Rainy season has arrived! I was told that Belgium gets very rainy right around the beginning of winter, and I wasn’t looking forward to it. Alas, it rained last weekend, so my plan to head to Maastricht had to be halted…indefinitely.
Still, I have another three weeks left in Belgium. I hadn’t done as much travelling this time as I would have liked, mainly because PhD life is catching on. Usually I feel so tired during weekends that I’d rather catch two extra hours of sleep instead of getting up early to catch a train. It doesn’t help that the skies are grey most of the time; all motivation is lost when the sun is hiding from me.
Yet, I am enjoying this life of being a busy student, being lost in research and just resting at home during weekends like normal people do. I suppose I can’t expect to travel every single weekend for the remainder of my PhD, especially not towards third year. I still have no idea how I did Berlin, London, and Liege, and Lille all in one month before. Even I found it a bit crazy.
So, what will I blog about? You ask. Well, if you’ve been following at all, you’ve probably noticed that I like taking pictures of cities from high places when possible, such as hills, towers, or top of cathedrals. I’ve assembled a collection of “pictures from above” from my various travel destinations, including some from years before, just to see how they compare. Of course you’ve seen some of these in previous posts, mais peu importe.
I’ve wanted to write a blog on this topic for a long time, and here’s my chance. In alphabetical order, let’s fly!
Barcelona (read about it)
On my last day in Barcelona, I visited Montjuïc hill alone, after the early departure of my companion LS. If there is one romantic place in Barcelona, it was Montjuïc. It was a shame he never got to see the view of Barcelona from atop the hill; he would have loved it.
Berlin (read about it)
Here we have Berlin from the top of the Funkturm, or the radio tower. It is surprising how much greenery there is in Berlin, and really, what you see here is an understatement. Go around to the other side of the Funkturm and you have the entire Tiergarten right in front of you.
Bordeaux (read about it)
Ah, my lovely Bordeaux! This was on the very top of the Pey Berland tower, right underneath the golden statue. We’re facing north here, right above the very centre of the city. Turn 90 degrees to the left and you’ll be able to see the top of the magnificent St.Andrew’s cathedral, as seen right here.
Bruges (read about it)
Bruges, Venice of the north – why am I not surprised to see grey skies? Oh right, this is Belgium. I didn’t enjoy Bruges to the fullest the first time I went, and I felt that there could have been so much more to discover if I was more…in the mood for it. That’s why I aim to go to Bruges again, and the soonest that may happen would be in…10 days or so, hopefully?
Here we have our first non-European city, Chicago. I visited Chicago twice in 2009 during my co-op term in Indiana, and this photo was taken on top of the Sears Tower during my second visit. The view reminds me very much of downtown Toronto (skyscrapers galore!) and of course, the two cities are twinned. If I remember correctly, I should have gotten the Canon A2000 point-and-shoot by the time this was taken, which was the camera I used right up till the end of my Barcelona trip.
Dinant (read about it)
Dinant, a cute, attractive, humble little place in Belgium. I went up to the top of the citadel of Dinant just to see this, the cathedral complemented by the Meuse river. It ended up being one of my favourite cities.
Girona (read about it)
Girona is a quite little town close to Barcelona, ideal for a relaxing day-trip during a long stay in Barcelona. From the top of the city walls, it seems like the entire place is a secret enclosure wrapped around by trees on all sides. We were expecting a storm to arrive here…uh oh, time to hide!
Ah, my good ol’ Canon S500, my first digital camera! Uh, right, this would be Kaohsiung, a port city in the south of Taiwan. I can’t remember at all where this picture was taken, but I THINK it could have been at Dream Mall, since it’s really the only memory of Kaohsiung that I have. Very colourful houses though, I must say!
Lisbon (read about it)
This is the reason why I love window seats on airplanes. I don’t care if I can’t get up and walk whenever I want; the view outside the window upon take-off and landing is worth it. This was the last goodbye to Lisbon after the training school, and boy, did I love this place, even though it was such a short visit! Just look at that bridge…it really is quite something!
London (read about it)
Here we were on top of “The Monument”, looking towards the Tower Bridge and the Thames. Nothing much to say about it…
Luxembourg (read about it)
Luxembourg is a valley city, so it is easy to look into it, literally. The Grund district here, seen from the upper town, reminds me slightly of a ghost town. I loved the “greyness” of it all though…makes the place appear all so mysterious.
HA! This is probably the lowest “high place” on the list, as it was taken on the 7th floor at my best friend’s apartment in Mississauga. This is as close to home as it gets. I missed going up the CN Tower when I went back to Toronto this year, blah! Anyway, residential areas in Canada don’t get any more typical than this. Rows and rows of houses, home sweet home!
Paris (read about it)
Finally we get to the much anticipated Paris. This is arguably my favourite photo taken in Paris, although this one puts up a very good fight. Oh, that one was also taken from up high, so it fits comfortably in this post. In fact, both pictures were taken on top of the Arc de Triomphe (and yes, for the nth time, you can go up). I much prefer the view of the Sacré-Coeur Basilica from the Arc de Triomphe than the view of the entire city of Paris from Montmartre. I suppose it is a rather unconventional view, mais bon, je l’aime.
Last but not least we have Taipei in 2008, from the 89th (or 88th, I don’t remember anymore) floor of Taipei 101. I made a remark once, wondering how many stinky tofu stands there are amongst all the buildings and streets here, and it made me hungry just thinking about the delicious street foods in Taiwan…!!!
Well this entry ended up being quite the memory trip from almost 4 years ago up till a month ago. What a ride it’s been…wow! From North America to Asia to Europe, from Chicago to Taipei to Paris, how many more wonders of the world are out there to be discovered? I don’t know, but I do know that Cologne is next. Stay tuned!