Friday, February 6, 2015

London in late December

Ana insisted that we needed to visit London before Taquito hatched. Sigh. I've been putting this off, as in it would be ok if I never went to London during this lifetime. She gave me that look, what can I say.

If you would have asked me about going to London when I was in 8th grade, I would have said "giddy-up cowboy, punk rock utopia here I come." My early teenage heroes were Sid Vicious and Joe Strummer and anyone with funny looking hair in a leather jackets and bondage pants. I even took markers and made a Union Jack flag and safety pinned it to a jacket in middle school. Punk Rock and London was very much on my mind.

I don't know what happened. I never thought I would make it across the pond and the whole leather jacket and purple mohawk thing lost its charm by the end of high school. I also learned London was cold, foggy and rainy. Worst of all, the sterling continues to slaughter the dollar. All the more reason to keep away.

We arrived at the end of December, I'm glad we booked those tickets. It was cold but the sun was out. Meeting-up with friends, going to a punk show, Ana's fish and chips, it was all memorable in the end. Proof of our grande days out below.

A cold morning walk in Hyde Park. Kensington Palace. 
There was an exhibit of Chris Stein's (of Blondie) photographs at Somerset House. 
The lovely gallery guard on the left was racing towards us with the "no photos" look on her face.  
The courtyard of the Somerset House included ice stating and Christmas propaganda. 
Next on the agenda was Glen E. Friedman's My Rules exhibit. Ana's just a Minor Threat. 
The infamous 100 Club minus the Sex Pistols. The outside of the building surprised me. I was thinking it was something along the lines of a CBGB's in a seedy neighborhood. 
We went on a walking tour with our friend Kari, she took us to all the greatest hits of London. Big Ben was one of them. 
As was Westminster Abbey. 
Hanging out with Kari pre-Peter and The Test Tube Babies. 
Peter and The Test Tube Babie-The Jinx.
Never made it to the bog in time. 
Up yer Bum. 
Our hostel had library of quality literature. 
On the way to the Tate Modern
Tate Modern innards. 
Why not use once live animals for your art. 
The famous Pattison House. Please note: No ball games. 
Non-Banksy street art. 
Up to Camden for stressful street shopping. 
Night near Piccadilly. 
Tower of London wants 20 Pounds to get inside. Ana paid 7 for fish and chips and saw it for free from the outside.
Tower bridge
Union Jack and Pakistan flag. Draw your own conclusions or artwork. 
Since we don't have a smart device we relied on a map and strangers looking for Brick Lane. We asked one older lady, perhaps she was the queen, on how to get there. She responded with, so you're hungry for curry. True, Brick Lane is curry central.  
We met up with A-ster, a former student from Egypt. At the time she didn't know we were thinking of going back next year. We had some coffee then took her to scary places in London. 
We met up with her sister and our former co-worker, Nancy. We experienced Winter Wonderland in Hyde Park. 
Ana thought high tea was the appropriate activity to do in London. 
Westminster Cathedral near Victoria Station. We went to go see Wicked, which was punishing on the ears. We almost left at intermission, we thought it was the end of the show. 
Buckingham Palace at night. 
We saved the best for last. Brew Dog pub. 
We missed the The Churchill Arms. It is one of London's oldest pubs. 
An overly enthusiastic Princess Di fan opened a restaurant.

Monday, January 26, 2015

Outside of Geneva and inside Lyon.

It was about time we got on over to Nyon, Switzerland to see your friends Ji and Knut. We spent some quality time with the pair stuffing our faces in both food and beverage. We even made time to drive over to Lyon, France to see what the fuss was regarding Lyonnaise cuisine. Below is the evidence in pictures and words.

Getting ready for our first outing, the supermarket. Geneva is pricy, and our short stint at the grocery store, the bill was what the average Ethiopian makes a year. 
Conflicted graffiti in Nyon.
Nyon provides many nice views for a morning walk. 
May I suggest Château de Nyon for your next wedding.
View from the Château. 
Wreck your Saturday and add some kilos to your life with cheese fondue and a bottle of white wine. If it were in front of me now, I would do it all over again.  
Sure, if you can't afford dating. 
Nyon is teaming with visual artists. A fine example of one. 
Lake Geneva on a pleasant afternoon.
Future Olympian ice skater  in training. 
A drive up the hill from Nyon has a nice view of Mont Blanc. 
Good thing I got to witness recycling day. 
We change the N for the L and drove over to Lyon, France to do shopping and eating.  
The old town sounded like the perfect place to camp out. 
Up the hill was La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière. 
 La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière
Scenic Lyon. 
We partially cheated, we rode the funicular up to the Basilica, but walked back down. 
A Christmas market isn't complete without a ZZ Top cover band.  
What the French think Mexican food is. 
Apparently falafel is legal in Lyon.  
Lyon at sunset (4:30 pm)
Another view
Knut wanted to have a nightcap before heading back to the hotel. He not only found a bartender to play air guitar with, but the bartender used the expresso machine to simulate a fog machine at the beginning of each song. I was treated to a nice air concert of Metallica and Sepultura. 
Ana and I roamed around Lyon and wandered into a museum or two. 
We returned back to Nyon for the Miss Cheese competition.