Tag Archives: Touristing

Sightseeing Paris – Notre Dame – Tour Eiffel

We slept in this morning. We were far too exhausted from yesterday to even consider getting up early. Around 10 we left the hotel room and took the bus to (M) Cour St’Emilion where we took the metro to (M) Etienne Marcel where we started off our day. Our first mission was to find a street called; Rue Tiquetonne where I had singled out our shopping to start :D However, taking a wrong turn, we didn’t find that street, but a lovely little Brasserie where we decided to have our breakfast instead.

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Restaurant “Le Capitole”, located at 105, boulevard de Sebastopol, 75002 Paris
PS: These guys have WONDERFUL Service and very tasty Breakfast !!

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Enjoying Breakfast

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Looks like Linda is still enjoying being on her first trip without mom and dad :)

When we were done with our Breakfast we took a new look at the map and this time we had no problems finding Rue Tiquetonne and both the Pylones store and G Detou (A specialist store for bakers and chocolatiers) where I had scheduled my only must buys for the day :D Chocolate from the House of Callebaut for Chocolate Fountains. This filled up my sack for the day and had I been intelligent had I planned this for late afternoon, but well I didn’t – so I carried my “burden” with no complaints.

We continued walking down Rue Montmartre past Les Halles and Chatelet crossing the bridge to the “Isle de la Cite”. We stopped in bakery and baking equipment stores to see if they had any good ideas for things to make at home. We took pictures and we enjoyed our day very much. The sun peeked out from a clouded layer and despite temperatures around 6 Celcius, it was a beautiful day. Crossing the bridge to Isle de la Cite, we visited the beautiful flower market before we headed down to the Notre Dame Church.

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The Notre Dame

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Two Happy Sisters (Notice the sour-looking Japanese tourist in the back – hihi).

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InsideNotre Dame.

I have been to Notre Dame once before, when I was 10 myself, and I think Disney is to thank for Lindas Interest in the church. She took pictures and she asked questions and she wanted to go up to the towers and in the end she didn’t want to leave.

When I was there last time, both me and Ingrid (our middle sister – at the time 7) were totally fed up of visiting “grown up” tourist attractions, and churches – BORING. We had no interest of getting inside the Church, we wanted to stay outside in the sunny beautiful weather playing. Of course parents can’t leave their 10 and 7 year olds outside a church to play in a foreign city, so we had to go in and both of us made a scene (which we have been reminded of countless times throughout the years).

Once we were done at Notre Dame we went Lunch hunting. Originally I had set out for a Restaurant who specializes in Frogs and Snails called Roger La Grenouille, located in Rue des Grands Augustins. However, this restaurant was only open between 12:00 – 14:00 for lunch and they would not reopen until 19:00 which was too late for us to have lunch (and to stay in the area) so we started walking down a couple of nice streets where we window-shopped and at the end of the street we arrived at the Place St Andre des Arts where there were Brasseries and Restaurants on every corner.

Our choice fell on the Restaurant called Chez Clement, who had snails. Linda had expressed before our travel that she wished to taste both snails and frogs while we were there, and me in particular… wanted to have frogs for dinner.

So for starters we ordered Snails and Fois Gras de Canard. Linda was good and not only tasted, but liked and wanted more Snails. She tried the Fois Gras de Canard, but that was not to her taste. Good … More for me :D

For dinner I had a Rabbit Stew, which she also tasted (but the poor thing felt remorse for the poor rabbit the rest of the day!) and liked. She herself had ordered Beef with Mashed Potatoes.

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We decided for dessert and they had this lovely Chocolate – Pineapple Fondant Cake baked inside a Pinapple ring. Linda had Ice Cream, but we exchanged  for tasting :D This was a lovely meal and a waitors were nice and helpful! And … I think they had the best (and nicest and best smelling) bathrooms I have visitied in a long time.

After dinner we crossed the bridge and walked towards the Louvre. We had no idea to enter it until tomorrow, but we wanted to go shopping and looking. We entered the shopping mall Carousel du Louvre where we shopped for a while. However it was so full of tourists, bus loads of tourists from everywhere. In particular groups of teenage schoolkids. And they were pressuring and running around us and I must admit I got slightly scared of loosing Linda. As its my first time that I am taking a child with me on a travel my stress level rose a bit ;D

We continued on, our last stop of the day was to walk to the Eiffel Tower as we wanted to both see it and take pictures of it at night time.

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After we took pictures it was already so late it was about time to get back to the hotel. We left our stuff in the hotelroom and rushed to Carrefour to go shopping for eastereggs and easterbunny chocolates as well as baguettes and fruit and juice that we could have for our late night meal. Back in the hotel room we ate and packed our bags for tomorrow before we went to bed. After a wonderful, but long day, we were beaten.

