Sunday, October 26, 2008

Play vs. work . . . hmmmmmm.

I guess it's time to start on the accounting forms I've been avoiding this weekend! I've been having fun sorting and posting some of our photos from the Paris trip and learning more about putting pictures on Panoramio for Google Earth consideration. I also started an HTML version of the Paris Walks I began working on about 1981. You can check it out here. It's only a start, I wanted to play with some formatting ideas. I called it a "treasure hunt," because Lee used those words when we were looking for street numbers, and it made sense. It was fun.

This is Lee walking down the Rue St. Victor. It's quiet, and pretty, and there's a raised sidewalk because one side of the street is way higher than the other. We found a shop that had an antique train in the window. Cool! It's fun re-living the experience of being in Paris with Google Earth and the photos. I also got it together to upload a photo of Astoria and one of Corona (California) to Panoramio. It's easy, it's just more logins and passwords to remember.

Here's a mini Panoramio so you can see just where the picture at the top of the blog post was taken. More fun: you can drag the Panoramio map to see more of Paris, but there will be no additional photo icons. When you code Panoramio to appear in your web page or blog, it only shows the photos from the original square you insert into the page. Be aware - the map will also move when you click on a small square to see that photo. You may have to drag it back to continue to look at the original map frame.

And now I have some serious accounting to take care of so I can get the material to my accountant so he can do his thing. Wish I could have somebody do my part, too! I don't mind the normal accounting. I don't like the part where you have to get details for the forms. It's too hard to figure out! On the other hand, if I wait till Monday . . . ?????? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm. I'm on the verge of needing a new keyboard because this one is giving out. Maybe it will break and give me an excuse. :-p Or maybe I'll finish the book I bought at the airport. It's called Merde, Actually, by Stephen Clarke, and it's funny. About an English guy opening a tea room in Paris, but more about his messed up love life. It does shed some light on cultural things. We couldn't figure out why one of the waiters yanked the cloth napkins off the table we sat at and brought paper ones instead. Well, we did have an idea about it and it turns out we were half right. It seems you do NOT sit at a cafe table and order coffee when the table has CLEARLY been set for lunch already (a more expensive meal). Duh. Well, in this case the waiter was reasonably nice about it, but he was abrupt and probably a little ticked. Americans! What are they thinking???

Friday, October 24, 2008

Colors of morning on the Columbia River

Coming home from Paris can be a rude awakening. I wasn't ready to leave, but just as I looked out the window on my first morning home, the sun broke through the lowering sky and sent me colors to feel happy about. The gray doesn't bother me, but the colors made me smile and rush for the camera. It was a welcome scene. I love the fog around the prow of the ship in the first photo. Sometimes the middle of the 4-mile-wide river seems to have its own weather pattern.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Oct 17, Part 1 (Day 4) - Paris: Hotel Notre Dame de Maitre Albert (Lobby)

This morning I took a few more photos of our hotel before we got started. We were very comfortable here. The room was tiny, but what do you expect in the heart of the Latin Quarter? It was perfect. And it looks quite spacious compared to our shoebox-sized room and the narrow hallways. We didn't spend any time in the downstairs area, although it looks fairly comfortable for this kind of furniture. There were more comfy chairs in the darkened back area near the bar, which is also where we went online to check e-mail. The hotel was pleasant and really well located.

This is looking toward the bar in back, past the elevators.

Elevator doors. The front desk is right across from the elevators but out of sight here, and the computer is beyond the white easy chair.

This breakfast nook was near the front windows on the other side of the front door from the sitting area at the top of the post. We never used it, but we saw a few people having breakfast here.

I like the beamed ceilings. I think they're part of the original Medieval building. It's hard to believe, but I'm sure some of the structure dates that far back.

Oct 17, Part 2 - Paris: Morning walk to the Seine

Just outside the door of our hotel, directly across the street was this pizzeria. We never are there, and most of the time it looked pretty empty. But this woman is enjoying a quiet breakfast off the beaten path.

You can go west or north leaving the hotel, and we chose north this morning, walking one short block to the River Seine.

From our street, Rue Maitre Albert, you reach the Seine at the Quai de Tournelle. Here's an ice cream shop, but it was still chilly morning, and we had other ideas. The sun was out for the second time on our visit. What were we going to do with such a beautiful day? Enjoy it, of course! The lighting does blow out the lights and darks in the photos, but what a wonderful sight for me - Paris in sunlight. Yesterday was sunny in the afternoon, but the morning had been dark. I'm more used to the overcast days. I tend to visit during the rainier seasons.

