30 November 2010

two pit stops and then the ocean

parisapt2back to paris. funny how paris for much of the world is the ultimate tourist destination… and it used to be for you as well, but now it’s a place you’re passing through at least twice a month.

parisaptbut, you actually stay put for a few days and rent a nice little parisian apartment.

you enjoy the city. the camera stays at the apartment. a break from the shutter is needed.

and then it’s time to return to evreux. your home base.

cigaretteand you arrive home to find a stove. for cooking. but it is multifunctional because if you happen to lose your lighter, what you are seeing in the photo actually works.

however! you’ve begun a rather impressive lighter collection so there’s no longer any need to use the stove for cigarettes.

ps. you don’t smoke. but your roommate does/did.

you pause in evreux for 4 days. and then, as usual, you’re off.

larochelle01to la rochelle.

larochelle10a city full of things to discover.

larochelle02 but, why la rochelle?

larochelle03one reason and one reason only: to see the ocean.

larochelle04it’s hard to be away from something you love. so to restore balance, you jetted off to the southwest coast of france for a quick weekend trip.

larochelle05and you got more than you bargained for. you stayed on a boat. that’s right. in a port. on the water. a real boat!

larochelle08of course the weather could’ve been better. but better to see something than nothing is your philosophy.

larochelle09you love words because of how they move you. they can move you back in time. they can move you into the future. as long as you can read, you can move.

larochelle11before your short trip is over, you visit the natural history museum.

larochelle12which, like most museums, becomes an instant favorite for you. not too big, not to small, and lovingly filled with all sorts of everything.

larochelle13covoiturage. an important word for those without cars. the basic idea is to carpool with strangers. throw away all your fears and apprehensions at the first sound of strangers– because each time you’ve done it, they’ve always ended in kisses. on the cheek, platonic french style, of course. but it’s one of your favorite way of meeting people. and also some of your most memorable conversations occur with people you’ll probably never see again.

larochelle14and so you leave la rochelle. where ironically, it was blue and warm and beautiful and everything that was missing the day before.

larochelle15every few moments, the illusion of changing seasons throws you off as you wonder what month is it exactly.

larochelle16it looks like spring even though you’re in early november.

larochelle17you take a nap. and when you wake up, you see this. which can only mean one thing: you’re nearing paris.

larochelle18ah yes. a fine example of why paris has it’s reputation as a gloomy and rainy city.

larochelle19but it clears up for a moment to let you admire the sunset. and the windmills. they’re almost like mountains to you, in how strong of a presence they’re able to command in a landscape.

and you also always wonder how don quixote would fare in the 21st century…

larochelle20tolls. you’ve never paid attention to them before. but when the total comes to around 50 euros, your eyes naturally pop out because… wow! no wonder why people participate in covoiturage.

larochelle20bback home, you dig into the tourteau with your roommate. you aren’t sure how to describe it. well, first off, you don’t eat the crust. peel it off. you thank the native from la rochelle who told you that or else you’d have probably eaten it, marked it nasty, and never touched it again.

so, without crust, you dig in. and it’s unbelievably light. the flavor of a cheesecake, but the texture of something just a bit heavier than cotton candy.

you like it. but then again, it’s rare that you don’t like something.

larochelle21la rochelle isn’t finished. in fact, there are 144 photos left to sift through. but you won’t be developing them until around july. or august. at the latest, september. so just let la rochelle fade a bit, but don’t forget it completely – because it will be making a comeback.

29 November 2010

lots of walking. lots of talking. lots of laughing.

w39acoffee. in a normal sized coffee cup. france and germany may be neighbors but there’s a world of difference in the coffee shop culture.

film another difference. the price of film.