Our Tour of the Day on the Map:

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Nice day in Lyon

Today Anni stayed back in the Hotel Room and I went out for a morning walk. I walked all the way down to the train station of Lyon to the Shopping Mall  called Centre Commercial Lyon Part Dieu where I had a nice time shopping. On my way back this dude followed me and gave me his phone number and asked me out for a cup of coffee. He was quite cute so I went with him and had a very nice time. At 1 pm I had to leave and he followed me to the meeting point where I had arranged to met up with Anni and then we split and Anni and I went for Lunch at Le Bistrot de Lyon.

After Lunch Anni went back to the Hotel and I went I went back to Old Lyon and then up to the Fourviere Hill to look at the view and the Basilia de Notre Dame de Fourviere and the view of the sun during sunset.

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The Front entrance of the Basilica.

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View of Lyon in twilight.

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I loved how this picture turned out. The light is amazing in the twilight.

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When I came down from the Fourviere Hill I got a beautiful view of St. Johns Cathedral in Old Lyon and the light settings were beautiful so I had to stop to take pictures of it.

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I went back to the hotel room where Anni was relaxing and then we prepared for going out for Dinner at Le Garet where we had a really nice time.

The Sunday Market and Walking in Old Lyon

This morning Anni left for breakfast and work while I slept in to relax. I took off just before 11 to look around before I was to meet with Anni for lunch. I crossed the Bonparte bridge to get to Old Lyon where I had a look around in the streets and then I went to the Art Market before I crossed the Maréchal June bridge to meet Anni. We went to the big Sunday Market where we picked up lunch.

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They had all kinds of lovely fruit,

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Cheese,

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Meat (Rabbits),

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Mushrooms,

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Fresh Cooked Chicken.

It was amazing to just stroll around looking at all the fruits and vegetables, the meat, the flowers, the jam and all the other beautiful and tempting stuff. And then there was the smells from the food they were making at the market. All so lovely! I would absolutely recommend you to visit the market if you are in Lyon.

Anni and I picked up our lunch before we found a nice spot to have Lunch at the Bonaparte Bridge.

After lunch we went back to Old lyon, where we walked around to enjoy the sunny day and do some shopping (me at least) at the Pylones store, peek in some of the cute little stores and just look around.

After our visit to Old Lyon we crossed the Maréchal June bridge again and went for Ice Cream at Regal Glace. They had lots of Ice Cream in lovely colors and tastes. We sure enjoyed.

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After our stop at Regal Glace we went back to the hotel and there we relaxed before we went for Dinner at Brasserie Le Nord.

Oslo Citywalk – Berus Eder! (Enebriate yourselves!) A guide to history of Alcohol use in Norway and Oslo from medieval to modern times..

I often join guided walks in other cities and countries, but until today I have never joined one in my own city. Today I joined one of the Oslo Citywalks with my mom and we were a group of 15 people. We had a very nice time.

The walk was very interesting and it was called “Enebriate yourselves!” It was a guided tour through some interesting facs about the drinking culture from the medieval times until more modern times through funny anecdotes, drinking stories and old folk drinking songs. The guide focused both on facts and on funny stories.

As a result of this walk I found the history of alcohol in my city and in my country to be very interesting and I started looking into it and here I have gathered quite a few known facts and I hope you will enjoy!

More about Oslo Citywalks and the Berus Eder guided walk.

Eearly History
People started producing alcohol as far back as 7-9000 years ago. The ice over Norway was barely melting at this time and for the early settlers brewing alcohol might now have been their first priority, but there are proofs that alcohol has been produced for at least 2500 years.


Wine God Bacchus at a good party!

Norse drinking culture
Viking Age
In the old Viking age alcohol was first and foremost linked to big celebrations, seeing that the country was poor on grain and that most of the beer that was brewed was quite mild and had a short durability. Hence one they had access to alchohol it was commonly believed the alcohol had to be finished off fast.

Offering your guests alcohol and enebriating yourself and your guests was seen as an expression of hospitality and generosity. Withstanding huge amounts of alcohold is seen as a good quality in a King.
Not drinking at a party was illegal for armed men.

Alcohol held a very important role in celebrations and visitation, especially for the religious celebration of Michaelmas and Christmas, and according to the law at the time – any farmer that refused to brew alcohol 3 years in a row for the religious celebrations, had to leave their farm and ground and flee the country. The beer was dedicated to Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ to thank for a good year, good crops and peace.  Other reasons for celebrations were Weddings, Baptisms and Funerals.

However the farmers weren’t only expected to brew the alcohol, they were also expected to participate in the parties in the beer houses and participate in ritual drinking teams where important descisions were made. If you were skipping your drinking duty you could risk punishment and if you became so ill he wasn’t fit for beer drinking or horse riding he could loose his right to vote.

