30
Mar 16

Wales Easter

As usual, we headed up to Wales for Easter. Hurricane Katy was also heading up, so we had to give up kayaking plans, but otherwise we were totes on the top of our game – hiking, sea, sunsets, birds, oen bachs and family time, all check! Plus, awesome time with my macro lens.

We did a nice little hike up the Roman steps to Rhinog Fawr, down by Harlech. Saw a Red Grouse on the way too.

Up Rhinog Fawr

Up Rhinog Fawr

Down Rhinog Fawr

Down Rhinog Fawr

Red Grouse

Red Grouse

Sunset before the storm, from Dinas Dinlle.

Sunset

Sunset

Also a nice hike our fave Yr Aran, the Vatican way this time, with some nice views on the snowy Snowdon ridge.

Gina and Yr Wyddfa

Gina and Yr Wyddfa

Cwm Llan a Yr Wyddfa

Cwm Llan a Yr Wyddfa

Up Aran

Up Aran

Up on Aran

Up on Aran

Down Aran

Down Aran

Spectacularly windy trip around Morfa Nefyn, sort of sunny though. No seals!

Morfa Nefyn

Morfa Nefyn

Macro throughout. Getting really good at it, should be selling them for postcards!

Macro

Macro

Oen bachs everywhere!

Oen bach

Oen bach


13
Mar 16

Hampstead Heath

Sunny Sunday, spring is almost here, so we made our way to Hampstead Heath to give some air to my mini drone. Plus also to find the parakeets and possibly other birds.
We were not so lucky on the drone front, it still pretty much does what it wants and then it ran out of batteries.
BUT we were super lucky on the birds! We saw:
– parakeets (all green, check!)
– geese (of some kind, not check, we don’t know what they are)
– and a KESTREL, and not only that but we saw him catch a mouse and munch on it in the sun in the tree (check check check!) Love my monocular.

Parakeet

Parakeet

Geese

Geese

Kestrel

Kestrel


07
Feb 16

Rainham marshes

Nice February Sunday we decided to explore the Rainham marshes, for some fresh air and possibly birdwatching. We managed to get the right train and in no time we were walking on the pretty circular boardwalk through the marshes. Sun was shining, wind was blowing, and birds aplenty. With the help of my monocular and my pretty birdbook we had a blast.
Confirmed sighting – a Coot (check! but no picture, they were too far)
We also saw some tits, geese and all kinds of other creatures.

Geese

Geese

Rainham marshes

Rainham marshes


03
Jul 15

London – Reykjavik

Glorious heat wave in London but we decided to forgo our only chance at British summer this year and packed for Iceland. Since we got our tickets in January we didn’t have much choice anyway. On Friday, I snuck out of work a bit early, picked up my gigantic backpack and braved my way to Heathrow, on the tube in the rush hour and in the heat. Iest went straight from work and we met up at the terminal. We weighed our bags and were happy our limit was 23kgs as both of them were over twenty. We had them nicely (and expensively!) wrapped, checked in, and went through security – which, for one, I totally failed this time, having forgotten my mobile in the side pocket of my cargos, which earned me a spot in the full body scanner.

Finally through, we still had plenty of time so we had a bit of dinner, while waiting for our gate to be announced. Unfortunately, instead a delay of the flight was announced, and we were a bit worried about our timing for the rest of the night.

Eventually we were taking off about an hour late. Our great window position, so carefully selected at online check-in, turned out to be over the wing, which was a rookie mistake, cruelly held against me by Iest for the duration of the flight. On top of that, we didn’t take our headphones for the trip, so we could not watch the entertainment, which included Fortitude! I was gutted. I went to sleep instead but Iest woke me up for some stupid question, and I couldn’t sleep afterwards and was super tired and cranky.

We arrived at Keflavik airport shortly before midnight, went quickly through passport control (even though the guy was not particularly friendly), grabbed our bags without waiting and out we were.
Despite the late hour it was not dark and it felt very strange, may be like a belated dusk. It was also very fresh and smelled like spring. We got on the bus connection to Reykjavik, which takes a bit less than an hour, and enjoyed our first views of Iceland.

The bus dropped us off at the campsite where we checked in and also bought fuel. Despite everything working our pretty much seamlessly since the airport, by the time we were ready to sleep, it was half past two. The sun was shining and birds were screaming their little lungs out but we had no problems falling asleep.

