Posts Tagged ‘france’

My last day in Lyon

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

The day I had to leave Lyon snuck up on me much faster than I expected. I don’t feel like I was there for three months. It’s hard continually introducing myself to a new place to live. I feel like right when I start getting the hang of it, it’s time to move on again. It is great to see so many parts of the world and experience such different cultures. (I’m not sure I could name five similarities between Bangladesh and France…) But, I still don’t really have the hang of such a nomadic lifestyle, I think. It takes me a long time to warm up when I wake up in the morning, and similarly it takes me a while to warm up in a new city.

Catie and Emma gave me free reign on what we should do my last afternoon in the city. It was a beautiful day after a couple blanketed with rain, so I steered us toward the Parc de la Tete d’Or. (Just like a Minnesotan to spend his last day in a great city at the park.) Emma hadn’t been there yet anyway, so it was a good fit. The park felt different from the other times we had visited. The trees were almost all bare, and there was hardly anyone walking about, so the place felt very open. It was quiet, and a nice way to say farewell.

Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 16, 2010.

I will miss France. I wish I felt like I had become a bit “French” myself, but I don’t think I had enough time (or perhaps I have just too much “goof” coursing through my veins). Maybe Catie and I will make it back again someday, and I can try again (and maybe learn a decent bit of the language too, although Catie definitely has us covered in that department). In the meantime, I’ll be in MN for the next month and a half working on art projects and applying to graduate school, and generally enjoying the holidays at home for a change. (And unfortunately, I will probably be making a concerted effort to neglect this blog while I focus on those other things…)

I have no idea what is coming next… Domesticity? A hemispheric shift? Anything is possible…

Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 16, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 16, 2010.

It’s a little rainy out but so what

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

After we got back to Lyon from Marseille, I only had two and a half days (even less than Emma!) left in France before flying back to Minnesota to try to sort out and make some accelerated progress on my future life (hopefully publishing a few apps to the iOS app store, and figuring out and completing graduate school applications). It rained all of Tuesday morning, but after trying to wait it out a while eating lunch and playing a game or two, we remembered that we were Alaskans and Minnesotans (Minnelasktans?) – not some silly city folk that are scared by a little rain!

Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)

Photo taken in Lyon, France on November 15, 2010.

So, we set off. We didn’t have much of a destination in mind, and it definitely did continue raining for almost the entire time we were out, but that didn’t stop us in the slightest from having a wonderful time wandering about the city (as we so often do in cities) and taking some photos as well. (It has to be raining fairly hard before I really start worrying about a well built professional Nikon camera. And no, unfortunately I am not getting paid to say that.)

Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)
Lyon, France (Nov 15, 2010)

Photos taken in Lyon, France on November 15, 2010.

SCOTCH and SODA Sweat, and other things

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

Catie, Emma, and I all wanted to make the most of our time in Marseille, so we spent the majority of not only the days but also the evenings walking around the city. I’ve talked before about my affection for night photography, and the winding streets of Marseille offered plenty of good new content. I could ramble on for a little while now about some of the things we saw, or the pleasant taste of the nighttime sea air coming off the Mediterranean, but frankly I need to cut straight to the point of this post; while we were walking along some random street in a city in France, we glanced at a small clothing store display window and saw a BRONXVILLE sweatshirt for sale.

Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)

Photo taken in Marseille, France on November 12, 2010.

Before we go any further, be sure to take a good close look at that picture. Everything about the display of that sweatshirt in a shop in the middle of Marseille is so incredibly bizarre, that I don’t even know where to begin. For anyone totally clueless, Bronxville is a very wealthy self-proclaimed ‘village’ with approximately 6500 residents about 15 miles north of Manhattan in New York State. (According to Wikipedia, it is actually one of the places in the country with the most affluent households and the highest average incomes.) Sarah Lawrence College (from which both Catie and I graduated) happens to be located in Bronxville. Actually, to be more precise, SLC sits mostly in the much less prestigious city of Yonkers, but the college is very careful about associating itself (including its postal code) instead with Bronxville as much as possible since it has such a nice (and did I mention wealthy?) high-class reputation.

OK, so the obvious general question is – how did a Bronxville sweatshirt end up in Marseille? Who knows. And why did someone put it there? Well, it does also say “NEW YORK” underneath, and it seems like no matter where you go in the world, there will always be people who want to associate themselves with New York. That’s fine! I’m not judging! New York is a great place. I love it there!

