Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Strasbourg

Over Easter Michiel and I went on a two week road trip, driving from Rotterdam to Northern Italy, and back. As it’s a long drive, we broke the trip in two and spent two night in Strasbourg in the French Alsace. We spent a really nice sunny Sunday walking around the city…

Strasbourg in springtime

View of Barrage Vaudan, a dam in the river Ill.

View of Barrage Vaudan

Lots of pretty streets to explore…

Pretty narrow streets

We watched the tourists boat go through the lock…

Watching the tourist boats go trough the lock

And stopped for a nice lunch outside, this banana milkshake made me very happy!

Yummy banana milkshake!

As did the beautiful pink flowers of this tree…

Pretty pink flowering tree

The typical half-timbered houses that Strasbourg is famous for:

One of the typical half-timbered houses

We went back to the pretty Petite France area at sunset…

Petit France in the evening

Very impressive half-timbered houses.

Half-timbered houses in Petit France

Looking even prettier at sunset!

Petit France at sunset

There was a relaxed mood that evening, with lots of people enjoying the nice evening – sitting, talking, playing petanque and having bbq’s.

Relaxed atmosphere with lots of people enjoying the evening talking, having bbq's or playing petanque

Magical little house all covered in purple wisteria flowers, so beautiful!

Magical little house covered in purple flowers (wisteria)

Beautiful view from Barrage Vaudan towards the ponts couverts bridges and its towers.

Sunset view from Barrage Vaudan

Nice terraces by the water…

Terrace by the water

Sunset panorama of Petite France

Petit France panorama

Michiel in front of the lock in Petite France

Michiel at Petit France

And a evening view of one of the canals of Strasbourg

One of the canals in Strasbourg in the late evening

A perfect stop on our way to Italy!

Hiking in Les Houches

The summer school is pretty intensive, but if you take a lunch bag instead of sitting down for lunch, there is enough time for a nice hike. These two photos are taken on one of those hikes:

On Saturday we had the afternoon off, and I took the cable car up with a few people. It was a beautiful day, and flowers everywhere, very pretty!

Me with Anastasia and Claire, and one of the views along the way…

In the photo on the left we are standing in front of the Mont Blanc!

While on that hike, Paul called me to say he was coming to Les Houches! It’s less than 1.5 hours to drive from Verbier (where he’s taking his paragliding course) to Les Houches, and we both had the day off on Sunday so this worked our very nicely. I waited for him at the bottom of the cable car, and we went to Chamonix for dinner. A very touristy place, but pretty too! And it was the 21st of June, which is Fête de la Musique in France – so there were people playing music everywhere and we enjoyed strolling through the streets and listening to the different groups.

On Sunday (today) we took the cable car again, and from there we walked to the next cable car. It was mostly downhill and not a very difficult walk, but it was very warm so we took it easy and spent lots of time taking photos. The amount of flowers up there is just amazing, see here…

These photos are taken in front of the glacier coming down from the Mont Blanc, great views!

This is one of the stops of the Mont Blanc railway, a small train that goes up to 2300 m. We later climbed a bit higher, and on the right you can see the spectacular view of the valley towards Chamonix.

And here’s a photo of Paul and the crazy car he took… He was going to rent a car but the rental company was closed and then one of the instructors offered him his car for the weekend… a very fun car in this weather!

Paul left for Verbier again in the afternoon, and we start lectures and tutorials again tomorrow. There’s 5 more days left in the summer school, we finish on Friday after lunch. I’ll hope to have time for a few more hikes though :)

The Views

The first picture below shows the main building of the summer school (Ecole de Physique). This is where we have all the lectures and tutorials, and generally hang out. Besides this building, there is a restaurant and several chalets where we sleep. The other photos show the view from in front of the main building at different times during the day… very stunning!

Les Houches

While Paul is (wishing he was) paragliding in Verbier, I am about 50 km away at a summer school on atmospheric boundary layers. Les Houches is right underneath the Mont Blanc and the summer school (at 1000m) has stunning views over the valley and the mountains. As in Verbier, the first 2 days here were rainy. And not just a little bit, more like a continuous downpour!

This morning we woke up to almost clear skies and amazing views. The restaurant has places outside too, so we can have our meals in the sun with a view – not bad! It’s been a bit of a soap opera though, with one cook going home ill, and his replacement starting drinking heavily yesterday and continued until after breakfast today. He kept crawling around and falling over and finally had to be taken to hospital at lunch time. The lunch was very chaotic and we all had to help out with serving. Of course this cook has now been fired, and the previously ill cook has returned. The food tonight was really good, so we’re all hoping that he will stay!

We had an hour free after lunch so we went for a very nice walk. I had to pay for it with getting sunburnt, but it was worth it. These photos are taken very close to the summer school:

The summer school is very interesting even though the subject is quite difficult. There are lots of Dutch people here so my Dutch can hopefully return to how it used to be. Ok, that’s all for now, I’ll try to post more photos soon. I just heard that Paul has had his first solo flight today, so hopefully he’ll post another blog soon too!