Monthly Archives: December 2013

Merry Christmas 2013

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What would Christmas be without a boy peeing fountain?  Fortunately, I do not have to find out the depths of such a deprivation,  for on the last day of our recent travels in France, we made one final stop in Brussels, Belgium.  Our main objective for our short time in Brussels?  To vigorously seek out the famous infamous Manneken Pis fountain (pronounced mannequin peace but which Preteen insists on pronouncing mannequin piss, because it seems, well, so much more accurately descriptive…and its fun to say piss).

Sure there was a beautiful decorated tree in the main square – Grote Markt:

Grand Place/Grote Markt - Brussels, Belgium

Grand Place/Grote Markt – Brussels, Belgium

And yes there was a pretty impressive light show set to music on the historic buildings surrounding the Grote Markt Square (well, impressive for the first 10 minutes, the remaining hour seemed repetitive…maybe because  the same three songs kept repeating over and over and over again?).

How many ways can you vary lights on a building?

How many ways can you vary colorful lights on a building, anyway?

And of course there was a living Manger presentation  (although I don’t think the sheep really grasped the importance of their roles in welcoming baby Jesus as they focused primarily on consuming all the manger  hay).

But, at long last, we finally found it –  the one and only Mannekin Pis – the statue of a boy eternally peeing into a fountain pool.  And so festively decorated for Christmas:

What would Christmas be without a decorated fountain of a boy peeing? Brussels, Belgium

What would Christmas be without a decorated fountain of a boy peeing?

And now, my Christmas of 2013 is indeed complete.

A very Merry Christmas from Sweet Spot.

May your holidays be filled with beauty, colored lights, food a-plenty and unexplainable sites.

For more Travel musings: Sweet Spot Travels

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A Paris Perspective: The River and Bridges

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It is impossible to complete my perspective until I have paid homage to the River Seine and beautiful bridges of Paris.  Without them, Paris would, well still be spectacular but somehow less so.

In keeping with my usual travel routine of always having a movie location to find in famous cities, Paris was no different.  For example, in Rome, I searched for the Mouth of Truth from Roman Holiday, in Venice The Italian Job, in Vera Cruz – Romancing the Stone, and in Paris – The Bourne Idendity .  More particularly, Pont Neuf (Jason wasn’t there, I checked) .  Along the way, however, I discovered Pont Neuf was just one of many unique and wonderful bridges in Paris.  Here are a few of my favorite perspectives:

Part Three:  The River Seine and Bridges

A view of Pont Neuf from the Love Lock encrusted Des Arts Bridge.

A view of Pont Neuf from the Love Lock encrusted Des Arts Bridge.

Pont Neuf Bridge

Pont Neuf

The River Seine and the stairs to nowhere.

The River Seine and the stairs to nowhere.

A two level bridge - one for pedestrians and the other for vehicles.

Pont de Bir Hakeim – A two level bridge – one for pedestrians and the other for vehicles.

And here the pigeons of Venice thought they were the only ones that could swarm.

And here the pigeons of Venice thought they were the only ones able to swarm for the camera.

Pont St. Louis from Ile St. Louis to Notre Dame.

Pont St. Louis from Ile St. Louis to Notre Dame.

And now, my photo story is all told out – until I am lucky enough to  be in Paris again.

Long live snails…because I would rather they live than have to eat them.

For more on Paris:

A Paris Perspective:  The Monuments

A Paris Perspective: The City

Paris, the Walmart of Love?

For more Sweet Spot Travel Posts:  Sweet Spot Travels

A Paris Perspective: The City

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When traveling, I randomly (and my family would say – excessively) shoot picture after picture after picture.  My mantra excuse is always  I never know quite what I will want to share about a city or place – what will stand out, make me laugh, make me want to return.

Likewise, I never know what Teen and Pre-teen are going to glean from our experiences.  In my last post A Paris Perspective: The Monuments, I shared Part One of my photo perspective and Teen’s short but to the point assessment of Paris.  Pre-teen, however, in a moment of rarity, was more loquacious on his impressions.

Pre-Teen’s 4 Parisian Summations:

1.  Napoleon, as basically the only French war hero, pretty much has it made in the eternal “hero-worship” department.

2.  The most memorable experience in Paris is climbing to the top of the Eiffel Tower where the telescope glasses allow you to stalk tourists in the plaza below.

3.  Escargot tastes like, well, eating a snail.

Last, and unarguably the most important…

4. When in Paris,  Nutella filled crepes should be consumed at every possible opportunity, morning, noon and night.

As for mine, again, Paris can speak for itself.

Part 2: The City

The carousel at Hotel de Ville

The carousel at Hotel de Ville

Shops

A city street

The Metro at Saint Michel

The Metro at Saint Michel

The Moulin Rouge

The Moulin Rouge

Jardin de Tuileries

Jardin de Tuileries

View from the Pantheon

View from the Pantheon steps

Galerie Vivienne

Galerie Vivienne

Inside the Galerie Vivienne

Inside the Galerie Vivienne

Place de Concorde

Place de Concorde

And yes, there is a Part Trois – Rivers and Bridges – coming next!

Other Paris perspectives:

A Paris Perspective: The Monuments

A Paris Perspective: The River and Bridges

Paris, the Walmart of Love?

For more Sweet Spot Travel Posts:  Sweet Spot Travels

A Paris Perspective: The Monuments

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There are three things to know about visiting Paris in November:

1.  It will be cold – meaning many of the fountains will be dormant for winter and the gardens will be limited to a fall array of colors and falling leaves.

2.  BUT – There will be no lines or crowds for anything, anywhere, no matter what the monument, museum, or historic landmark!

3.  No matter what the time of year, every corner you turn in Paris will take your breath away.

This was our first time in Paris and as I labored over what to write it finally dawned on me (in much the same way as discovering no matter how prepared or what they are called, Escargot is still a snail) – Paris can quite effectively speak for itself.

Part 1:  The Monuments

View from the top of Notre Dam

View from the top of Notre Dam

Arch de Triumph

Arch de Triumph

Eiffel Tower

Eiffel Tower

The Louvre

The Louvre

Les Invalides - Napoleons Tomb

Les Invalides with Napoleon’s Tomb from inside Rodin Museum Gardens

Notre Dame and the River Seine

Notre Dame and the River Seine

And because it is impossible for me to leave without just one joke…

Mom:  “Teen, what did you think of Paris?”

Teen:  “It is a great city – but the cheese is too old and the meat too raw…”

Stay tuned for Part Deux…(that is two years of high school French at work!)

For more of Paris:

Part 2.   A Paris Perspective: The City

Part 3:  A Paris Perspective: The River and Bridges

Paris, the Walmart of Love?

For more Sweet Spot Travel Posts:  Sweet Spot Travels