21 July 2011

french countryside

Of the two-hour-and-five-minute train ride from Lyon to Paris, all but 20 minutes is through an endless countryside. Rolling hills, green pastures, cows grazing, little quaint villages with church steeples poking in the middle, and occasional chateaux here and there in the distance. So, so relaxing.

I love traveling by TGV.

I don't need to get to the station 2 hours early to check in. I don't need to stand in line and wait. I don't need to take my jacket or shoes off for x-ray. The seats are wide and comfortable, with plenty of leg room. I can get up any time to walk around the voiture.

I once took the train from Washington, D.C. to New York and really enjoyed it. I wish this mode of traveling was more available in the U.S. I would definitely take it whenever the option is feasible.

17 July 2011

rainy paris

The best view of the Eiffel Tower is from Trocadero across the Seine. Too bad it was raining.

08 July 2011

copenhagen, seen from a boat

We were blessed with beautiful, beautiful weather in Copenhagen.

Sunny and bright, yet not too hot.

We made sure we had sunscreen on, and headed out on the tour boat.

What a wonderful, relaxing day.

02 July 2011

land of bicycles





more bicycles,

...and tricycles here and there.

There were some colorful ones,

...although black seemed to be the most popular choice.

I read that in Copenhagen, there are more bikes than people. I believe it.

It must be hard when it rains (which I hear is often), and also in their long, harsh winter.

I admire these people who made a consicous choice to use bikes instead of cars. No doubt that the choice contributes to Copenhagen's laid-back, low-stress atmosphere. The streets are quieter because there are fewer cars -- except for occasional ring-ring-ring! of bike bells.

Bike lanes are wide and sometimes separated from the vehicular traffic by a median-looking thing, making it safe for both cyclists and drivers. Incidentally, Copenhagen is also very safe for pedestrians -- if we were in a crosswalk with no traffic light, all bikes (and cars!) stopped for us. That made an impression on me, because in France, it's the pedestrians' responsibility to avoid bikes and cars. Note: I should clarify -- that's probably not the traffic law, but it's certainly what it feels like in France.

I would love to have this lifestyle, especially if I can get my hands on one of those tricycles with passenger/cargo space in front. My husband would be horrified and wouldn't want to be seen with me riding that, but I'm the one who has to go grocery shopping most of the time, right?

Here's a list of world's most bike-friendly cities, where I may be able to have this two-wheel rythm of life.