Icelandair

Icelandair

Icelandair

Icelandair


06
Apr 15

Easter Wales

Thursday, April 2

We hadn’t been to Wales since new year’s, so we were all excited about going for Easter long weekend, even though the weather forecast was nothing special. Booked the tickets online as usual, and on Thursday after work we met up at Euston. Euston was jam-packed as obviously everyone was going away for the weekend but we didn’t worry as we had reservations and it was a direct train. But the train was so full with even the aisles crowded that there was no air and we were also sitting backwards, so overall the trip was quite harrowing. Sometimes I do miss Germany, and these times often coincide with any UK train trips. Nevertheless, we finally got to Bangor, about half hour later than scheduled (yes, half an hour delay on a three-hour direct train), got picked up by Iestyn’s dad, and crashed in bed soon after.

Friday, April 3

We woke up to a morning of incessant rain, but we didn’t mind and decided to go explore a new (for me) Welsh tower Dolwyddelan (or what Iest calls ‘Welsh castle’ but it’s one of those castles that are only like a tower, not like the one in Caernarfon, so it really is just a tower. OK, you might argue that wiki calls it a castle too, but then it shows a picture of a tower, so your call really. It’s a tower. Well built though, proper.). Wiki also adds that “It is thought to have been built in the early 13th century by Llywelyn the Great, Prince of Gwynedd and North Wales. Though the castle was then only one tower with two floors, a second tower was built in the late 13th century and a third floor was added to the first during the late 15th century repairs.” (*tower*, see?)

Tower Dolwyddelan

Tower Dolwyddelan

Up on the tower

Up on the tower

Anyway, the place was really nice, and thanks to bad weather we were there alone. We decided to do some sketching inside, which went great, and we had an awesome soundtrack of the rain and howling wind – very Welsh! It was also by a farm, which had a batch of beautiful new oen bachs, which is the great thing about Easter in Wales too.

Oen bach

Oen bach

Afterwards the weather actually started improving, and we had some great time exploring pretty Welsh places, including the little bit they cut out of the national park, which I wanted to see and it’s actually not as bad as it sounds. We had late lunch in a super old cottage cafe in Aberdaron, and even went to the beach for a bit. By then the sun was already almost blasting. Iest did’t tell me it was on the peninsula though.

Saturday, April 4

On Saturday morning the weather was already great, so we decided to get back on track with our hiking. We decided to do the Moel Hebog ridge, not from Beddgelert but from Cwm Pennant. It was a good choice because Cwm Pennant is very pretty and we also got to pet a cute little day-old one bach, courtesy of a local farm boy. Afterwards we were all ready and ran up via an old quarry to the first peak of the ridge, Moel Lefn (638m). By then the sun was blasting on full force and we had awesome views toward our fav Yr Aran and Snowdon.

Cwm Pennant

Cwm Pennant

Up Moel Lefn

Up Moel Lefn

Views from Moel Lefn

Views from Moel Lefn

From Moel Lefn we followed the ridge over to Moel yr Ogof (655m) and Moel Hebog (782m). Later on Iest remembered that he should have some sunscreen on, so he slapped a bit of my usual sparkly one but too late anyway, and he acquired his first burn of the season. Up on Moel Hebog peak it was a bit windy, so we sat just under the top with our delicious lunch enjoying the views towards Porthmadog and the sea. Since we had plenty time we also did a bit of sketching from that spot before heading back to Cwm Pennant through path down below the ridge. Altogether a beautiful day.

Moel Ogof

Moel Ogof

Moel Ogof ridge

Moel Ogof ridge

Moel Hebog peak

Moel Hebog peak

Moel Hebog sketching

Moel Hebog sketching

Sunday, April 5
Another great day, Iest is burned but that did not stop us from selecting the Nantlle ridge for our day hike as we had not been on that one for years, literally, and it’s a pity because it’s one of the best. Early in the morning (early for us anyway), Iestyn’s dad gave us a lift to Nebo from which we started our trip. The clouds were laying low, sort of lazily snaking and rolling through the valley but we knew the sun was awaiting us just a little hike up the hill. We started our ascent from the lake Llyn Cwm Dulyn and by the time we made it up Mynydd Graig Goch (610m) we were down to the t-shirts. Happily merrily above the clouds we hopped over (yeah there was this almost vertical bit which we thoroughly enjoyed in the blasting sun) to Craig Cwm Silyn (734m).

