mardi, juin 20, 2006

Irene came and went

Irene and Mag came to Paris during the week of Roland Garros. They are such big tennis fans that they travelled all the way from Singapore to France just for 2 days of "live" Roland Garros. Of course, they stayed for a week to profit on sight-seeings and shopping.

Well, I am glad that they came. Firstly, Irene acted as my "DHL". I am stocked again with some singapore local delights. Cool. Secondly, they brought along with them big sunshine. Just a week before they came, it was grey and cold in Paris. I was still in long sleeves. The day they arrived, it was so hot. Amazing. The ladies were even complaining that it was too hot for them.

I took leave and visited Musée d'Orsay with them on Friday. I had always wanted to visit it but the last time I was there with Nicole, it was so crowded that we decided not to waste our time queueing. This time round, we did not have to queue long. It was so interesting to see the impressionist paintings. Earlier on in Delft, I watched a documentary about the lives of the impressionists. The founders of this type of painting. People like Claude Monet, Edgar Degas, Pierre-Auguste Renoir and Paul Cézanne who started their first exhibition had critics saying that these artists should wear glasses as the images were all blurry. I will write another blog about these artists when I have the inspiration.

On Sunday, we visited Mont Saint-Michel and on the way back, we made a short visit to the Americian Cemetery in Normandy. It was really impressive as rows and rows of white crosses greeted us on green american lawn. These are the americans who sacrificed their lives during WWII to liberate Europe from the NAZIS.

A week came and went. Very soon, it was the end of the vacation for Irene and Mag. Now, I am waiting for the photos from Irene . . . . .

vendredi, juin 02, 2006

Amsterdam and Den Haag

During the first weekend of my training in Delft, Seb and I spent a day at Amsterdam and the next at Den Haag. Den Haag is the local name. In English, it is known as the Hague.

After a good lunch in a chinese street, we made our way to House of Anne Frank. Along the way, we passed by Dam Square which is really crowded with people, a row of windows with bikini girls exhibiting their wares and lots of bridges crossing the canals.

The house of Anne was not big and the visit did not last more than an hour. The atmosphere was solemn with people whispering in respect of the event that had taken place here during the holocaust. However, this is worth a visit lest we forget how humans can be so inhuman and treat other humans inhumanly. I really could not imagine how all these people allowed themselves to be loaded up into trains leading to the deathcamps. How their neighbours can turn against them. How their neighbours can turn their backs on them. It is just so sad.....

We walked around Amsterdam and eventually took a guided boat ride along the canals. It was interesting as there were explanations on the artitecture and other trifles about this city.

For dinner, we stopped by a street full of little resturants and settled for Tibetian food. It tasted like Indian anyway.

Overall, we did enjoy Amsterdam. The center was a bit small so it was really crowded. There were less bicycles than in Delft but more coffee shops.

Den Haag
We met up with Elisabeth and her friend Evelyn at Den Haag train station on sunday afternoon. In the morning, Seb and I passed a peaceful time having breakfast in the center of Delft.

The first place we visited in Den Haag is Madurodam, the miniature Holland. With Evelyn as our guide since she had visited it at least 6 times, we had a better understanding and view of Holland. All famous landmarks and buildings in Holland are there. Acurate to the finest details.

Next, we visited the art museum that is next to the Parliment House in Den Haag. We viewed paintings by Dutch painters who made their way to Italy during the 18 century before the impressionists made Paris the center of art. As it was a small museum, it was very enjoyable. I remembered more of what I saw here than I did with le Louvre.

For the rest of the day, we had an afternoon tea and lazed around Den Haag until Seb left for Paris on Thalys and I headed back to Delft. It was a pleasant weekend.