again.

But oh my goodness, I may not want to go back to France after arriving in San Sebastian on Thursday. We took the 6 hour train from Paris to Hendaye, and then the 30 minute metro from Hendaye to San Sebastian. It was my first train ride in Europe, and goddness was it nice. Wallace and I booked our tickets back in July, and it was only $40 for a first class seat. Hanna and Rebecca, who are also going to San Sebastian, waited until this past week to buy theirs, and the price had gone up to $90. But I'd say it was worth it- the seats were bigger than airplane seats, much comfier, and we were right next to the food car.

Woop woop, independent travel!

It is HOT in Northern Spain. I was wearing jeans in order to lighten my pack, but sweet goodness was it miserable walking from the train station to our hostel. But our hostel is awesome, it's on the first floor of the building, has 8 beds, a sweet courtyard terrace, and Wallace and I are the only people here. It's beautiful and quiet, and also it's about a 5 minute walk to the beach and one of the buildings here.

Fist moments in Spain

And just our luck, we happened to be in San Sebastian during their film festival week. First it was Iceland's Culture Day, then Paris Fashion Week, and now the Film Festival. We're pretty lucky.

I told them to look dramatic on the red carpet. It didn't really work out.

We broke apart from Hanna and Rebecca at the train station and made plans to meet back up at 7. Wallace and I immediately ditched our stuff, changed clothes, and ran to the beach. It is beautiful and I am definitely getting some beach time while I'm here.

Bridge at night

and beach :)

Conveniently, we are located very close to one of the buildings I was thinking about studying- the Kursaal. It's the big theater where the Film Festival is being held. We got to walk around it in both daylight and at nighttime, so now I really want to get inside it and look around. We have to write a paper when we get home about our travels and studies, and my topic was going to be "The Architecture of Water". So, buildings near water. I was definitely going to talk about the Harpa Concert Hall in Iceland, and maybe even the squiggly boathouse we saw in Bregenz. The Kursaal was on my list, but it's not actually on the water, it's up off of it. So, it'll take some analysis before I decide to write about it.

The buildings light up and glow at night

And the 61st Film Festival!

Oh I am ready for some relaxation. Not even just time on the beach, but time without the big group, without a teacher, and with my own agenda.

A beautiful sand sculpture made by a hobo

1 comment:

  1. As I see your pictures I know I really need to get myself to Paris again, asap ;) I'm so glad that it sounds as though you're enjoying Spain, and that motivates me even more to go on my fall break in very late October. And I forgot/didn't know you'd get to the south of France, will you be close to some bigger cities like Nice or Marseille? My school planned a day trip to each a couple weeks ago and I thought they were fun to visit, though I don't know from the architecture standpoint; the Notre Dame de la Garde in Marseille was pretty cool though and this year it's Europe's Culture Capital for the year :) I'm already looking forward to your next post!