Japan #3: Blossoms in Kyoto

Japan #3: Blossoms in Kyoto

This weekend, we had some down time from our busy work week, so along with our Japanese teacher, Teri-san, we visited the historic area of Kyoto, Japan.

Of all of the amazing things I’ve seen on this trip, probably the sexiest thing for an engineer in Japan is the Shinkansen (the Japanese bullet train). Of course, I’ve been 250 kmph before, but never on land. I can’t even begin to describe what the world looks like when it’s whipping past at twice the take-off speed of a 747.

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Our Garrett County Getaway

Our Garrett County Getaway

Before I let Valerie go back to London for another 5 months, I had to get her out of the house for a little while, so we took a drive down to my old stomping grounds in Western Maryland. On the way, we stopped to admire the Ohiopyle falls. We got to bask in the 80 degree weather, and I got to snap some really pretty pictures of Val:

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Paris Panorama

A panorama I made while in Paris. This was shot from the top of the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur, and is the result of stitching 32 photographs. This required me to do very complicated color and exposure correction, lots of touch-up in the sky, and hours of aligning. Hope you like it!

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Paris #6: Modern Art

Friday, V and I had a completely unstructured day. We winged it after a morning panini run and decided to explore the Le Marais district. It is known as Paris’ gay and Jewish district so it naturally has cheap shopping. Unfortunately for Val (Nick is all set in the popped-collar fashion division), most of the stores were closed due to New Years day.

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Paris #5: Happy New Year

Thursday – New Years Eve. The feeling in Paris is pretty electric, people are hopping around on the streets (carefully avoiding the heaping piles of dog poo everywhere, apparently, in Paris you just don’t have to pick up after your pets’ poo.)

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Paris #4: The Louvre

Wednesday, we had planned to visit the Louvre. It was the only day of the trip that we had sorta planned ahead of time, simply because the Louvre is closed on Tuesday, and open late on Wednesday.

The queue for the Louvre was horrendous, weaving literally over a quarter of a mile around corners and doorways (see Valerie’s queue post). It took us around 80 minutes to get through, but luckily the queue weaved inside of the Louvre courtyard, so there was plenty of fascinating French architecture to adore.

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Paris #3: Locks of Love

Tuesday, after another delightful Mouffetard breakfast, we had high ambitions of attending the Musée d’Orsay, which is a museum in Paris that specializes in impressionist paintings. However, upon arrival around 1pm, and sighting a ghastly long queue (we estimated it was over an hour just to get the tickets), we abandoned the venture and decided to go randomly amble around Paris – something everyone should do a few times upon visiting.

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