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Tuesday, March 22, 2011


We arrived late yesterday afternoon at Aix (thanks to Arthur for the ride up from Marseille) and stayed overnight with Franco & Martine. Wonderful dinner and met their friend Bertrand.

Late this morning we spent a couple of hours at the open air market at Place de Précheurs.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 9

Stopped by this fascinating shop: Saladin Spices.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 8

This afternoon I hiked all the way up to the highest natural point in Marseille, a 162 m (532 ft) limestone outcrop on the south side of the Old Port, where the basilica of Notre Dame de la Garde is perched. I treated myself to the absolutely stunning view of the city and the Mediterranean from the heights.

Friday, March 18, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 6

Franco, our friend in Aix-en-Provence, came down to meet us for a drink at the apartment, then we headed out for dinner at a nearby Lebanese restaurant, Adonis du Liban. The place isn't much to look at, but the owners/servers are terribly welcoming and attentive. It also didn't hurt that the wine was quite good; we all had mezzes which were very tasty. Afterwards we had espressos at the Bar de la Plaine -  un vrai bar marseillais!
Located only 2 blocks from where we are staying ... it always seems to be packed.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 5

I took a longish walk today going south along a main road called Prado. My idea was to visit Marseille's oldest Irish pub (today being Saint Patrick's Day) and have a nice Guinness. On my way there I passed by the Cité Radieuse, Le Corbusier's famous housing development, and stopped to admire it for a while. I may return as I heard from a friend that visits are possible.

I ended up at O'Bradey's Irish Pub around 2p.m. and had a wonderfully well-served pint of frothy Guinness (for lunch). It is a nicely done pub, but certainly will be overshadowed by the real thing when we are in Ireland late this month.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 4

This afternoon I strolled over to Le Four des Navettes, Marseille's oldest bakery (founded in 1781). The "navettes" are typically Provencal pastries prepared for Candlemas instead of pancakes. Their shape is reminiscent of a boat ... and I picked up a shipload!

Tonight we head off, 5 of us, to dinner at a highly recommended place, whose name means, amusingly enough, in literal translation, "to put one's feet in the plate". The expression actually means: to mess up, to speak with excessive candor, to discuss something inappropriate. We'll see which one of those we come up with!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 3

We went up to the nearby open-air market for some fresh fish and vegetablesfor today's lunch. But the weather is very blustery and rainy... so pretty much I'm staying in, working on some projects and reading (the disquieting book by Michael Connelly: The Poet).

Monday, March 14, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 2

I took a walk down Marseille's famous high street: La Canebière. The name, sadly in my opinion, makes no reference to a tinned brew. If I tell you that the street was formerly called Cennebis (from the Provencal word canebe) you can probably figure it out yourself. Yes, the meaning is, indeed, hemp ... and the street was formerly one of the largest outlets in the world for hemp used in the manufacture and trade of slings and cordage.

The walk took me past this wonderful art installation: a giraffe sculpted out of books! "Zarafa la girafe" had been torched last year but seems to be quite well risen from her ashes.

Afterwards I strolled up to Saint Charles train station and back across to the area around the Noailles métro station, a fascinating area that looks much like a bazaar in Algeria.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Marseille 2011 - Day 1

We taxied over to Gare de Lyon with Béatrice, met Philippe on the TGV, and tooled down to Marseille in a breezy 3h15m. Odile & Philippe are working to transform part of Béa's apartment (knock down a wall here or there, reorg her amazing cups & saucers collection). I will help now and then (although I have plenty of my own work to keep me busy) and am also the resident 'puter guru (shows how relative expertise can catapult one to heights). I also plan to dip into Béa's English-langauge collection of thrillers ... and also take some afternoon walks.

Friday, February 18, 2011

After the Koreans, the Japanese...

Again with Benjamin, but lunch this time, at the ever-reliable, ever-delicious and ever-inexpensive (that's three for three in my book) at Higuma.

I had the Yokisoba (the photo to the left) - prepared before my eyes at the counter (the best place to eat; you can watch the chef ply his magic) while Benj had a hearty soup and a beer. Odile went for the Miso Lamen, served as a "set" with 7 gyoza (meat-filled raviolis; worth the trip to rue Sainte-Anne in their own right).

Afterwards (it was a late lunch: 3pm-ish) we stopped in at Epices Roellinger - a wonderland of spices, herbs and oils, all dreamed up by the famed chef from Cancale.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Kookil Kwan

At Benjamin's suggestion we joined him at this excellent Korean restaurant. Again at his suggestion we ordered some openers - including a dish unknown to me, pajeon (a pancake-like dish, seen at left)- quite delicious - washed down with a half-bottle of makgeolli (and 2 glasses of red wine ... after all we are still in France).