Llyn Cwm Dulyn

Llyn Cwm Dulyn

 

Mynydd Graig Goch - Iest bottom left

Mynydd Graig Goch – Iest bottom left

Craig Cwm Silyn

Craig Cwm Silyn

From there it was already the usual deal – Mynydd Tal-y-Mignedd (653m) with the obelisk on top, and Trum y Ddysgl (709m), Mynydd Drws-y-Coed (695m) and Y Garn (633m). Then just down to Rhyd Ddu, where we were being picked up again, to make it to the Easter dinner. We were really quite tired from the day, may be not so much from the hike but more so from the day of sun, to which we are not used after the long and dark winter. It was all really nice though.

Looking toward the obelisk

Looking toward the obelisk

Finishing up

Finishing up

Finishing up

Finishing up

Monday, April 6
On Monday we still had a good half day for some family visits and a short stop at Dinas Dinlle, before heading down to the train station. For this trip we did not have any reservations (we had open tickets), we expected the trains to be packed again, and we also knew that due to Euston being under construction, we had to take the long connection via Birmingham. The trip was truly awful, from B’ham onwards we were lucky to be sitting on a half-cheek in the corridor with no oxygen again. Many people in the later stations just plainly did not get on the train. It is really quite strange how the British people insist on the rail services being private in the face of absolutely massive market failures every single time one needs to make a train journey. It is quite obvious that even an incompetent, corrupted, lazy and drunk bureaucrat would central-plan the whole system better than it is run now. Nevertheless, we managed to get safely to Marleybone and then home, super tired but really happy with our Easter weekend.


26
Dec 14

Our London Christmas

Christmas started early for us this year. Gina came up with an epic timetable (it was called Action Plan – Gina), and different tasks for us to complete. My first task of the festive holiday, was to locate us a real, nice Xmas tree – and by the last weekend of November, I’d located one – fairly close by in Brick Lane, with a nice wee company called ‘Pines and Needles’. We were both super pleased with our wee 3 foot Nordman Fir Tree!

Our real hard work came on the first weekend of December. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without Gina’s famous Czech Christmas Cookies – so, this weekend marked the first weekend of many, where Gina pulled up her sleeves and worked hard making the different doughs for us to bake. We now have many, great different cookie shapes (including a Welsh dragon-shaped one, which I got at work from my Secret Santa – he really IS watching!), so we got extremely busy.

Man shaped cookie

Man shaped cookie

Christmas tree cookies

Christmas tree cookies

Gina in the Cookie Factory

Gina in the Cookie Factory

Chocolate dipped cookies

Chocolate dipped cookies

Jam filled cookies

Jam filled cookies

Iest learning 'piping'

Iest learning ‘piping’

Cookie factory

Cookie factory

One of Gina’s project for the festive season, as my beard is pretty epic if I don’t say so myself (yes he does, all the time!) – was to create a ‘Christmas Beard’ – so one evening Gina went wild, and decorated my beard nicely. (Was not really a project, just a spur of the moment inspiration; wasn’t even on the Action Plan!)

Christmas Beard

Christmas Beard

Gina’s beautiful birthday also falls in the Christmas Season (there’s so much wrong with this statement! If anything, it’s the christmas which falls in my birthday time; but in reality, it’s actually both my birthday and the christmas that fall in the Winter Solstice days, the real reason for the season!) so we celebrated nicely. I made her some blueberry pancakes for breakfast – and we headed out for the day to town. (Yeah, like that breakfast was epic – the blueberry pancakes were delish, the tiny candles so cute, the rose petals so romantic, and The Economist: World in 2015 so me!)

Birthday breakfast!

Birthday breakfast!

And, what was left was the actual Christmas Day! Every year, it’s a tough one for Gina, as she usually has her Christmas presents on the 24th evening (by Baby Jesus), but here in the UK, we get them on the 25th in the morning (by a guy from a CocaCola commercial). So she did extremely well not to open any – although, she had a great time eyeing the presents that were nicely placed under the tree.

Our Nordman Fir Xmas tree

Our Nordman Fir Xmas tree

Christmas Morning!

Christmas Morning!

Christmas Morning! Ho Ho Ho!

Christmas Morning! Ho Ho Ho!

