Sunday, June 15, 2014

"Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

           After a trek to the train station, a trip in a cab, and a long talk on the plane, I am back in Texas.
France sent us away in style, including several different forms of transportation, as if making sure we were culturally sound before leaving.  Train strikes are something that personally annoy me now.  Before, they were just something that happened, affecting other people, another person’s problem, not mine.  However, on Saturday when the train was supposed to take us to the airport, and we had no idea when or if it was going anywhere, I personally made it a point to put “train strikes” on my
short list of annoyances.  All turned out well, however, when the three of us whom had flights around the same time decided to take a cab to avoid playing Russian roulette with the trains and missing our flights.    All in all, we made it; I had time to get a few macaroons; and the macaroon stand had my favorite “citron,” which is “lemon” in English.  A job well done, I’d
            This week was one for the books.  I got to see many historical pieces that, before, I had only known to exist in history books or a classroom.  My eyes were on masterpiece overload after seeing sights such as the beautiful Notre Dame, Monet and Van Gogh paintings at d’Orsay, the Louvre with Mona Lisa, the gardens of Versailles, and believe it or not everyone, the Eiffel Tower does exist, and it twinkles at the beginning of every hour once it gets dark.  A sight worth the trip if you are asking me.
            A recurring theme to my trip has been disbelief in how old everything is.  I mean, centuries do not tread lightly.  There are wars, natural catastrophes, and human wear and tear on these masterpieces, yet, they are still with us today.  Maybe not in their prime condition, but in a condition we can appreciate and still see with an artistic eye of how and why they are considered something special.  It was not until Versailles that I really understood France as a whole.  The head gardener gave us a private tour of the gardens, and at one point he stopped and explained that many new people whom come to work there want to add or change things in the garden to “change it up a bit,” since it has been the same for hundreds of years.  He went on to tell us that Versailles had already been designed; and this garden that is still considered a just as much of a masterpiece now as it was in the past did not need to be redesigned, it needed to be maintained.
            I think this mentality is what I could sum my trip to France up with.  The people there know how beautifully there country has been shaped and built.  They know they have some of the greatest architecture, art, and landscape in the world, and they know it is their duty to preserve it, not change it.  It is this mentality that makes France so archaic and truly a one of a kind place.
I could not have asked for anything more out of this trip.  It was my first time out of the country, I got to see world-renowned sights, and I owe lots of this to a great group of Aggies who made it a trip to remember.  

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