Thursday, August 18, 2011

PBP and Trip to Versailles

Today after breakfast most people headed off to see some sights. Dad and I caught the train to Versailles and walked to the Chateau. On the other hand, the Seattle Rando group apparently went for a 90 mile ride, guess they can't get enough.

In front of the entrance were these tall (22 meters) curved features on either side of the path.
The inscription said 85.5 X 16 which did not make much sense at the time. We had bought our tickets at the info center so we would not have to wait in line to buy them at the Chateau. Here is the line for people that had pre purchased tickets.
At least it moved quickly and we did not have to wait to buy the tickets and then get in this line.

Versailles is completely over the top, not unlike the Forbidden City in Beijing, but with different tastes. Here is dad taking a picture through the ornate front gate.
In China you hire a tour guide for about $15 for a specific location, here is our tour guide for Versailles,
In the opening corridor there are sculptures of loads of important figures from French history lining the walls and a couple of them are in repose.
The chapel with the over the top ceiling and organ,
The original "Hall of Mirrors", kind of like the play house ones but not quite.
Incredibly ornate carvings in the ceiling,
In China most of the interior work was done in wood and the marble was reserved for outdoor spaces, in Versailles there is tons of stone inside.

Military guarding the garden with with semi-automatic weapons,
It is striking the difference between the Asian gardens and the one at Versailles. In China it seems like they try to imitate what they like about nature for the gardens, while in Versailles they force nature into forms that suit what they want.
Here is another of the curved sculptures. This one 216.5 X 5, meaning there are 5, 216.5 degree arcs making up the sculpture.
More forcing nature into something it is not, which way do we go?
The garden is huge, if there was no one else there or you did not have a map it would be very easy to get lost. The shear size dictates special "tools" for the gardeners as well,
After we returned and rested we checked out the bike room here at the hotel. It is starting to get crowded,
There is a whole crew on matching bikes with matching bike boxes. They are from the Philippines and they are the David's Salon women's team. I guess David is a British ex-pat who runs a chain with 400 shops, in 2007 after PBP he offered to pay for the trip for any of his employees that rode and qualified.....not a bad job perk, in addition they will do a week long cycling tour of England after PBP is done.

We then checked out the bike room over at the main hotel, closer to the start than ours,
Bike boxes stacked to the ceiling and barely anywhere to walk. I have no idea how you would get your bike out if it was against the wall.

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