Sunday, April 02, 2006

From Amsterdam, to Lucern, to Innsbruck, and now Venice #_#

Needless to say, I'm already exhausted (just look at the title), and our actual tour of Europe has just begun! We still have about week and some left X.X ~that's right. Anyways, I have taken lots of different pictures (and I promised long ago I would post my favorites--so look for my upcoming post--it will include photos--finally).

A few nights ago, we were able to squeeze in a side tour before leaving England (of which only fifteen people took part in, including myself and my mom). We went to dinner at this fabulous French restaurant with the best food (there was a sort-of lemon tart--the closest I can come to describe it is heaven, sorry to be so vague, but I'll make myself hungry again if I go into too much more detail on the subject). After dinner, however, the true wonders of the night began (yes I just said wonders and I mean wonders--so stifle your laughter and read on!).

We attended the play "The Phantom of the Opera". Now, I have seen the movie and other members of the group have seen it on Broadway--but this performance astounded all of them, and me as well. They all had amazing voices (naturally), but what hooked me in the most was how wonderfully and artistically the characters were portrayed, as well as the mystifying set and stage-transformations (which would happen about every scene). At one point, the Phantom is atop a golden statuette--which is leering over the audience (pretty much directly overhead of me--we were the 3rd row to the front, and in the middle). His voice was partictularly mesmerizing--and he took to the role so well.... Another dramatic scene was when the chandelier (while controlled) was dropped from the ceiling and was made to "crash" upon the stage. Let's just say it was close enough to my head that I easily could have touched it if I had raised it a mere finger's-length above where it had been.

My favorite characters are the Phantom (I always seem to feel more emotional over this character than virtually any of the rest--not just because I see the injustice that was shown him, but also because he was strong enough to let what he wanted most go, in the end); and Meg (Christine's friend. A dancer--she was always level-headed and smart, never so flighty as Christine seemed to me. Her character would be the kind of person that has that sort of tangible strength about them, that sort of rare courage without recklessness--it is very hard to explain with words, so I apologize for that).

NOTE: for those of you who have had no idea what I have been talking about up until this point, here is an outline of the story (without spoiling it for anyone, should any of you ever see or read it). ~~~ Christine is the daughter of a deceased violinist (1800's) and is a member of an opera house. She has been tutored by a nameless individual to strengthen her promising voice-talents--who turns out to be the Phantom of the Opera--a permanent resident of the Opera house, as well as one that stops at nothing to get what he wants. The Phantom rarely appears in front of anyone, but when he does, half his face is covered in a mask. The troubles for Christine begin when a childhood friend of hers--Raoul--returns and becomes her suitor, making the obsessed Phantom jealous and feeling what he believes to be betrayal.

Please be sure to note: such dramatic stories are an acquired taste (many of my friends would agree). This taste, I have obviously become addicted to--the next book I will be picking up will be The Phantom of the Opera--and most likely the next movie I will own as well. Whenever I become interested in something--I immerse myself in it. (And annoyingly, or so I've been told, it takes a heck of a lot to pull me out of it).

Anyways, *sigh* back to the real world:

We left London around eight o'clock AM three days ago on the Eurostar train to Brussels, Belgium. Apparently, the first king of Belgium was appointed because he was a nephew of the King/Queen of England at the time that it won its freedom. The Kind and Queen had two nephews--and since both were unemployed, one nephew was given Belgium, the other was given Denmark. Interesting how politics work, isn't it? It's even more interesting how the people of this deadly art tend to twist and turn truth and law to bend it so that it will simply satisfy their own needs--at times regardless of the consequences for others....*steam*. Oh, did that slip out? There I go again, ranting my opinions on seemingly random subjects that also just seem to turn up at the wrong times--like on a blog-site. *sigh* Oh well.

Now that that's over *cough, cough*:

We toured the Amsterdam Canals and it was beautiful--more so than I had ever imagined. Meghan was right (a presenter at the Women's Rights Conference); the open-boat tour was more than worth the slight bite of the cold. (Actually, Mom and I sat/stood in the outside-portion of the boat and listened to the guide's commentary from there--which worked out quite well for us).

After Amsterdam (in which we visited the Anne Frank museum ; it was to Lucern, Switzerland (beautiful views); then Innsbruck, Austria (nice, easygoing pace; great scenery, and we went to the Pilatus Mountain, which in legend is rumored to harbor a magnificent Red Dragon in it’s dark caves); and finally, we are now in Venice. I have developed a liking for masks, I wonder why (*cough* Phantom of the Opera *cough*) and they sell them on the streets of Venice when they have their festival—which honors a social movement made hundreds of years ago. We had the opportunity to wander around the city, then take a gondola ride through the canals and old parts of the city (I loved this compared to the business of the rest of the city).

Anyways, I must say goodnight, I must have more sleep tonight than I did the last one (approx. four hours).

~'Night then~


Anonymous joan cc said...

Your trip sounds like a wonderful adventure. I enjoy your musings and revelations! One gets the sense of being there in your vivid descriptions. The Phantom comes to life and one imagines the Red Dragon of Pilatus Mountain. Each day sounds like a new horizon. Enjoy each opportunity! and, see you-all soon : ) best wishes, joan cc

6:33 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

torey...i say AMEN! very cool blog. thanks for sharing your insights. i look forward to hearing some more travel tales when you return. ciao and grazzi!

4:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hola Torey
You sound like your having fun...MAN...You left me and Amber here at school while you are off playing I hope you are happy..Smile..Giggle.. Just kidding were doing great school is tourcher
Okay I've said enough
Amber and I miss you come back in one piece please!!!!!!!!!!
Love and Hugs and Stuff like that and have a great time
Love your Friends Melissa and Amber

2:42 PM  

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