After opening our beautiful, beautiful gifts, I went to the kitchen, and started to work on our Christmas dinner – which took around 4 – 5 hours of cooking. This year we went for Veg Christmas Pies, with a plethora of seasoned baked veg, and for desert, a Cranberry meringue roulade – which was oh-so-good (I helped on that one). Very nice.

Christmas Table

Christmas Table

Christmas Food!

Christmas Food!


05
Aug 14

Wales trip

There has been so little activity around here, it’s up to me to sweep out the cobwebs and try to remember what we’ve done in the past like half year. Writing this at the end of November – let’s see what I can reconstruct based on some scattered pics and my memory (which is usually very selective).

There was one nice trip to Wales in August, super sunny and fun. We decided to go up Tryfan, and it was the first time i saw Tryfan in good weather, so finally saw the awesome views from up top, and also we could have a little snack break on top rather than trying to escape as fast as we can to avoid being blown down by gusty winds.

View from Tryfan

View from Tryfan

I also made friends with a seagull up on top, but Iest forbade me to feed him pieces of my granola bar, apparently it’s not good for the gulls to be up there, I’m not sure why, i think it was great of him to swing by. I asked Iest to at least take a picture of my gull pal, this is what he produced:

Gina's gull pal (by Iest)

Gina’s gull pal (by Iest)

I think he just didn’t like him; he holds grudge against gulls since he had to fight them for his lunches as a chubby kid. We also saw this awesome dragonfly on the way down:

Dragonfly

Dragonfly

We also went for a trip to a hill near to Llandudno, which i forgot the name of, and went to Llandudno itself, which Iest was a bit grumpy about. But we did have nice scones with clotted cream and jam and tea there, so finally I think everything worked out fine.

Llandudno

Llandudno


11
Feb 14

A Welsh weekend in Dublin

Gina decided to come to Dublin for a long, 4 day weekend. We decided to have a nice relaxing weekend, filled with good food and good times.

Friday
Friday was a nice and chill day. Started off with Gina topping up on her few weeks worth of reading Saturday’s Guardian, and eyeing up some fantastic biscuit recipes we could do later on over the weekend.
After a hearty breakfast and Netflix, we decided to head into town to do a bit of walking around and shopping. There isn’t much to report on the shopping front.

…and yet another unfinished post by Iestyn, it’s becoming ridiculous, he really has the attention span of a froot fly. So I’ll take over it from here.

There really is not much to report on the shopping front – the problem is that I come from a very under-served town as far as the variety of shops goes, and as much as I hate shopping, I still needed to give it a go and try to find some work-worthy pieces. I did find a nice pantsuit in Next, which I really liked, but unfortunately it just didn’t fit right, and I ended up empty handed. But anyway, I do like walking around Dublin, and it was nice.
For dinner we went to Yamamori, which was super tasty and nice.

Saturday
Saturday was the most exciting day, as Iestyn had a couple of tickets to a Six Nations match in Dublin, Ireland vs. Wales. I was super psyched, as I never saw a rugby match live (or any other match, really, if you don’t count volleyball which I played for years).

We walked to the Aviva stadium surrounded by crowds of Irish fans, but there were some Welsh groups as well. The weather was nice and sunny with occasional showers, but it was really chilly.

Gina looking awesome

Gina looking awesome

Us at the Aviva Stadium

Us at the Aviva Stadium

We bought some rugby junk food before the match on the stadium, and watched the teams warm up. I was really excited. The Welsh looked much bigger and stronger, so I thought that was a good thing, and not only they brought over my favorite sheep guy, but they had a new addition of a proper huge beard (and 2m in height!). I was very hopeful for the match indeed.

Adam 'sheep guy' Jones

Adam ‘sheep guy’ Jones

Jake 'proper huge beard' Ball

Jake ‘proper huge beard’ Ball

However, it is fair to say that my expectations were not exactly met by the Welsh team’s performance. As a matter of fact, they got their asses kicked so badly by the Irish, I must say I was a little bit disappointed. It was still nice to watch all these guys doing their little rugby thing, but if the match was a little bit more even in terms of scores, it would have been more thrilling. Anyway, it was still fun and I was very happy we went!

Full stadium!

Full stadium!

Live rugby action

Live rugby action

Match in full swing!

Match in full swing!

