Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Thanks to advances in modern technology, it's possible to view a few of the photos M took on our trip. They are to be found here:
Have fun, virtual travelers! Until next time!
Saturday, October 25, 2008
We have a very short day ahead of us. We leave Paris at 11:00am, arriving Copenhagen about 1:00pm. We leave Copenhagen at 3:30pm, and arrive Seattle 4:30pm. Sounds like an amazing flight, doesn't it? Something like 3,000 mph.
Friday, October 24, 2008
After that we walked along the Seine. Three times we encountered gypsies who had a new money-making scheme that we hadn't seen before. She or he pretends to find a gold ring on the sidewalk just as you are passing. She or he then asks if it is yours, with expressions of wonderment. Is it real gold? You can keep it - it's your lucky day! Somehow, they hope to get money out of the scheme. I guess we'll never know exactly how that would happen.
We finished up at Notre Dame for Vespers and Mass. Au revoir, et à bientôt!
Thursday, October 23, 2008
The cathedral is spectacular. It was briefly protestant after the Reformation. When it was reconquered by Catholic France, the king ordered that in every village where there were at least 7 Catholic families left, the choir would be Catholic and the nave would be Protestant. There are still 100 churches in Alsace-Lorraine that are shared between the two. We saw one here, though it looked to us like the Catholics got the nave and the choir, and the Protestants a side chapel.
There is a legend that the most beautiful carvings on the south side of the cathedral are the work of Sabine von Steinbach, the brilliant daughter of Erwin von Steinbach, the architect of parts of the cathedral.
One of the highlights of the cathedral is an enormous mechanical clock which features Christ and the Apostles, a crowing rooster, angels, death with his scythe, and much more. At 12:20, the clock comes to life: the apostles process past, bowing to Christ, and the rooster crows three times in remembrance of Peter and flaps his mechanical wings. Of course, since we arrived about 1:45 pm, we didn't get to see this happen. Eh, bien, c'est la vie.
After the cathedral, we went to two marvelous museums. They so prostrated us that it was all we could do to drag ourselves to the station, where we are sitting in a state of aesthetic torpor.
This train leaves from the Gare de l'Est. It was from here that 70,000 French Jews were deported during WW2, of whom 2500 returned. There is a memorial, but it is telling that the plaques were put up in this order: honoring the "patriots" who had been sent to work camps during the occupation - that was clearly put up in the 40's. Honoring the Jews - not until 1993. "Le chagrin et la pitie," indeed.
Now I'm going to read "Murder on the Orient Express," which I downloaded to my Kindle on purpose to read on the train. A bientot.
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
The Kindles are amazing. Thanks to them, we were able to read Msgr. Robert Hugh Benson's essay "Lourdes" last night. I think Lourdes hasn't changed much at all since then (1914).
After the jail, the chemin took us to the church where Bernadette was baptised. The church burned down, but the font is still there.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Saturday, October 18, 2008
Msgr Jacquin, the recteur of Notre Dame, was the presider. At one point during the homily (which he was not giving) he left his seat to speak with the choir director. Then he came back. He made it with time to spare, however, since the homily was given in French, then Spanish.
Now we're waiting for the garcon to bring our dinner. Here it is! More later!
Friday, October 17, 2008
Obamania is alive and well in Paris. There are many books about him in the shops and he is on the cover of many of the magazines. He's even on the cover of 'Sport,' with an article inside about how good he is at basketball. We bought ourselves a copy of 'Obama: une petite encyclopedie.' Some of the definitions are quite funny. For example, "fist bump: intraduisible."
On our way here we stopped at Shakespeare and Co. It has changed. They removed the bed on the second floor which was supposedly for impecunious artists to crash in. They also fixed the stairs. Maybe someone fell down the old ones and sued.
Now we're heading to the neighborhood of Les Halles to see the Centre Pompidou and get some lunch. J'ai bien faim, moi.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Paris has not changed much, except that they really cleaned up the exterior of N-D for the Pope's visit, with fresh paint on the doors. They also cleared out the yard behind the cathedral, which was formerly filled with fragments of medieval statuary. And they opened a Subway sandwich shop practically next door to Shakespeare and Co. Quelle horreur!
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Now we're bound for O'Hare, which we will have ample time to explore as our flight doesn't leave for quite some time.
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The parish is only 20 square blocks. It's full of violence and drugs; the pastor buried three kids under the age of 18 in the past 6 months. There are 600 houses in foreclosure and 60-70% of the kids drop out of high school.
The parish has all kinds of amazing programs for kids. But the pastor apologized at the beginning because they're not really a stewardship parish. After all, they are $1 million in debt and their weekly collection is only $5,000.
The next presentation is about a mega-parish. More than 6,000 families and more than 3,000 volunteers. (!!!)