Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Bits of Bordeaux

Have you ever felt like a city was speaking to you? I mean, not in the literal "hello there, how are you doing" sort of way but in a "you belong here" sort of way? I still know remarkably little about Bordeaux, even though this was my third time visiting it--but something clicked for me this time. And for those of you who saw my crazy hotel pictures all over Facebook, no--it wasn't because I stayed in my very own "princess tower." Although, while we're on that subject, check out the accommodations!

Yes, that is a real rose on the edge of my
marble bathtub...
I even matched that day! It was just too perfect...

But anyway, back to the topic at hand... I've always been a fan of classical music; I took piano lessons for years and even started my college career as a music minor. I love going to the symphony and the music that seriously pumps me up is...don't laugh...Beethoven's 5th Symphony (the 3rd and 4th movements). And so the thing that really hit me about Bordeaux is the feeling that the opera house--rather than the standard gothic cathedral--is the heart of the city. Its surrounding streets are all teeming with people seeming to emanate from the opera's plaza. Somehow, I think if cities had a pulse, Bordeaux's would be pumping to the tune of Mozart's 40th Symphony. And it was wonderful.

Place de la Com├ędie (in front of the opera)
But as if the classicism and nearly palpable musicality weren't enough, artsy types seem to be drawn to this gold-stoned city. The most common mode of transportation was bikes--I've never seen so many business men and women on two wheels in my life--and as I walked around the city on my own, I understood why; who would want to be trapped in a car when there is so much art to be seen?! Further, the city is just incredibly artsy-bike-rider friendly. To illustrate, here's a small sampling of the Bordeaux I instantly fell in love with.

Just a standard movie theater...!
And a standard city gate

Yeah, I think I could live in Bordeaux...

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Why I Will Never Live on the Riviera

Is that a heavenly light shining on my hotel room?
Might as well have been--it felt just like home!
Last weekend, we spent a few days on the Riviera--that idyllic piece of Mediterranean loveliness that has attracted people from all over the world for centuries. I've become particularly fond of Nice--it's bursting with color and history and it's officially the location of my new favorite hotel room. Why then, you might ask, would I never want to live in this enchanting city?

Do you see what I mean by color?

Well, it all started innocently enough. After a morning of rain, the sun finally decided to show its face and tempt us outside for a walk by the sea. We spotted a rickety old staircase at the bottom of a cliff and decided to try our chances skirting around the rocks and rolling waves to see what we could see. The boys ran down the standard stairs first, and I gaily traipsed after them down to the pebble-strewn beach.

There was a 20-something couple off to one side of us, but I didn't pay them any more attention than you normally pay to the average stranger. When I glanced over towards them, I saw the girl getting ready to pull her shirt off. I naturally assumed she had on a bikini or something underneath--what else would come to an unprepared mind? Imagine my momentary confusion when I realized she suddenly wasn't wearing anything at all... I just stood there for a second feeling like a very stupid and very embarrassed American. When I snapped back into gear, I rushed the boys back up the stairs as quickly as possible, ensuring that they didn't turn around and become pillars of salt...

What are the odds?! It was probably only 55 degrees that day, and that crazy woman was the only one on the whole beach to sport her summer swimming attire...and it just had to be right where we were. Alas--even March isn't a safe month for a walk on the Riviera. Oh well--I'll stick with my own beliefs on modesty and go off to explore friendlier shores! :)
Explore Roman ruins in your Sunday best? Sure! As long as it's far away from the beach... :)