Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: pigeon

The last week of 2011

During the last week of 2011, 16 members from the Bordeaux Chinese Christian Fellowship (Groupe Chrétien Chinois de Bordeaux), including those who are no longer in Bordeaux, attended a winter Christian gospel camp that took place in Nouans-le-Fuzelier, a tiny village south of Paris. The 4-day event brought together some 150 attendees from various parts of France, with special guests from Taiwan and the US. It was an unforgettable experience – almost every moment was filled with something to do, and it almost felt like there was a little…too much.

In the midst of four fully-scheduled days of seminars, workshops, games, shows, and interactions at the gospel camp, I would sometimes escape from the crowd to linger in a quiet place by myself. It was no doubt fun to be with so many enthusiastic, passionate, energetic people my age, but some peaceful personal time was much desired and required.

Nouans-le-Fuzelier was, if I may risk offending anyone, in the middle of nowhere. I think the location was chosen intentionally over say, a big city like Paris, so that even though we spent most of our days with other people, we were able to embrace the beauty of nature while renewing our hearts and our minds, away from the suffocation of noise, pollution, and stress. In turn, we were able to truly draw closer to our God, our creator.

Here are some pictures that I took while I was spending some time by myself.

The night before we headed to Nouans-le-Fuzelier, the group from the Bordeaux Chinese Christian Fellowship stayed at a church near Aubervilliers in Greater Paris. This was the view outside the entrance. Truly nothing too spectacular, but the vivid blue sky that night and the mystic clouds gave the whole landscape a feeling of calmness and serenity.

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Paris, days 1 and 2

On December 27th, 2010, I embarked on a 4-day journey to Paris, the first European city visited outside of Bordeaux. Paris was actually not my first choice, but considering that I still haven’t received my residence permit, I settled for Paris in order to avoid any potential issues regarding re-entrance into France.

Paris, the city of lights, is supposedly the most romantic city in the world.

It was overrated.

Okay, I don’t mean to burst anyone’s bubble or sound pessimistic, but if I were to sum up my trip in one sentence, it would be exactly that. That is not to say I did not enjoy my trip, nevertheless. I will never say a trip “sucked” because I think any travel to a new city is worth the experience, regardless of whether it met your expectations or not. If the city turns out to be completely different than what you imagined it to be, that is all the more reason to be fascinated, because you are breaking out of your limited bubble and truly seeing the world for yourself. That is why I love travelling.

Some general observations:

  • The trains are very old.
  • Candy was right, Paris smells. And it was dirty.
  • City of Light is not an overstatement though. The lights at night were indeed impressive.

Now, prepare for some photo-spam. Mouseover each photo for a brief description and click on it for a larger version. Ready, set, go.

Notre-Dame de Paris

This was the first thing I saw as I wandered out of the metro for the first time. I was actually supposed to be looking for my hotel near Les Invalides, but I decided to be a little adventurous and head out at the St-Michel – Notre-Dame RER station. I didn’t expect the cathedral to be staring right at my face as I exited, but alas, it was there.

Notre-Dame wasn’t one of the buildings that I intended to go into, so I stayed outside and observed the line of people as it moved along into the cathedral. Its grandeur, viewed from the outside, was quite impressive, and I especially liked how it was situated right along the Seine. Right next to Notre-Dame is Hôtel-Dieu, the oldest hospital in Paris.

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