Saturday, July 30, 2011

Arles

  • Arles is an old Roman city in southern France. They have a pretty cool tour package that includes watching re-enactments of plays and gladiator battles
  • Vincent van Gogh lived here for a while and there are at least two places you can visit that exploit his art for money in tasteless ways
  • If you go here, make sure to walk through some narrow residential areas that are quite scenic
  • I finally got ripped off after being labeled a tourist - at a bookstore no less - about time


Old Roman Theatre

Re-enactment of play in the theatre (old man with money chasing young woman - totally not relatable to today's society)





Old Hospital where van Gogh got his ear repaired and where other...problems...were discovered

Vincent van Gogh sans ear

Roman Ampitheatre


I found a wormhole

The action is not quite as intense as the pictures suggest but it was fun to watch a gladiator battle nonetheless

I think the swords were made of plastic, but they looked metal and left some kitten-level scratches on one guys back


This fight would be a sports photographer's dream come true

They did this in front of small children!

Don't judge.  This was a serious cultural experiment to see how close European fast food is to American.  Pretty close in fact.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Grenoble

  • Grenoble is surrounded by the Alps which are very scenic.
  • I'm not sure I would say I went hiking in the Alps, but I hiked up to Fort Bastille which provided excellent views of the city.
  • My ability to resist buying ice cream decreases as the temperature increases. Plus, ice cream makes everything better.
  • I went to a museum on life in the Alps. Sounded like life was pretty enjoyable for the mountain people even though they had to move around a lot because of the weather.
  • There are rock climbers all over the place here.

City Train




View from Bastille Hill

Cheaters



Tunnel Dancers

Da Alps

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Lyon

  • Lyon is a very nice town to walk around in. It has two very scenic rivers, one of which has a daily market, and a nice hill that has a great view of the city.
  • The main strip of restaurants near my hostel is on a street called "Beef Road."
  • In the afternoons there is a line of people who offer free massages. I got what a paid for.
  • I went to a French Resistance museum which talked about how French citizens resisted German occupation after their government surrendered during WWII. From what I could gather from the museum it seemed the resistance was largely a psychological resistance through secret newspapers with some scattered armed resistance.
  • I met an interesting German traveler. He was very well traveled and had lived in many different European countries while he was working on his degree in history. His trip to the US involved working as a babysitter for a few days until he was fired after a disagreement about a 9pm curfew. I don't know how this guy got hired in the first place - he's about as sketchy looking as I am. Anyway, somehow he ended up painting houses and got to go to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. When I told him about the bathing suit sign in one of my pictures below his response was, "France is special." Indeed.

The Rhone

The Saone


View from hostel



View from Fourviere Hill

Basillica

Old Roman theater



The French make excellent grilled cheese sandwiches





You want to serve snails and call it a delicacy? Fine.  You want to charge $18 for a hot dog? Fine.  You want all tourists to be able to speak some French while they're in France?  Fine.  But this?  Well, this is just a little much.


Saturday, July 16, 2011

Miscellaneous Paris

  • For me, Paris lived up to the hype which is absurd considering how hyped it is. I used to think I wouldn't go to Paris because of the hype, but that would have been a mistake.
  • I watched Midnight in Paris in Paris which I really enjoyed. If I could go back to a different time in Paris I'm not sure when I'd go back to, but it would definitely be to a time before the pollution that got me sick existed. There are too many cars in that city.
  • If you've never seen a woman in business dress and high heels riding a motorcycle to work, you have not seen all there is to see.
  • Paris has a lot of attractions that people are familiar with, but for me the best part was experiencing and observing the Parisian lifestyle.

Sunset on the Seine

Night shot of that tower

Most of my night pictures came out crappy like this one, but I decided to post this one since it's almost crappy in an artsy way.

Bastille Monument

Sometimes I wonder whether artists like Michelangelo and Raphael look down and scream, "What the $&#@ do they see in that thing?  That jerk only painted like three things anyway."

Greek Kissing


The Red Windmill

Vineyards producing pollution wine

Church in Montemarte

Skateboard ramp into Paris (not really)

I'll never tell.  Kidding - south of Jardin des Plantes

Parisian couple

Really good onion soup