After England we flew to Karlsruhe, and saw the KIT research facility. After that we went to Freiburg, and continued on to Paris.
Karlsruhe is home to the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology. Trish wanted to work in a research lab, working on some sort of nuclear modelling software, however it didn't work out. Today we stopped by and looked at the facility.
2010-05-10 We had a little time after getting off the train in Karlsruhe, and our first order of business was to find a döner kabab. Trish ate these extensively during her last visit to Germany, and I was thrilled during my first döner experience.
2010-05-10 Here is a map of the North KIT campus. While it is a part of KIT, it is an independent research facility (recently combined with KIT). Talking to the guard was a fun way to practice my German (I have had no practice for about six years now).
2010-05-10 Trish and Dr. Ulrich Fischer. Dr. Fischer heads the neutron research program and showed us around their building.
2010-05-10 Trains! So weird! The express went past us rapidly.
2010-05-10 The zoo in Karlsruhe is in the middle of the buildings, and while you must pay to enter, there is a bridge which crosses it. Here is looking down off that bridge, with more elephants!
2010-05-10 Here is the Karlsruhe Palace. It was raining, however it was still warmer than London.
2010-05-10 Next to the palace is the Botanical Garden. Which is nice because it is one of the few things on the map that my broken German can recognise. Here is a dock for what I assume is a very blockish ship.
2010-05-10 We saw some owls in the gardens.
2010-05-10 In the döner kabab place (we ate there twice, just that good), they have small bills from around the world. As you can see here, the Serbs have the definition of the unit Tesla on their bill.
2010-05-10 On the train to Freiburg. We bought this horrid drink because it was the cheapest in the train station.
After Karlsruhe we took the train to Freiburg. We made it there just before dark
2010-05-11 Exiting the train station as the sun sets.
2010-05-11 Here is Freiburger Münster, the cathedral in the city. It is surrounded by an open air market. We went up to take photos.
2010-05-11 Looking out from Freiburger Münster. The mountains and city together gives a good summary of what the city looks like.
2010-05-11 Another photo from Freiburger Münster.
2010-05-11 Here is a group photo on top of Freiburger Münster. Me, Teresa, and Tove. Teresa is Trish's friend and helped us a lot by showing us around and letting us stay with her. Tove is Teresa's roommate and helped us a lot by not kicking us out when we showed up.
Basilique du Sacré-Cœur
Another train took us to Paris. Our first day took us to Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and we met up with Trish's friend Sining for dinner.
2010-05-12 We left Freiburg early in the morning by train and arrived in Paris by mid afternoon. After dropping our things off in the hostel we needed to do something until we met up with Trish's friend Sining, so we walked to a park near our hostel, which featured this island.
2010-05-12 Here is a panorama taken from that island. In the distance Basilique du Sacré-Cœur can be seen, which we weren't familiar with as a famous building. So we decided to walk to the big building in the distance and see whatever was on the way.
2010-05-12 Paris Fried Chicken, your source for all your fried chicken needs.
2010-05-11 We walked through this open air market.
2010-05-12 Here we are outside Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
2010-05-12 I took a panorama shot from in front of Basilique du Sacré-Cœur.
2010-05-11 Leaving Basilique du Sacré-Cœur and trying to find the closest metro station.
2010-05-12 Trish and her friend Sining. Sining studies in France and was in Paris for a job interview. I was impressed how she could show us around Paris while wearing heels the whole time. I could never do that.
2010-05-12 Sining took us to an authentic French dinner, where the waitstaff noticed we were American and brought us English menus. For the appetizer, the ladies had a seafood dish and I had fish. A reoccurring theme with this dinner is I only know the dishes in the broadest of terms and not their proper name.
2010-05-12 My dining partners had two different duck dishes, and I had a pork in an orange sauce for the main dish.
2010-05-12 For dessert the table had a pair of cream puffs with ice cream and chocolate syrup, while I had this sugary pie dish, I don't remember what it is; it was delicious.
Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, and Eiffel Tower
The second day in Paris showed us Arc de Triomphe, Versailles, and the Eiffel Tower.
2010-05-13 We started the day at the Arc de Triomphe. Notice something missing from this picture? It was a national holiday, and so no one was out; the circle has no cars in it.
2010-05-13 Looking down the Avenue des Champs-Élysées street at La Grande Arche de la Défense. We never visited La Défense; we didn't know what to visit there because our free tourist map didn't reach that far.
2010-05-13 Here we are in a poorly framed shot in front of the Arc de Triomphe.
2010-05-13 WWI + pterodactyl = The Extraordinary Adventures of Adèle Blanc-Sec
2010-05-13 I knew I brought my road flares for something! I diverted traffic so we could make this photo happen. If anyone tells you this shot is from a pedestrian island, they could be lying.
2010-05-13 These bike racks are dispersed throughout the city. If you know how to get between them in half an hour, you can ride all day for an Euro.
2010-05-13 Here is our first sighting of the Eiffel Tower.
2010-05-13 It is quite a large tower. We didn't go up it at this point, the lines were long. We assumed because it was a holiday, actual Parisians were going up the tower.
2010-05-13 Us in front of Notre Dame. More importantly: us in front of the festival of bread.
2010-05-13 We could not figure out why this man was at the festival of bread, he would lift this block weighing 113 kg and drop it on that mat.
