Today is the last day to enter TravelSupermarket.com’s Capture the Colour Contest. The contest has been going on for months. Leave it to me to wait until the last day to enter, right? Wrong. I’ve been working on my entry for a long time, but I’ve never been satisfied with it. The problem is that to enter the contest fully, you need to post a blog entry with five different photos representing five different colors: blue, green, yellow, white, and red. I’ve spent hours pouring through my files looking for photos to represent all of those colors. Some of my options are promising, but some of them just don’t meet my standards. I have nothing yellow (does gold count?) My whites are ho-hum. Even my blue and red entries weren’t making me jump out of my seat. That’s why I’ve been procrastinating. I don’t want to enter if I don’t even think I deserve to win.
That’s why I finally quit trying to enter the full contest and wrote this post. You can still win individual color categories if you don’t submit all the colors. So I’m submitting my one great color: green!
I have four great green photos to enter. The strange thing is, I don’t even really like green. I certainly don’t think about the color green when I think of France which is where all of my photos were taken. But green it is.
I’ve never seen the Chicago River on St. Patrick’s Day, when they artificially dye the water green, but I imagine this is what it would look like. Except this isn’t artificial. This is what the Seine looks like at the right angle, in blazing sunlight. It’s not pretty. It’s not romantic. It’s hardly what you imagine when you picture Paris. But this is the other side of Paris. It’s gritty, it’s dirty, and a highly polluted river runs through it. But it’s the contradiction of those two ideas that draws me to the city even more.
Here’s another example of the less romantic side of Paris. This is a beautiful, grassy area right by the Eiffel Tour. There’s a quiet little pond filled with swans and ducks. It’s a lovely green space to enjoy in the densely packed city. But as the sign says, this lawn is “unauthorized.” You can’t sit or walk on it. You can just look at it from behind an ugly chain-link fence. Doesn’t that defeat the purpose? It might as well be a concrete parking lot if it can’t be enjoyed by the people.
Not far from the Eiffel Tower, I found the opposite of an “unauthorized lawn,” with this puppy frolicking and playing as if the tiny grass strip were his own private jungle. There’s really not a ton of green space in Paris, especially when they start blocking off chunks of it as off-limits, but even Parisian dogs know how to make the best use of what they’ve got!
It doesn’t rain a lot in the south of France. In fact, the tourism board of Nice brags that they only receive about 20 days without sunshine every year. Of course, that’s why when I went to Nice for Carnaval it rained on my parade. I planned the entire trip around being there on Mardi Gras. There were plenty of other activities to enjoy throughout the Carnaval celebrations, but Mardi Gras itself – when they set fire to the parade floats and send them out to sea – was the pièce de résistance. Even though the rain stopped, it was too windy for pyrotechnics, so they cancelled Mardi Gras. (Actually they moved it to Thursday, two days after I left, but they might as well have cancelled it.) I was super disappointed about missing the big party, and it was about to ruin the end of my trip. Suddenly, as I was enjoying a gelato in Old Town, I heard drumming and cheering coming from a few streets over. I ran to see what all the fuss was about and stumbled upon this impromptu parade of local school children. They were all dressed up in homemade costumes and throwing confetti at the crowd that formed to watch them. A simple parade – what it lacked in pizzazz, it made up for in spirit. It was just the pick-me-up I needed. A reminder that we don’t need fireworks and expensive floats to throw a party. All we need is a green trash bag, a newspaper hat, and a day off from school!
One of the contest rules says I have to nominate fellow bloggers to participate. Considering it’s the last day of the contest, it’s a little late for that. So I’ll just link to a few of my favorite blogs for great travel photography. And if they want to enter the contest last-minute, good luck!
C’est Christine (she already entered the contest – that’s where I heard about it!)
Little Brown Pen
Where My Heart Resides