Sunday, August 17, 2008

My Trip to Geneva

Did you know that Geneva is the city where the highest percentage of rich people is concentrated? Well that was not the main reason, I really wanted to visit it. So we drove all the way from Grenoble to Geneva. It was so easy to cross the border, it is almost a shame: I used to enjoy when they stopped you, checked your passports, your faces and let you go. Now nothing. OK yes the Swiss policeman smiled at my camera. That is new too. So Geneva is just another European city full of…..come on….guess….VEILED WOMEN. We are talking again black veiled women. Rich ones. You can see veils and Gucci or Prada bags. So you feel the petro-dollars wives and the Swiss bank accounts. Very colorful city full of excitement. We saw some Anti Chinese/Tibet propaganda, more designed chairs, signs that the World Cup Soccer just happened, diamond-engraved cellphone, a Rolls Royce with an Arabic plate and of course...chocolate stores. Good bye Geneva. Une autre fois!

My visit to Torino (Italy)

When I came back and announced that I spent 5 days in Torino, not only people asked where it was but also why. Well, to be honest, as far as I am concerned Italy is Italy. I just love spending time in Italy, playing with the grammar and learning new Italian words and just dealing with the people. I am almost sure that there are the nicest and most pleasant people you can meet during your vacation. Torino was an amazing town. Most tourists never think of going there. But did you know they have a Museum completely dedicated to the cinema? “La Molle Antonelliana” Actually some Italians called it the “cinegogue” because the building was supposed to be a synagogue and when they run out of money, well, as easy as uno-due-tre, it became the Museum of the Cinema. Imagine FIVE floors dedicated to the 7th art but strangely enough, not a huge emphasis was put on Italian actors like Sophia Loren, or Marcello Mastroianni. It would have been in Hollywood, you would have seen mostly American actors! Imagine an elevator in the middle of the monument that takes you to the top so you can enjoy breathtaking views of Torino, the city. Magnificent surroundings, beautiful buildings Torino like most Italian cities was full of surprises. First the city has numerous ”piazze” (equivalent to squares) then you have design everywhere. From the way people are dressed to the furniture: no wonder Torino was “officially named the the first World Design Capital” in 2008. So we went searching for the new designs and we were not disappointed: benches with the shape of Italy, coffee machines, mirrors, chairs with strange shapes, “Toelette” sign for ladies, Chinese cooking pot, Chandeliers. I could go on for ever. Torino ti amo (Torino, I love you!)

Friday, August 15, 2008

My visit in Paris

I left Paris for the end. Because Paris is now common sight. So there is nothing new to tell you except: BIKING IN PARIS WHEN YOU ARE NOT PART OF THE TOUR DE FRANCE IS AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!! Now I know Paris inside out, so except from one exhibition, I decided that this trip was about biking and I am not going to participate to the Tour de California either. I just fancied the idea to be among busses, taxis, cars and the crazy Parisian traffic. Well I made it: I followed my two sisters and here I was like a pro! Now I am adding pictures that don't need comments. All taken in Paris in July 2008: Can you see the supermarket yogurt aisles (four of them.) The veiled woman (they are everywhere in France) in a wheelchair? The beautiful naked woman poster on top of the Galeries Lafayette (in the USA, there will be a lawsuit for exposing a nude woman!) The Madeleine church and its colorful flowers display? and the reminder how poor we were (the Euro value sign)Don't the statue of Liberty and the Diner belong to a New York street? The first picture on top to the left is the vacuum cleaner than washes the windows of the Louvre Glass rooftop (the Pyramid one.) Cute little machine that goes up and down on its own. I always leave Paris with sadness because Paris is part of my past and memories and because I leave the people I love. I hope to be back soon because this city is always adding surprises for the tourist I am.

My Visit in Grenoble

I never thought I found any interest in Grenoble until my sister decided to check on an old high school friend of hers (Sophie.) So here we drove to Grenoble, around 60 miles. Grenoble is known for its ski resorts and all the restaurants are certainly for tourists (since a lot of them were Pizzeria and Italian places) Beautiful city with the Isere river crossing along different piers. We took les Bulles (bubbles) and check the city from above. Not my favorite experience since I am scared of heights but for the little I have seen, memorable views and landscapes. We went to a market where my sister bought some apricots (we actually made apricot jam in Paris!)We visited the Grottes de la Bastille (Bastille Caves)and enjoyed the most fascinating landscapes ever. We ended up meeting this girl Sophie and her husband. Well the only bad luck, she did not cook at all (pretty rare for a 55 year old French woman) so our evening was cooking our own dinner (funny no??) and discussing about good old days. The strangest part, my sister could not remember her at all!!! In the morning, we studied the weirdest machine for toasting bread: look at the green apple color machine and tell me if you ever guessed that was made for toasting bread. We left Grenoble en route to...Geneva!

My trips to France: Lyons

Well, I decided a few weeks ago, to join my two sisters to spend some vacation time. With no children and no husbands, we knew that this will be a fun trip. OK Daniel, my brother-in-law was with us, but he does not count because he is such a fun traveller, trying very hard to please everyone. So we boarded the TGV to go to Lyons. I could not remember details about high speed trains but we actually could see landscapes while the train was on its way to the South. Now you are asking: why Lyons? Well I have been watching so many movies about Lyons, most of them during the 2nd world war so I was fascinated by the city of Lyons (a lot of partisans like Jean Moulin are from Lyons). Lyons is the 2nd or may be 3rd biggest city of France. Lyons was full of surprises, look at the photos. We saw weddings, statues being transported on the side, Muslim women (all veiled!) begging for money, a strange bicycle, an Indian (don't ask me...) a coffee place called “Au Negre” (translation at the Nigger’s place)a fair’s wheel bearing the European countries flags, a soon to be married bachelor in a strange outfit and absolutely to die for architecture. We spent a lot of time trying to understand how the Partisans circulate from one area to another in the city. Remember, during the occupation, Lyons was the Partisans’ capitale. It was THE city when orders where given and taken to relay messages against the German occupation. The city is fascinating especially the Vieux Lyon. Now look at the Fresque des Lyonnais, a whole building with murals. Lyon was full of murals. We could not see them all but it was pure artistry! Of course, we saw beautiful pastry places because Lyon is the capitale of good food. Nobody goes to Lyon without trying one of Paul Bocuse’s restaurants.