A Travellerspoint blog

France

So much nicer in nice

sunny

i had heard horror stories about how touristy nice and how i should avoid it like the plague. however, when it came time to book a hostel, nice was the only town on the mediteranean that had decent prices. so i booked 2 nights and i do not at all regret it.

the hostel was clean and had free internet, two of my big sticking points. i met a guy who just got out of the navy after 9 years and we went out for dinner and discussed teaching and politics and the war in iraq. since he had been in bagdad a few months ago i asked him about the current situation. he explained that this is prob the worst mess we have seen in many years and will end up being there for 10-20 years and as poor of a job as we are doing at keeping peace, if we weren,t there the country would be in absolute chaos.

later on the train to florence i read an article in the international tribune that explained that most if the government contracts given out to companies to rebuild iraq are expiring and that the companies (ahem, haliburton) havent actually completed much rebuilding, thanks in large part to security issues and a lack of criticism and prodding from those in power. and the us government has no plans to renew efforts at rebuilding. considering the country is only getting 6 hours a day of electricity, is it really a surprise that the insurgency is only getting stronger? is this even being talked about back home in the midst of elections that are coming up? has anyone put forth a plan to actually improve conditions in iraq so that our army can actually have a chance at coming home in the next 10 years?

sorry, this is supposed to be a travel blog and i really started this out as a story about nice, but its hard to avoid the news from home when it seems all bad.

Nice however really was nice. i ate cheese and french bread on the rocky beach the next day and then decided that 65 degrees air temp and similair water temp meant that i should go for a swim in the med sea. it was awesome. a saltier than the atlantic, but i floated around for awhile then basked in the bright sun for an hour. no vacation is complete without a little beach time.

Nice kinda\reminds me of the jersey shore, touristy, relaxed, but in the offseason the fading grandeur of the buildings and cheesiness of the shops becomes a little more evident. in other words it was perfect.

Posted by Brainford 07:07 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

Paris, Normandy and Bordeaux

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Paris was a lovely city. dad i'm really not sure why i got spit on. and i'm glad to hear gonzo still lives, think he'll make it another 4 weeks??

anyway back to Paris. I mastered its metro systems, which i am very proud of since so many people said it was confusing. The Louvre was fantastic, i literally spent 2 hours in one half of one of the 4 floors. this is not so hard when you consider e"ach floor is the size of 2 football fields. saw notre dame that day as well and rounded off the evening with ice cream at the eiffel tower (which you can see in my pics)

the next day i walked the champs elyesse to the arch de triomphe which was another example of napolean having a napolean complex. just had to have the worlds largest triumphal arch didnt he? i also tried fitting in with the parisiens by getting a baguette and eating itin the jardin de tuiliers. lovely day.

the food was great aunt pam. crepes from street vendors have def topped doner kebab as my favorite fast food in europe.

i didnt get to versailles but may be able to on mly way back to london from italy later in my trip.

I did however go to a little village in Normandy near Mt St Michele where i stayed in a lovely little b and b style hostel run by an english couple. i stayed there 4 nights and in between sleeping in a room all to myself with clean towels and the possibility of instant coffee in my room if i felt so inclined; i was able to ride bikes to mt st michele(really neat old fashioned island but very touristy), take a bus to st malo (where they happened to be having a very famous bout race and i got to walk on the brach) and a train to Bayeux (where i went to a dday museum and saw the famous bayeux tapestry) great ti,e there thanks to steve and liz (owners). they even let me have a book i started to read while i was there.

now i am in bordeaux and the town seems ok, but my hostel kinda reminds me of the hotel that tom hanks stayed in in the movie BIG. lil scary. i'll be in nice in é days and then on to italy for 10 days, then back to london to meet up with luke, then after a week, home again home again, jiggity jig.

thank you to all who are commenting and sending emails, i really appreciate knowing what is going on back home. though i think that for having a blog thats gets 40-50 hits a day; it looks like more people could leave some love here :-)

later!

btw, it is consistently 10 degrees warmer here than in NJ :-)

Posted by Brainford 10:41 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

New Pictures

here is a sample-more pics are in my gallery

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here we see some fine examples of communist propoganda on a former nazi building (luftwaffen HQ) that is now home to the tax office.

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ice cream in prague looks almost too good to eat

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how about this jaunty item for an adventure hat???

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The festung in Salzburg had three main defenses
1.) Steep climb to exhaust invading armies
2.) Massive walls

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and 3.) Fierce warriors with spears!

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Jed, Max, and Me at the base of Jungfrau AFTER ascedinding 1000 meters

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and last but not least, ny postcard shot

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all is well, be home in less than a month

Posted by Brainford 08:12 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (4)

French keyboqrds qre qnnoying

so iù, just gonnq type qnd you cqn figure out zhqt keys qre ,ixed up:::sqcre bkeu

semi-overcast

ok so internet is free here which is a good thing. oh and here by the way is paris. i arrived at 7 pm and found my hostel, attempted to do laundry but the owner of the laundremat said it was too late. well actuqlly he just motioned at me despite the fact that i was using broken french with him. i left and somewhere in the next 10 feet i got spit on. yup real big loogey on my shorts. cute.

things got better qfter that (as could be imagined) and i went for dinner, and on the way saw some people i had met in berlin and we decided to go out for crepes later: this was a good idea as crepes are delicious, esp w/nutella or applesauce and cinnamon.

FLASHBACK

1 Day Ago...i was hiking the swiss alps with a couple of guys from boston, and no we did not talk about baseball as this prob would have resulted in us not travelling together anymore. we took a train up to grindenwald (1034 meters) and from there we set off on a fairly well travelled trail that at times was more challenging than the grand tetons trek that i did with joel a couple summers ago. We ascended up to a town at the base of Jungfrau (2072m). it was supposed to take 4 hours. We did it in 3. and stopped for lunch. a lunch that included cheese that i cut with my NEW SWISS ARMY KNIFE!!!! needless to say the views were amazing and i was just really happy to get out of the cities and experience nature on a meaningful level again. i also can't imagine the labor it takes to build up there.

3 Days Ago...i was in Munich and went to Dachau (great pics for a powerpoint lesson) the public baths (interesting...and i was glad i got a chance to swim) and then the Haufbrauhaus (drank 2 very good liters of beer)

aaaand thats about it...bed time...bon soir

Posted by Brainford 14:35 Archived in France Tagged backpacking Comments (0)

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