In the evening we went to the cinema as we both wanted to see the new movie by the Coen brothers, Inside Llewyn Davis. We both really liked it, may be I liked it even more than Iestyn, I thought it was very beautifully made. I think i’m going to get it when it’s out on dvd as well and watch it again.

Sunday
On Sunday, we decided to make a batch of the cookies for which we found the recipe in the Saturday Guardian – and I must say it was a great call! They were the Orange and lemon coconut biscuits, and they were divine. With the help of Iestyn’s housemates they disappeared quite quickly.
We also went to the cinema again, because we heard such great things about the LEGO movie – and they were totally right, the movie is AWESOME. As a matter of fact, everything is awesome.

Monday
On Monday, my pressie finally arrived, but it was sent to Egg, so we walked over to Iestyn’s work to get it. I was super excited because I didn’t know what it was. And I was even more excited to open it and find out that it was a new Ward Lock & Co. guidebook for my collection – this one for London! It’s good hundred years old and is in a really good shape too! I love it. I wish we could do our retro project with it around London, it has some cool photographs.

In the afternoon it was time for me to go, which is always so sad. But it was a great fun weekend in Dublin, and we’ll see each other soon enough hopefully.


05
Jan 14

Xmas ’13

This xmas we considered going for a trip to some of European cool cities, but then we decided not to, and stayed in the ‘burg. The idea was originally to have fun in the snow, with snowshoes and cross-country skis and all that but then the weather was actually really bad – it was very warm so there was no snow even on the hills, and it was often very rainy. This is btw the second year in a row with shitty xmas ambiance in the ‘burg, so I still didn’t get the skis I wanted to buy last year already. To be fair though, in the UK they had massive storms and flash floods, so that might have been even worse.

Anyway, we decided to be couch potatoes instead, and for that purpose got ourselves nice big 42” tv – the first time i’ve had a tv since like ten years or so. Of course we don’t actually get the stupid german broadcast, but got the tv specifically just to watch movies. And movies we watched – to name just a few, I loved The Great Gatsby, Behind the Candelabra, Another Earth (all newly gotten for b-day/xmas), and re-watched many of my fav classics – The Royal Tenenbaums, Shame, We’re the Millers, The Thick of It, Inbetweeners, Sherlock, Gone Baby Gone… And I still have Anna Karenina to watch when Iestyn’s gone (not really his type of movie).

Our xmas

Our xmas

Speaking of Sherlock, we could not wait for the new season (not really a “season” they only got like three episodes, and that’s after like two years! I wonder what they’ve been doing.) Unfortunately we could not watch it on the new big tv because we’re outside of the UK and we didn’t manage to work out FilmOn on it (not so “smart” now, is it?), but we still loved the first episode so far, and I cannot wait until the season is on a dvd.

Towards the end of our little holidays we found the full first season of Boardwalk Empire on dvds for only like 10eur in a shop in the ‘burg, so we got it to try it out, and we got completely hooked – watched the whole season in just a couple of days. Now I cannot wait for the shops to open to get the second season as well (I hope they have it!).

We had plenty of xmas cookies to eat with all that trashy entertainment, plus some delicious Leonidas pralines. I got an amazing kettle from Iestyn for my b-day, the kind that measures and shows the temperature of the water, and can be set to heat the water to any temperature – that’s important to make the perfect green tea and other tea kinds, which I like to make. So our holidays were also accompanied by excellent teas, from Kusmi in Paris and from the Palais des Thes.

Out tree was small as always but lovely, and there were so many presents underneath this year! We bought our supplies for xmas lunch on the Munster market as usual, that’s our fav thing to do, and Iestyn selected a lovely mushroom and chestnut pie for this year’s menu, accompanied as usual with roasted vegetables with Porto wine sauce, and mashed sweet potatoes with baked garlic. It was super-delicious, and i think we should make the mushroom pie our festive time staple.

Dinner in the making

Dinner in the making

Dinner almost ready

Dinner almost ready

Delicious

Delicious

I got awesome pressies, honorable mention goes to a proper ginger beard! I also got many books and a t-shirt and lush bath bombs and dvds and a beautifully designed lunchbox, so that I can prepare my lunch for work more often, which I should really do.
We also managed to give each other the same present – a lovely graphic novel called The Gigantic Beard That Was Evil. One of them will have to go back to the store; so Iestyn will be keeping his, while I can pick another present to exchange for. I selected a great book about Wes Anderson’s films, but it’s currently all sold out, so we need to wait for the re-print (April may be?).

