Paper Santa Hat

We spent last Christmas in Arkansas and realized that we didn’t have a Santa hat of any kind when it came time to open presents.  We turned to the internet and figured out how to make a paper hat.  We used two layers of tissue paper, one layer was red and the other white and added a small white pom pom to the top using the Martha Stewart instructions.  The two layers of tissue paper allowed us to flip the inner layer out for the white portion of Santa’s hat.  I made a collage with all the solo pics that I took using Picasa, similar to the Sombrero Collage that I made for my Grandfather’s Bday.  I’m actually writing this post in March and scheduling this post for December, since it doesn’t make much sense to do an Xmas post in March!

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Amazing Race

We watched episode 1 of the Amazing Race 17 last night and the race started in the exact spot where we got married.

Click here and watch the first 10 minutes of episode 1 if you would like to see for yourself.

Here is a shot from the same angle at our wedding:

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Geneva Sketch

Here is a sketch that I did near Place de Neuve in Geneva while waiting for the bus.

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Modern Geneva architecture

Most of the architecture in Geneva was pretty traditional, but there are a few modern examples that can be found.

The Schtrumpfs Buildings: Location: 23-29 Rue Louis-Favre, Geneva, CH
Named for the Smurfs this is an apartment complex that was designed by 3 architects with the goal of creating the most unusual cluster of buildings possible.

There was also a Le Corbusier building very close to our apartment.  The Maison Clarté is located on rue Adrien Lachenal, Geneva, CH.  Although it doesn’t look remarkable by today’s standards, when it was built in the thirties it was considered a revolutionary project.  The exterior is built with steel and glass, allowing  a lot of light in and eliminating the need for interior load bearing walls.  Unfortunately this building is not open to the public.

On a non-architecture related note I loved these bicycle contraptions:

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Live abroad. Check!

Item number 92 on my lifelist is to live abroad. In the spring @lbjay was asked to work in the Geneva, Switzerland area this summer. Luckily, my work schedule allowed me to join him.  So we found an apartment in the Malagnou area of Geneva:

that happened to have a wonderful roof deck with a great view.  Awesome for entertaining:

And I set some mini goals for myself while in Geneva.  Some touristy like visit the United Nations, take a boat tour of Lake Geneva

ride on the Téléphérique du Salève on a clear day to take in an aerial view of Geneva

and learn about the Microcosm at CERN.I also had other not so touristy plans like eat local foods, go to some Swiss flea markets

and try chocolate from at least 10 different Chocolateries.  My chocolate tour was guided by this great list from the Chocolate Atlas website.  We have 2 days left in Geneva and happily I will meet my chocolate goal since I am already up to 9.  A complete list of my chocolate research is coming soon.

There have been many other highlights that can be seen in our Geneva Album.  As our time here winds down I’m trying to decide whether or not I should actually check this off my list because I would like to do it again someday.  For now it is time to head home and to get ready for other big projects and situations on my life list.

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Mont Blanc – Château de Chillon

Last weekend rented a car and made an excursion to the Mont Blanc area and also checked out Chateau de Chillon on the way back to Geneva. Here are some pics from the weekend (click on pic for larger view):

Mont Blanc

Mont Blanc w/a Pizza place in the foreground

Mont Blanc Glacier

A view of the glacier on Mont Blanc

Glacier Mont Blanc

Inside the glacier

Château de Chillon

Château de Chillon

Château de Chillon

Inside Château de Chillon - view 1

Château de Chillon

Inside Château de Chillon - view 2

For all of our pics from the weekend click here.

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Around Geneva – Part 1

We have just finished the first half our our time in Geneva. Here are some highlights around the city:

The annual Cafe Waiters race:

Views of Jet d’Eau from all around the city:

The flower clock (with a peek of Jet d’Eau in the upper left):
In honor of the year of biodiversity, the flower clock has been redesigned to include all regional perennial plants.  The clock includes over 50 species of flowers and grasses.

Fireworks from our roof deck.  You can spot Jet d’Eau on the lower right.  More on our apartment later.  The Swiss take their fireworks very seriously.  I have never seen such an elaborate show.

. . . and of course CHOCOLATE!  More on our chocolate adventures later too.  Here is a picture of our chocolate course one night on the roof deck:

For all of our pics around Geneva during the first 2 weeks click here.

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Paris Highlights

We had a great week in Paris. Here are a few highlights from the week:

Seeing a Monet look-a-like while visiting the Waterlilies at The Orangerie:

Staying in the Marais neighborhood, near the Bastille was a great choice. We also really enjoyed sightseeing in this neighborhood, especially the self guided Carnavalet tour in the Rick Steves’ Paris guidebook:

Hanging out with our pals the Smittens and seeing their Paris show:

Walking along the Seine seeing the festivities and dancing on the Paris beach:

Finding the Promenade Plantée(elevated park) and Marché de la place d’Aligre (flea market/and food market):

Taking another photo of us in front of the Eiffel Tower during the twinkle on the hour almost exactly 10 years later. Click here if you dare view the version from 2000.

Shelling out the money this time to actually go up the Eiffel Tower at dusk:

Seeing the twinkle when on the Eiffel Tower:

See some food highlights and the Tour de France photo in earlier posts.  For all of our pics from the week click here.

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Eating in Paris – Highlights

We had some good luck eating in Paris thanks to our Rick Steves’ Paris guide book.  All had great food, were affordable and did not disappoint with a fun atmosphere.  On the first night we ate on Ile Saint-Louis at La Brasserie de l’Ile St. Louis.  Great Alsation cuisine, outdoor dining and a prime view.  I had the best cassoulet of my life here:

(Cassoulet on the bottom)

. . . and for dessert we strolled down the main street and got double ice cream cones.

(One scoop chocolate w/orange, one scoop caramel.  Jay got orange chocolate w/a scoop of praline & pignon, which was amazing)

Another restaurant highlight was Chez Janou.  This was a Provencal style bistro that was very close to our hotel in the Marais neighborhood.  It felt like a homey neighborhood restaurant with a very relaxed atmosphere that made you want to linger all night.  Great ambiance inside, but we chose to sit outside because it was such a warm night and a quiet street.  We got there around 7:30 pm and eventually folks were lined up on the street waiting for a table.  Luckily our enjoyment of this establishment was not affected by Jay’s dinner choice of calves head.  He was warned by the waiter that it was a controversial choice and opted for it anyway.

(Chez Janou)

Vin des Pyrénées was another great restaurant that was close to our hotel with delicious food and a lively atmoshphere. @lbjay declared his steak as one of the best he had in his life :

Final culinary highlight . . . Colorful and tasty macaroons!  I was quite fond of the lemon mint on the bottom left.

We also really enjoyed the thin almond dark chocolate bark from L’Atelier du Chocolat.  We will have one final night in Paris at the end of August before we head home and I am already plotting how we can eat wisely that night.

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Tour de France

We got to Paris just in time to see the finish of the Tour de France.  OH from an American tourist on a cell phone, “Ya know, that big bike race.”

Biking fans would be disappointed to know that we did not even plan this.  The timing was a lucky coincidence.

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