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Saturday, October 28, 2006

July Trip
22/7 - Reims/Bayeux

When I got on the night train at Avignon, I wondered if I'd been cheated. I'd paid for a couchette, yet what I saw in front of me was just a chair. A chair that could recline at a 45 degree angle, but a chair nonetheless. Perhaps, I thought, this was what a 2nd class couchette was, and I should've gotten a real, 1st class one. In any case, I made the best of it, not least since it was better than !@#$ Eurolines.

The golden rule of seat allocation didn't seem to have been followed - I saw one guy sleeping on all 4 seats on his row, while other rows had 3/4 seats filled. The guy beside me didn't have his phone on silent mode, and it rang more than once. Gah.

When I got off the train in the morning at Reims, I found that I'd gotten on the wrong car, which was why I hadn't gotten the couchette that I'd paid for. I must've been misled by the LCD which said which letter of the voie each car would be at, and instead of car 62 ('couchettes') I got up car 63 ('sieges inclinables'). My sleep had been alright, but I was just annoyed at myself on principle.

There weren't left luggage services, so I lugged my backpack (~9kg?) and smaller bag around the city on foot.

Fontaine Sude

Joan of Arc

Tourism office - I wonder if it's fake

On perusing the information at Tourist Information (which had no idea about left luggage), I found that there were more World Heritage Sites than I thought: the Saint-Remi abbey-museum (unfortunately only ope at 2, after the time I'd have left by), the Saint-Remi Basilica, Notre Dame (of course) and the Tau Palace. There were lots of other interesting-sounding things but I had just under half a day, no left luggage facilities and the Saint-Remi places were too far. Ah well. Anyhow, the cathedral was da bomb.

Notre Dame, where Clovis and friends were baptised

Side view


There were lots of tri-lingual information panels. Unlike in some neighboring countries.

'The annointing with the holy oil links the King of France to the Kings of Israel and especially to DAVID. He is above all the Sovereign of the New Covenant who is to lead another chosen people, the Franks.' - Perhaps there were translation issues, but maybe they have delusions of grandeur (and someone is betraying La République Française).

Stained glass over entrance (Rose Portal?)

There was a disgusting piece of modern stained glass by a Marc Chagail, the writeup to which went: "At a time when art seemed devoid of any biblical content or inspiration, this great modern artist, raised on the Holy Books from his infancy, devoted many of his works to it". Bah.


Choir stand

Stained glass at the far end of the Nave. It was hard to view properly even with the naked eye.

'Chapel of the Holy Sacrament. Please keep silent in this place. Why don't you spend a moment here to pray, to thank God...' - I love European English.

I saw a black woman with the most hideous hair. The first description which came to mind was Medusa. Nay, Medusa had better hair - this woman's hair looked like it had the texture of brain lobes (yes, there were the folds), so it looked like she was wearing her brain on her head.

More stained glass over the entrance. This should be to the right of the main portal.

This should be the Rose Window again.

Italian chuch walls were filled with chapels, frescoes and paintings, yet French ones seemed bare. Probably it was Revolutionary damage.

The difference in lighting between areas with stained glass and areas with clear glass made me wonder about the supposed airiness of the Gothic style. But I suppose it's all relative.

Reims was probably one epitome of the Gothic style.

Churches in Italy ask you to cover your shoulders. But how about other parts? How about midriff-baring and cleavage-exposing outfits?

It's always nice when they play organs in the church. It adds to the atmosphere (I think this means it was playing when I was there)

There was this girl in Italy who was wearing a top the back of which looked like a shark had taken several bites out of (perhaps while the previous owner of the outfit had been wearing it, and this one had picked it upwhen the body was washed ashore). In other words, her back was bare except for strings crossing her back and linking both sides together. If you were to expose your flesh, more power to you, but this is beyond a matter of decency - concerns of tastelessness aside, it was just downright ugly.
Aside, comments on the first sentence: "your phrasing is pompous and ineleagant"
"convoluted sentence. it's as if i'm reaidng some judgment! be gone!"
"splitting your tenses.. well."


Virgin of the Assumption above the main portal, to whom the Cathedral was dedicated. I particularly liked the carving in the Reims Notre Dame. I think Notre Dame in Paris was good too, but thanks to the Cock I have no frame of reference.

The figures to the right of the main portal are unique in having angels with open wings. Or something.

Angels to the left of the door to the left of the main portal

I'm calling this the side portal but it looks like it's been bricked up, or was never a portal.

More cathedral views

There was a shop near the cathedral where someone got me some shirts, including the doubly haram one (a less Haram version had a French flag in place of the glass of wine). There was a nice shirt with a sculptural fragment on it, but it was available in kids' sizes only.

The Tau Palace sounded like it had lots of good stuff, including the Cathedral Treasury. Ah well. Better to visit the Cathedral sans Treasury than neither.

The spirit of love was in the air in Reims, as it was in Paris, with PDA. I saw a guy kissing a girl on a street. That in itself was nothing spectacular, but he also fondled (as opposed to pinched) her butt.
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