Gigantic Beard x2

Gigantic Beard x2

Pressies!

Pressies!

Gigantic Beard x2 (note my Ho Ho Ho shirt!)

Gigantic Beard x2
(note my Ho Ho Ho shirt!)

So all in all it was an epic break; we didn’t do much, but had a great time and re-charged our energy for the nex year!

2014!

2014!


02
Dec 13

Parisversary

Friday 29.11.
At the end of November, for our anniversary we decided to go to Paris, because Iestyn found some cheap tickets from Dublin, and I now have a TGV train to Paris from the ‘burg (significantly less cheap but direct and fast). So we took a couple days off, and headed to Paris on Friday early morning, to meet at Paris Gare de Lyon a bit after 10am. Of course my train was exactly on time, while Iestyn was slacking along the way and kept me waiting for like half hour. After we finally met, we made our way to our cute little under-the-roof apartment Iestyn booked for us, beautifully located by the church of St Eustach in the Les Halles area – we could not be more central.
The weather was a bit grey and cloudy but it was not raining, and the xmas lights were already on in the streets, so it was all quite nice.
After we dropped off our stuff, it was practically time for lunch, given how early we both got up. We found a nice little place in our street called Little Italy, which seemed also to be super popular and it was really crowded at this hour. We managed to get us spots eventually, and had delicious filling meals and wine, but the true winner of the lunch was the creamiest, nicest tiramisu ever. It was right up there in the dessert heaven with the creamy cheese cake we had in Porto.

Tiramisu

Tiramisu

After lunch it was finally time to start exploring the city. We decided to start off with a gentle walk along the Seine to the Musee d’Orsay. Musee d’Orsay is beautifully located in a renovated old train station, and is one of the A-league galleries that actually have something to show for themselves – in this case it’s France’s national collection of the impressionist, post-impressionist and art noveau movements, spanning cca 1840s to 1914. The paintings collection features many works of Manet, Monet, Cezanne, Degas, Van Gogh, Toulouse-Lautrec, Pissaro, Sisley, just to name a few. So, as Iestyn noted, a far cry from some other establishments, which have a doodle Picasso made while on the phone, and call themselves galleries. We loved the space and loved the collections, and it’s a place we’ll go to again sometime. It was not allowed to take any pictures inside, so we just took one of the main area, and one of Iestyn with his favorite statue – Ours Blanc (Polar Bear) by François Pompon.

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

Musee d'Orsay

Musee d’Orsay

Polar bear

Polar bear

There were also a few paintings by my favorite Henry Rousseau on display, most notably The Snake Charmer, which was cool but still not as cool as the surprised tiger in the London gallery, which remains my nr.1.

When we got out of there, it was already dark, and so we walked over to the Tuileries gardens, place de la Concorde and Champs-Elysees to the Arc de Triomphe. There was already all the xmas shebang on Champs-Elysees, decorations and markets. Unfortunately the decorations were a bit over the top and the markets loud and uninspired, so it really didn’t convey any xmas atmosphere, more vulgar and circus-y.

Tuileries

Tuileries

Place de la Concorde

Place de la Concorde

Champs-Elysees

Champs-Elysees

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

Saturday 30.11.
On Saturday, we started systematically going through our checklist of touristy things to do in Paris. (Well, we actually first went to find Paperchase, because I needed nice xmas cards, and I live in such backwardly place where they sell no nice cards, but it was on the way anyway so no detour really.)
First on our list, Hotel de la Ville – Paris’ beautiful town hall rebuilt in neo-renaissance style between 1874-1882. The ornate façade is decorated with 108 statues of illustrious Parisians.

Hotel de la Ville

Hotel de la Ville

From there we made it to Place des Vosges, Paris’ oldest square. Inaugurated in 1612 as place Royale, it’s an elegant ensemble of 36 symmetrical houses with ground-floor arcades, steep slate roofs and large dormer windows. They are arranged around large and leafy square with four symmetrical fountains. Victor Hugo lived here between 1832 and 1848.