The next weirdest part of the display is the listed price of the sweatshirt. Over the course of my last three months living and squandering money in France, I have become intimately familiar with the exchange rate between the Euro and the American dollar. It has remained fairly consistently at a rate of at least $1.33 for every €1.00. (In other words, for whatever price you see in France, add on an extra third of that to get the true cost for us American suckers. After you do that, feel free to cry a little before paying the probably egregious sum.) That means that this Bronxville sweatshirt – which in my opinion is rather old and ratty-looking, not to mention just plain boring – is being sold in a French shop for almost $45. I don’t think even the swindlers who work at the Sarah Lawrence College bookstore would try to charge that much for such a sweatshirt. Who is buying this for $45? I honestly can’t imagine.

Finally, we get to what I think is easily the strangest part of this enigma. Why is it labeled as a “SCOTCH and SODA” sweatshirt? Is it because this is the type of article of clothing that you would only want to wear while lounging about, drinking scotch and soda? (For that matter, do people lounge about, drinking scotch and soda? I haven’t the foggiest.)

EDIT: I did some research, and I found out that Scotch & Soda is actually the name of an “Amsterdam Couture” fashion design house, specializing in very expensive clothes. I can’t actually find the Bronxville sweat anywhere on their website or store, but let us assume that it is indeed designed and distributed by this company. I have to say, I think this makes it even weirder! What is expensive and fashionable about a shabby blue Bronxville sweatshirt!? Who in Amsterdam decided this was a chic idea?! Have they been to Bronxville before? Were they trying to make a BRONX sweatshirt instead, and just got confused? (Not that I would consider a Bronx sweatshirt particularly “chic” by any regard, but it would at least be more imaginable than Bronxville!)

I am sure this mystery will never be solved. Maybe if I had stayed in France long enough, I would have started seeing fashionable young ladies wearing black tights, tall boots, and sweatshirts featuring the names of other somewhat obscure locales in Westchester County. Who’s to say, really…

Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)

Photos taken in Marseille, France on November 12-13, 2010.

Up a different hill this time

Wednesday, November 24th, 2010

It turns out Lyon isn’t the only place in France with an impressive basilica that sits upon a hill and overlooks the city below. Marseille’s version is the Notre-Dame de la Garde, which we set out to visit on a beautiful Saturday morning (after a healthy amount of rest, breakfast pastries and croissants, and coffee, of course). Despite being able to see the basilica from almost any point in the city, we weren’t quite sure how to get to it, so once we were in the right part of the city we simply resolved to keep walking in whatever direction continued our vertical ascent. It was a decent strategy since the basilica sits at the highest natural point in Marseille, and sure enough, it worked!

The basilica itself was beautiful, as were the views of the city (and the sea) that it afforded. It was a bit crowded for my personal church-visiting tastes, and much like the Notre-Dame de Fourvière, the amount of adorning detail covering practically every surface was nearly impossible to visually process, let alone photograph. But, I am very glad we made the trek up all the same! (Plus, I actually don’t think you’re allowed to visit Marseille without paying the basilica a visit.)

Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)

Photos taken in Marseille, France on November 13, 2010.

A city by the sea

Tuesday, November 23rd, 2010

When I was living in Tasmania, I loved that my life in Hobart centered around the sea. My apartment was more or less in the city center, and every day I would walk ten or fifteen minutes to the University of Tasmania School of Art, which had its campus in an old jam factory directly on the water. I wasn’t much of a socialite in Australia (nor anywhere, truthfully), so when I wasn’t working at school or at home, I was often meandering around the docks, staring out at the water or (when feeling less pensive) hunting seagulls with my camera. I don’t know why I liked it so much. There was something about the constant presence of the water and the quietly lapping waves that just seemed to help keep me at peace.

So, I was happy when we got to Marseille and I saw that the city (part of it, anyway) centers itself around Vieux-Port. The seaport was first settled by the Greeks in 600 BC, and the harbor has remained an important spot ever since (although it is now used only as a marina and a docking point for local boat trips). I don’t know much more about it than that (and I freely admit I pulled even that pitiful historical tidbit directly from Wikipedia), except that it is now surrounded by what seems like hundreds of restaurants. I honestly don’t even really love any of the photos I took around the water. I just wanted to take a moment and note my appreciation of this maritime quality of Marseille.

Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 12, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)
Marseille, France (Nov 13, 2010)

Photos taken in Marseille, France on November 12-13, 2010.