Thursday, October 30, 2008

Parents In (and out of) Town

My parents were in town last week to visit, and because this is Europe, we planned an out of town trip to Paris.

L was out of town on business, and so my parents had to depend on my map reading skills (or lack thereof). Fortunately Paris is lovely wherever you go, and getting lost a couple of times wasn't so bad.

We stayed at a nice bed and breakfast near the Opera, the Louvre and the Musee d'Orsay. I know you've all seen tons of pictures of Paris, but here are some of them anyway:

The Arc De Triomphe

Walkway to The Louvre 

The Opera

The Eiffel Tower and Hello Kitty

Facade of The Notre Dame Cathedral (at least part of it)


Baglover, here's one for you - le mothership:

We also went to Delft, known for being well preserved (the buildings haven't changed for the most part since the thirteenth century), Delftware and where Vermeer lived his entire life. Here's a nice picture of the Nieuwe Kerk:

Thanks for visiting, Papa and Mom. It was wonderful spending time with both of you. Let's do that again soon.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Feminism, then and now

Not that this should be an indication of how my life is these days, but I totally get why Emma Bovary turned out the way she did.

Apparently, so does Kate Winslet. 

Book pick of the week: Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert. 

Movie pick of the week: Little Children, directed by Todd Field.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

In Bruges (It's in Belgium!)

The next time you have an hour and a half to spare, watch "In Bruges". 

The next time you go to Europe, and if you haven't already been, you have to go to Bruges.

After watching the movie, L and I felt compelled to take a day trip to Bruges (or Brugge, in Flemish). It was supposed to take around a total of six hours by train to travel to and from Bruge, but because of some (unannounced!) track work in the southern Netherlands, it took way more than six hours. 

Fortunately Bruges is impossibly beautiful, and the ten or so hours on the uncomfortable second class train seats seem worth it. (But we're never doing that again!) There was not one scene that was not picture worthy - to my eyes the colors of autumn complemented the amazingly well-preserved historic center.

Bruge, like Amsterdam, Delft and the other cities in the lowlands with canals call themselves the "Venice of the North". As to which city truly deserves the title is a debate I leave to other people, but I do like riding them canal boats! We rode a boat like this one on the River Dijver:

Here are some medieval houses on the Markt, a market square that dates back to the thirteenth century, and is still used as a market place today:

Here's the Stadhuis, the town hall, which was built in the twelfth century:

If you've seen the movie (and this spoils it if you haven't), this is the Belfort, where that other guy jumped off to warn Colin Farell's (swoon!) character about Ralph Fiennes's (swoon!) character:

L and I also accidentally stumbled upon this Beguinage, where spinsters and widows once lived in order to devote their lives to prayer without taking any formal religious vows. Ironically enough, its now a monastery for the Benedictine sisters, and a UNESCO world heritage site:

And of course, some pictures of autumn: