In honour of The International Day of Peace

I share these photos today in honour of The International Day of Peace. They were taken in Paris, France on September 9, 2011. The Wall of Peace is far more beautiful than these humble pictures can represent. Created by artist Clara Halter and installed by architect Jean-Michel Wilmotte the monument offers up one simple, beautiful word -Peace- in 32 languages.  We happened upon it on the Champs de Mars near the École Militaire when visiting the Eiffel Tower. Installed in 2,000 as part of Millenium celebrations this monument was supposed to be dismantled after three months and yet it still stands.


 

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Urban Oasis

Parc de la Ciutadella in Barcelona, Spain.

If you are in the area of the Picasso Museum this parc is an easy walk. It’s not far from the Arc de Triomf which is another lovely, picteresque area.

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Marching up to Montmartre

Saturday we headed to Place de Tertre and the Sacré-Coeur Basilica to check out what has been called Paris’ last village. So many words to describe our visit: fun, crowded, entertaining, exhausting, colourful, vibrant, delicious and all around wonderful!

I have more pictures to share but shall quit while I’m ahead. The WiFi is good here (in Barcelona already) and I have been working on getting these pics up for a few days.

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Free Hugs and B-boys; a day at the Eiffel Tower

Friday we decided to take the advice of travel guru Rick Steeves and take the Trocadéro Métro stop (line #6 or #9) rather than the closest stop. I could sense some hesitation from Dave but I was sure of the decision and off we went. Turned out to be a fabulous idea. Upon rounding the corner of the Trocadéro building the first sight of the tower is breathtaking. The esplanade is a great place to sit and relax. You can’t beat the view and if you’re lucky you’ll be offered a free hug by someone from a group like this.

Free Hugs group

A young man approached us with a sign that said “Free Hugs”. My immediate response was “oui, merci”. Judging by the look on Dave’s face he didn’t know what to make of the whole thing. The guy gave us both a hug, said thanks & good day and was off to offer a little friendliness to someone else.

Personally I think our world would benefit from more human interaction, even fleeting moments of connection, and I think it takes a different sort of bravery to approach strangers with an offer of a hug. We are all on guard from pick-pockets etc.., that in our desire to be safe we don’t know where the balance is between common sense and an openess to living in the moment.

A free hug is a fabulous way to start a trip to the Eiffel Tower and while I don’t know this young man’s story I won’t forget him. He doesn’t know my story either and that might be the whole point….

Even if you don’t get a free hug you’ll get a photo op! Here are a few pics from our visit. It was a warm day, and bit sticky, day with sunny periods and clouds. I think the photos turned out alright!

We caught the warm up of a b-boy group about to busk with the Eiffel Tower as their backdrop. Seriously, how cool is that? Things were just getting started when they had a speaker malfunction:( I was really enjoying the blend of familar music and dance style with the French language pitch too. Alas, it was not meant to be. We decided to head off to Notre Dame and it was only on the train we realized the tower lights were turned on. I blame on the miles of walking!

Tonight we will catch the light show!

On the upside we did catch a fire busking show at Notre Dame which was amazing! It was very dark, we were close enough to see them and the church was lit up to the side providing just enough light.

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Photos of Reykjavik

Just lost my last post because I hit the wrong button! Here are some shots taken in Reykjavik, Iceland until I have time to rewrite.

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My happy place; Parc Güell

I have been longing to return to Parc Güell in Barcelona from the very moment I left 12 years ago.  I’m very excited about returning and showing Dave the parc. Pardon the cliche but it really is my happy place!

The video below does a lovely job of showing the parc in all it’s Modernisme glory but the thought of seeing the parc in 30 minutes is a bit chuckle-worthy. While I agree that one could see the parc in 30 minutes I have to scratch my head and wonder why anyone would bother to try.

Take time to lounge on the comfy serpentine bench that borders the upper terrace. We’re talking “stop and smell the roses” only it’s more like “stop and admire the mosaics!” You’ll be glad you did.

Escalinata de entrada del Park Güell

This open air building with the columns is a fabulous place to catch a live musical performance. Many performers have CDs available. Be sure to buy one to both share and relive some memories of your trip when you return home.

There is no way I could spend only 30 minutes here in this parc no matter how many tourists  are milling about.  There is a real peacefulness about this place, a connection to nature itself in a wild and colorful way, that makes even thinking of a rushed visit a sacrilege!

The video below has some wonderful footage of the parc.  Pay close attention at 3:30 when you see the public escalators in the middle of the street en route to the parc. I still remember the first time I saw the escaltors and what a welcome relief they were!

I suggest taking the train and walking up (and I’m talking UP) to the parc unless you have a health concern.  Life’s short and the walk/climb is an adventure in itself.  Take a water bottle for sure!

If you’d like more information on the parc click here.

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Visiting the Eiffel Tower

My answer to dear husband regarding the Eiffel Tower.

‘Nuff said I think!

Check out the convenient online ticket reservation system.

Costs* for adults:

  • €13,40 when taking the lift to the top
  • €4,70 will get you to the 2nd floor via the stairs
  • €8,20 is the charge for using the lift to the 2nd floor
  • *Paris Museum Pass does not cover the Eiffel Tower. Other rates for children and seniors available here.

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