Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The 80's are bitchin'!

As some of you know, Halloween is my favorite holiday of the year. All year I wait until the perfect couples costume comes to me and then hopefully buy the costumes in September. However this year I had NO IDEA what John and I should dress up as this year...time to stress! Right when my stress was starting to peak I got an invite from my friend Ellie that she and her boyfriend were having a joint birthday party with her boyfriend and it was an 80's theme party. How sweet is that? At least now I had some sort of direction for our costumes!

So what do you think??(Nice of me to move the laundry basket out of the way right? At least they are clean clothes!)

We arrived to the party late as we had a Cal Poly football game to go to, but when we arrived the party was hopping!
Steph and Sam gettin' down

Unfortunately Mr. Miyagi's mustache did not want to stay on longer than 10 minutes and apparently tried to make a break for it, but got distracted by the sweetness of the cupcakes.

Mr. Miyagi and the birthday girl...showing Daniel Son his moves.

Rockin' out to some MJ.

What is this? How did this little buddy get on this small wine bottle?
Near the end of the night we got 'rained' out, but luckily it stopped before we had to bike ride home.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paris Day 1

I finally got around to looking through the first day of photos from our trip. Here are a few to wet your appetite. I'm hoping to get the some of them uploaded to ofoto this week, but right now they are uploading at a snails pace.
Outside of the Louvre
One of my fave paintings in the Louvre. I was so excited that I found the right room. Can you believe the scale?
After the Louvre we walked down to the Arc.
On the metro.
The tower.
I loved all the metro signs throughout the city and I tried to take photos of all the ones I saw.

Hopefully more photos to come!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Nice #1

On the train ride to Nice the scenery reminded me a lot of Cinque Terre. I don't know why that surprised me because Cinque is right down the coast.

It was overcast when we arrived which was a bummer but at least it wasn't raining. We were starving so our first stop was lunch. we split a gigantic cheese pizza, which was great and cheaper than Paris.

We also found a funny typo on their menu.

Next we headed down to the water/main walkway where we noticed there was a hill towards the East that was calling us to climb it.

The view was really great but I only imagined how blue the ocean normally looks on a sunny day. There were actually a few people in the ocean despite the weather. I did touch the water (without falling in...John has video) and it seemed pretty warm. Also did you know that the beach is all rocks? The only sand was two small man made areas. So bizarre.

For dinner we headed into the old town and went to a place that looked touristy but had quite a few locals. Directly to our right were three young ladies where two of them dominated some linguine with mussels. The third however just sat there and smoked and texted. I didn't even think she was with them but she got up and left with them.

Right next to us on our left were two dudes who totally cracked us up. First when we sat down there was a plastic bag on our table that looked like someones leftovers. Come to find out it was the dudes next to us and apparently they didn't think we minded their bag on our small table?

A little while later one of the dudes knocks his bread basket on the floor towards us, which I think he apologized for but who knows? You know I couldn't understand a word either of them were saying!

We get our food and it was outstanding homemade pasta. I could not eat it fast enough. Apparently it looked like it was giving me some difficulties as the guy next to me pointed to my spoon and rambled something in French. I told him 'oui oui' and then continued to fight with my noodles sans spoon. Regardless of what that dude thought I am not a pasta rookie!! I just see no point in the spoon when i have twirling skills.

As we were finishing up our meals the dude diagonal to me accidentally nudged my leg. He then began apologizing and then grabbed his knife to protect himself from John if John thought he was making a move. So funny.

After dinner we set out to find a ice cream place mentioned in one of our travel books. We found one of their locations but it was closed so we went to the next best thing...a chain called Pinoccio's. It actually was pretty good as we wound up going there every night...however I would say they served ice cream not gelato. Regardless it was still tasty.

- Posted using my iPhone

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Arles #3

To start off our second day in Arles we checked out the local 'farmers' market. We could not believe how big it was and it was so neat to see the different things they sold. It was more like stores set up mini stores. For example the butcher set up shop with a complete refrigerated case on the street. Other highlights include cheese, olive, spices, veggies, and breads. There was so much variety and the quality looked really good. All of the old ladies were there early and would run you down if you were in their way. There were even a few different vendors who were selling paella on the street. Gigantic pan and all. We tried some and it was pretty good. Not sure if it was because it was 10:30 in the morning or what. Here is a photo. It isn't that impressive.

I did think a gypsy was following us through he market thinking that we were going to be her next victims but no such luck for her! We did see some police but they seemed much more interested in the roasting chickens than the gypsies.

After the market we headed to the coliseum which was in the middle of the town. It was really neat and they currently hold bull fights in it.

Today was such a nice relaxing day. We strolled to a coffee shop that was recommended in one of our travel books. It was tucked in a total locals neighborhood where the only tourists we saw were lost ones. The cappichinos were good and we had some great people watching. I even saw my first pommeraianin chein! It was soooo cute.

After walking around some more we decided to go to the ice cream place we went to the day before. Once again it was tasty.

We also finally found a decent priced clothing store! I cannot tell you how many shops I've seen where their cheapest item in the window is 115 euros. As some of you know I did my best to hardly buy any clothes this year so I could by some on this trip. Apparently the cheapskate in me still won't let me. But that all ended when we found this shop!! I was able to get a few different shirts for 29 euros each. John even found a total euro sweater with a gigantic collar, which i think makes him look like Bruno.

After our shopping we needed to refuel so we went to a pizzeria near the coliseum. Let me tell you that it was so good.

It was a four cheese that included goat cheese. Did I tell you that I have been getting goat cheese with every meal? Who knew it was so good here and who knew they serve it on everything? John said when we get back home I can get a goat for our five feet backyard so I can started making my own cheese. Sweet!

It also looked like either the owners or waitresses dog was hanging out in the dining room...just napping.

We continued our shopping excursions after lunch to get a few more souvineers and tasty treats. I had been seeing meringue everywhere around here so I decided to buy some. Not a little cookie but a giant piece! It was really good but of course I got too much.

John on the other hand decided to get callissons which we saw on the Anthony Bourdain special. Those are the little triangle candies in the photo. They too were really good.

Overall we really enjoyed our stay in Arles. Now we are on a train heading to Nice and I think my seat is too close to the bathroom, if yeah know what I am sayin'.

- Posted using my iPhone

Arles #2

We were able to spend two days in Arles and really enjoyed it. On the first day we were able to visit most of the main tourist sites. We started at the Arles museum which was really interesting. It had a great history of the town and had these awesome dioramas of the roman structures that used to be erect in the town. There was a huge amphitheater, coliseum, forum, and circus Maximus. They had bits and pieces of the roman buildings on display but the dioramas were my fave. They even had a special exhibit where they showed all of these under water excavations from ship wrecks. They showed a mini video of the process which I really enjoyed as well. The majority of their findings were wine and water ceramic jugs and a sarcophagus.

Another tourist thing we did during the day was go on a Van Gogh walking tour. There were about ten marked locations where Van Gogh had painted. The city of Arles had even installed markers in the ground that you could follow to make sure you were going the right way. Pretty cool. I think we made it to all of them except two. One pathway we took was by the river which was really pretty except it totally stunk of dog poo!!! Apparently the peeps in Arles do not pick up the poo after their dogs. It was everywhere!!! The painting landmark we were going to see was a Starry Night. (not the starry night). Near the location there was some ruminates of a bridge. Kind of neat. Also near by was a group of old men in a park playing a game similar to bocci ball but on a smaller scale. We saw some men play it in Paris too so apparently it is very popular here.

Anyway, I did recognize most of the paintings that were featured on the walk. Yeah for all of my art history classes and for tuition money well spent! I only took one photo with my phone of one of the locations and it isn't the right angle of the building either. Sorry! It was so neat to be able to stand there and see the same view of van Gogh. I have never been able to do that with any artist before and I feel very fortunate to have ben able to do that with one of my faves.

After our hours of site seeing we were really hot and sweaty. (it is definitely more humid here than Paris!) Our hotel advertised it had a pool so John and I decided to check it out. It was a mini pool that was indoors and on the bottom level of the hotel kind of odd and kind of awesome. We had to pay extra to use it but it was well worth it and so refreshing! We even used the sauna for a bit but it made me feel clostrophbic. I now know I do not like to breath in warm air.

