Adventures with Family!

Harry’s family (mom, older sister, and niece) came to Denmark last month!  They spent a week going around Aarhus and other parts of Denmark (they went up to Skagen and to Lindhølm høje, visited the mosegård and aros museums…etc), and then we spent five days in Paris!  We did the damn touristy thing and spent two days at Disney, and another two and a half days exploring Paris.

About seven years ago, I spent two months living in Cachan (just south of Paris) as an intern in a chemistry lab at ENS Cachan.  That summer trip was my first time out of the US, my first time travelling alone, and my first professional internship.  It was a world-view-expanding time in my life, and I have incredibly fond memories of it.  I spoke a decent amount of french when I first arrived (three years studying in high school and 1.5 years studying at uni), and I worked hard while I was there to become conversationally fluent.  I was excited and anxious to go back to Paris – what if the city of lights had lost some of its luster?

This trip turned out to be a pleasure and a joy.  Not only did it give me a chance to use my french again (which I am quite proud to say is still more or less conversationally fluent), it was lovely to be able to show Harry’s family around more or less as a tour guide.  France (and Italy and Spain I have been told) is much easier to navigate if you know the language and the general lay of the land.  It was really fun for me to be able to fill that role for a group of people I love and admire.  In short, Paris is still Paris and I am still a francophile through and through.

Anyway – here’s another batch of photos from our adventures.

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The deer park in Aarhus is pretty magical.  If you need to feel like a Disney princess…just buy a bag of carrots and go here.  It does the trick.  This Groucho Marx lookin’ character was my favorite.

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LOOK AT HOW CONTENT THESE DEER ARE IN THE SUNLIGHT

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We found a beautiful beach on the way home that has the best view of the city and the bay I have seen since we moved here last August.

The next day we headed to Paris!  It was an early morning train ride, followed by a plane, then more trains.  It was a full day of travelling, and we were gifted this glorious view of the Paris skyline from our 17th floor airbnb when we arrived.

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We got to watch the sunset from this glorious location after a fantastic dinner of authentic Chinese food (we stayed in chinatown which was fun and different – I highly recommend it) surrounded by family.  It was bloody amazing.

The next morning we started our two day Disney extravaganza.  Disneyland Paris was very much like the other Disney parks I have been to – but certainly with a Parisian flair.  Everything was a bit…classier?  All the animatronic characters spoke in french – including but not limited to Darth Vader and Buzz Lightyear.  So that was hilariously wonderful.  Now I fear I will always hear french Vader in my head…”Luke…je suis ton pere….”.  They also had an Alice in Wonderland hedge maze, which was awesome.  I behaved like a well mannered toddler for most of the day.  Which was glorious.  It’s always a pleasure to let your inner kid run free.

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We spent a ton of time, sunscreen, money, and sweat at Disney – and we had an absolute blast.  Moreover, our tickets were good for three days and we only went for two of them. We were able to give our tickets to our wonderful airbnb host, who took her younger brother to Disney the following Saturday.  🙂

We spent the next two and a half days doing more glorious touristing in Paris.  We also did A LOT of eating.  French food.  I adore it.  Baguettes and cheese for days.  Duck confit.  Foie gras.  Wine.  Butter.  Escargot.  Croissants.  Yes.  All the yes.

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The Eiffel tower, of course.  Glorious views of the city, lots of wind, and lots of tourists kissing.  ❤

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Caught in the act.

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The aforementioned glorious views of the city.  Also, we did a lot of selfie-ing this trip.

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The l’arc de triomphe is a pretty cool thing to see.  The eight lanes of roundabout traffic that surround it are absolutely terrifying.  There are 242 steps up to the top, all in one massive spiral staircase.

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Harry may not know it yet, but this might be our engagement/savethedate photo.

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#postcardworthy

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We went to the Louvre the next day.  As with the first time I went to the Louvre, I found myself overwhelmed by the enormity of the place.  It’s massive.  It’s interesting to me how people flock to see the Mona Lisa…but to me the most impressive thing about that museum is the building itself.  That is not to diminish the insane amount of priceless artwork…but the ceilings themselves in each of the rooms are breathtaking.  Not to mention the gilding and the masonry.  It’s a unique set of mixed feelings I get when I’m there – not unlike the Riijks museum in Amsterdam, but on a much grander scale.  That in and of itself is crazy when you consider how bloody big the Riijks museum is…

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Honestly, the wall of papyrus (“The book of the Dead”) might have been my favorite thing at the Louvre.  It scratches my calligraphy and craft work itch, while also being an old and precious piece of art and history.  I have been known to visit handcrafted paper museums (SuHoTaipei), so I suppose this is no surprise to me.

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“The Winged Victory” and “The Original Selfie”.

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The Egyptians had their emoji use on lock.  😉  This is a typical, literally run of the mill, ceiling inlay in the Louvre.  I just…what the hell.  It’s absolutely amazing.  I spent a lot of the day with my neck craned and my face pointing straight up at the ceiling.

So to sum up: 1) Paris is still Paris and I’m still in love with it; 2) travelling with family is wonderfully rewarding; 3) the main difference between the Paris of today and the Paris of seven years ago is the increased security at all the monuments; 4) I adore being bilingual; 5) french food is some of my favorite cuisine; and 6) I still can’t believe how lucky we are to be here in Denmark and getting these opportunities.

Love and be loved in return.

-Crash

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