Archive for the 'Travel' Category

Lyon weekend

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

I think the most notable thing about the Lyon weekend was that we didn’t once enter Lyon.

Let me explain.
We were going to Lyon for the wedding of Raph’s cousin. Well, the 2nd wedding, since they got married some time last year in India.
Actually the wedding was outside of Lyon in a small town somewhere, but Lyon is where the airport is and Lyon in the place you guys might actually be able to place on a map. So: Lyon.
I was fairly excited about this because despite being with Raph for 5 years now (give or take) I have not actually met her entire family yet. Now, I’m not sure what I’d do with them once I will have met them, but it seems like something one should do. On a side note, I’m pretty sure the same is true for Raph, I’m fairly sure she’s not met most of my family either. Then again, mine is twice as big, previous generation  consists of double the amount of people, my generation is again twice as big and comparing the next generation would result in a #DIV/0 error. Hell, I’m not sure I could name every child that has spawned from the loins of my generation.
Also, the south of France is where I spent the summers of my youth. I was looking forward to some summery stuff.

Unrelated: There was a radar error in München. Not entirely unrelated: The plane we would be flying in was also in München.
At first there was waiting

Then there was making pictures while waiting

And three hours later they cancelled the flight.

So we went to Berlin instead.
Berlin was not as sunny as I had imagined the south of France.

We saw many famous things.

Briefly, between ducking under shelters.

We did have a pretty sweet hotel, despite our first pick being booked solid due to the Berlin Fashion week. We got to sleep below the water line, just like home.

In a lovely hotel at the Warsaw bridge in the river next to the Berlin wall. This put us in between the hippies of Kreuzberg and a restaurant/bar district on the other side.
Despite having to miss a French wedding, which is about food first, and matrimony second, we had no shortage of great food. All the hippy and veggie options in the south and all the national dishes you would want in the north.
Also, we saw some museums and stuff. But really, we spent far more time in bars and restaurants.

In the end the weather changed for the better and more pictures can be found here.


A problem I have with writing these things is that I tend to write about interesting things that happened to me and funny culture stuff.
And German culture . . . well, it’s just really hard to spin it into something funny. I’ve been trying to write something about the weißwurstequator for two months now, and I can’t get it right. Maybe I should start down writing Bavarian jokes, I certainly hear enough of those. Who needs Belgians if you have the Bavarians to make fun of.
The other thing is that i have a job that fires me if I tell funny stories about them. Well, some of them, I guess.

Something interesting to mention is that our stuff from Korea arrived. So this weekend we found out just how short of closet space we were. (Yet another) IKEA run fixed that though. More on how customs of Germany works soon.
BUT, out house is currently close to complete. And this can only mean one thing, something that Raph is really, really looking forward to.

Time to move out soon!

To end with, just because . . . well, there’s some things I miss about Korea. Gangnam Style!

New York trip

Sunday, June 17th, 2012

So, I’ve been forced out of Germany on 5 occasions during my 4 months here for social occasions one really shouldn’t miss.
I’ve had more relaxing homes, to be honest.

The latest occasion was my sister’s PhD ceremony. I was a bit confused about the whole thing as the defence was before, so she already graduated, but then she graduated on basis of some research papers which will be published (and written) before the end of this year.
BUT, I am not in academia and as such I’m probably missing something.

The occasion was actually more diversified than just the PhD. Apparently it had been 3.5 years since the entire family had sat down for dinner together, so there was that reason to travel across the pond. First family dinner started on my day of arrival at 19:45 local time. Which is about 01:45 time of wake up and approximately 22 hours after waking up that morning. I’m pretty sure the people wanted this to happen badly were mighty happy with my contributions to conversation that night.

And then was the visiting of old friends, culinary sampling and generally touristing around.

All pictures can be found here. But I’ll showcase a few as well.

First off. Osprey! WOOT.
Also, for anyone interested in aircraft/NY combos, I suggest you take in a Mets game. The new stadium is just down from the 13/31 runway. Given the right winds you’ll see lots of aircraft coming in/taking off during the game. You may miss a few homers though.