Here's our first glimpse of Notre Dame for the day, right at the foot of our street, one block from the hotel.

A kiosk, so typical of Paris. I like the shadows on the pavement.

The book- and print-sellers are already at work along the Quai de la Tournelle. Notre Dame is on the other side of the river, or rather on the Ile de la Cite, the big island.

"Just" another view of it. I can never get enough of this beautiful, peaceful spot. No matter the crowds or traffic, it always feels peaceful to me, although today there were not that many people, and the traffic was slow at this hour.

Fall colors along the banks of the Seine.

I was enchanted by the buildings here, looking south (inland) again up Rue de l'Hotel Colbert.

Crossing the street to the river, we encountered this plaque. Lee was pretty good at deciphering the French. I could only make out a few words here and there. It seems to be a history of boats at or near this location. Maybe. The bridge is Pont au Double, which crosses to the front of Notre Dame cathedral, which was on our route. I don't remember if it was our intention, but we were going to be ending up at a cafe we enjoyed on the Right Bank, Cafe Zimmer. I think we had decided we were headed that way for brunch, wandering a bit on the way. Or did it just turn out that way? Anyway, we had to pass Notre Dame and the river, and that's an advantage any day.

Oct 17, Part 3 - Paris: Notre Dame and the Ile de la Cite

Yesterday afternoon the sun came out brilliantly for the first time on this trip, and this morning was the first time in a long time I'd seen a Paris morning in bright sunlight. It was gorgeous. As we walked from our hotel to the Seine (last post), I was enjoying the fall colors and bright light.

These photos are my few pictures of Notre Dame with alluringly blue skies.

We're crossing the Pont au Double from the left bank onto the island, and this is the gorgeous view you get of the south transept, the rose window, and the flying buttresses from that angle. The spire has some of the most interesting sculptures on it - mainly interesting to me just because of the blue-green color contrasted with the spire itself. Well, yes, and it's interesting to see these figures on the roof of the church.

It was such a nice day that the artists were out on the Pont au Double. I'm not usually interested in the caricaturists, like this one, but I do enjoy seeing really fine drawing. I have tended to think that even though this is Paris, most of the street art was by artists who were not so good, but this trip we saw many who were excellent. This guy was probably quite good for a caricaturist, but that's not my cup of tea. We saw some good portraitists at Montmartre.

This is where the Pont au Double intersects with the Parvis Notre Dame (the square in front of the cathedral). I like the arcs of cobblestone a lot. I also felt a kinship with the person trailing their luggage. Whenever possible, I like to make Notre Dame the first and last stop of my trip. Fortunately, we still had some days left to enjoy the city. It was still a novelty to see blue sky over the buildings of the Prefecture de Police in the background.

Passing in front of the Cathedral of Notre Dame, we came to a corner at Rue d'Arcole and Rue du Cloitre Notre Dame. I've always enjoyed the tile paintings that are part of this building. I like them better than the dime-a-dozen assembly-link prints being sold to tourists at the shop. It was hard to get pictures of the tilework today, though, because of the scaffolding. This image is on the Rue d'Arcole.

This one is around the corner on Rue du Cloitre Notre Dame. It's really, really too bad about the stupid graffiti.

In the warren of ancient streets to the north of Notre Dame, this is the Rue Colombe (named after doves) going to the left, and the Rue Chansoinesse ahead. We were making our way over to the Right Bank via some of these streets that are so easy to miss.

Oct 17, Part 4 - Paris: River, bridges, Right Bank

Paris After leaving the area of Notre Dame and the narrow streets to the north of it, we were on our way to Cafe Zimmer on the Right Bank for brunch. This is the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) from the Ile de la Cite, just before we started across Pont d'Arcole.

Paris Crossing the Seine on the Pont d'Arcole, you get a gorgeous and romantic view in both directions. This is the Ile St-Louis. It still surprises me to see blue sky and fluffy clouds in this city! I'm so used to gray skies in Paris.

Paris Here's the magnificent view looking the other direction toward theTribunal de Commerce and the remarkable Conciergerie on the left.

Paris Same general view from the Right Bank. The two bridges are the Pont Notre Dame in front and the Pont au Change behind it.