During this period all celebrations were characterized by huge amounts of alcohol. One was supposed to drink to get drunk. Especially for the host it was shameful if the guests didn’t end up drunk, and in some occations wormwood was mixed into the beer to assure that people got drunk. A successful party was known to include a lot of Trouble, Fights and Drukenness.

Middle Age
During the medeival time the common Norwegian drank 6-8 liters of beer each day (even kids), because the food was very salty and the water was, particularly in big cities, quite polluted.

1500’s
With easier access to alcohol it also became more common and pharmacists started selling Aqua Vitae as medicine. Mixed with different herbs the Aqua Vitae was supposed to help for a number of diseases.

Aqua Vitae became so popular that the pharmacy industry became more and more popular and the church created a law that no alcohol was to be sold until after midday on church day so that noone would have an excuse not to participate in religious activities. However with this new law it became normal to go to the pharmacy after church on sundays to get a few drinks and a tradition to hold parties after church on sunday started.

1600’s
Other types of alcohol was not so common in Norway until the early 1600’s. The Vikings had however tasted wine during their raids and lootings in southern Europe, and they had also brought home samples. Liquor had been brewn, but nothing that tasted particularly well.

During the 1600’s the Hansa trade settled in Norway with the main seat in Bergen and with them, easier access to wine and liquor. However in the beginning the alcohol was imported in small amounts and only for the richest members of society.

Especially among Royals and UpperClass it became normal to drink huge amounts of alcohol and party without limits. It became so normal to drink until they lost their senses that policitcians were seen as suspicious if they did not show themselves highly enebriated in public regularly. There are descriptions of parties so wild with alcohol where people drank so much that someone regularly fell over dead.

1700’s
The arrival of the potato ensured that the access to harder liquor was far easier. One could get 4 times as much Alcohol from the same amount of potatoes as grain. This was good news for the home brewers. Another good thing was that potatoes could replace grain as a food source and hence grain could be used to produce liquor without worrying that people wouldn’t have enough food.

1800’s
In the early 1800’s home brewing harder liquors became fully legalized, but there were a few conditions. The farmers were allowed to not only brew, but sell Alcohol brewn on grain grown from the farm, however if the grain was bought from someone else – the alcohol brewn on it was only legal for the farmers private use. However there were no restrictions on alcohol made from potatoes until 1824 when it became illegal to sell alcohol made from potatoes bought from stores or other farms.

Between 1816 –  when the home brewing became legalized, and until the 1840’s, the liquor usage reached unknown proportions. While the import of liquor in 1814 was about 1,5 litre pure alcohol per capita, it was estimated that in 1833  the usage was about 7 litre liquor per citizen, women and children included.

During this period it was common for employees to receive parts of their salary in alcohol and they also had access to drinks during their breaks at work. Who wouldn’t need a drink every now and then when the workdays were often as long as 12-14 hours.

It is said that the average employee drank as much as 1/2 litre liquor each day and that the employees were drunk more ofthen than they were sobre. During the weekends consumation was significantly higher and often the new workweek didn’t start until tuesdays, because most employees were incapable of working on mondays.

However in the 1847 people started to worry about the development and a suggestion was raised by the government to liquidate all home brewing of alcohol. The King, however, refuesed to approve this decision. Instead a law was introduced that taxed people according to how much alcohol they brewed. In addition it became illegal to brew during summer months.

1900’s – The dark days
From 1916-1927 there was a ban of selling alcohol in Norway, but just shortly after the 1st world war broke out in 1914 the government forbade anyone to make alcohol from both grain and potatoes. The food supplies were running low and the government needed all the supplies as food.

The  restriction had very negative aftereffects. The legal import of alcohol increased dramatically and only in august and september that year over 200 000 liters of licor were imported, mainly from Denmark. Brewing their own alcohol became a very important way of earning some extra money in areas where imported licor wasn’t easily available. However the home brewers didn’t care about the restrictions and the Temperance Movement gained a lot of ground during this period leading to the total ban of alcohol.

However pharmacis were allowed to sell alcohol for medicinal use and each househould were allowed 1/2 a liter of licor. An increase in divorces was seen in those days (where the two parties still lived under the same roof with the kids) because that way they got two 1/2 liters instead of 1. One Oslo doctor perscribed over 48 000 perscriptions of alcohol in one year which led to the government restricting the alcohol sales from pharmacies even for medicinal use.

In 1927 the era ended and alcohol was made legal again.

The government did not wish to allow as uncontrolled sale of alcohol as they had previously seen and they introduced a liquor store, Vinmonopolet, where all kinds of alcohol was sold and controlled by the government.