Mandatory Lady Liberty shot

Eugh . . Old people. They smell funny

This is the new version of those two towers that came down in 2001 btw.

New York, duh. Where else did you think this was?

They’re not related.

Oh right, but I came to the US for a specific reason. Considering this blog it’ll have the be the reason I first mentioned as I don’t think I took any pictures of the entire family together.
Typical. Still, yet more signs of why it’ll be a long time before I can provide an updated Raph&Wally photo for the mantlepieces of interested parties.
Carnegie Hall

Oh right, I wasn’t the only one to fly out for this celebration. I got to see that part of the family again as well. Next to that I got to see my sister’s in-laws, and in fine form I did not take any pictures of them.
Didn’t get to meet my nephews though. Next time I go to the states I will claim my uncle right to pinch their cheeks and burble excitedly on the side of their cribs.

And Applause

I also managed to get in Manhattanhenge, a nice little recurring phenomenon which allows for really good pictures.
Unless you’re in a restaurant on the wrong side of town in which case the pictures are merely alright.

This castle was not on a hill watching over the local populace, it was actually on another building. Pretty cool building.

I was actually looking for someone else, but I came across this guy. Pretty cool I guess:P
There’s a bunch of other rooms in this museum, some of them with pretty descriptive names like the “Hall of African Mammals”. This hall is on a completely different floor than the “Hall of stuff long dead” where one can find the dude pictured above.
In the Hall of African mammals I came across a lovely lady, who pointed at the elephant in the middle of the room yelling at her daughter “Look honey, more dinosaurs”
I did not roll my eyes as hard as her “MOM, you’re embarrassing me” daughter.

A good neighbourhood, you can tell.

Good food, good company

I only had a week of New York, where my parents and assorted other family-members went on to burn in the American deserts, but I enjoyed my trip. Got to see some nice things, meet some nice people and I incurred a horrible jetlag. Travel, huzzah!.

Parental Visit

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

Hello Readers.

Been a while, hasn’t it.
Things have been slow, nothing noteworthy to report. Life is good, things are happening, just nothing to write on the internet about. In this age of Twitter this is a strange sentiment, I know.

My job search continues. If you know something, please let me know. And if you think just because it is in Venezuela I won’t be interested well . . . let me know anyway. As my good friend Marco reminded me Libya has some interesting positions open, high-end management even, but I’m afraid there’s some unfortunate history between me and certain Libyans that would make applying for those positions awkward.

In the midst of my frantic job search I was forced to take two weeks off to play shepherd to some clueless tourists.

After seeing Japan to visit me in 2008 and some visits to the States to visit the other child, South Korea was next on the destination list.
Here’s a tip to would-be parents. Make sure your kids leave to all sort of exotic locations so you have a good excuse to go there. To be honest it’s a bit of a shame marrying a French person binds you to your place of residence for the wedding ceremony, otherwise I’d have a nice excuse to invite people to say . . . Tahiti, Machu Pichu or maybe Kilimanjaro.

I’ll see about adding a “Where have I been in Korea” map under a link on the top right but I’ll just mention where we went for now and you’ll just have to google it if you want to know where on this peninsula that is.

If you don’t want to listen to where things are and just watch pictures you can find all uploaded ones here.

We visited some of the sights in Seoul and this is what they look like.
Korean Tea



Bukchon Hanok Village

Olympic Park

Before I post pictures of places outside of Seoul, try this for reference.

Outside of Seoul we went to Jeonju.
Jeonju is known for it’s Hanok Village. This is the second Hanok Village so far (and there’ll be a third), it stand for: “Traditional Village” or something.

Next were the Boseong Tea fields

Jinju Fortress where we were just a little bit too early for a nice festival


Next was Gyeongju, called museum without walls. It currently hosts the world culture expo.

Onwards to Haeinsa temple. Home of the Triptake Koreana, currently celebrating its Millenial.

