Friday, April 22, 2005

Bloody Anglos, Liking all that Art*(**)

Today's adventure was originally a plan to visit Johnny's parents' beach house, however Mother Nature thwarted the brilliant idea. This left us wondering what we should do.

After all the different travel books I bought, DM and I had a couple of ideas. We mentioned the Gulbenkian Museum. Johnny dropped us off near the entrance and DM and I were in for a treat. Once we headed inside, we purchased tickets for the different museums. Who knew we would only make it to the first exhibit and not even to the other building?

One of the things I love about DM (or Deya, as she is now going by), is the fact that she can appreciate art just as much as I can. We both enjoy exploring exhibits on holiday (ah, yes, the bloody Queen's English is infecting my hick talk - oh wait, I'm from Minnesota, maybe just my o's are getting shorter). This time was no different.

We were able to purchase tickets (thankfully most Porties speak English. This is helpful because rat bastard, bacon, and thank you do not get you very far.) The exhibit had displays from the Ancient Egyptian era, the Greco-Roman era, Oriental eras, and European eras. It was fabulous. Absolutely fabulous.

One of the attendants nicely answered our question about cameras. As long as we didn't use the flash, we could click away to our heart's desire. Believe me, we did! DM's batteries died part way through the exhibit so I had my trusty digital and kept snapping and snapping. She would occasionally point out a display and ask for a picture or two to be taken.

I loved the displays. The ultimate highlight for me though was the Claude Monet painting, The Ice Break. It was not behind glass and I could walk right up to the painting, seeing the beauty of individual strokes that create such a gorgeous painting. I was able to use my camera to capture the moment, to show how I like to focus on individual parts of the picture. Our trip to Las Vegas last year was amazing and I know my favourite highlight was the Monet exhibit at the Bellagio, but postcards and prints of the pictures do little justice. To admire Monet, I feel the need to look at the strokes that make up the whole. And I was able to do this again today with the bonus of capturing the moment the way I like to view the paintings.

DM took many pictures before the batteries passed out (she's working them to the bone! Or maybe she's whipping them to work and they will bleed battery acid. Something like that.) Her photography is brilliant and she grabs moments I would not think to record for posterity. As I viewed the pictures later, I saw how "pale" I truly am. Some may say I'm ghostlike, or partially invisible. Maybe I'm just the fastest woman on the planet.

Enjoy! These are all pictures DM took today at the museum.

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I'm heading Back to the Future and history is changing. Oh no, my leg is disappearing! How ever will I wear my fabulous red boots again?

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It's the Flash! I have become the fastest woman on the planet. Even humming birds have nothing on me!

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Anyone up for Poker? You know, come on, let's play some Poker Guys! Or we could watch a scary novie with ghosts and crazy antics. Who wants to be the dumb blonde running through the woods with a mid-riff and big boobs? No, Matt, you can't play that part!

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These are figures created by the Chinese. The detail is amazing and this is really a great picture taken by DM. She does have an eye for photos, it is just once in awhile the shot is a bit out of focus.

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And here are more items on display in the Oriental art section. The entire exhibit is quite stunning and brilliant and worth the time and Euros.

After we checked out the exhibit (with more pictures coming, but probably once I get home), DM and I stopped at the coffee shop downstairs. It was an á la carte little shop with delicious pastries and bread. We sampled a couple of the different items and ate healthily by getting yogurt and fruit and Coke Light. Coke Light tastes like Pepsi. Once we had filled our tummies, we wandered over to the gift shop and purchases a few fun arty items (bookmarks, postcards, posters, and I bought a book on the museum.)

A very pleasant guard explained to me that there is another exhibit, free of charge, featuring 700 years of Persian Art. We made the time to check out that exhibit and drooled over the beautiful artifacts.

Our day at the museum was topped off with our adventure to make it back to Johnny's flat. We were to take the subway back and this was an experience in itself. First of all, we had problems finding the subway entrance! It only took asking three separate people for directions before we finally found it. It is not that anyone's directions were wrong, but no one actually gave us distance. It's good to say, "Take a right," but if you don't know after HOW far to take the right, you have a problem. But we did find the M that signalled the Metro.

Once inside the station, we purchased our tickets (better believe they've been saved for scrapbooking!) and waited for the train to arrive. It did and we hopped aboard! We actually had a transfer and made it safely home. How amazing is that?!? Because DM and I are both known globally for our senses of direction. Yes, that's the ticket. Thankfully, subway trains really only have one path. They don't veer off randomly like buses do. (That reminds me, sometime I will write about my bus experience in Germany. The one where I got to use the phrase, "Ich bin ein Foreigner und ich spreche nicht gut Deutsch" (please forgive the horrible spelling, my German is a bit rusty and I have no clue if the gender is correct in that sentence anymore)).

On the second train, a man entered and DM and I experienced a panhandler. He boarded with speakers and an accordian. Yes, I typed accordian. He played classic songs, such as "My Way", and collected a few coins from passengers. He got off at a stop sooner than us and I caught DM smiling inwardly to herself, just as I had been.

Our stop arrived (also it is easy to find the correct stop when it is the LAST stop on the line). Before we had left the subway cars, I found myself thinking of Carol. For a few moments, we each had to strap-handle for balance. We left the car and headed up to ground level. Then it was time to make our way back to Johnny's. She had drawn us a map and it worked! We were able to find the flat, even though we were not entirely sure we exited the subway station on the correct side. But we had!

Once back at the flat, we relaxed and ate a delicious dinner. It is getting late and we're off to bed. There are more stories from the day to tell, but we'll get to those later.


*Johnny keeps calling us Anglos.

**Do you realize how hard it is to get used to a keyboard set up for a different language? The first couple of posts and comments, DM and I both used the accent key instead of the apostrophe key. Oops. It took me a bit to find the asterisk key. But I did! Yea me!