It’s been so long, I don’t even know where I’ve left off.
It’s been so long, I don’t even know where I’ve left off.
The musical’s too awesome for words! Combine that with busy day schedule, lovely dinner, great company, and good seats = giggles and rainbows ☁ Cheers as well to another ever-so-delayed post!
The Phantom of the Opera musical is inspired by the novel of Gaston Leroux. The story is about a disfigured man (Erik/Phantom) who …
(1) … lurks around and controls the Opera for years seeing no light of day
(2) … falls in love with his protege (Christine) who’s in love with someone else (Raoul)
(3) … attempts to kill said lover to coerce Christine to marry him
(4) … eventually sets the lovers free and vanishes with a lonely heart ❤▲//
The story is set in the labyrinthian grounds of the Opera de Paris! :) Photo below credits to Steffi whose trusty SLR survived til nighttime :)) How I wish I’ve seen more than the facade, I just googled up the interiors and it’s too pretty to pass up. Plus, it is now a Life Goal #N to watch at least one of the approx. 380 performances at the Opera. Seeing its roofdeck makes me giddy since it reminds me of my favorite part:
Scene 10 - The Roof of the Opera House where Raoul and Christine pledge their love for each other while Phantom overhears their vows ♫ All I Ask of You ♫
The Opera, considered as one of Napoleon III’s jewels, was constructed by Charles Garnier from 1861-1875. Today, it still employs thousands of people and houses two ballet schools. According to the source, the opera was frequented by Edgar Degas and served as inspiration for most of his ballet imagery. Sad to say, I just heard of him this year because of White Collar - yes, shame on me HAHA. Again, I googled up some more and saw an image of one of Degas’ paintings:
Degas’ Ballet Rehearsal on Stage (1874 65 X 81 cm housed in Musee d’Orsay) #link
Since I just figured that the painting was set at the Opera. I am now extra giddier whenever I’d see the adaptation we have below (wooden canvass) which was painted by Nikola, an italian painter who I talked about in a previous post #link :) I see it everyday which means I’d always be reminded of giddy weekends, run-on sentences, beautiful endings, and totally unrelated things ☀✚✿❤ #Sushi #Lemons #ADMU5peatChampswhohoo!
Soon, some of the closest people in your life would change tremendously that it would make you forget how you became friends with them in the first place. Perhaps it could be one of two things, either they’re growing up or you’re just getting a whole lot familiar of who they really were to begin with.
The initial idea for the title would have been “A Little Pisa Florence” but I realized how awful it was after a few seconds that I had a slight difficulty forgiving myself for even coming up with it in the first place :))
Pisa and Florence both belong to the Tuscan Region of Italy, with the latter as region capital. Though they’re just but a short distance away from each other, the cities looked entirely different in comparison!
Pisa is an hour drive from Florence and at the heart of it’s medieval looking town lies the walled area of Piazza del Duomo (Cathedral Square). Some poetically refer to it as Piazza dei Miracoli (Square of Miracles) and apparently it has been referenced in the movie Pinocchio - yup, something I do not remember at all!
Pinocchio never gave me the kicks when I was younger and I could name 3 good reasons why: (1) Seeing Pinocchio being swallowed by a whale was frightening as a child (2) The thought of my kiddie body parts growing if I did something bad was utterly disturbing, and (3) The image of dolls coming to life was never on my list. I think we all had about enough of Child’s Play Chucky and his freaky bride, thank you.
We spent the whole morning eating, taking pictures, and looking at the numerous stalls selling souvenirs, food, and thingamajigs like the colorful Leaning Tower beverage bottles above which came in various sizes (no picture of gigantic version).
The Leaning Tower leans because the ground on which it was built was soft and though this was realized after building the first few floors, constructors continued building the whole thing anyway :)) Tourists were allowed to go up considering it leans deeper for about a millimeter each year and the chances of it falling any minute are far from slim. If I remember it right they’ve regulated the number of people allowed inside to 250 max, making the entrance line tiresome to look at especially when the place is filled. Another thing to do would be to lie down or set up picnics on the field, something that reminded me of High School since we did that often back then #goodolddays
Come afternoon, my friends and I made sure we were already in Florence - an unforgettable place close to our hearts to the point that it drove us to tears on our third day when we were about to leave HAHA but we’ll get to that later.