Worthy of mention is that we spend 1 more day than planned due to running out of cash and country-side banks (even in high tourist areas) sucking balls. It took us 3 hours, 4 towns and 9 banks before we managed to extract cash at a 7/11 (and no, countryside don’t seem to have those either)
A long walk through the hills in Woraksan National Park

Which leaves most of the east coast with Seoraksan, Seokcho and others for next visit. A visit to the DMZ as well is something on every tourists must-do list of course.

My parents made it on to their plane and rest has returned to my house. Much to my dogs chagrin btw, his grandma was really spoiling him.

Japan (again)

Thursday, June 2nd, 2011

Yes, I know. Japan AGAIN.

Eugh. So Passé.

Anyway. We went back to Japan. 1 weeks worth of holiday. The top of my head did not approve. The rest of me was happy.

First of all, I’d like to dedicate this post to the heroes of the holiday

Two 200 yen umbrellas from the daiso.

Yes, the weather sucked and these things saved us from pneumonia. For 5 days straight.

First stop was Fukuoka. There’s a hydrofoil boat that takes us from Busan there in 3 hours and it’s quite a bit cheaper than flying. With the yen at the exchange rate what it currently is, that was a welcome money saver.
Not that much cheaper though, as it turned out. The tickets are cheap, but then they tax another 40% out of you for fuel and terminal use. Very classy.

Fukuoka is known for many things. Canal city is one, but I’d seen that in 2008 already. The street food ramen is another.

Little carts like these are all along the canals and on street corners.

And the food is not bad either. With this kind of cooking

Getting quite a varied clientèle.

We’d planned to spend some time on the beach. Found a pretty one btw.

Sadly, the places with roofs on them didn’t have this view.
But they were dry, so we forgive them.

Because Fukuoka wasn’t going to offer us anything with this weather we headed inland.

To Takachiho. The first thing we learned there was that our creation theories have been operating under a slight spelling error.

Cods . . . Not Gods. Silly us

The reason we came here was the gorge.

Good Visuals

And with added excitement built in.

That came down in front of our eyes.

After excitement comes zen

Back in Fukuoka we found this gem

A Belgian beer bar. That’s a Kwak, a Karmeliet, 3 different Chimays, Cuvee des Trolls, Delirium, St. Louis, Scotch Silly and a few more that probably deserve mention.
1 year of living in the country of Cass, Hite and Max will bring a man to pay the ridiculous prices they charge. But it was goooooood.

The next day was the first day of sunshine and the last day of our holiday.

Nokonoshima Island it right off the coast of Fukuoka. And it looks like this:

Aaaaaaaand that’s all we saw of this gorgeous island.
On that little slip of land at the end there we found a corpse.
That kind of took the rest of the day. Not the finding, the police things afterwards.

As mentioned, our last day. So yeah, we ended with a corpse.

I have pictures of that btw. Our Japanese is pretty good. 死んだ人を見つけました. But, we figured pictures might help relaying what’s happening.
Won’t post them though.
Probably . . . . wrong, or something.


Quote of the Day:

And if you are French – well, if the rest of the world persists in thinking you are amazing lovers, can you blame them for going along with the lie?

BBC News

Korean Spring

Monday, April 18th, 2011

It’s spring in Korea. What does that mean?
Well, it generally means a raise in temperature and teenage hormones.

And flowers.

Japan is known for its sakura season. And its underdog sibling, the ume blossom season isn’t anything to sneeze at either. But when you think of Korea, flowers isn’t what come to mind. Mostly it’s that pesky neighbour of ours, and he doesn’t look anything as nice as what I’m posting in here.

As I’ve mentioned occasionally, I live next to Namsan park. Namsan park is . . . a park. Parks have flowers. So, to get down to it, these are some pictures taken on the mountain that shapes my calves.

Now, isn’t that beautiful?

Of course, can’t please some people.

The entire album can be viewed here.


Japanese businesstrip

Tuesday, February 15th, 2011

For Raph that is, I was merely along for the ride.

The initial circumstances made that we were rather happy going to Japan.

We were leaving this (Seoul, -5 degrees)

going to this (Osaka, 10 degrees)

Unfortunately, it soon deteriorated into (Tokyo, -2 degrees)

which made us pretty much like

Anyway, the trip.