For dinner we each had a different dish. I ordered the Pork Bulgogi (delivered table-side on its own little stove). All dishes accompanied by banchan (side dishes), including the ubiquitous kimchi (fermented cabbage) and greatly  enjoyed by all three of us.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Winter will break soon...

Paris as I love it today.

We went to see Fabrice Luchini do his stuff at Théâtre de l’Atelier. His "stuff" this afternoon was to read from the writings (primarily, but not only) of the philosopher Philippe Muray. Fascinating texts, superb and idiosyncratic delivery and much that was illuminating ... and (mercifully) funny. There was even a riff, early on in the piece, on "innovation"!

Right after the theater we hied ourselves over (we don't get to do as much "hieing" as I'd like) to l’Eglise Sainte Elisabeth to hear a concert (including a good dose of jazz tunes) by "Le Choeur International de Femmes de Paris". My favorite? The sadish-sounding but hopefilled ballad "The Rose".

A new friend of ours, Florence, sings in the group, and afterwards we went with her and some of her friends  to have a drink nearby. I was angling to have everyone go to "Merce and the Muse" for coffee/tea (heard about it here ... and I promise myself I will return soon as it is conveniently located near the Marché des Enfants Rouges), but since she closes at 5:30pm on Sunday we ended up next-door at Café Crème, which proved to be just lovely.

Then back home for R&R (Rest and Read) ... I am deep into Dan Simmons "The Fall of Hyperion" .

Les « Hautes de GammeS »

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Friday, February 04, 2011

Slamming doors, mole poblano ...

We went (with her parents and other friends) to see Félice in the play by Georges Feydeau, "Tailleur pour Dames". Quite amusing bedroom farce!

Afterwards we dined next-door on the rue de Lappe at Cielito Lindo, owned/run by Maurice and Ana (he used to live in Myriam's building).

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Today "La Chandeleur" is celebrated in France. On the non-religious side it seems to be an excuse to eat a lot of crêpes (the French cunningly having replaced the original Pan-inspired candles by, of course, something edible).

As I am currently waiting to board my train to Paris from Lyon this evening (and posting thanks to the free WiFi at the public library here) I will delay my gratification until tonight when I hope Odile will agree to a stack of pancakes (my version) for dinner!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Auf Wiedersehen, Berlin...

Just enough time for a caffè macchiato at Cindy's Diner at the Tegel airport  (there's also one in Basel it seems) before flying back to Paris. I'll have to try their burgers next time!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Berlin 2011 - Day 5

Had a nice Berliner Kindl Dunkle Bock beer for lunch (better said, with lunch). B+

Afterwards we returned to the Wirtshaus Wupke (we went there last time in September)

And here's how we ended up the night (writing out postcards for you ... some of you).

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Berlin 2011 - Day 3

Had a nice Märkischer Landmanm with lunch. Off to see Anita in the afternoon. Then dinner with the IIME Workshop people at the Hackesche Höfe.

Berlin Day 2

This post "in process" ....


Radeberger started in 1872 when the brewery was founded as „Zum Bergkeller,“ in Radeberg, a suburb of Dresden. Radeberger ranks number 9 amongGermany's best selling breweries.

This beer was also brewed for a period for the King of Saxony. [1] It was the first brewery in Germany to brew beer exclusively in the Pilsner style and which still exists today.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Second JOP trip of 2011 - Berlin Day 1

We pick up "los JOP en vadrouille" for 2011 in Berlin where José has come to work (IIME) and also to take advantge of the weekend to visit our old friends ... and make new discoveries.

Ulf kindly picked us up at Schoenefeld airport and we drove back to his place on Konstanzer Straße in the Wilmersdorf area. After settling in and resting a bit (we took our taxi this morning came at 5:15am) we figured out how to get to the Fraunhofer Forum, near the "Museum Island", for a quick inspection of the locale where I'll be participating in a pilot workshop.

The quick inspection turned out to be over 3 hours due to some technical problems. The team there is fantastically helpful and tenacious so all turned out well.

Afterwards (having zapped lunch) we stopped at a new place (for us) called Bagels & Bialy's to eat . I washed down my excellent Bagel Rosenthal (Frischkäse, Parmaschinken, Tomate & Salat) with a nice Staropramen beer.

Then we picked up some groceries nearby and took the U-bahn back to Ulf's for an apéro that segued into a light dinner. I greatly enjoyed a new beer: Březňák Světlý Ležák 12° (a Bohemian Pilsener beer by Pivovar Velké Březno).

For the nightcap we walked over to one of Ulf's regular watering holes, the Helion (we were there 4 months ago). We ran into the same "pilier" of the bar, a rather euphoric urologist.
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