Monday, 4 September 2006

Tales of the Left Bank

I didn’t have much time to take knit in Paris. Or to take photos. Or do anything, for that matter, except study. I would really love every summer holiday I have for the next little while to involve going to Paris for a few weeks and studying at the Alliance Française, but next time I wouldn’t sign up to the Super Intensive course. And I would try not to stay in a youth hostel for two weeks. One of my favourite holiday moments comprised doing homework until eleven at night, lying awake listening to insane Dutch teenagers simulate sex across our shared courtyard until 3 a.m., getting up at six to write an essay thinking I’d have some peace and quiet and half an hour later being treated to hard trance and periodic cries of ‘Good morning Vietnam!’ courtesy of the same party of thirty-nine fourteen-year-olds. (At least I hope they were fourteen. Otherwise, if I were them I’d be very embarrassed).

Anyway, here is my random collection of photos. I thought they were mostly things that I noticed on my way to or from school, but it turns out I have more photos that I feel compelled to share with you than I'd thought, so these are the ones that could vaguely count towards something like scenery.

My walk to school every day either took me past the front of the Sorbonne,

or if I turned up the street that ran along its side I could read the names of all the sciences I could study there. My favourite, of course:

Not sure you can read it, but it says Anatomie. (I also found the medical school, the medical school street, the medical school bookshop, the museum of ancient medicine, the shop selling white coats, green hats and clogs... I managed to include them in lots of my journeys, but saved going in for when I've actually started studying. Obviously, I'll have to go back soon).

Walking back from school I'd often go through the Luxembourg Gardens, particularly if it was sunny.

I loved seeing people of all ages and walks of life sitting on chairs around the patches of lawn or by the lake, and children sailing their little wooden boats:

The small patch of sky and neighbourhood visible from my bedroom window:

Note the walls perfectly positioned for maximum echo reflection.

Views from my classroom windows:

These seemed so typically Parisian to me, and seeing them nearly every day made them feel like my little corner of the city.

What's that you say? You're not really here to look at my holiday snaps? You thought I'd said something about knitting? Er, well, I might have done, once. I had these great intentions you see...

Oh, right, it's in the banner. Right. Well um, yeah. Knitting it is then.

Er, yes. I guess my knitting news could kindly be called pathetic. I spent my first evening arranging my collection of inherited dpns.

Having turned to them in desperation when I still couldn't find those needles I bought the week my memory was on holiday, they suddenly seemed much less steely and intimidating when I had a wonderful way to arrange them.

I achieved exactly this much progress on a sock:

I spent ages practising with some other yarn, swatching, and doing calculations, and then managed to start knitting the thing inside out. I do this quite often when starting socks, and every time I cast on I think really hard about it, but I still manage to make the mistake over and over again. I also always cast on over two needles, but with this fine yarn it looks so silly that when this is ripped and rebegun I'll cast onto a slightly bigger needle and hope that that's stretchy enough.

I did find time to buy some yarn, however. You'll be amused and somewhat alarmed to learn that the reason I didn't buy more had scant relation to the small incovenience of having less than no money, and only came about because I couldn't have fitted another skein into my suitcase. This is it before I'd put in half of my clothes:

Right, now it really is about time I did some knitting in order to stop myself from being buried underneath my stash.


Daphne said...

I hate how difficult it is to bring home treats from vacation! However, the pictures are lovely and remind me of my one trip abroad, to Paris of course.

Marie said...

I love the view from your classroom window. I would have never heard a word of the lesson for staring at all the wonderfully interesting tiers of windows and angles. :) At least the hostel experience makes for a story afterwards...
Are you going to show off your purchases? I'm very curious. :)

Ashley said...

Oh, Paris. I'm with Marie--no learning would have taken place, because I would have been too busy just looking.

Rachel said...

Lovely pictures!!! I'm so jealous of your trip (although maybe not of your youth hostel experience). I would gladly trade the ability to receive Knitpicks shipments for the ability to jaunt over to Paris so easily.

Laura said...

i love the pictures of paris! the first time i went there, i stayed in a hotel very near the sorbonne, and i went to the jardins du luxembourg every day. it is possibly my very favorite place on earth. wordsworth had his daffodils, and i have the jardins du luxembourg. :)

meowgirl said...

sigh... looks like a wonderful trip; i'm delighted for you but envious. your visits to the "anatomie" building and medical school street are adorable.

what was your Alliance Française course like? did you enjoy it?

phildar yarn! does this mean there are phildar sweaters in queue?