Paris The Tribunal de Commerce is on the left and the Conciergiergerie (the old palace) beyond it with the two conical towers on the far right. We weren't trying to see everything today. We'd been walking a lot, and this morning we were just ambling, enjoying the magic.

Paris Here we are on the right bank at the end of the bridge. This is a poor photo of the Hotel de Ville, but it's magnificent and imposing from any angle.

Paris A glance up the Rue du Renard shows us the corner of the Centre George Pompidou and some impending weather. It's funny the notions you get about places. I always thought the Pompidou was much further from the river. I must have gotten there the long way around on another trip.

Paris Another glace into the streets of the Right Bank, but our path is along the river.

Paris The Tour St-Jacque has captured my interest from the first time I saw it almost 40 years ago. It stands on its own in a small park, all that's left of a church dedicated to the butcher's guild. It was built between 1508 and 1522, and was one of the major starting points for the pilgramage made by so many during Medieval times to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. The church sold during the Revolutin and then pulled down in 1802 due to restructuring of the streets so the Rue de Rivoli could cut through the ancient warren of buildings.

Paris Naturally, I couldn't stop after one photo, so here are several.

Paris The tower is now a meteorological station. Can you imagine a more beautiful one?

Paris I just love the flamboyant Gothic. The stones have been cleaned in recent years. I think it was almost black when I first saw it. It's amazing to me to think that it's real and it's really that old.

Paris There's a statue of Pascal here somewhere. It is said that the physicist/philosopher condicted experiments into the weight of the air first at another location, then here in 1648. Actually, I ran across a note in a book that said his experiments may not have been conducted here, but in the Tour St-Jacques-du-Haut-Pas, which still stands on the Left Bank.

Paris I love this structure at the back of the Theatre de la Ville on Rue Adolphe Adam at the corner of Avenue Victoria. The building is by the architect Davioud. It was rented and used by Sarah Bernhardt in 1899, and her name stayed on as the name of the building until 1968. Isadora Duncan danced here in 1903, supported by her whole family, but ridiculed by many critics. The building is now a cultural center. Near the stage in what was once the Rue de la Vieille Lanterne, the troubled poet and essayist Gerard de Nerval hanged himself in 1855.

Paris Here's Lee walking across the Place du Chatelet. We're nearly to the Cafe Zimmer now. It faces the square.

Paris The metro sign in the Place du Chatelet is one of several old-style signs with character. Brunch, here we come!

Oct 17, Part 5 - Paris: At Cafe Le Zimmer

Cafe Zimmer, Paris After all the walking we'd done for the past few days (not to mention the walk from the hotel this morning), we decided to hang out at our favorite Cafe Le Zimmer for awhile. First: coffee. Yumm.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris Confession time: coffee and sugar. Note the taped window. I don't know how it happened, but they didn't waste time in getting it fixed (read on).

Cafe Zimmer, Paris This is someone at the next table. All the glass with the dark colors caught my attention.

Place du Chatelet, Paris Watching the Place du Chatelet across the street. It has a long history, including being the site of a prison, for which the square is named, but now it's a benign park with a nice fountain and a metro stop.

Sphinx Sculptures on the Fountain, Place du Chatelet, Paris The sphinxes on the fountain in the Place commemorate Napoleon's victory in Egypt.

People outside Cafe Zimmer, Paris Not much to say here: people outside the cafe window.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris We each ordered very different types of lunches, but we agreed they were some of the best food we'd had in Paris; maybe the best. Mine was a cheese plate and some kind of squash soup. Lee had cioppino.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris There's my lunch again. We took this opportunity to research some of the people we'd come across on our first day, walking to and through the Jardin des Plantes: the early zoologists Cuvier and Lamarck, Linnaeus, Buffon, and a few others. I had bought the BlackBerry World Edition just before the trip so I could stay in touch with business by e-mail and by phone. "Why?" you might ask. Well, some things are just necessary. But it also gave me the opportunity to look things up online for fun like we were doing now. It was great, and it was still quite a novelty.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris It's hard to call this wonderful device a "phone," but here I am linking to Cuvier.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris Here's the glazier. They moved us to another table so they could replace the window pane.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris An appropriate poem in the bathroom.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris . . . and lights in an oval mirror.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris Here's Lee, looking quite satisfied.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris Finished.

Cafe Zimmer, Paris More lights, this time in the enclosed area near the front windows.