Thursday, 29 July 2010

F & G

France and Germany. July 2010. With James and Elnaz. 
Loading up the Golf Plus. 

Navigating our route. 
Stuttgart to Strasbourg. Strasboug to Heidelberg. Heidelberg to Karlsruhe. Karlsruhe into and around the Schwarzwald and back to Stuttgart. 

Stop 1. Strasbourg. 

We really enjoyed Strasbourg. Some of the highlights: 
- Strolling around Petit France.
-The Cathedral. (I thought it was better than Notre Dame in Paris.) 
-Happy hour Scrabble match at a cafe. We watched the commuters bike and walk through the rain. 
- The bad weather gave us the excuse to stop for French treats, pastries, glace, cafe au lait.... 
- Charming photo ops. 

Stop 2. Heidelberg. 

We walked along high street stopping at the old city bakery for an authentic apfel strudel. A little sugar boost before the climb to the castle. 

 Schloss Heidelberg. 

It didn't look impressive from below, but after hiking up to the castle the inside was huge. 

Stop 3. Karlsruhe. 
Our friends, James & Elnaz, had a wedding in Bruchsal so we stayed a night in Karlsruhe. 
While they were at the hochzeit, we had dinner in town. 

Stop 3. der Schwarzwald. 

It was hard to capture the Black Forest, but it was beautiful. There are lakes, ski hills, and sweet little alpine villages in between the valleys. 
Such a great trip! Thanks James and Elnaz for a fun long weekend. We'll travel anytime with you guys! 

Friday, 9 July 2010

to be fair...

...if Paris was one of my favorites, going to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt was Jerremy's. It was a great trip in May and I realize that I didn't include it in the blog, probably because I started work as a nurse (finally), Jerr was busy with his work and time flew by. How is it already July? I don't know. But here is Sharm in all it's sunny splendor. 
Arrive. Thaw out after cold British winter. Head to beach.
Jess plan: lay in sun for maximum amount of time.
Jerr spots kite-boarders. Jerr makes his plan. 
Plan: kite-board every morning and snorkel in the afternoon.

Daily routine:
-Get up at 6:45am
-Eat breakfast at 7am when cafe opens, talk about wind conditions
-Head to beach and stake out lounge chairs 7:20am
-Apply sunscreen and start sweating 7:30 am
-Start getting kite/lines ready- Jerr. Read a couple chapters in so-so book- Jess.
- Jerr wades out into water by 8am waves to photographer Jess. 
-Kite-boarding to heart's content Jerr, lounging in sun and enjoying hot weather Jess.

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

Ou e la Rue Saint Jacques?

Two years ago, for my birthday, Jerr gave me Pimsleur French lessons that I could put on my Ipod. I listened on a regular basis as I commuted to work for several months. I remember having to 'Listen and Repeat': "Ou e la Rue Saint Jacques?" All the while I thought, 'How can this be even remotely helpful?' Well... just in case I needed to find Saint Jacques street in Paris. And here it is. We stumbled upon it while out for a walk. I now realize I lost the opportunity to ask for Saint Jacques street. That's okay because if I did I would have been praying they would answer simply, "E la ba" or 'Cet ici" ('over there' or 'here'). I don't know 'left' or 'right' in French. I did use a small bit of my French, but Jerr did most of the communicating.

I could order my breakfast and coffee. Jerr did take the mick out of my pronunciation of 'a little milk'.  He thought it sounded more like I was asking for a chicken in my coffee (un peu lait' vs 'un poulet').  The barista, however, did understand and topped up my americano with milk. I've been a little disappointed with just toast or cereal after French pastries in the morning.

Realizing I am in the right place at the right time.

Our last meal at Baci in the Marais neighborhood. We met up with Jerr's family, Steve and Dede in Paris for six days. It was great to see them and catch up on news from home. We had a great time taking in the sights of Paris together.

One highlight of our trip: a picnic next to the Eiffel Tower.  Earlier in the morning we went to a farmer's market and bought fruit, olives, and almonds. To complete the meal we had a fresh baguette, le fromage, and white wine.

On our visit to the Louvre Museum we managed to make it through most of the Egyptian/Ancients section and the main corridor of Italian Renaissance (including the infamous Mona Lisa painting).  It would take days to see the whole building and do it justice. I  was a little surprised to find a Starbucks inside the Louvre.  (Could you build one in Worcester?!) So that helped refresh us after a long day of looking.  In the olden days it used to be the king's palace until Louis the 14th. He built....

... the palace at Versailles. One of the most spectacular buildings to see in real life. We talked about it afterwards sitting in a cafe having refreshments. King Louis had to have the vision to create something so large. Of course, if you give yourself the name 'Sun King' you might have a larger-than-life view of things.  Again, we only made it through a portion of the palace and had to rent bikes to explore the grounds and other 'lesser' palaces. The bike ride through the gardens at Versailles was a another trip highlight.  (Behind us and the giant man-made lake is the palace.)

Notre Dame Cathedral. (No hunchbacks sighted.)
But the walk was really pretty and the gardens behind the cathedral were lovely.

One of my favorite trips we've taken so far. The weather was beautiful, the company delightful, and the sights were once-in-a-lifetime (although I asked if it could be once-a-year and Jerr said 'no', but at least we stopped for one last pastry before our early morning flight.)