Monthly Archives: April 2014

PARIS!

Paris is huge and bustling and beautiful and has great food and it’s really fun to ride a bike here. I’ve ridden more than 100km in the city these past few days. I get lost constantly because no streets are at a right angle and street names change a lot. An awesome way to get to know the city. Get lost.

I’m always hesitant to do the tourist thing and see the big attractions in a city, prefering to visit the neighborhoods and check out the “real life” thing. But hey. I’m in Paris. My first day here I rode to see the Eiffel Tower and was so impressed. What a beautiful work of art. I rode all around it and from every angle had a new appreciation for it. Humans sure can create some magnificent things.

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On the flipside, we make a lot of trash too. But I think that’s also pretty. Maybe the person who decided on these clear bags sans container feels the same way about trash that I do.

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Street scenes…

Bike lane

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Ripped poster

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Broken window

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Bar. Closed on a Sunday.

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Tuula’s toilet at her flat in Paris. Literally a water closet!

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À le marché

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Later in the market day, close to noon. Terrines.

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This is a horrible picture of an amazing traditional dish. Tartiflette – basic ingredients: potatoes, cheese, onion, lardons. All cooked on this huge skillet and scooped to order. Simple, rich, delish. Breakfast for me today at the market.

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My market purchases today. Ingredients to make fried egg sandwiches tonight for Tuula and her roommate, Hugo (eggs and fancy butter were purchased prior).

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An American version if Croque Madame, I suppose. Pictured here.

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I hear it’s now passè to take food pics. Oh well. I am in the motherland of modern American cuisine!!! It’s so exciting.

Tuula and I enjoyed some delicious fondue and a salade nicoise.

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The next day I enjoyed a leisurely, traditional French lunch. I ordered the menù – set menu that changes daily. Pouilly-fumè to drink and to start a salade de chevre chaud (warm chevre salad – this is called the entreè here). Bavette grilleè, sauce poivre, frites maison (grilled beef, pepper sauce, pommes frites – the plat, or main cource). Créme bruleè for dessert. The first two were simple and perfect – like the tartiflette! Dessert was not the best example I’ve had, but I had to try this dish in its homeland!

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Today I also tried my first macarons – little, light, delicate cookies with different fillings and flavors – a Pariesenne specialty.

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I visited one museum in Paris. Le Grand Palais. Tuula and I went to a Robert Mapplethorpe photo exhibition. Why not check out an American photographer when I’m in possibly the greatest art capital of the world?! Yeah, I took a photograph of photographs. Everybody’s doing it…

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And speaking of the must-do in Paris. Sit outside a traditional cafe where almost all the chairs are facing the street. Watch people. Drink coffee. Smoke cigarettes. I don’t have any desire to inhale cigarette smoke, or I would get myself a “city pack” so I could really partake in these scenes…

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I leave Paris tomorrow and head south towards Spain! I love this city. And just when I can finally ride “home” without looking at a map, it’s time to go. Tuula has final exams to concentrate on and I am ready for the country roads again. I have most of France to go through which is perfect. France is so great. I’m studying French along the way, learning more by the hour, and yearning to have a better grasp of this language that I have always wanted to learn but have never had a real reason to. I should be riding along the Loire river valley in a day or two. Wine country awaits!!!

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New Zealand – UK – France

This post is a tad belated…

After arriving in Christchurch, New Zealand on February 21st from Antarctica, I began a 5 week cycle tour of the South Island, first with Susie, my roommate from The Ice, then I headed up north to meet up with Dylan in Marlborough wine country. From there we rode south to Wanaka, met back up with Susie, rode up to Mt. Cook and back to Christchurch.

Wine country!
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On the road…
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We picked lots of apples

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And camped under some bridges

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And in awesome spots like this

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Shoe fence that kept going and going…20140424-101526.jpg

New Zealand was so much fun. Dylan and I parted ways at the airport – he back to the long quiet roads of Australia where he had been riding for the past 5 months, and I decided to return to Europe. This time, riding my bike from France to Romania (or that’s the “plan,” but we’ll see where to roads take me)!

I flew into London and took a train to Eastbourne to hang with Lillian and her fam for a couple weeks. It was so nice to be in a house (not a dorm room or tent) for a little while and be able to cook! It was like coming home.

Tea time! This tea house has been around since the 1700s.

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And now I’m in Paris! I took a ferry to Dieppe, FR 6 days ago and took the very long way to Paris, riding on mostly winding back roads the whole way. Along the coast to Ètretat, to Rouen, to Gournay en-Bray to here. Now I’m staying with my friend Tuula who I couchsurfed with in Finland 2 years ago. She then came up to Alaska last summer and now is studying in Paris – perfect timing! I just arrived yesterday evening and in moments will go off to explore the city!

Lunch my first day in France. Baguette, rillettes de beouf, camembert, pomme

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Velo avec baguette à un cemetière

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Me and a field of rapeseed – canola oil plant. These brilliant yellow fields are all over the place!

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Dinner two nights ago, camping in a forest (not many forests left here). I picked tons of fiddlehead ferns and stinging nettle and made veggie soup. Dèlicieux!20140424-120058.jpg

Croissant and a random gorgeous castle.

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La vie est belle!

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