A Travellerspoint blog


Paris days, Versaille, Day 2 & 3

Today was all about visiting Versaille. Yeah, not really a fan. Out of all the palaces I have seen these past few months, I was the least impressed with this place. It was just a hot bed of pompousness and foolishness. I think I prefer old ruins and interesting history so Versaille did nothing for me.

outside the chateau

In any case, here are some pictures of it for our enjoyment.

pictures of the interior of the palace


the very ornate ceilings (I happen to love the details of schloss and palace ceilings)


the bed Marie Antoinette birthed her children, publically, to prove their geniality. WHAT?
After the castle visit, we made our way back to the city where I continued more of the city exploration. I did hours and hours of walking and took a trillion pictures and enjoyed myself.

if you watched Bourne Ultimatum, you might recognize this buidling. Bourne hid behind the letter M on this building
The Louvre from the canal
Arc de Triomphe
I tasted some of Paris' renound delicacies. I had a few cookies that were of course, delicious!

For some reason I found myself at a perfume museum. It was free so I strolled in and had a wiff and gander. Lovely.

old fashioned perfume bottles that belonged to the ricch and elite

Later that night I took a boat tour down on the Bateau-Mouche (without the fancy dinner) down the river Seine. It was with a small tour group where I met some very funny people from the U.S..
Views along the Siene

After the boat tour, we were driven around for a taste of Paris after dark where a lot of famous places in the city were highlihted. It was a really nice time.
Instead of going home though, Greta (a woman I met on the tour) had the driver drop us off close the Opera house and had a night cap which included chatting and eating crepes at 1am. The streets were bubbling over with locals and tourists having fun at or heading to bars, pubs and clubs. This city, like Toronto and New York, seems to never sleep.

The next day I spent with a new friend I had made. She is actually a friend of my friend from home who lives just outside Paris but came in the city to visit with me this morning. It was really special and nice of her.

We had a great organic brunch at a famous cafe and then walked around and shopped a bit.
these little 'stamps' on the walls of buildings are some sort of fun thing where there is an ultimate meaning..like connecting the dots in a way
apparently all the girls crowd to this place, my berry, as it is delicious ice cream and yogurt that has no fat!
there was an important tennis match on that day so the city set up a public viewing pit for everyone to enjoy the match. it was very intense.
I caved and bought a white watch. It was too cute to pass up. After a lot of window and actual shopping (by her not me) we said goodbye around 2pm as my train was leaving a bit after 3. I had a great day with M and I enjoyed Paris fully. I would like to hopefully go back one day but with more time and a lot more money.

Posted by CanaGerm 10:23 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Paris days Day 1

Paris was an experience. I went a few weeks ago and I had a nice time. It was really cool to actually go there and see so many beautiful buildings and landmarks and experience one of the most romantic cities of the world.
A runner up design in the Metro station design contest
I have to say that I saw more lovers lovin' it up while I was in Barcelona and here in Germany. My gosh, for supposed cold people, they sure are darned affectionate with each other and their partners.
Place de la Concorde
My first day there I went on a free city tour with Sandemans New Paris Free tour. Yeah, free! I owe this tidbit of info to Brian at NoDebtWorldTour. Thanks Brian! Seeing all the highlights was really amazing and listening to the history of France and Paris was fascinating. Our tour guide, Desire, did a great job.
The river Seine
After the tour, I kept moving with thoughts of the Eiffel Tower in mind.
Parisians doing what they apparently like to do best, people watch
I wanted to see her today (Eiffel Tower) as it was later in the day and I thought for sure the lines would be packed with tourists the next day. I made the right decision to go that night as the next day the lines were ridiculously long.
On the way to the Eiffel Tower I stopped at some interesting marks and took it all in.

Nope, I didn't go into the Louvre. I'm sorry but museums are not my cup of tea so taking pictures of it outside was totally enough for me. Maybe I will go back one day and do a slight tour if I have the time and inclination.
At the tower, I waited in line for maybe 15 minutes and paid to climb to the 2nd storey. I didn't take the lift any higher as that was fine with me (plus my height fright was raring its head). The views were stunning from above.
I took many pictures along the way of the city and I will do a another post called, the real Paris another day. Just pictures of how the people who can afford to live in the city, live!

