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Final Photos in Amsterdam

Here are the final photos of our trip to Amsterdam. Most of them show streets and businesses in the Jordaan neighborhood where we stayed. You can also see some interior shots of our favorite neighborhood pub, Proust. click on any photo to pop-up a Lightbox that will allow you to easily scroll through all the … Continue reading »

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I Want to Ride My Bicycle

On the morning of our first full day we rented a pair of bikes. In case you didn’t know, this is what they do in Holland. They ride bikes. Everyone, even old people. There are so many bikes in Amsterdam that the bicycle parking garage outside the Central Station has room for 2500. But they … Continue reading »

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Madame Tussauds Wax Museum in Amsterdam

This was the silliest thing we did on our trip, and the most blatantly touristy, but it was lots of fun. See how many of the celebrities and politicians you recognize. There are also a few shots of Dam Square taken from a giant plate-glass windows you pass by in the middle of the tour. Click on … Continue reading »

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Amsterdam, a Lovely City

On Wednesday we boarded a Thalys high-speed train at Gare du Nord that was headed for Amsterdam. Tickets were sixty-dollars apiece, a real bargain when you consider the speed and comfort of the travel. The seats, even in second class are much wider and more comfortable than airplane seats. And the average speed for the … Continue reading »

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String Ensemble (Vivaldi?) dans le Metro

We spent a fair amount of time in the Paris Metro. It’s the easiest way to get around the city. Every day we would stumble across a lone guitarist playing for spare change, or more annoyingly, an obnoxious accordion player who boarded a train and serenaded the weary travelers into submission. One afternoon as we … Continue reading »

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Place de la Concorde

Directly in line with the Arc de Triomphe, and situated at the eastern end of the Blvd Champs Elysee lies the Place de la Concorde. Designed in 1755 to honor the sitting monarch, this plaza was originally called the Place Louis XV, and included a statue of the king on horseback. During the French Revolution, … Continue reading »

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Arc de Triomphe and Avenue des Champs Elysee

Commissioned by Napoleon in 1806 to celebrate his victory at the Battle of Austerlitz, the Arch took thirty years to complete. It includes dozens of friezes, reliefs and plaques commemorating the French soldiers who have died in battle. In 1919 a biplane was flown through the arch during a celebration of the end of WWI. Click on … Continue reading »

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Verailles Gardens, Petit Trianon, and Grand Trianon

In addition to the main chateau there are also two smaller chateaus (Petit Trianion and Grand Trianon) and an English-style Hamlet (Hameau)nestled among the parks and gardens of Versailles. There are also acres of canals, and dozens of fountains. We never made it out to the hamlet, where Marie Antoinette is said to have made her famous “Let … Continue reading »

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Versailles

Undoubtedly the most exciting day of our entire trip. Even though I had visited before, I was easily overcome by the grandeur and elegance of the place. And yet, I felt the frivolous excess, too. Estimates put the cost of maintaining Versialles during the 1700’s at between 6-25% of the entire governmerntal budget. It was easy … Continue reading »

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Sacre Coeur Exterior at Night

Sacre Couer is one of my favorite sites in Paris. Completed only about a hundred years ago, this Eastern-Orthadox-style Bailica appears much older. It occupies the highest hill on Paris, providing in clear weather a spectacular view of the surrounding city. Of course when we went up the hill it was raining. Again. At least … Continue reading »

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