Before dinner we decided to have cappichinos since we didn't get ones at lunch. Guess who couldn't fall asleep that night?

Here are two photos from my dinner. (I am reposting them now that I have time to write). The first one is of my salad and the second one is of my desert.

That creme brûlée was the best I have ever had. I cannot believe how good it was and am mad it isn't that good in the US. Oh well.

- Posted using my iPhone

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Arles #1

During our mid day break today John and I decided to check out our hotels mini pool in their mini spa. As result we took a nap = no blog for you. Sorry!

So far we love Arles. It is such a cite, quaint town and reminds us of sienna. We walked all over the town today and got to see a lot of locations of where Van Gogh himself painted. Including be cafe below which he painted cafe terrace at night.

Arles is also a town that used to be he main town that connected Rome and Spain. As a result there is a coliseum in the middle of town and any other Roman ruins. It is fascinating.

I forgot to take photos with my phone in the first half of the day but I did try to get some more food photos for you that were asking.

I will try to wrote more tomorrow but on Sunday we head to Nice and I will have quite a few hours on the train to write.

Hope you all are doing well!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


Test. This app is giving me issues.

Thursday, October 7, 2010


Bonjour from Lyon! we spent a little under 24 hours in this cute city, which is the third largest city in France. John read that is is know for it's cuisine thanks to Paul Bousce so he wanted to make sure we had a meal there. (This is also similar to when we had to stop in Bologna because he read that it was the gastronomical city on Italy.)

It was interesting to me how different Lyon felt compared to Paris. It is a big city but even the people looked different to me.

I was pleased that our hotel was cute and in a good location. (yeah to trip advisor and frommers!) the lady at the front desk was also really nice and spoke good English.

The place we had planned to go to dinner was called Brasserie Georges. It is the oldest restaurant in Lyon and seats up to 400 people. It was basically like a huge banquet hall and somewhat fancy with all the waiters in tuxes. Very old school and very neat. They had homemade beer which John loved and I also got champagne as an aperitif (pre meal drink to cleanse your palette). I am staring to love aperitifs. Why don't we have those in the US?

Anyway, John and I started off with two small dished. John got a salad and I got some cheese raviolis. Hey were both really good. My pasta was homemade and reminded me just how close I am to Italy and how I need to turn meal dial to pasta and pizza as much as i can. Seriously...the pasta was melting in my mouth.

For our main dishes, John got a very traditional meal of three different kinds of sausage and sauerkraut. I got a baked fish ball. Ok, so that isn't what it was really called but it was a pureed fish thing that looked like mashed potatoes but had a different consistency. Needless to say it was tasty. After our meal we figured out that the place reminded us of what a German beer/food hall might be like. John's meal was very German.

Despite mosquitos and hotel construction at 8am I actually slept well. The bed was really comfy but I still woke up exhausted.

We headed up on the hill through the old town of Lyon to go to the Notre Dame that was dedicated to Mary. It was really beautiful and the inside was covered in mosaics. It was amazing and remainder me of the cathedrals in Italy. (sorry u forgot to take a photo with my phone.)

Near by the cathedral there were two roman amphitheaters/ruins which they currently use for concerts.

After sit seeing we headed to Le sud which is one of the restaurants owned by Paul Bousce. John got the traditional French dish of seafood soup called boulibase and I got some penne pesto and tomato pasta. Both dishes were really good but I would have enjoyed mine a bit more had I not gotten a migraine. Nice, right? Thanks to a coca-cola it didn't take very long until I started to feel better.

John decided a year ago or so that it would be neat to collect harry potter books from each country we visit. We had already looked in two book stores with no luck but the next shop we went in had one! How cute is this cover?

Now we are on the train to Arles.

It is a smaller town which I am looking forward too. I don't think I am a real big city girl. I am looking forward to taking it easy and sleeping in.

Now that we have traveled south of Paris the weather is beautiful! The sun was actually out today! Yeah!

Another note...we saw a ton of gigantic meringue pieces in a lot of the bakery windows. Is fence known for that? I have no idea.