Paris was really pretty and fun. I had a great time and after a billion pictures, I took my train (the Metro is very easy to use) to my hotel and fell completely out.
Musée de l'Armée

Posted by CanaGerm 14:08 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Belle Strasbough, france, deux jours

sunny 20 °C

fr-67-st.gif <--Strasbourg's coat of arms

Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 156

Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 156

Today was my last day in Strasbough and my main focus was La Petite France.
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 181

After getting up, eating the hotel breakfast, getting ready and checking out, I headed to one of the cities more popular tourist sites. As it was still early and nothing was really open, I had a great time taking photos and generally enjoying the scenery. Loved it!
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 161

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 164

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 167

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 188

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 191

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 214

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 195

During my explorations, I was casually looking into the window of a cookie shop and the owner came out and gave me a coconut macaroon! So sweet. And, delicious!
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 204

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 177

At lunch I had to choose between real Alsacian cuisine or cheap. I chose cheap for now. I went to an Asian resturant and enjoyed a simple, solitary meal, al fresco all the way. I cracked open my book and enjoyed my meal. I chose this restaurant as it was off the tourist strip, therefore more afforbable, and the noise level was lower. At that time of day, the city was humming and this restaurant was tucked away all cozy-like which was bliss for me.
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 221

After lunch it was more walking around but I had seen all I wanted to see (minus the Parc de l'Orangerie which was just too far away and not good for my short visit) so although my train didn't leave for a few hours, I headed to the train station eary. I stopped by the hotel, got my backpack and headed off. I inquired about catching an earlier train but I had just missed it by 5 minutes. Damn it! So, I hung around until it was time to leave. Thank goodness I still had a bit of my book left to read.
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 171

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 210

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 208

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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 198

Oh, McCafe with your McDonald's anyone?
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Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 223

When the train came and I boarded, I was so happy to be going back to Stuttgart. I settled in and started to read my newest novel as I finished the other one while waiting at the train station. By the time I got to the hbf and then Kornwestheim and to the hotel, it was around 6pm. I called home as it was Mothers Day and chatted with the fam. Another adventurous weekend closed. Then end.
Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 184

Strasbourgh, Fr May 9-10 09 184

Posted by CanaGerm 08:00 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Belle Strasbourg, France, le premier jour.....

sunny 31 °C

My first time on the super fast TGV was as I anticipated. I expected the train to be comfortable, roomy and jet-like fast. My expectations were met and exceeded on all three accounts. This TGV left the hbf at 7:30am three Saturday mornings ago and arrived in Strasbourg 1,5hrs later. Once I arrived in France, I searched for my hotel. The first thing I noticed was how clean Strasbourg was. The second was how European! I was really happy to be here but skeptical at the same time. I didn't want to get too excited only to be let down.
After walking around and finding my cheap hotel, I dropped off my backpack and headed out immediately. I had no time to waste on this short two-day adventure. I went to the Tourist Information place, got a map and took off.
My first mission was finding the boat cruise on the River Ille. Second on the list was the Strasbourg Cathedral. I have to tell you, this was the hardest city to navigate yet! I am sure it was just me as I am horrible with maps but I found it almost impossible to get around using the supplied map. After getting lost about a billion times, but taking care of certain sites as markers, I used memory to guide me along.
Finally, I relented and asked a man to help me find the Cathedral. We ended up walking together to the city square and chatted a bit. He told me he was originally from Paris but came to Strasbourg for his job 17 years ago. It was nice talking to someone who was receptive and open.
Once at the old town square, I was able to see the Cathedral looming ahead very easily. I had no time to waste. I quickly made my way to the building and went ballistic with my camera. Such a pretty, impressive, gothic site.
Strasbourg.._09_035.jpg --Strasboug Cathedral
I eventurally went inside and soaked up the atmoshphere.

Some pics in the market square, Place du Marché aux Cochons de Lait. (Marktplatz as Strasboug is VERY Germanic. It lies on the border of Germany (near Kehl) so French and German is acceptable here)
Strasbourg.._09_040.jpg <--the infamous Maison Kammerzell. A well preserved Gothic relic of important France/German history.
Next was a cruise along the Ille. I had an hour to wait for the next open air boat so I took advantage of this and got a snack. I was starving but I wanted to wait to eat out of the city square, ie, tourist trap. So, I got a sweet instead. Since landing here, I have been bombarded with crepes. There are little kiosks that sell them all over Stuttgart and other places I have been in Germany but I always resist, wanting to eat the real thing....from France. Finally, I was able to sink my teeth into this delicacy. Of course I had the Nutella crepe. Oh...my.....fantastic! I think I closed my eyes in bliss a few times while eating the crepe...it was that damn good. All warm and gooy and chocolatey.
Before I got on the boat, there were some....street vendors that were the epitome of annoying! Trying to sell tourists their stuff. I mean, everyone's gotta make a living and eat right? But, when someone says no, they mean no! At least for me. I had to put on my unimpressed face to get one particular guy away from me. When that didn't work, I had to be rude and turn my back on him. I felt bad but damn......can't a woman enjoy her crepe in peace?
The cruise along the river was relaxing if a bit warm. It was brutally hot that weekend in Strasboug, so my head was baking by the time we were half way through the tour. It was really fun and informative despite the heat.
Strasbourg.._09_012.jpg --Ill River
Strasbourg.._09_138.jpg <--arte. The biggest television broadcast media centre that supplies France, Deutschland and other EU countries. Huge force in European tv.

After the cruise down the Ille, I wanted to see more.
Strasbourg.._09_120.jpg --Ponts Couverts bridge
It was around 3pm so I had a lot of time left of the day. I decided to do a museum and broaden my cultural awareness. Big mistake. I went to the Musée Alsacien and HATED it almost immediately. I was so not interested in anything in there. The museum depicts the early life of the Alsace peoples which usually interests me as I love history but this place....was just lame.
Strasbourg.._09_145.jpg <--inside the Alsacien
I have to tell you that after about 10 minutes I was searching for the exit and hard. I had to get out! Of course you have to tour the entire place in order to get out. At certain times I was so desperate for the exit that I felt tears spring to my eyes. I felt trapped in a world I was not interested in and just wanted to escape. It was horrible. Finally, when I saw, sortie (exit) I ran the hell out. It was like I was finally able to breathe again. Waste of my damn 5,00 euros.

After that museum hell, I needed a break. The sun was scorching, the temperature was super high and even though I was in one of the worlds most romantic countries, and I needed a time out. I found a bench in some park (I don't know the name) where I sat for about 10 minutes trying to decide what was next.

As I sat and rested, I reflected on Strasbourg so far.
-Fresh bread shops, open early. Lots of super fresh loaves, buns, Alsace Kougelhopf cake line the shelves.
-Men in white clothing walking down the street with big bushles of fresh french bread, out for delivery. I assume they are delivering to places like restaurants and hotels.
-Gorgeous chocolates on display. Bonbon shops. The sweets are a work of art themselves as they come in all shapes, colors and sizes. So pretty as they beckon tourists and locals alike.
-Beautiful, clean cobblestoned streets.
-Narrow, romantic alleyways. Elegance.
-And the clothes!!! French people, for the most part, know how to dress!! Everyone takes the time to dress and look their absolute best. I admired that pride.
-Fashion is France.

After my break, I explored some of the city some more. I took off out of the well known touristy areas and ventured more into the city, where the real Alsace was happening. I have to say that the city Strasbourg is just as pretty as its sister, old town.

I found myself in the old town again but this time at a street market. It reminded me of Kensington Market in Toronto, minus the fishy smell of fresh fish.

At around 7pm, I took off to check in at the hotel, where the guy who manned the reception acted very indifferent when he realized I couldn't speak fluent French. Damn, at least I tried! I guess it was a combination of the early morning travel, early mornings at work, working, going out at night and the hot sun, but I was exhausted at this point. All I wanted was bed but I decided to eat first. I was starving. Nope, I forgot to eat an official lunch after my gorgeous Nutella slicked crepe.

After walking around the hotel neighborhood for a good half hour, I settled at a Turkish place to eat. Sorry, but I will leave the real French cuisine for another time. I ordered verte peppersteak with frites for my dinner. It was great. The owner was so friendly and we chatted a bit as I ate. She eventually left me to it and I devoured my food while reading my latest book. After supper it was getting dark and I was too tired for more exploration so I took my weary body to a convenience store to buy water and then headed to the hotel. I tried to read but it was too much work so I just closed my eyes and let the sleep fairy take over (remember....Meet the Parents...:) ).

Posted by CanaGerm 08:00 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (1)

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