#57 on my 101 Things in 1,001 Days List was to read all of Seth Godin’s books. I was already about halfway done, when I added this to my list, but then he just kept on writing books! Give a girl a break, and let me catch up! ;) If you’re unfamiliar with Godin, he’s a best-selling marketing and business author who writes “bite size” marketing books and a blog.
My favorite book of the 12 is Small Is the New Big: and 183 Other Riffs, Rants, and Remarkable Business Ideas. I like how this book is divided into alphabetized one page blurbs. While not all 183 are “remarkable” ideas, it’s a great way to bring you out of the details of getting things done on a day-to-day basis. It adds a little caffeine to your marketing day. This book is better listened to than read. I really enjoy listening to an audio book that’s narrated by the author, because it’s much more personal and you feel like you’re getting the right tone/inflections.
I just finished his last book, Tribes — We Need You to Lead Us. As usual, it was a quick read and resonated with me in a Gandhi sort of way, “be the change you want to see in the world”. This book isn’t on how to be a better leader, just about deciding to lead. I think my favorite thing was going to read the review on Amazon and finding this in the Editorial Review section:
“The advice found in this book should be used with caution. Change isn’t made by asking permission, Godin says. Change is made by asking forgiveness, later. That may be true, but in this economy and in certain corporations, it may also be a good way to lose a job.” –Publishers Weekly
Hilarious! Seth Godin, are you laughing?
My only critique with Godin’s writing is that he’s often too quick to dismiss stable and “boring” businesses. There’s a time and place for unconventional (that’s why it’s not called “conventional”). For example, I don’t want my toilet paper to be hip and clever– it’s just toilet paper. And it doesn’t matter how “outside the box” your company is if you’re still unprofitable. I am a huge fan of his books though, I just like to take everything with a grain of salt. :)
So we left on the Eurostar to London at 8am. Ended up just buying breakfast on the train, and it was pretty good! It was really cool getting to London so early and thankfully we were able to check right in at our hotel, which was awesome so we got to unpack stuff and just chill for a ½ hour or so before we started being tourists again! :)
So our first stop of the day was the British Museum. I took way to many pictures and you could seriously spend days there. We ended up eating lunch there, which was actually a good choice (referencing the horrible lunch at the British Library on our first day in London last month!) Then we started looking around. We started with the Egyptian stuff – the Rosetta Stone was so amazing. I know, I know it’s just a rock, but it was like THE language link and since I was totally into hieroglyphics in the sixth grade… it was very cool. Another highlight was all the mummies, absolutely crazy! I also saw a bunch of the Greek and Assyrian stuff too, but I took pictures which are much more interesting…
So after the British Museum we took the Underground over to the Tate Modern on the Southbank of the Thames. We spent several hours there too. I think it was my favorite museum of the trip! The 3rd and 5th floors have all of the modern art and it’s just crazy because it’s all so different. You turn a corner and you’re in some stupid room that has bricks lined up on the floor and you’re like “What the crap, that’s not art” and that’s what I love about the Tate Modern, because art is different things to different people. So now that I’ve been to the Orsay in Paris and the Tate Modern in London, I’ve officially seen all the art I ever need to see. ;) I was especially excited to see the Lichtenstein, Warhol, Dali, Mondrian, and Pollock pieces. I find it very interesting how people “museum” so differently. I usually go through each room pretty quickly without reading about each piece unless it catches my attention. And the pieces I know or am really fascinated by I read about and space out staring at for ages.
So after the Tate Modern, we were all super hungry. So we walked around “The Cut” neighborhood and ended up eating at this really interesting restaurant and I don’t remember what kind of food it was. It was really similar to Lebanese food, but it wasn’t that country. :) I had baklava for dessert, perfect! After dinner we walked to the London Eye. Apparently it goes around for 45 minutes, but it didn’t seem that long at all! It was really fun though.
So today we went to the same bakery and the same McDonald’s, lol. Then we headed to the Arc de Triomphe and did the Champs-Elysees walk. We climbed to the top of the Arc de Triomphe, 284 steps (I didn’t count them, I read that in the Rick Steve’s book, when I was trying to spell Triomphe). It’s an awesome view of Paris because it’s where 12 streets meet – very symmetrical views. Then we walked down the Champs-Elysees, which is pretty much just a famous shopping street. We stopped at the Peugeot store and I bought this cool squished glass and I also took pictures of the cars. We also stopped at Sephora, the cosmetics place, but it was not too interesting. However, the McDonalds was rather entertaining. I don’t go to McDonald’s in the US, but I felt compelled to in France… well to use the bathroom anyway.
Then we went to the Orsay Museum which was so neat. I’m pretty sure that it’s the biggest Impressionist collection anywhere! I think I’ve now seen all the famous paintings I know of :) Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet, Manet, Cezanne… yay! :)
Then we walked past Napoleon’s Tomb and all the way back to the Rue Cler area before we found somewhere to eat that looked good and was open. :( Sundays are difficult! Then we walked back to Napoleon’s Tomb. It was interesting, but not amazing. We also checked out the Army museums since we were right there. Very cool! I took lots of pictures.
So if we hadn’t already done enough walking and stair climbing… we went to the Eiffel Tower. ;) The line was HUGE. So we decided to just walk the first 1/3 of the tower, which was only 3 euros. Then we bought a ticket for the elevator on the next level. I love not waiting in lines. So the view was super cool, but I don’t feel like I would really ever want to go back. To me the Eiffel Tower is just one of those things you go and see and yeah it’s cool, but it’s not super exciting. I just don’t get why everyone thinks Paris is so romantic, it’s just a regular big city, but with snobbier people. ;) I’m such a Debbie-Downer of a traveler, I should write a travel guide: “Well I can check the Eiffel Tower off my list and the Mona Lisa was a lot smaller than I thought.” So after the Eiffel Tower we walked around and then headed back to the hotel. I ended up getting pizza near the hotel. It was really good, but then again I was really, really hungry. Off to London…
Started the day off with pastries and McDonald’s… what? Yes… McDonald’s coffee. We went to the bakery across the street and I got pan raisin and an apricot pastry and then to the McDonald’s next door for cheap coffee. Then we did the Historic Paris walk from the Notre Dame around the south bank of the Seine and back up to Sainte-Chapelle.
Then we caught a train to Versailles. It was such a fun afternoon! First we got to skip the 2 hour line and go straight in, thank you Paris Museum Pass. :) The Museum Pass is absolutely perfect for me since I’m extremely cheap and extremely impatient! So first we toured the whole palace and then walked out to the gardens. It was 6 euros to get in to the gardens, but so worth it because of the fountains and classical music that played for 2 ½ hours. We ate lunch on the grass and then walked around to all the fountains. Then I got ice cream which I managed to finish while waiting in line for the bathroom (it was a 30 min. wait!) At 5:00 the fountains and music stopped so we rented bikes for an hour and biked all the way around the lake and gardens! It was soooo much fun, and an awesome breeze on such a hot day. The bikes had these cool bells too, so you can ring as a passed people. After we took the bikes back we walked back to the train station and headed back to Paris.
We got off at the Montmartre stop and went to dinner at this little restaurant L’Ete en Pente Douce, below the Sacre-Coeur on the hill. One of my favorite meals of the trip! I had tofu lasagna and it was awesome. Then we finished walking up the hill and went in to the Sacre-Coeur. We made it in just before they closed the gates, so we got to walk around and then we watched street performers at outside before walking back down to the Metro.
So I woke up way to early, showered, added a few things from the fridge to the “give-away” pile and then headed to St. Charles station. My pack is mysteriously heavier than on the way over. I can’t figure it out. All I have extra is 1 bottle of wine and 2 tank tops AND I think I actually used a few things… oh well. :( So I napped and did Sudoku puzzles on the way to Paris.
We got a 10 trip metro pass and then headed to our hotel. It’s way out on the east side, but it’s really nice so I’m sure we’ll survive. So after that we headed to the Louvre. We bought the 4 day Paris Museum Pass on the way there for 45 euros. It lets you skip the ticket line at most museums. So we walked right in to the Louvre instead of standing in line! We ended up splitting up which was really good because I have more fun at museums just wandering instead of trying to keep track of where the group is. :) So I spent most of my time in the paintings section. And of course I saw the Mona Lisa, but didn’t wait in line because you could see it on either side of the line!
After the Louvre we headed to the Rue Cler area to eat before we met up with everyone at Chris’ hotel around 9. I stopped at a gelato stand after. :) Then we headed to the Eiffel Tower and it was much to late to stake out a great spot so we ended up waaaaay back, but I think any spot was still a good view. So we used our maps as seats and waited for the show. I must say that fireworks at the Eiffel Tower were better than any Independence Day celebration I have ever seen! They play classical songs during the fireworks. It most certainly beat our cheesy rock montage in the US. After the fireworks we swam through the masses to the metro and headed “home.”