Archive for October, 2011

A Few Trip Photos

Building detail in Paris.

Luxembourg City

Rheims Cathedral as seen from the apartment's kitchen window.

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There were layoffs at work on Monday. In the past few weeks the company cancelled the contracts of three contractors. My office mate had her contract cancelled so now I’m the only tester on the flagship product. This week it was time for employees to get laid off. The IT group laid off 18% of the employees. The small group I’m in lost two engineers and a developer. To make matters worse another developer turned in his resignation. There’s a really strange mood in the office. People are shell shocked. It’s going to take a while for the things to get back to normal.

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The trip to France was a lot of fun. K and I arrived in Paris on Saturday morning. We took the RER from the airport and arrived at Gare du Nord. We walked over to Gare du l’Est and stowed our bags in a locker since we had a few hours to kill before catching our train to Rheims. We walked around Paris stopping for coffee and croissants in a sidewalk café. Later we were stopped by four lost American tourists looking for Joe’s Juice Bar. They asked for directions talking really slow. They mistook K and me for Parisians. We had a laugh over that and gave them directions. We left Paris around noon and were in Rheims forty five minutes later thanks to the high speed train.

K rented a two bedroom apartment with in Rheims. The apartment was centrally located and close to the cathedral. We went to the art museum, the Rendition Museum and the Foujita Chapel. While shoe shopping a salesman started talking to us in Danish because he thought K and I were from Denmark. He laughed when we told him we were from the U.S.

Cindi arrived on Monday from Austria while K was at the conference. After getting Cindi settled we had lunch and shopped.

On Tuesday Cindi and I took the train to Luxembourg and spent the day touring Luxembourg City. Luxembourg City is beautiful, historic and very clean. The people were well dressed and looked affluent. We saw very few minorities. We took a self guided walking tour and saw most of the sites. Cindi and I got back to Rheims around 9.

Wednesday night K and I attended the conference banquet while Cindi spent a quiet evening in the apartment. Two of guys at our table asked were we lived in Denmark. This was getting a little strange. Why were we being mistaken for Europeans again? Is it because we didn’t dress poorly like most American tourists?

Thursday morning we took the train to Paris and settled into our two bedroom/two bath apartment on Boulevard Saint-Germain. After settling in we walked around Paris for hours stopping for a late lunch.

Paris was hot and crowed. I could not believe the crowds because it was so late in the tourist season. All of the cafés were packed and the metro was crowded at all times of the day and night. We were having dinner at Chez Renee one night and Anna Wintour walked in and was seated. Then we realized it was Paris fashion week. That explains the crowds and the hordes of fashionistas in five in heels along with the numerous six foot tall skinny women we saw scurrying down the streets.

We did a lot walking and shopping in Paris. Our trip to the Louvre was overwhelming. The Louvre is massive and full of tourists. It was chaotic and we wanted to leave after a few hours. There are so many important paintings that after a while you just walk past them. The asian tourists were incredible rude.

The next day we went to the Centre Pompidou to see the Edvard Munch exhibit. It was a great show and even though it was crowed it was not as chaotic as the Louvre. They have a good modern art collection. I especially enjoyed the Rothko, the Pollack and the numerous Picassos on display.

We had many late relaxing lunches and long late evening dinners. We did a lot of walking so we could observe the beautiful scenery. One day we relaxed on the banks of the Seine while K attempted to join a conference call. It was a wonderful trip. We limited our shopping although I was tempted to buy a beautiful, but overpriced shirt at Kenzo in Luxembourg. I did buy a shirt at Massimo Dutti and a coat at Bruce Field. K bought a couple of things at Printemps which is like the French version of Neiman Marcus. Cindi bought a beautiful camel colored cape with a fur trimmed hood and a bunch of chocolates.

I highly recommend visiting France and especially Paris. It’s a magical place that makes you forget all about your troubles at home.

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