Saturday, July 30, 2011

Blog 46 - 31st July

Following the previous post about our Euopean holiday, here is week two of four weeks. First week was in Switzerland. Second week was in France. Vive la France!

Our first stop was just ovr the boarder in eastern in France to visit Ronchamp and travel to see 'Notre Dame du Haut', the architect Le Corbusier’s famous chapel. Damien had visited previously in 1983, however, it was my first time. The weather was glorious and Damien's photos do it justice I think. This pilgrimage chapel, complete with an outdoor altar, and on top of a hill, remains an active religious community. For a 1954 building it was certainly ahead of its time.

Any guesses? Each night in summer at 11.00pm and midnight the Eiffel Tower the lights come on at dusk and the sparkles occur for 5 minutes on the hour until midnight. It is most amazing1 We happenned to be passing by on our way home when we were lucky enough to catch the action.

Paris was a highlight, staying with our friends Esther and Mark in the seventh arrandisement. We strolled to the Eiffel Tower on our first afternoon and then selected cheeses to bring home for a wonderful feast accompanied by Mark's gazpacho and char-grilled vegetables.

The local cheese shop - pity we can't post the wonderful smells! Living in Korea, this was a rare treat for us and a welcome change from rice and noodles.

Gaspard, Esther's grandson, was also sleeping over for a few nights, so we had a fun time playing amd building castles (not to mention Eshter's lack of sleep!).

Here is a view of Esther's apartment - the one with red geraniums. So Parisienne! After learning Korean language for the past 18 months I can still communicate more with my school French than I can in Korean. Have I been wastiing my time? We look forward to seeing our neighbours, Mark and Esther, back here in Seoul soon.

On the way to our next destination we visited Chartres Cathedral, not just any old church! Again guess whose list this was on?

Staying with Julie and Jean Yves in their seventeenth century farmhouse at La Chapelle-Glain in Brittany, was a change of pace.

Here Jean Yves is demonstrating how to make omelettes and poached eggs. Damien has tried both following this recipe and his culninary skills have greatly improved. Julie is the working woman in this household and we can see how much interest she is taking in cooking!

While we were there the Tour de France was happenning. Did we miss it? My bum was sore for days following our 6 hour ride. We ate at a cute little restaurant just near this lake which was our half way place. Thank you both for your generosity and fresh cooking from the garden, for Belto, Dolce and Finger's company, (these are the dogs!), for the complementary Tour de France and great conversations, solving the problems of the world.

How may castles and churches can Susan and Damien visit? You ain't seen nothing yet!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blog 45 - 26th June

After a wonderful month in Europe, we have returned to Seoul with 100% humidity, torrential monsoon rains, thunder, lightning and a river running down our forest hillside. Although we took our microcomputer on our holiday, my fingers feel like sausages on those tiny keyboards so I have been saving up to post this blog. Now looking forward to revisiting our holiday as these experiences always seem to transtion into dreams the minute the plane lands home. I will post a series of four postings - one for each chapter of our trip. We spent a week in Switzerland, a week in France, another in Ireland and then the final chapter in England. I hope you enjoy seeing our adventures beginning in Zurich.

Dubai airport was buzzing at 4.00am. The bottom of this photo shoto shows the internal zen garden which were at each end of the terminal and provided a peaceful retrieve.

How many spires can one city have? A small side street off Bahnhofstrasse, the main street in Zurich.
While Damien attended the International Federation of Landscape Architects conference, I had fun exploring. I caught the local train to the top of Mount Uetliberg, the highest local peak. Great views.
Friends and colleagues, Tong Mahn and You Mi, tasting fondue for the first time - I think it may also be the last!

I accidentally came across the Zurich market in the main train station. Zurich is memorable for the cheese, bread and great coffee, all which are impossible to find in Korea. The sculpture below is part of a permanent instalation hanging from the station roof.

One of us us still waking up here. Every morning we ate breakfast at the best cafe in Zurich,, Sprungli, which is a world famous chocolate and coffee place . Always ask the young women in reception for local tips. This was a winner - even had bircher muesli!

Zurich Lake was so full of bathing beauties every day of the summer holidays.

Can you spot Damien in the photo above?

Another bathing beauty!!

Damien's research assistant Gun Woo, accompanied us to Zurich. He is leaving soon to begin his PhD in the US. Good luck Gun Woo and thank you for all the interpreting of Korean mysteries and supporting Damien during his time as professor here.