Monday, June 26, 2006

Postcards from France - wished you were here!

I usually express myself better using words than in pictures. However, due to circumstances beyond my control (if you considered impulse buying THAT), I bought myself this kick-ass digital SLR that was all the rage two years ago (sobs... its now an old bird).

My trusty Nikon D70 has weathered it all: pelting rain in Lake Inle, dusty sands from the ruins of Bagaan, biting winds up on the Empire State Building of New York, balmy weather and curious stares in Bali, sweaty summertime in France, and other charming parts of Europe.

Now, where was I going with this? Oh yeah: the weekend last, me and my housemate did a little trip up to Reims and Luxembourg. Being tourists while poor students at the same time don't make for a good combination: for one thing, its hard to justify all that expensive food I've been eating. What's more, Reims is champagne country: it sucks when all I had in the beverage arena while at Reims was one glass of champagne. That silly Tattinger shop stopped accepting tasting visits when we got there (Gawd... my housemate was sooooo mad).

Anyway, first up on the itinerary was the Notre Dame in Reims. The Notre Dame in Reims was where the King of France was crowned. If you saw 'Joan of Arc' the movie, there is most likely a scene where Joan attends the coronation of her king in this cathedral (it is grand and probably looked a lot grander in its heyday).

Long hallways, high arches and rose-shaped stained glasses: yup, I'm in a grand French cathedral alright

So that's what I look like!

After enough cathedral gazing (you do that a lot in Europe, alas), we went a perambulating around the little city. Had lunch al fresco in some roadside restaurant that had amazingly good service for a French restaurant (side note: no tipping in this country = expect bad service). Anyhow, our stomachs satisfied (I had champagne from champagne country!), we went to the Palais du Tau - a little museum housing some of the art that has been taken out of the Notre Dame (for one reason or another). There were a lot of tapestries (boring carpets that people hang on walls - easier on the neck I presume) but I was more interested in the sculptures:

This was one of my favourites: it's Adam and Eve. Eve's eating the forbidden fruit and so is the serpent on the tree of knowledge.

Eve and the Serpent, this time rendered with legs.

A gargoyle.

Nice little effects with a reflective surface and some butts.

After Reims, next up was Luxembourg. The drive there wasn't too bad, but Luxembourg was a little tad boring at night. The first thing to do upon hitting the little hotel was to turn on the dingy TV and watch some soccer. It was Italy vs US in a match of send-offs galore. Did a walk about town at night and then caught up on sleep. Somehow, that hotel we booked was near the red light district - it was right next to a strip club - but nothing as exciting as Geylang here (it's boring Luxembourg, eh?). Morning came and this time, we went to see the town proper:

Some cheerleader performance in the middle of the day.

Pity about this photo: I couldn't get the sky to be any bluer because it was done near noon. The sun just washes out the colours there.

I have this thing about taking reflections of buildings off of spanking shining cars. Incidentally, Luxembourg has the highest GDP per capita in the world - it shows: everyone here drives an expensive car.

I thought it apt to point out that the cute statue couple under the umbrella seemed to be having a much better time than the old couple on the bench. Maybe that's what marriage does to you?

This was my favourite picture from the trip - it's the opera house of Luxembourg, and its interior was designed to give it a web-like effect during the day. Nice...

To see more from this set (and others), check out my flickr pics.