90 centimes per roll versus 7 euros per roll.

perhaps it isn’t fair to compare aldi (germany) with cora (france) since they are two very different grocery store systems. but still, with a price difference like that, you’re still floored.

so you stock up in germany.

w39cyou leave weilheim. the mountains there were so imposing yesterday are now mere specks in the landscape.

w40a simple dinner greets you. and you play with the table decor, which includes of cloth fragments from the gates. talking to people who were actually there is almost as good as being there yourself.

a long chat. then off to bed.

w41and up for breakfast. german style, of course. which isn’t so different from the france except for the addition of salty things, like tomatoes and cheese.

w42and out for a walk. a brilliant walk. colors everywhere you turn your head.

w43and there’s a bit of halloween spirit hiding all over.

w44you love ducks. perhaps because they are the best way to get rid of stale bread no matter what country or culture you’re in.

w45 and here in gottingen, there’s a definite mix of cultures.

w46your new game is finding branches because of how perfectly they break up light.

w47crunch. crunch. crunch. you’re here at the perfect moment where everything has just fallen and nothing is soggy or rotting yet.

w55the best gifts in life are things that are signed, in your opinion. well, signed by people you like of course.

w56a good breakfast always ends in crumbs.

w59and an even better one has ginkgo leaves scattered on the table.

w60a journal (handwritten or digital) is a good way to remember life’s small moments that you are sure to forget in 35 years.

w62one night, a simple dinner.

w63the other night, a not so simple dinner with everything homemade by your favorite german grandma.

w64you say goodbye with dessert. a sweet end (or beginning?) to a lovely trip in germany.

you don’t actually say goodbye. you say see you soon. and next time, definitely before 35 years pass by.

25 November 2010

the first snow

firstsnownovember 25th.

snow. not in germany. not in the past. but now. in evreux.

not to mention, thanksgiving as well.

complete with baguettes. pumpkin pie. green bean casserole. pumpkin risotto. turkey. lemon cream pie. mashed potatoes. guacamole. chips. sangria. wine.  etc.

but more importantly, complete with old friends. new friends.

la famille is growing.

as always, i love the mélange. the mix.

mixing flavors. mixing tastes. mixing experiences. mixing colors. mixing ideas. and mixing people. i love seeing my friends make new friends. witnessing strangers become acquaintances and then finally friends makes me incredibly happy.

who knows where these friendships will go?

PS: the only thing missing were cranberries. because they don’t exist in any sort of fresh or frozen form. but we had more than enough delicious things to make up for it.

24 November 2010

the melting of the early snow

w31day two. the snow is melting, but it’s still there.

w21there are certain things you love. one would be wooden anything. especially dining tables. the second would be old anything. especially old train timetables. a third would be pepper grinders. not especially ones that are battery powered and light up… but they are fun and did result in you peppering your food more than normal. the fourth you suppose would be simple spaces with striking objects.

w22at first glance, this may not be so special. but it is. the ginkgo. the buddha. the painting of a butterfly. small things that are actually major influences. details matter.

w23cows, or any animals, really do brighten up a landscape, don’t you think?

w24bright sun + snow = shadows –> endless patterns to discover.

w25actually, this is your favorite thing about fall. not the reds and oranges. not the crunching of the leaves. not the warm scarves around your neck. but when you find a tree that has intense yellow leaves on a day when the sky is an deep blue. complementary colors work!

w26indoors, outdoors, where exactly are you headed?

w27you’re headed back in time! an outdoor museum of historical german farms and houses. collected from all over germany and resettled in their permanent home called freilichtmuseum glentleiten. what a mouthful.

w28you start with the oldest house. and you’re a bad tourist because you don’t remember the dates of these buildings. sorry.

w29you’re too busy looking at details to read the captions (in german). but apparently you’re in a different house now that is a bit more recent than the previous wooden one.

w32they’ve not only preserved the different types of houses, but also reconstructed the gardens of the times. for example, potatoes pop up in the gardens after the discovery in the america. fun to see the historical changes of what people used to grow to eat.

w33heating and lighting before electricity.

w34electricity makes its appearance!

w35the barns and stables are also preserved here. they’re rather dark but not entirely lightproof so you play around with the light leaks.

w36break time. for some traditional bavarian food. which, sorry, you don’t remember at all the names or the ingredients…

w37you’ll forever associate forests with germany. you just can’t escape their influence here.

w38you’re not sure if it’s luck or fate or something else that has given you such nice weather in bavaria. because right before you arrived, it was nothing but rain and gray. and so far, you’ve yet to see any hint of gloom.

w30again the blue + yellow combination makes you fall more in love with fall.

w39perhaps you mention the sun too much. but you really do love it. and when you love something, well, there’s no stopping that love!

and that ends your short visit to bavaria. because the next day you’re off to lower saxony.