2010-05-13 Inside the main tent of the festival where people were making various French baked goods. I was so tired of baguettes when we finally left France.
2010-05-13 Sitting by the Seine River. While we ate I invented a fun game called "ambush", which involved leaving crumbs on the stairs and kicking at any pigeons who tried to eat the crumbs. Great fun for the children.
2010-05-13 After Notre Dame we went to Versailles, largely because the metro fare was half off on holidays.
2010-05-13 Unfortunately we left our giant sign on our kitchen counter as we left for Europe.
2010-05-13 The chapel hints at how the palace looked inside, however pictures really don't do it justice.
2010-05-13 Trish and me in the Hall of Battles.
2010-05-13 Looking out at the gardens of Versailles. Unfortunately, it was cold out, and the ticket sales were confusing, so we didn't have a ticket to see the gardens. I probably would have enjoyed the gardens more; I don't enjoy paintings too much.
2010-05-13 Wall art is very popular in France. I'm sure it was all put there with the permission of the property owner.
2010-05-13 With just enough time to do one more event for the day we headed to the Eiffel Tower. This is beneath the tower waiting in line. It was much less crowded in this photo than it was earlier in the day; waiting for the evening was a good idea.
2010-05-13 Looking out from the Eiffel Tower. After waiting in line to go up the tower, you then get to wait on the first platform in order to go up to the top. Luckily we overheard some girls talking similarly to us. Then one of them pronounced sorry. Silly Canadians. They were fun to talk to while we waited.
2010-05-13 Yes, you can take a dump on the Eiffel Tower.
2010-05-13 I think we chose a very good time to go, because during the day it was cloudy, and the cityscape would always look cloudy. But by waiting we were able to see Paris at dusk, with the city lighting up and the tower turning on its lights for a very cool effect.
2010-05-13 We are in front of the tower as it is sparkling. At 11 o'clock the tower turned on strobe lights all over it, which was neat to see. Luckily we were just far enough away to make this photograph.
Louvre, Place Charles de Gaulle, and Saint-étienne-du-Mont
Day three in Paris took us to the Louvre, Place Charles de Gaulle, and Saint-étienne-du-Mont.
2010-05-14 The Louvre holds a lot of French paintings. If you like western art it is a great museum, however I was excited to see the "Arts of Africa, Asia, Oceania, and the Americas" exhibit (more like a closet compared to the entire second floor dedicated to paintings). It wasn't officially closed, however you cannot find it, the doors to it are closed with chairs in front. The Arts of Islam is also closed currently, which I would have enjoyed. Worse yet, all the descriptions are in French, so I had to make my own opinions on the paintings. This is the only one I took a liking to (fire and all), but I didn't even give it enough attention to focus the camera properly.
2010-05-14 Rachel, J Fo, and Trish eating crepes. We were lucky to meet up with these ladies in the Louvre; we passed as we were going to the Mona Lisa and they were leaving. Trish was worried that we wouldn't find them. Silly Trish, the Louvre is tiny.
2010-05-14 The Disney store on Avenue des Champs-Elysées. Just like going to Euro Disney, except not. Nothing can compete with Disney World anyway.
2010-05-14 Trish, Rachel, and J Fo sitting on a bench watching the Place Charles de Gaulle, which is the traffic circle around the Arc de Triomphe. The ladies were waiting for a traffic accident; the traffic in the circle follows no organisation I can see.
2010-05-14 Jardin du Luxembourg.
2010-05-14 The Panthéon.
2010-05-14 I want to know if it runs Linux.
2010-05-14 Saint-étienne-du-Mont, which is yet another old cathedral in Europe.
2010-05-14 Pierre et Marie Curie metro stop, named after Trish's heroes. I plan on one day having a metro station named after me.
2010-05-14 Also in the metro station. At first you think these advertisements (which are seen all over Europe) are a good thing, then you realize how scary 8ft two and a half metre tall women are.
2010-05-14 Turns out Pierre et Marie Curie metro stop is in a low income neighbourhood. The map at the station said there is a supermarket one or two blocks away, but we could not find it. This is a concrete ping pong table, which can be used as a sacrificial alter on weekends. How convenient.
2010-05-14 Someone wrote the address of this building down incorrectly during construction, and before anyone realized it this corner building was stuck cornerless.
2010-05-14 These consist of a crunchy (probably fried) waffle, with sugar crystals, then chocolate topping. Part of a complete breakfast.
The last day of Paris was mostly spent trying to get to the horrid Ryan Air airport.
2010-05-15 Here are the cannons outside Les Invalides with the Eiffel Tower in the background.
2010-05-15 Les Invalides from the South. We probably should have entered, however we were tired of carrying things and didn't know how much time we had before we needed to go to the airport.
2010-05-15 I think Trish was tired of me, and she tried to hide. I can't blame her, I probably smelled terrible.
2010-05-15 My goodness, I think the pigeon to the right is City Face! He did the dance and everything.
2010-05-15 Ryanair, the largest low-cost carrier in Europe, flies out of Beauvais to service Paris. This is a joke as it is an hour and fifteen minutes north of Paris. We had to take a bus to get there, and we were unsure how much time we needed to have to get there (suggested three hours), so we spent most of the day waiting around. Paying an extra 30 Euros would be worth flying out of Orly or Charles de Gaulle.