A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: carol.maseyk

The Players Lock

sunny 29 °C

It's been a wonderful last week in Paris - the sun is out, the rain has gone away and it's likely to stay that way until I leave. I've spent time in Bohemian Montmartre, trendy Oberkampf , and the ultra hip Canal St Martin area.

My highlight of a walking tour I joined was this little ditty. Lovers often go to the Pont Des Arts in central Paris to attach a love lock on the bridge. It is said that if you attach a lock, and then throw the key into the river your love will last forever. Two interesting facts :

  • Due to the volume of tourists visiting the site, the locks are regularly removed (once a fortnight) from the bridge by a man the locals call "The Love breaker" . So, in all likelihood, the lock that you attached to the bridge in 2011 will not be there when you return.
  • The locks pictured below are affectionately called The Player's Lock. They can be removed and reattached when the player has found a new girlfriend. Interestingly none of these locks had any initials scratched on them.

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And they call Paris the city of romance!!

Posted by carol.maseyk 11:55 Archived in France Comments (0)

There are no fat Dutch people

and other interesting facts about Amsterdam

overcast 21 °C

Here are some things I learned about Amsterdam :

  • The waste water in Amsterdam contains the highest concentration of cocaine in the world.
  • This probably also explains the way people cycle in Amsterdam (!) Cyclists have right of way, even over pedestrians. I kept having to dodge cyclists until I figured it out.
  • On average, 50 people a year fall into the canals and have to be rescued. Most of these people are drunk tourists.
  • The canals of Amsterdam are full of bicycles, so if you decide to go for a swim in a canal , you'll probably get impaled on one.
  • The average height of a Dutch woman is 170 cms. Which means that I was a frickin' midget, though apparently Dutch men find small curvy Indian girls tres exotique.
  • The highest point in Amsterdam is only 2.2 metres above sea level. The lowest is around 5 metres below sea level
  • I found many bizarre shops in the city - The Condomerie (highly recommended for Valentines Day) - http://condomerie.com/ & a shop dedicated to toothbrushes, which was across the street from the Kit Kat shop

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  • I also realised that I heart Amsterdam.

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Posted by carol.maseyk 12:21 Archived in Netherlands Tagged amsterdam Comments (0)

Culinary Notes

As I'm nearing my last week in Paris, I thought it would be good to note down my culinary highlights so far. I've been eating a lot of food, and will, no doubt, pay the price for it when I return. There have been a few food highlights so far which include :

Hong Kong:
Michelin Starred dumplings at Tim Ho Wan. Reputedly the cheapest Michelin star restaurant in the world and the dumplings were fabulous. My 3-course lunch cost about A$7.

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Venice :
Lunch at the Michelin-starred Ai Gondolieri who specialise in Venetian cuisine. I highly recommend trying the Veal cheek with Refosco wine sauce and polenta.
http://www.aigondolieri.it/

Paris:
I've made a little habit of visiting local french bistros where no one speaks any english and ordering something randomly off the menu. Two weeks ago, I asked the waitress to bring me their most traditional dish and she bought me Lapin avec pruneux tagiatelle. It was delicious! One of the most beautiful pasta dishes I've ever had. I only found out later that I had eaten rabbit and prune pasta!!! I'll make it up to the bunny, I promise. I stole this picture of the internet , but this is exactly what the dish looked like.

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Off to Amsterdam this weekend, and I'm not really sure if there are any culinary must haves I need to try. If anyone has any ideas, let me know.

Posted by carol.maseyk 10:06 Archived in Italy Comments (0)

Berlin

...and photography

sunny 24 °C

I have always believed that we take far far too many photos for any of them to be paticularly meaningful. Photography is so ubiquitous that it is almost impossible to take a photo of a major tourist site without thousands of tourists trying to get the exact same photo. What is going on? My theory is that photos are a way for people to remind themselves that they are part of this world. Its almost like self soothing behaviour - we feel anxious about our place in the world, we take a photo of ourself in it, therefore we now feel slightly less anxious. And this cycle keeps getting repeated, until some fool has a 1000 photos on their camera to sort out. Yes, this is probably a cynical point of view - but I can't help but be cynical when I encounter backpackers who think they're having a rare and unique experience, when in fact they are only following in the footsteps of a gazillion backpackers before them.

This trip I made a concerted effort to only take photos that I felt needed to be taken, that would specifically remind me of something. To just be in a moment, rather than worry about trying to get a photo of it. Its interesting then, that my most abiding memory of Berlin involved no photography at all.

I remember sitting in the museum under the Holocaust Memorial and looking around and realising that no one had their cameras out. Not one person took a single photo. Instead all I saw , were people absorbed by the enormity of what they were seeing or reading. The Holocaust memorial has a room of names, in which the names of every person who died and a short biography of them is read out. It is estimated that if someone was to sit in that room and listen to the name of every known individual who died, it would take over 6 years. And it is estimated that over a million names will never be known.

Most museums I have been to, there are always people talking, cameras going off, teenagers running around. Here, there was silence, as if it was a mark of respect for all those who died. An enlightening and moving experience for me. I spent a good portion of my teenage years fascinated with German history. Particularly the period around the Treaty of Versailles and the rise of the Third Riech. My trip to Berlin has inspired me to re-visit that once I get home.

Speaking of home, I only have 2 more weekends here in Europe. I will head to Amsterdam on Friday, and then I might decide to stay in Paris for my last weekend instead of going to Barcelona.

Posted by carol.maseyk 12:30 Archived in Germany Comments (0)

French lessons

There was a moment today when I was chilling out in the kitchen , this girl spoke to me in French - and I understood what she was saying! Maybe this learning French by osmosis thing will work after all !!

Posted by carol.maseyk 06:01 Comments (0)

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