Place des Vosges

Place des Vosges

On our way from Vosges to Notre Dame we passed by Centre Pompidou, the most hideous architectural adventure in Paris, and in the top European eye-sore league. Opened in 1977, it was visionary only in the way it predicted the awfulness of the 80s that was to come. The dry description in our guide notes that it was effectively designed inside out, with utilitarian features such as plumbing, pipes, air vents and electrical cables forming part of the external façade; but this description does not really convey the appalling monstrosity of the building. On top of its inherent ugliness the whole thing is of course impossible to keep maintained, so all the pipes are covered with a thick layer of dust and soot and whatever has been around in the Parisian air for the past thirty years, so it looks not only ugly but also worn down and sad. If the former French president Georges Pompidou was just trolling, he done it right, he totally pwned Paris; question is why, but that we might never know.
We just hope it’s got something to offer on the inside, but we didn’t approach it any closer.

Centre Pompidou

Centre Pompidou

Passing this disgrace, we arrived at Notre Dame, the heart of Paris. Nothing much to say here, very touristy but for a reason. We didn’t spend too much time there but enjoyed the views.

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

Notre Dame

From Notre Dame we caught the boat ride to the Eiffel tower, catching some nice views on both banks of the river along the way. Eiffel tower is a must in Paris of course, although we had no desire to go/ride up, and just admired it from the ground for a little bit. Then we took a walk around the Hotel des Invalides, built in 1670 by Louis XIV for disabled war veterans. It now hosts Napoleon’s tomb among other things.

Eiffel tower

Eiffel tower

Hotel des Invalides

Hotel des Invalides

For the evening we were invited for a lovely dinner with one of Iestyn’s friends and his wife, and their gorgeous cat. We had a great evening with lovely mexican food, after which we decided to have another look at the Eiffel, all lit up this time, and with a view from Trocadero.

Eiffel tower

Eiffel tower

Sunday 1.12.
Without knowing this when we got the tickets for Paris, but finding out thanks to Gina’s thorough preparations, we were in Paris for the Sunday when all public museums are free of charge. We decided to take advantage of this fact, and stated off our day in August Rodin museum, located in the mansion he used for his atelier. We enjoyed strolling in his gardens admiring his sculptures, including the famous Thinker.

The Thinker

The Thinker

August Rodin museum

August Rodin museum

From Rodin museum we walked along the quay to another exhibition, the permanent collections of the Musee du Quai Branly – beautifully presented art from Africa, Oceania, Asia and the Americas, which we really loved, although at this breadth it’s difficult to take it all in. Everything from masks, carvings, jewellery, prints, weapons and more from all corners of the world.

Musee du Quai Branly

Musee du Quai Branly

Musee du Quai Branly

Musee du Quai Branly

After that we were all museumed out, and went for a walk along the Seine, Grand Palais and Pont Alexandre III and to church de la Magdalene. We then made it to Louvre although we had no intention to go in, just to admire it from the outside before we enjoyed a nice pink-colored sunset on the Seine again.

Pont Alexandre III

Pont Alexandre III

Louvre

Louvre

Pink sunset on Seine

Pink sunset on Seine

When the evening was in, we climbed up the Arc de Triomphe to admire beautiful views of night time Paris. Even the trashy xmas lights on Champs-Elysees looked better from up above. Back on Champs-Elysees we went to Kusmi Tea shop, where Iestyn bought me some beautifully smelling teas, and we then sat down in their little place to have some team with the most delicious sweets ever.

Paris from Arc de Triomphe

Paris from Arc de Triomphe

Paris from Arc de Triomphe

Paris from Arc de Triomphe

Kusmi Tea

Kusmi Tea

Kusmi Tea

Kusmi Tea

Monday 2.12.
On Monday, we woke up to a glorious sunshine, so we decided to get another take on the Eiffel tower, sunbathing this time. It was quite epic indeed, although the soft white cloud was coming in quite quickly, so by the time we changed location and made it to the basilica Sacre Coeur in Montmartre, the sky was quite dull once again. We paid to go up the dome to get some spectacular Parisian panoramas. By the afternoon when it was time to catch the train back home the sun came back again though, so our last glimpses of Paris were sunny and beautiful, and we were quite sad to go.

Eiffel in the sun

Eiffel in the sun

Basilique Sacre Coeur

Basilique Sacre Coeur

Basilique Sacre Coeur

Basilique Sacre Coeur

Paris in the sun

Paris in the sun

This is my analogue capture of the weekend; came out quite nicely if I may say so myself:

Parisversary from nostalgina on Vimeo