We had two cappichinos before getting on the train. It was the best one yet. Reminded me of Italy.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Paris Update #2

NOTE: I did not double check this entry for grammar or spelling. I also want to apologize if some of you have seen the photos below on Facebook. I still have a few readers who are not on FB, hence the reason for the duplication. (And I am too lazy to get on FB to double check what I posted)

I am currently on a train to Lyon. Have I mentioned how much I love having my iPhone with me on this trip? It really is the best.

I am sad to say that our Paris adventures are over. Man that was a fast four days! I still cannot believe how big of a city Paris is. There is so much to see and do that we definitely did not have time for everything.

Since I last blogged we traveled up the eiffel tower which was really neat and luckily we had fairly clear skies. It definitely wasn't sunny but we had a sweet view. We also got there right when it opened and only had to wait a half an hour to get to the top. Granted I feel totally exhausted from all of our sight seeing and not sleeping in but it is worth it.

After the tower we headed over to the island where the notre dame is. Can you believe I had no idea it was in an island? I really wonder what the heck I was doing/observing 13 years ago. There is actually another small island next tot he larger islands which had some really cute streets. John and I were able to take our time and got to take a few mini breaks too.

We have come to find out that the cages here in Paris are similar to the pubs in england, as they almost always have really good basic food. For example, I have gotten two tomato and mozzarella salads and BOTH were better than any I have ever had in the states. Point made.

I expected Paris to be more like Italy because they are so close to each other geographically. Boy was i wrong! We were hoping to find coffee bars for quick drinks in the mornings but most places are sit down and of course you never seen any to go cups. Wait! I did see one but it was a Starbucks cup. Surprise surprise.

We have has two good cappichinos at our lunches and man...they really taste nothing like the ones in the US. I wonder if I will acclimatize in the next week and a half...then be mad when I get home because they don't taste the same.

We spent part of yesterday in an area called Montmarte. It was a really cute town where they also filmed the French movie Amelie. We first went to the church sacre coure and climbed to the top. The view was awesome but it looked as though the very tip of the effeil tower was covered in fog! We were very thankful we went the day before to the tower. Lucky!

Once we came down from the church we headed over to the two windmills cafe where Amelie worked in the movie. We decided to eat lunch there so we could be crazy stalker fans and not feel bad about it. It was a good choice too because we had another great meal. He cafe wasn't exactly the same as the movie but pretty close. The bar looked the same but the cigarette station was not there, but the bathroom was the same as well. I may have to do a separate post on when I get back home.

I also must say that ALL of the French people we have dealt with have been so nice. Not really different from when I was here 13 years ago. It kills me how everyone thinks they are rude.

Anyway, after lunch John and I were able to go to this fancy bakery for macaroons which we sampled in the Luxembourg gardens. They were so soft they practically fell apart to the touch. I think citrus was my fave.

Last night we ate dinner at a restaurant featured on anothony bourdain's 100th episode of no reservations. We tried to eat at a few of the other places he ate at on the show but they were all booked. Let me tell you that the dinner was one of the most unusual dinners I have ever had. It was modern french food with crazy flavor combinations that tasted really good together. In fact it was a set menu so we also had no idea what we were going to be eating. The food its self was art. I don't have any photos of the food on my phone or i would post them. I think that meal deserves its own post as well.

We also sat super close to a couple from Cleveland. They were really nice and we even joined them for a drink after dinner.

Today we went to a couple more specialty bakeries and started out with a major sugar rush from more macaroons. I hate to think what the remaining ones look like right now in my camera bag. Poor lil buddies.

We had enough time to visit the garden area of the Rodin museum (which only cost a pound!) and saw the thinker. I had no idea so many of his pieces were outside but it was really fascinating.

Now we are on the train. I must say that I LOVE to travel by train. Good, fast, trains that is. Of course I only start enjoying the ride once I find the correct platform and get in the right car and in the right seats. Unlike in Italy we have assigned seats for all of our upcoming rides = less stress for me! There was just a couple down the aisle totally mKinging out really loudly, but other then that the scenery is awesome.

Well this blogging has pooped me out. I need a cappichino.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone