Wednesday, July 22, 2009
The real list was:
1. Public toilets
2. Tap water
3. No smoking in bars and restaurants!!
While the French have the reputation of being walking chimneys, they passed a law a few years back forbidding smoking in public places indoors. So our sojourn there was mercifully free of smoke. When we got to Belgium we were assaulted by smoke everywhere we went, which sucks as a tourist because your limited clothing supply quickly becomes repulsively malodourous.
I think it wouldn't have bothered me as much years ago before I became used to smoke-free environments, but I've become weak and spoiled in my old age.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Here our some of the highlights:
1. Some of the most detailed stained glass we've ever seen at the Notre Dame Cathedral
2. The Mannekin Pis, a must-see tiny little statue of a peeing little cherub.
3. Our favorite Brussels bar, Poechenellekelder, where we could watch a constant stream of tourists come by to photograph the Mannekin Pis.
4. Said view.
5. The Hotel de Ville, at the Grand Place at night.
While we enjoyed our time in Belgium, there a three major reasons that we prefered France as tourists:
1. Few public toilets. The ones there are have limited hours and cost. A big problem in a country where you drink beer with every meal and between them too.
2. They won't give you tap water at restaurants. Not that they don't do it automatically like here - they refuse even if you ask.
3. I can't practice my French in the Dutch parts. And Dutch just sounds like fake German.
Monday, July 13, 2009
We liked Bruges. It was very cute. However, we weren't happy at the place we were staying (I had to stand on a chair in the shower to get my hair wet, and a few other reasons). Also, the beer bar that is supposed to be one of the best in the world was closed when we were there. So hopefully one day we'll return and have more success.
However, on the plus side, it was nice to wander the well-preserved/reconstructed medieval streets, and ate dinner the first night at a little cafe filled with locals with a great jazz trio. We also had dinner the second night at Den Dyver, a fancy place where they choose a beer pairing for your meal, which was wonderful. The city is purported to be jammed with tourists, but it wasn't crowded at all when we were there.
1. The view of central market from the clock tower.
2. The clock tower.
3. A windblown me in the central market.
4&5. The view along the canals.
Monday, July 06, 2009
1. Rich with his feet in the river across from where we had our best Provencal lunch - salads and white wine.
2. Lorien on a bridge over the Sorgue.
3. A field of irises on the outskirts of Gordes.
5. The Abbey of Senaque.
1. The village of Baux de Provence, which mostly exists to provide tourist facilities to people visiting the ruins.
2. The ruins of the fortress.
3. Rich and some French women participating in a catapult demo. Minimal language skills were required for this volunteer position.
4. A view of the Alpilles range and the olive groves and vineyards of the Camargue below.
5. Our picnic back at our hotel.
1. Donkey Parade in St. Remy-de-Provence
2.&3. Flamingos at the Parc Ornithologique
4. The Colloseum in Arles
5. Van Gogh's cafe in Arles