Sunday, November 30, 2014

Paris & London 2014 (Day 3) 

First real morning in Paris actually. But it is already Day 3 of our trip!

Woke up to a lazy morning. Had a breakfast of bread. Figured we'd laze around for quite a bit. When we finally did go out, we ended up in a Farmer's Market and my friend had so much fun shopping. Well, I bought myself some almond cookies too. You might be wondering why I bought almond cookies... well they looked nice and buttery lol.

After that we sauntered over to Notre Dame, but along the way we decided to have lunch. We stopped at this place called Del Arte and had lunch there. I had Tagliatelle Carbonara. It was quite nice. We also shared a 4 cheese pizza. Nice! After lunch, we continued on to Notre Dame.

Along the way, we came across the Sainte-Chapelle. Turns out that it was King Louis IX of France's Chapel. It has a lot of stained glass windows, so anyone who loves stained glass should definitely come here for a visit! The windows on the upper level are huge and sprawling. Such a contrast to the cosy chapel on the lower level.

After visiting Sainte-Chapelle, we moved on to Notre Dame.

As we approached the Crypt Archaelogie, I was reminded of the Parkour video clip that fans had mode fro Assassin's Creed: Unity. It felt super cool to be standing in the area where this video was shot... just because!!

Although we had intended to visit Nore Dame, we gave up the thought when we saw the queue because we had a concert to attend that night. We opted to walk around the area instead which was quite pretty as well. Definitely many photos were taken. You could see all the gothic design elements that went into Notre Dame. No hunchback here though!!

When you come by Notre Dame, please be sure to give the external parts of the building a look. It's really pretty outside too!

After the walk round Notre Dame, we walked back to our accomodation and picked up the tickets to the night's concert that our host kindly printed out for us! She is such a lovely person!

Around 6 pm, we started our way over to Malesherbes metro station. The concert venue was ridiculously close such that I could not believe that I had already reached the location. Less than 5 mins walk from the metro, and we arrived at the Salle Cortot, which was a really initimate location for A New World, which is branded as being an intimate experience.

I was surprised that they chose to open with One Winged Angel because it was a ensemble set up and One winged Angel is a 'large' piece in the sense that it should typically be played by an orchestra or a rock band setup. However, just as Arnie Roth says, no FF concert can happen without One Winged Angel (Ya, you know all the poser FF7 fans) and so i guess it's great that they opened with it just to show us what the ensemble is capable of.

The ensemble was pretty good, though when Troia (FF4) was played, I got miffed at the cellist for what I felt was his screwing up of the piece. It was a cello / guitar duet, but I though a few spots were off for the cello.

I was also extremely pleased that they chose to end with The Red Wings from FF4. I can hardly imagine a concert ever getting closed by a FF4 piece cos FF4 is such a low profile installment of the Final Fantasy series. But it is my favourite. So I was preening in glee when it was played, and I think the ensemble was quite ok (apart from an annoying wind instrument).

And in a concert such as this, would you have ever considered the fact that there would not be an encore? IMPOSSIBLE! So the encore happened. Force Your Way from FF8. My second favourite FF!! This just keeps getting better. And so, I gave them a standing ovation, not because the ensemble played extremely well, but because they ended with The Red Wings and Force Your Way... and then they came up withh One Winged Angel again. Typical. But I like :)

And so, it was a lovely night in chilly Paris. Anything with FF can only be magical.

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Paris and London 2014 (Day 1 & 2) 

And so this long awaited (really didn't feel all that much excitement on this trip actually, too many other stuff going on) trip finally materialised.

I've been telling my friend that we should go to West End to watch musicals and we are FINALLY doing it!!

Finding accommodation has been challenging because there are 3 of us.. so it's a little hard to find places that have 3 proper beds for us. However, we managed to book accomodations.

Our flight to Paris involved a transit in KL. I hate the internet connection in KL because it's so iffy. Also caused me to miss Eat Sleep Knit's Black Friday sales. ANNOYED.

We took SQ to KL, and from KL we took Air France to Paris. We arrived the following morning at around 0600 hrs. Way too early to check in at our accomodation and I was having problems trying to contact the host as well since my mobile data connection wasn't working on my portable wifi. I had to be opportunistic and used free wifi. Also, after my first sms sent to the host, I could not send any more SMSes... annoying. But no choice so we had to rough it out a bit. We were slacking in the airport till about 8 am, then we proceeded into the city and walked around the area where we were going to stay. Up and down and all around, since we had a few hours to kill. We spent some time munching on goodies at Paul's, then dicovered a Mac's and ate there (Chicken, Bacon and Fried Onions!)

We also went to the Gardens of Luxembourg, which is right by the Palace of Luxembourg. It's not as Charlottenburg but then again there are many more palaces that I have yet to see. We just spent some time there chilling out... watching the miniature horse (or pony maybe) take the children on rides.

We finally managed to check in to our accomodation at around 1610hrs. It's up these set of winding stairs. And I mean plural because these stairs aren't even connected to each other. I expected stairs but truth be told these stairs really posed a challenge to those who bring oversized luggages. Luckily I managed to bring my luggage up safe and sound and silently. We just felt like we had to be silent.

After checking in, we went to get groceries and dinner.

Tomorrow, we attend the Final Fantasy Concert!

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