We are back in Amsterdam and I am somewhat wishing I was still roaming the late night streets of Paris to feed my foto craving.   Our hotels were nice, but your own bed is always a welcome sight.  The streets last night were quite a buzz in some areas, while silently still in others.  As I head off to bed to catch up on hours lost last night, here are a few images from my trek around during the wee hours…

[click on any image to view larger]

A couple dances in the streets of Montmartre

Quiet steps lead to Sacré-Cœur

Basilica of Sacré-Cœur

Notre Dame still visible from the steps of Sacré-Cœur

Vacant bus stop on Ile de la Cité

Street lamps are still bright at Notre Dame

But the lights on the Cathedral are off for the night

The moon shines brightly on The Seine

Bonjour from France!

We had a fantastic and very moving weekend visiting the Normandy region of France.  It was much colder than we anticipated coupled with an extra 3 hours on the road due to traffic/construction in all three countries of the drive…but G did great and we made it safe and sound.  Kudos to audio books, sweet paprika Doritos, and a no fail Garmin for making the 9 hour drive on Friday a bit easier.  Paris was the next stop on Sunday as G had work meetings for the next three days.  Which meant I had three days to roam the city and shoot away.

Today I hit a huge road block as my camera battery didn’t charge properly and died just minutes after I entered St. Chapelle.  In nine years I’ve been to Paris five times, but never to St. Chapelle.  I waited for the proper sunlight to fully appreciate the windows, stood in line for 45 minutes, and paid my 8 euros.  However, the amazing stained glass windows will remain in my memory until I make it back again.  I did manage to find 2 wonderful photo exhibits at the Hotel de Ville to feed my photo fix in the meantime.

Speaking of photos, I’m having trouble uploading photos here,  but managed to post a few highlights on Facebook…check them out when you get a chance.  Better updates to come when we are back in Amst.

It is nearly 10p here now and still full daylight…being so far north in the summer is fantastic; however, depressing with lack of light come winter.  Hopefully my battery has enough juice now to let me roam the streets and capture an evening Paris during our last night here.

Au revoir mes amis…

Hong Kong & China, Plan B

[May 15-17, 2010]

Plan A was Spain.  We mapped out a route to drive along the Northern coast of Spain and eat our weight in food while enjoying the beautiful scenery of Spain’s hidden gem.  Time out and do a 180 just a few weeks before we are scheduled to leave—fly east, not drive west.  Duty called and G had to be in Shanghai for work.  So we shelved our guides and maps for Spain and I began to madly research, plan, and book our arrangements for Hong Kong, Shanghai, and Beijing.  Two books, three maps, several please-reply-asap-emails to friends, and a million clicks of the internet later, we were set.  Well, we had reservations for planes, trains, boats, and hotels…but not a word of Cantonese or Mandarin under our belt—which made for some confusing moments in the days to come!

A red-eye flight from Amsterdam allowed for sleep en route to Hong Kong.  The time difference was actually cake compared to the adjustment for heat and humidity.  Despite we are both originally from the south, we have become so accustomed to the cooler temperatures while living in Amsterdam.  The days have also been much longer with extend hours of sunlight in the north…so we were caught off guard by the darkness at the early hour of 7pm.

Victoria Harbor

At 8p every night, there is “A Symphony of Lights” show on Hong Kong Island best viewed from the harbor on Kowloon.  The show includes lights and lasers on over 40 buildings and Guinness World Records has named A Symphony of Lights the world’s largest permanent light and sound show.

Day 2 in HK had us trekking around Hong Kong Island visiting the thickly incensed Man Mo Temple, observing the market displays of food not seen stateside, and a quick visit around the zoo and botanical gardens.  A short subway ride back to Kowloon and I was soon frozen when we turned the corner to this site.

After 6 years in NYC, I’ve been accustomed to the ubiquitous eye-sore of metal scaffolding flush against buildings both small and tall.  However, this was bamboo.  Really.  Bam-freaking-boo. Hundreds of bamboo poles tied together reaching up so high I was almost bent backwards in a 90 degree angle to capture it in my frame.  Bless those souls who are brave enough for that climb.

Bamboo scaffolding

Bamboo up close

Day 3 in HK and we enjoyed various forms of transportation.  The Hong Kong Tramsways is a very inexpensive way (only $2 HKD) to get from one end of HK Island to the other with an added bonus to see the sights along Central, Wan Chai, and Causeway Bay.  This tram line is the only one of three in the world to regularly operate a double-decker tram (others in England & Egypt).  Just be sure to sit near a window and catch some of the natural “air-conditioning”.  Did I mention the heat and humidity?!?

Double Decker Tram

Tram line at night

Mmmm, spicy crab!

G waiting patiently as I snap fotos

In Causeway Bay we feasted on clams and a spicy crab at Hee Kee Crab…super lekker!

With only a few hours to spare before flying to Shanghai, we took one last ride across Victoria Harbor aboard the Star Ferry and sat with full tummies as the fog sat just as heavy on the skyline.  CLICK HERE for a quick slideshow from our 1st three days in HK.  Next post, Shanghai…

One Hundred Eighty Three…

Days.  With the start of a new month, I realized I only have 6 months until my Dutch residence permit expires.  Time is flying faster than I can keep up.  I’ve been here just a tad over 6 months and now only have 6 months left.  Wow.  At least the days are getting longer and the temperatures milder…so I need to get out and soak up as much of The Netherlands (and the rest of EU) since the clock is ticking.

If anyone has figured out the magic formula for slowing time down, I will pay a pretty penny for it.

Nov - My new bike


Jan - It never stopped snowing

Feb - Carnaval in Maastricht

March - Tulips are in bloom

April - Boat rides through the canals

May - Windmills at Zaanse Schans