I must start this series of blogs with an apology. What follows will at times be a diatribe of blather, thanks to most of the memories being week-old by the time I actually got round to putting together the posts. Nonetheless, I hope there's something enjoyable about them.
For all of nine days, I had been building up to August 6th, the day I would first experience the apparent wonder that is
Another dream of mine has been to “do” Europe by train, so shortly after 9am, we pulled out of Meldreth train station bound for the line’s terminus at King’s Cross/ St. Pancras Intl. After arriving in
The “departures lounge” pleasingly didn’t offer the plethora of duty-free junk seen at most airports, merely offering a coffee shop, sandwich bar and news-agent. Likewise, the lounge itself refrained from becoming a human cattle-pen, instead providing well-spaced seating, the same of which would be true aboard the Eurostar itself. Indeed, as we whizzed to
Gare du Nord itself greeted us with a whole-hearted, hot and sweaty handshake and by the time we managed to weave through its sprawling mass to the D-Line, towards Gare de Lyon, our knees were beginning to quiver, not purely due to the prospects of the city beyond that awaited us. After a similarly exhausting discovery of the maze that is Gare De Lyon, we basked in sweat-stained relief. Our hotel beckoned.
An urgent “fresh-up” was required but soon we were on our way with no real aim or direction. Intending to sample the famous Velido scheme of
This perception is in contrast not only to the immediate area, which is brimming with buskers and bustling cafes but also to the galleries and exhibitions of the Pompidou. The two most striking galleries occupied the top two floors, which also commanded fantastic views over
The 6th floor exhibition contained the most contemporary of abstract, socialist-themed art. There seemed to be an emphasis on destiny for directions and guidance were nowhere to be seen. Highlights included a praying Hitler and a darkened room titled only as “Punishment.” My feet were shaking as a meandered back into the humid confines of the exterior escalator. Contemporary art can be awesome, immediately thought-provoking or dull, bland and cheap. The exhibition entirely fulfilled the former category but unfortunately parts of the gallery below our jelly-legs didn’t evoke that quivering wonder bestowed by its literal and metaphorical higher-ups. That isn’t quite fair – Miroslav Vichy’s exhibition was fascinating. To think that his photographs were produced entirely from homemade camera equipment shows the ingenuity and mastery
Once we actually made it tour intended destination, the scents and sights of the