We popped over on monday. We woke up at 5:something (eugh) to get to the airport. If you connected what you saw in the first picture with the reality of airport management you’ll be able to postulate that 5:something could easily have been 6:something or even 7.

Arrival in Osaka followed eventually and I was certainly happy I had made dinner plans, not lunch plans as we’d never have made that.
I made dinner plans with my old 部長(I think I got that right, department head) from my time at Mitsubishi Electric and it was very nice catching up what has been going on in the lives of those people I shared 8 months with.

Minagawa-san, well aware of our dietary restriction, managed to snag a reservation at a specialized Tofu restaurant.

All of which was very tasty. There’s pictures of the façade of the restaurant here. I do not, however know exactly where it is. From my memory, honmachi subway station, exit 21, after 20 metres or so go right and follow the main road until you pass a temple on the right, right after go right and it should be on the corner. If not, ask the 7/11, you should be close enough.

The next day Raphaëlle spent 8 hours talking to clients. Actually talking, 2 meetings both with 3 presentations each she was quite hoarse when we met up for dinner. In all that time though she hadn’t gotten around to specifying the whole vegetarian thing.


If you walk away from laying the foundations for many 10s of thousands worth of business deals (and this one has great potential) and are led into a place were meals start at €100. Well, if you’re going to eat meat, why not eat Kobe beef.
I am very curious how raph will communicate this for the next trip in March/April.

Back to the non-chronological order that is this post. Before dinner I had some time to wander around Kobe while Raph talked.

So I got to see the earthquake memorial quay, specially not repaired to reflect the damage caused by the 1995 Earthquake.

Some random harbour wandering

China Town

And Kitano, the foreign section.

Yes, that’s in front of Oranda (Holland with Japanese accent) house.

After Kobe we took the late night shinkansen to Tokyo so we could take the early morning train to Hitachi which wouldn’t require another 5:something alarm clock.

The hotel in Ginza made for some nice midnight photography opportunities.

And I was able to learn something of the roots of a famous Japanese institution, yoshinoya.

Hitachi city is . . . well, living there made raph more adamant about living in a larger city. This year’s vulcanus-jin to Hitachi were this year’s biggest party animals. We mourn for you.

It is a pretty city though, it would be better if I’d taken this in Sakura season though. A 1.2 km long road lined with sakura trees.

Admittedly you do have to go and look for it.

The next day we were back in Tokyo. As Raph’s facebook said:

in Tokyo. Love Tokyo. Love it love it love it.

Where we learn that Raph really likes . . . Tokyo? However, Tokyo might have been sending negative messages regarding our visit.

So we were forced to stick to indoor activities. It actually brought to our attention how jaded we were with Tokyo. There was nothing so see. I’ve been to all of it. Especially indoor stuff. There’s a now Tokyo tower being built and I missed the gundam in Odaiba

which has already been decommissioned. While it is currently somewhere, I don’t know where. If it’s lucky, the gundam is touring the world.

But indoor things? Hadn’t been to the anime museum, the Helloo Kitty museum, the Ghibli museum I do still all have to see, but considering all that is Tokyo, that’s not a lot.

Speaking of Ghibli. After the daytime Yurikamome trip we saw this:

which, at set times of the day does this:

Being back in Tokyo, we had aimed to meet up with some of our old Vulcanus-jin. Unfortunately, what we’d not realized is that while there’s a fair few in Tokyo, they actually live in “Tokyo”. And “Tokyo” is kind of big.

Jorge, though, lives in the Roppongi hills and was available for some Izakaya visits. On friday together with a trainee at the Vulcanus EU-Japan coop center and on Saturday with Sato-san herself.

And on that fateful day we got this shot:

If you’re not a Vulcanus-jin, this probably doesn’t mean much to you. But that’s Sato-san in Purikura!!!!!!!!

Sunday, we headed back to Seoul. Just in time to see this:

And wasn’t that a nice sight to leave Japan with.

For any additional pictures of the trip click here.


Quote of the Day:

Memories are what warm you up from the inside. But they’re also what tear you apart.

– Haruki Murakami