U.K. & Italy 2017

U.K. & Italy 2017

Hey, everyone!

As many of you know I was just on a two-week trip in the U.K. and Italy, half with Sarah, her dad and sister, and half with just Sarah. I had a lot of job stuff to do right when I got back followed by a rushed trip up to Cape Cod for my college roommate and dear friend Ishan's wedding to my other college friend, Switch, but I thought I'd write a belated trip recap.

Strap in, and read as little or as much as you wish -- it's logistically detailed and is more of a journal for myself that you also may read than it is a concise account of the trip. Haha.

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Belgium, U.K., & Denmark 2015

Belgium, U.K., & Denmark 2015

Here are some belated pictures from my brief trip over to Brussels and London (for interviews) and Copenhagen (for fun). They’re admittedly not the greatest pics because most were just taken with an old phone and because I was in interview-, not tourist-mode for most of the trip.

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Iceland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, & Italy 2012-13

Iceland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, & Italy 2012-13

As most of you know, I'm safely in London now, so I've got a chance to give the promised big update on my trip through Iceland, Germany, Austria, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, and Italy with my buddy Alex.  Read as much as you like -- I'm not going to claim this is a short e-mail.  But because it was an eventful trip, because I didn't give detailed updates along the way, and because I think Dad wants a detailed e-mail, here goes:

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"Roads of Arabia" Exhibit at Sackler

"Roads of Arabia" Exhibit at Sackler

I went to a neat exhibit called "Roads of Arabia" at the Sackler Gallery. It's probably worth a visit and it's a pretty easily/quickly digestible exhibit. Really interesting artifacts from civilizations that apparently don't have publicists as good as those of the Egyptians or Romans and are less-standard museum fare. I brought only my iPhone, so my pictures aren't great (but I later learned I wasn't allowed to take them anyway so at least it's something): 

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Paris Update

Paris Update

I've been in Paris for over a month now so Dad reminds me that I ought to send an update.  I'm about to start my last week of class here but I realize I haven't sent anything since before classes even began.  Suffice it to say this is pretty much the best summer I've ever had, and I'm fully on-board with loving Paris.

Classes have been interesting, but we have class only from 9AM-1PM every day, so we have a lot of time to explore the city.  I walk to and from school, and I decided not to get a monthly Metro card, so I end up walking around the city quite a bit.  So, unlike a lot of people with monthly Metro cards, have at least a cursory understanding of how this city fits together now.  I like to do a loop from my apartment in the Quartier Latin over to near Place de la Concorde and then come back.  

The program's about 20% French students this year (which is apparently a record-high) and they've been fortunately really nice in inviting us temporary foreign visitors into their French world.  I went to a fun party at my friend Pierre's (French name: check) and met some nice people.  Then, a couple weeks ago, my friend Eléonore invited us to her family's insanely huge estate in Normandie.  The main house dated from the 17th-century and sits on a big apple orchard from which a local place brews hard cider.  We had Friday and Monday off that weekend, so we stayed at Eléonore's Thursday and Friday night and then made it back to Paris for Bastille Day that Saturday.  I went to a Fireman's Ball (Bal des Pompiers) with my friend Simone, and then we watched the-best-fireworks-display-I've-ever-seen-and-I-grew-up-in-DC at the Eiffel Tower.  Then Sunday I went to see Bon Iver, an indie-folk guy I really like.  A very packed weekend, in part because it had 2 extra days.

Simone's mother was part of a group called Tour de Taxa that biked from Denmark to Paris and arrived on the Champs-Élysées on Friday.  Super impressive feat, especially given that her mom pretty much hadn't done any exercise in years until she decided to start training for the race.  

Then today was the granddaddy of bike-races, Le Tour de France.  I got to the Rue de Rivoli a few hours early and watched the guys go by for most of their 8 laps in Paris.  Very cool to finally see Le Tour in person.  

Pictures follow.  (Some fairly poor quality, but they give you an idea of what's going on.)

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Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, France

Denmark, Sweden, Netherlands, Belgium, France

I finally got to Paris a couple of days ago, so I've done a preliminary sweep through photos I took and have time to give a more detailed trip report.

Denmark/Sweden:

Copenhagen, after Bruges, was my favorite place on the trip.  Super clean and civilized (no gates on the metro), like a lot of Scandinavian places, and beautiful color palette on the buildings.  Really charming place.  Not a ton to see in terms of tourist sites but probably a great place to live, much like Singapore.  Best bit was Vor Frelsers Kirke, which has an exterior spiral staircase leading up to the spire that I climbed.  Feels a lot like climbing a skyscraper, if that skyscraper were built in the 1600s and seemed like it might disintegrate at any moment.  That thing creaked and swayed in the heavy and had uncomfortably low railings.  A fun thing to do once.  Also, Tivoli Gardens was a pretty charming amusement park, and had this one cool thrill ride that had a joystick that let you control the ride, flipping and spinning yourself around.  Really cool, and I've never heard of or seen a ride you control yourself before.  

On the first night, I met up with a couple of people that are on my Paris program and happened to be in Copenhagen.  We went out to dinner and then, the next day, I went up to Helsingør (Elsinore), with one of them, then took the ferry to Sweden, train down a bit of Sweden, and then the famous Öresundsbron back to Copenhagen.  It was a good day trip, and I got to see a tiny bit of Sweden.  The next day I went to the aforementioned Tivoli Gardens, and then got on the sleeper train to Amsterdam.

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Paris

Paris

Went to Paris last weekend.  Highlight sights of the trip were the Musée des Arts et Metiers, returning to the carnival we used to go to when I was little, and the catacombs.  Dad and Cha, when you go later this month, definitely check out the museum at least.  It's one of the best I've ever been to, and totally uncrowded.  The carnival may or may not still be running by the time you get there, but it's completely unchanged and super fun.  (Catacombs are incredible but might be a bit grim for the kids.)  

 

Here are some pics:

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