Tuesday, September 29, 2009


Paris to London 2 !/2 hours by EuroStar through the “Chunnel” – great way to go!!!!

The London skyline has certainly changed in the nearly ten years since our last visit. In our previous trips here we have generally avoided the City, London’s financial district, but this time we stayed just a few yards from St. Paul’s Cathedral, Christopher Wren’s masterpiece, and hardly left the district.

Discovering that it was the weekend of The Mayor’s Thames Festival, we scuttled our schedule and fell in with the locals attending myriad events along the riverbank...

The Feast on the Bridge with it’s food booths, portable gardens, music and events including Grape Stomping, Pumpkin Carving, Hay Toss, Sacred Mayonnaise Ritual, Fire Garden and more...

Followed by the  Night Carnival and Fireworks

The iconic phone booths, double-decker buses and Big Ben still exist…

Alongside the London Eye which provides great views even on a grey day...


On a walk through the “new” Trafalger Square, we encountered…. a wedding?

The groom is on the phone and the bride is relaying the vows from the top of a very high plinth… note the safety net!

Mom is offering a toast

While friends and family celebrate

Too bad the groom is in Malaysia… he missed a great party!!!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

It may seem incongruous to think of a cemetery as a park, but that’s just what Père Lachaise Cemetery is to hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. There are areas where people come to read, have a quite lunch, or just sit meditatively. Despite the large number of people wandering the “streets”, the atmosphere remains hushed and respectful throughout the crowded jumble of tombs.
Homage is paid to many recognizable names: Oscar Wilde, Abelard & Heloise, Chopin, Maria Callas, Delacroix, Max Ernst, Edith Piaf, Jim Morrison (there seems to be confusion and contradiction about whether or not Jim Morrisonn’s remains are still in this grave or have been moved to the US), Sarah Bernhardt, Balzac, Alice Toklas and Moliere, as well as to loved ones known only to family and friends.
Perhaps we had a theme going this week as we also walked through the neatly arranged rows of the Montparnasse Cemetery which has several sculptural monuments created by Niki St. Phalle, just before joining a Paris Walks tour of the Catacombs.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009



to see the cathedral with its magnificent windows, including several designed by Chagall and to wander in the deep caves of the the real Champagne region where we’ll taste some of the famous bubbly, so come on along…


Wednesday, September 09, 2009

I‘ve enjoyed the opportunity to catch up with my friend and photo mentor, Rosanne Pennella who has been vacationing in Paris.  If you want to take a great trip with a gifted and generous teacher, check out some of her upcoming photo treks here , here  and here, too!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Velo (bike) + liberté (liberty or free) = Velib’ (Paris’ system of “free” bikes. Read more about them here )

So, here’s the look John gave me when he saw that I had fastened my camera to the basket of my Velib….

Stay tuned for more results as I continue to experiment with this concept of a bike’s-eye view. 

Friday, September 04, 2009


We watched this remarkable cat, perched on the seat of a parked motorcycle, as he focused, crouched and prepared for the attack of pigeons on the sidewalk. The remarkable thing was that he never left the seat of the motorcycle, nor did he loose his concentration when passersby stopped to coo, pet or photograph him. He was not tethered but seemed to know that his domain was confined by the dimensions of that seat!

Thursday, September 03, 2009

I knew I was in trouble when the bus driver announced that he was skipping the next 4 or 5 stops due to the “manifestation”. I had already broken my two cardinal rules for photographing parades:
1. Go at least one day before to get the lay-of-the-land, the light and the vantage points.
2. Get to the gathering point at least one hour before the start of the parade.
So, when all the sari clad women exited the bus, I followed. Ganesh, the god of opportunity and success, had already begun to work his magic! As I wove through the crowds I paused momentarily to receive a “pottu”, or painted red dot on my forehead as a blessing, which I really needed moments later when the crowd turned into a crush with cries of “doucement, doucement!” (gently, gently! or in this case, “take it easy!”) rising from the street. It was one of those moments when your thoughts begin with “Lord, if I ever get out of here…”
But, blessed by Ganesh, I got out and back in – close enough to get these images AND a gold pottu

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Less than a week has gone by and we’ve gotten back on the train!!!!
This time we’re off to Dijon for a day trip. Come along and visit some of the city’s half-timbered buildings which, fortunately, escaped destruction through various wars and fires.
Check out the fine details in carvings and metal work….
Or the arched ceilings of the ducal kitchen…
As well as the soaring columns of the gothic cathedral…
Then cool off in the modern fountains in front of the Duke’s Palace….