Josh's Photo Blog

October 19, 2009

Things I learnt last week

Filed under: travel — Tags: , , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 8:11 pm

I took advantage of a rather sunny weekend in Paris to roam around, go to some conventions and do some exploring. Some things I found out:

1. There IS Chinese food in Paris, but it’s way too expensive. 14-20 E for a decent meal per person. They do get the Hong Kong-style ambience down, though.

2. Finding free passes to photo shows on the RER (train) rocks. I saw the very latest camera releases – let’s just say I have more than a few new Christmas wish list items now.

3. Corsets are hot, especially chocolate ones. Also, fashion shows are EVERYWHERE in Paris. Also, you CAN eat too much chocolate, medically proven!

4. Sacre-Coer is probably the touristy-est place in Paris. Even more so than the Eiffel Tower. I’ve been here 3 times in 8 days for no real reason aside from it being pretty.

5. The Moulin Rouge is just a red windmill. So overrated.

6. The Louvre closes late. And it’s pretty at night. Pyramids make anything look cool!

7. Antiques are cool. The shops at Montmarte have everything from 17th-century setpieces to antique watches and cameras in amazing condition, to French books and posters from the earlier part of the last century. I’m definitely coming back for some of this, despite how shady it can be at times.

8. So is graffiti.

9. Kids kicking you in the shin on the subway are less cool. Paris subways can get really packed, even on weekends when nobody is supposed to have work.

I also got the chance to sit down, look at what I’ve been shooting over the past 1.5 months and use some of it to update the site. Y’all can check it out at joshuasyphoto.com.

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October 14, 2009

On the streets where I live

Filed under: travel — Tags: , , , , — joshuaps @ 10:52 pm

This is where I live – a sleepy little suburb about 45 minutes out of Paris by train.

Didn’t jet (drive) off to any locations last weekend – I decided to stay in Ile-de-France, the coolest destination in Europe instead.

Below, Vaux-le-Vicomte, the inspiration for the famous Chateau Versailles and a good 2-hour drive from Paris. The place exudes decadence.

I got lost a fair bit this weekend, too.

“8 Days of Gold” – a rare sale at Printemps, one of the most famous department stores in Paris…

…but the Gallerie Lafayette (above) is where I ended up spending my money. It helps that it’s prettier by a fair margin.

October 7, 2009

Belgium

Filed under: travel, Uncategorized — Tags: , , , , , , — joshuaps @ 3:00 pm

When I imagined myself traveling around Europe, I didn’t think that I would be in cars as much as I have been over the past couple of weeks. On another whim, another group of friends and I rented a car to drive to Belgium, which is a little more distance- and time-wise as driving from LA to San Diego.

After some kayaking in Dinant (above) we hit up Brussels, the de facto capital of the European Union and home to some of the top culinary delights in Europe

Above, the European Commission, one of the high offices of the European Union. Unlike the ornate houses of government in many of the EU’s member states, the EC’s offices are exactly that – towering skyscrapers that exude bureaucracy.

The Atomium was built for the 1958 World’s Fair in Brussels. The structure is in the shape of an iron molecule and about 10 stories tall – pretty impressive for the fifties

Beer and chocolate abound in BelgiumĀ  – you can even get chocolate beer, which is a little like mixing pizza and ice cream. Skip those and buy peach beers instead – the best alcoholic drink ever.

Above, the Manneken-Pis, probably the most over-hyped tourist attraction in existence. It’s exactly what it sounds like – a statue of a peeing boy. My main problem with it is that it’s life-size i.e. it’s too bloody small! If you’re going to have a big tourist attraction in your city, make sure it’s BIG!

Bruges (Brugge) was our final stop on the trip, and possibly one of the most underrated attractions in Belgium. Pretty much nobody out of Europe’s heard of the place, but it still has its fair share of tourists from around the EU and elsewhere.

It’s a nice little town with lots of great architecture, an interesting canal network and…

…surprisingly good nightlife. Above, Willy sings along in his private bar, a beautifully decorated, if cramped, masterpiece built underneath his house and only open on Saturday nights.

Pommes frites (french fries) taste great when you’re drunk!

Overall, Belgium was worth the visit, but I have to say that it’s a little too touristy for my taste, and probably can’t compare to some of the other things I’ve seen in Paris and Munich. A weekend was enough for us to see most of the things in the country. The food, though, definitely makes up for the sometimes underwhelming sights.

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