Our Summer Vacation 2006

Char and I went on vacation to Paris and Amsterdam for two weeks this summer. Here are a lot of pictures:

We stayed at a really nice place called Swell Apartment Paris. It’s basically a little apartment in Montmartre with a bedroom, living room, and kitchen, and you can stay there for a week and pretend you live in Paris. We probably wouldn’t have stayed there if I hadn’t gotten my currencies confused. I thought we were paying in Euros, but it was actually Pounds. Oops.

The room didn’t come with internet, but if I put the laptop on the desk I got a signal from an unsecured network called THOMSON. I don’t normally steal internet, so I connected only when I needed to to look up maps, check schedules, or get a weather report. It was really nice to have, but I knew I couldn’t expect it to last. Indeed, on the last day THOMSON had suddenly become a secured access point. THOMSON, sorry I caused the trouble, but thanks so much for letting me in as long as you did.

The guest book records the incidents when these letters have fallen off the wall

Amazing props that wouldn’t look good anywhere else

There was construction going on every morning, but you can’t win ’em all

Char wakes up

Little but very functional kitchen (with washing machine!)

The first thing we did was check out the cemetary at Montmartre. Some awesome monuments here.

There was also a cute cat who had made its home in the cemetary

Next we walked over to Sacre Coeur. It was very crowded and hot, and we had forgotten our sunblock. Luckily we came through relatively unscathed, although Char was extremely close to burning.

Char at Sacre Coeur

Owen in the same place

We saw some obvious sites, like the Arc de Triomphe,

l’Hotel de Ville,

Notre Dame,

and the Eiffel Tower (although we are on it in this shot

We also visited Le Jardin des Plantes, and saw the zoo there. The zoo’s primary residents were birds and hoofed mammals, but they also had some reptiles and one big cat (that exhibit was under repair).

Frog not in the zoo

Outside the zoo we set up the camera and took the only shot of both of us for the whole vacation. I too paranoid to lend anyone my camera, so I needed a relatively secluded area where there was a platform I could place the camera upon. Thankfully the photo is excellent.

One of the many small hoofed creatures in the zoo

Another cute hoofed thing

Sleeping, not headless, owl

Evil-looking vulture

Another evil bird

Both Char and I think this bird looks straight out of The Dark Crystal

I finally meet the elusive cassowary, which I learned much about in Australia. There’s a section of the rainforest in the Northeast that seems to revolve completely around the cassowary. For instance there’s a tree that makes a nut so poisonous nothing can eat it — except for the cassowary. And that tree survives because the cassowary eats it and drops it somewhere else. There were at least five or six examples of this type of symbiotic behavior.

Char meets a very stately individual

There was one big cat at the zoo, a Jaguar. It was pacing around its cage when we saw it

Later on it got all tuckered out

Pandas! Although the non-giant kind. They were being fed just as we got there. That certainly woke them up.

A misc shot:


The illusion. I found out about this online, and used google maps to pinpoint the exact location of this particular curiosity. Let’s say, however, that you stumbled upon the following stretch of road without knowing what was going on:

Hm… grafiti perhaps?

Want to know what it is? Take a guess and then click through to see the answer!

Since this post is damn long, I’ll be posting Amsterdam photos tomorrow.

It’s a 3d projection of a two dimensional image. If you stand on the correct spot (which you can find because there’s a surveyors mark in the pavement) you’ll see the original image. I found about this on some random site in French that was linked to from somewhere else. The artist’s website is here. I found the name of the hospital in one of the pictures and put that into google maps. It found the hospital, and from there it was easy to figure out the streets and get the exact location. Char and I went there on our way to the train station (Gare du Nord) on our way to Amsterdam, and sure enough it was all there intact. The sun was directly in front of the viewing point so the picture is washed out, but you can get a better look at the other links.