As expected from any European destination, sweet little cafes, cobblestones, street art, and sculptures were all over the city. Spot, Dante Alighieri’s workshop and the commemorative “Casa di Dante” museum built really close to where he lived. Another High School flashback since we had to make some sort of play on Dante’s “Inferno” where each classroom had to represent a circle of the underground as depicted in the story.
There were many Piazzas (City Squares) to visit in Florence. One of the most prominent being Palazzo della Signoria, the place where people were burned at the stake back in the medieval days! It’s in front of the Old Palace which used to be the town hall too. Most of the sculptures which were inside the Loggia dei Lanzi (rightmost part - photo above, it’s the building with huge arches).
Don’t think I’m kidding when I say that the Florence Cathedral or Duomo (photo above) is extremely HUUUUUGE and it’s one of the most unique churches I’ve ever seen! It’s exterior is made from marble with shades of green, white, and peach. There were sculptures, windows, giant doors, and paintings surrounding it too.
There are tons of shops in each Piazza from local to international brands (spot the Pinocchio woodcraft shop - yup, Florence gave us Pinocchio who taught most of us not to lie). The city is such a shopping destination: good food + great leather + lots of shops + pretty cobblestoned streets + historical looking structures. I just love thematic places and how structures could be so similar but not quite.
My favorite square is the Piazza della Repubblica since it seemed livelier than the rest and it’s not just because there’s a carousel around HAHA :P True enough, the square is considered as the “Ancient City Center” - an area for public commerce since way back!
Florence would forever be close to our hearts not only because the place was pretty and shopping was great but also because we all got lost in the humungous labyrinth-like streets, trying to look for each other the day we were about to leave for another city HAHAHA we were all panicking at some point. Most memorable EU experience yet! :))
BUCKET LIST: ☑ Get lost in a beautiful European country… in the rain. CHECK.
We split ourselves into pairs and agreed that our “meeting place” was at some seemingly prominent looking tower where we stood… little did we know that a tower THAT tall was actually normal so “replicas” around the city abound like a school of fish searching for food. CRAP, right? HAHA. It wouldn’t have been a problem really if we still had a day or two left since we all knew very well how to get back to the hotel, but yeah, we weren’t going back to the hotel that late afternoon… we we’re going to Venice! Hence, all our luggage were packed up and stored into the trunk of our prompt-to-the-dot ride which was about to leave us if we didn’t make it on time… DOUBLE CRAP, huh?
To make things more challenging and to add drama and insult to injury… IT RAINED HARD! Yeah, cliche as it sounds we were running in the rain, amazing race style ☁ The rain tore all our maps to jigsaw pieces, leaving us with no choice but to rely on our poor Italian phrases since not much people we encountered spoke English. My friend and I accepted the fact that people on the streets wouldn’t be so accommodating since everyone wanted to get into a covered and dry area, we were hopeful nonetheless and hope has its wonders #ImABeliever :))
Truth be told, a middle-aged woman loudly called my friend and I to enter her store when she saw us looking at broken maps while drenching in the rain (yup, our umbrella broke too while the Euro phones of the others ran out of credits #CarpeDiem! LOL one pair even split up further so 2 of them were alone in “ze adventure” HAHA).
Back to the story, the woman didn’t speak English at all but her concern for us was obvious as she tried to calm us down, put our broken maps together like a puzzle piece, and point out where we were and where we should be headed. I couldn’t recall the name of our said “meeting place” right now but we sure remembered it well back then like it were the only key to a sunken treasure chest portal that would take us out of effing Narnia HAHAHA. To that lady, you may never know that we found our way back but anyway God bless you and thank you again. It was nice encountering your kind heart. Kindness is its own language ♥ Speaking of kindness, my friend wanted to do me a “favor” by further immortalizing the experience via photographs HAHAHAHA below were two of the four torn up maps. It was such a heart-racing day, something we regard as one of the funniest things that ever happened to us HAHA man, how I love Florence!
Neptune’s Restaurant HK: Great view, not so great food (or maybe I was just expecting something really yummy since the place looked pleasant and menu food pictures looked so appealing to my hungry tummy). The restaurant had a grand aquarium with bubble tunnels and each table had an info index good for I Spy.