Seen with a long perspective the alcohol usage from the 1850 decreased slowly from over 5 litre pure alcohol per capita (with a top of 6 litre per person during the mid 1870s) to just about 2 litre per person towards the end of the mid war period.

References (all links are in Norwegian)
Use of alcohol in Norway
History of alcohol in Norway
When King Alcohol reigned in Norway
Alcohols place in history
Norwegian journal of epidemology
Alcohol use in the old Norway
Alcohol in medieval times
Selvstendighet og brennevinsflom
Forholdene etter forbudstiden

Touring Amsterdam and Returning to Norway

This morning I woke up at 9am which was just about perfect. I had a shower and Liewe came home from night shift just about when I was done. Liewe woke up as well and we all had a lovely breakfast with a figjam which was absolutely awesome!

After breakfast we took a stroll along the canal to get to the tram to Amsterdam Centraal where I stored my luggage and then we went to explore Amsterdam. We took a new tram to get up to the area of the ‘de negen straatjes’. We passed the Anne Frank house where there was a huge line of people that wanted to get in.

After that we passed by the lovely canals, we entered a tulip museum and we even found a couple of newly weds:

As we passed the many charming streets of De Negen Straatjes we found an amazing bike! It has been rebuildt to look like a car ! I love it!

We also had to stop by the Amsterdam flower market where I picked up lots of tulips. I bought quite a few that I will use as gifts, but of course I bought some for my own “garden” (read veranda) :D

After we were done at the Flower Market, we went to the Dam Square where the Royal Palace, the National Monument, and the 15th-century Gothic Nieuwe Kerk is located and then we went to an icecream bar on ‘De nieuwmarkt’ was called the Ijskuypje.

At 2pm we had to head back to the Centraal station where we had to split up and I had to leave Amsterdam to go to the airport.

Liewe and Lien, my friends and my hosts for my stay in Amsterdam!

I picked up my luggage and at the Central station and hoppeed on the train towards Schipol Airport.

On my way to the airport I saw that commercial again and I got confirmed my latest new dutch word; Plofkip.

Once at the airport I checked in and went shopping. I came very close to buying the new Samsung Galaxy SIII, but it was a bit too costly there and I decided to leave it behind. However I did go shopping for flowers. I brought home 2 huge bouquets of flowers. One for myself and one as a birthday present for my best friend whos birthday is tomorrow. I bought her some beautiful soft purple roses. I also bought a new perfume and then I had dinner before I flew back home.

At home my cat was waiting for me and it was so nice to see him again. I miss him just as much each time I’m gone, and it’s funny to see him actually be so happy to see me again too!
I had to pop out for some groceries so I brought him with me, stopped by the store and then dropped by my friends house to hand over her flowers and her other birthday gifts as well.

A really nice day from beginning to start !

Gent, Belgium to Den Haag, Netherlands

This morning Steven and I went to a local baker in the morning to pick up bread for breakfast and then Steven and Katrien took me downtown to show me a bit of Gent and spend some time together.

We had a very nice time together taking pictures, having ice-cream, eating belgian waffles as well as stopping in several different stores to buy chocolate that I could bring back to Netherlands.

Gent is a beautiful city and I wished I had so much more time there with my friends. Time to enjoy the beautiful canals and the old buildings and the city itself.

My beautiful friends!

Katrien and myself in front of the canals :D

Gent is a very beautiful city and Steven and Katrien took me to all the nice places to see and I enjoyed my visit in the city a lot.

Before I had to leave we stopped at a restaurant called the Het Spijker where we had a refreshing drink before I had to take the train back to Den Haag in the Netherlands.

I had to make a train change in Antwerp where I had some delicious fresh strawberries covered in Chocolate. They were so good!

Well back in Den Haag I checked in to the Hotel and and spent the rest of the evening just relaxing in my hotel room.

Gent, Belgium

This morning I slept in. It felt soooo good. This past week I have started feeling quite bad in my stomach, loss of appetite and nauxeous. Not the best when you are travelling so it was very very nice to be able to relax a bit this morning.

Before breakfast Steven and I went to Albert Heijn to pick up food for the rest of the day. I had to pick up some allergy friendly food for myself as I have started having too many problems with food this past week.

After breakfast Steven and Katrien had to run some errands and I went to explore Gent. I spent a good part of the day walking and walking around. I went shopping and photographing and enjoyed spending the day outside.

We had a beautiful weather despite the clouds and the wind.

Lots of people were enjoying the day outside.

Once I was done exploring I walked home where Julie (Katriens roommate) let me in and I started working on my expenses for work.

When Steven and Katrien came home we talked and made dinner together and enjoyed a few glasses of good red wine :D

I had a very, very nice day with my friends :D