Sunday, July 27, 2008

Next stop, Belgium

Yesterday was our last day in the Loire Valley. We visited Chateau de
Chambord (above), then drove to Paris. Today we head to Bruges for
three nights

Friday, July 25, 2008

Lunch in Vouvray

We had a sweet, insanely sweet, bottle of Vouvray, on our lunch stop
in Vouvray! I had a delicious cheese plate for dessert.

Highway robbery

Yep.... that isn't a typo. It cost us 100€ (~$160) to fill our gas
tank. I can't wait to get back to $5/gallon


Amazing gardens at Chateau de Villandry

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Adventures on the road

No roadtrip would be complete without a little adventure. In short, our engine oil was low, so we put in some new oil. However, determining the right grade of oil, hours on the phone with Avis support, and googling our own solutions made for some fun times. In the end, it took a few days to resolve the situation, but it worked just fine (well.. we think).

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Photo time

I uploaded a few photos from our roadtrip so far.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Our Tour de France

We are now on our the third day of our Tour De France. We are currently in Dinan in the Brittany region of France. We spent the last few days in Normandy, staying at Chateau Colombieres We were minutes from Omaha Beach, of D-Day.

The rest of our time in Paris was great. We had a nice dinner our last night at Benoit (4eme), where we had the ultimate French cuisine - escargot, duck foie gras, truffles, casoulet, veal saute, and a few desserts "to share". I also had two full nights of nighttime pictures in Paris, getting a few shots of the Eiffel tower, the Louvre, Hotel d'Ville, Notre Dame, St. Chapelle, and the Seine. Sumner and I hiked to the top of Sacre Coeur (including the dome), and had a nice view of Paris. One afternoon we met up with Virginie for lunch and then had a coffee at her Mom's place. Alex joined us for 3 days, and we travelled to some of her favorite shops, including two perfumeries. On evening, we had an HBS dinner with 10 HBSers - it was nice to enjoy dinner with the HBS crowd, sans HBS. The Musee Rodin had a beautiful garden with had most of the "must see" pieces (Gates of Hell, Thinker, Burghers of Calais).

We are now on day four of a seven day roadtrip through three regions of France: Normandy, Brittany, and Loire Valley. We were upgraded to a nice Mercedes E220 with GPS, and have had fun enjoying the beautiful French countryside. On the drive out to Normandy, we stopped at Giverny, where Monet lived for a while and installed a pond with the infamous water lilies and japanese bridge. Our first couple days in Normandy, we explored many of the WWII memorials, cemeteries, and battle sites. It was sobering to contemplate the number of people who died there. We also visited a couple small towns including Bayeux. One meal, I enjoyed an "whelts" (Bulots in french), where was a plate of sea snails, served steamed with mayonnaise - they tasted like corn, but were a little more rubbery than escargot. Yummy!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Paris at night...

We are now on our fifth day in Paris and our having a great time. I have a more detailed update coming soon, but I wanted to share a few pics I took tonight. I was really looking forward to taking a few shots at night, and Paris did not disappoint. Chitra (pictured) joined me for the photo trip. Here are just a few photos:

Favorite restaurant: La Maison de les Truffes

Le Tour Eiffel

Le Tour Eiffel

Chitra's new hat

Le dessert


Le Metropolitain

Cafe et croissant

Monday, July 14, 2008

Deep thoughts...



Our first two days in Paris have been great. The weather is a perfect
70 degreea. Our hotel, Hotel des Archives, is located in the Marais
district - just a few blocks from a lot of cool restaurants, shops,
patisseries, etc. We spent our first half day nursing our jetlag, and
taking care of Chitra, who has been a bit sick. Today, we slept in
and watched the Bastille Day military parade on TV, but saw the
military planes (fighter jets, AWACS, prop cargo planes...C130?,
attack helicoters, transport helicopters, etc) fly by our window. It
was impressive to see the heads of state joining Sarkozy to watch the
parade, including Merkel. Mubarak, Ban Ki Moon, and the Syrian leader.

In the afternoon, we made our way to the modern art museum, Centre
Pompidou (pictured above), which had provactive artwork as well as
some classics. We finished Bastille Day drinking in solidarity with
the other Parisians at a few cafes near our place.

Alex joined us in the afternoon, so we now have a group of four
enjoying beautiful Paris together.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Photo time!!

With hours to go before my next travels, I finally uploaded my photos from last trip. Here are my photos from my June travels:

Italy Trek - Places
Italy Trek - Faces
St. Petersburg

Tomorrow morning, I fly out to France for my next set of adventures. I'll spend two weeks in France, then a few days in Belgium before heading back to SF. I plan to post to this blog often - this is much easier and more fun than updating my old travel journal. Bon voyage!

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Rest Stop

I'm finally back to the US, relaxing in California and preparing my move into my new place in San Francisco. My travels the last two months have been wonderful. I've never traveled so much in a two month time-frame, and will probably never do so again.

The top three highlights for me were:
1: Petra. I first visited Petra when I was 4, and have always wanted to go back. Walking through the Sikh to come upon the Treasury is the second coolest sight I've seen (hiking down to Machu Picchu at Sunrise is still #1).
2: Caves Monastery. The ancient caves along the Dnieper river are really a series of ancient underground corridors where priests over the centuries were mummified. It was pretty incredible to walk along the small passage ways with only a candle to light the way, and sounds of praying pilgrims.
3: Italy. The entire HBS Italy trek was extraordinary. We ate like kings, partied the rock stars, slept in castles, drank the best Italian wines, and lived la dolce vita to its fullest. Existing friendships were strengthened, and new friendships were formed on this once-in-a-lifetime trip.

So, since I'm a numbers guys, here's the count for May and June. 25 flights between 21 different airports took me to 8 countries. These 8 countries had 8 languages using one of four alphabets (Roman, Cyrillic, Arabic, Hebrew). I slept in 15 different hotels, resting in no city for more than 5 nights. I used 6 different currencies, and took over 5,000 photos along the way. I'll post a few of them soon!