Europe, Fall 2003

To celebrate the year of our 20th anniversary -- and the year of my 40th birthday -- we carefully planned a two-week trip to Paris, Wroclaw, Krakow, and Frankfurt with lots of train travel in between.

Click on the thumbnail to drop into the slideshow at that point.

Norval in the Corbu kitchen! We spent an afternoon at the Centre Pompidou

looking at Picassos and Matisses and Dalis and Deschamps

and pieces by my fellow countryman -- I thought it was more appropriate to take a picture of people blocking the view of the Magrittes.

Hey, look! Seagulls, maybe from Halifax, welcomed us to Versailles.

Here's a hint of the garden. Much more to follow.

All of the paintings at Versaille seemed to be of happy people.

Of course, you have to be happy to live in a palace.

Chapel. (d'oh)

The gardener and architect thought that views to the horizon were special. I think he was right.

What Norval wanted to see most: the Hall of Mirrors.

(we had a "discussion" about which picture was best. Compromise: keep both.)

Not everything was as it seemed! Lower right: what looks like solid sandstone peeling off on its left edge. Left: what looks like brick, peeling off stone blocks.

Letona was ridiculed by the Lycian peasants. Jupiter is changing them horrifically (and painfully by their expressions) into frogs.

Apollo surfacing.

Versaille's Grand Canal is long. Really long. You can see the junction of the cross halfway down.

This cool thing folds up into an ottoman (the bench, not the empire.)

The window hardware is amazing technology - the dogs on the vertical shaft lock the sashes together, the handle locks the interior shutters to the outer sash.

In the 50s, de Gaulle used the buildings for visiting dignitaries - the Queen of England, US Presidents etc -- and had an annunciator system (and telephones) installed.

Nap Number One

Nap Number One's house: the Grand Trianon.

Why is it called Trianon?

Because Louis Quatorze bought a village called Trianon. And razed it. And built palaces on it. And named the buildings in its honour.

You trees. Me trees? No. Yew trees. Apparently the best for topiary.

When this building was designed, you paid tax on the square footage of the ground floor. So why not make it smaller?

Couperin's house. Couperin had a big family which lived on the upper floors, and there were shops on the ground floor.

It was conveniently attached to the church where he worked.

We did not do this with Photoshop. This was actual beams of coloured light streaming through a stained glass window. Good work, Norval!

A C.15 bishop's residence. He was a big military man too.

The only Pacific Coast we saw on our trip, in Place des Voges.

The Catacombs! Six million bones

from all the cemetaries in Paris,

neatly piled up in caves under the city in 1800s. A little creepy.

Notre Dame of course.

The Pointy Thing.

Place de la Concorde & Obelisque de Luxor at one end of the Tuileries.

The Segway Rider's Group was out that day.

Herculean ... !

The Louvre. All of it. Scroll sideways to see about 270° of the other end of the Tuileries.

Gare de Nord. Hey, clock in the train station is an hour slow! errr...

eventually we figured it out and changed our watches to daylight savings

and got on the very nice train.

Lukasz and Ania picked us up in Wroclaw the next night; the next day we went to Krakow.

The crown on the steeple is one of the city's symbols. The air's smoky from burning coal.

Lukasz says these are Polish mariachis here in the town square.

From outside, at night...

and inside, daytime.

I took some pictures of graffiti (oops, sorry, "Public Art") for Lara.

To-do list item: investigate all the info this thing is giving us. Notice the hole in the cross-shaped gnomon casting a tiny dot on the plaque.

Polish guy.

Polish guys.

Canadian Guy.


Wawel Castle - built in pieces over about thirteen hundred years.

The legend goes that a local hero fed this dangerous dragon a tainted sheep and saved the town.

so the dragon is the other symbol of the town. Sure, I want to drink beer after "pod smocza jama" has been licking in it.

Our pensione. Great find. Thanks Lukasz!

The "upholstered door" of Uniwersytet Jagielloński, founded 1364.

and the courtyard.

Finding a streetsign didn't help much, and asking for directions was impossible. No, none of these words sounds anything like it's written.

Three hundred meters underground in a salt mine.

Everything's made of salt - salt stairs, salt floor, salt chandaliers.

Salt Last Supper

Salt Mary. There is probably a Salt Peter here too somewhere.

Food was a little salty.


Dry moat converted into a garden with the river valley far below.

I'll have 250g of flaczki with a bowl of barszcz czerwony, please.

Lukasz' hobby: buy junkers and turn them into antique motorcycles.

L & A's house.

I couldn't resist.


Once you do windy, you get a beautiful view of the old capital, Wroclaw, and the Oder river.

Leopoldina University of Wroclaw
"The hall is an excellent example of the execution of a baroque interior, exemplifying the period's rules regarding the integration of the arts. Here we see illustrated the baroque inclination to bring together the disciplines of architecture, painting and sculpture as well as all the elements of decor and accoutrement into an inseparable and unified whole. Every detail present in the hall is a complimentary work of art. Each has its own compositional meaning, even equipment such as the benches, though seeming to be merely utilitarian, are included in the compositional and colourful harmony of the whole."

The Oratorium Marianum. The thing at the end is a tiny, ancient pipe organ; 2 1/2 octave keyboard on the left, bellows just like a step areobics machine on the right.

On to Frankfurt where no visit is complete without a picture under the big Euro. Frank showed us around and we stayed at Frank and Rolf's. Thanks, guys!

Looks like Goethe. Sounds like Gerta.

Norval really enjoyed lunch at Mutter Ernst.

Historic Properties.

Old city wall.

After our day in Frankfurt, we're back in Paris. You can tell because we found a Canadian bar.

The Mountie in the window still had his Hallowe'en mask on.

St Michael's Fountain

And no last evening in Paree would be complete without a walk down the Seine, hand in hand with your liver.

Our restaurant for the last night is Altitude 95 - right up in the Pointy Thing!!

What are they? Something Norval had searched the world over. Not quite like tiny lobsters, not quite like giant shrimps, are these lagostinas.

The end.

Slideshow code by Daniel MacKay, based on ideas from Gustav Evertsson