Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: dinner

A very Belgian spring…finally

Spring has arrived in Belgium…I think. I can never really be sure, because Belgium has frequent unpredictable mood swings. It was snowing two weeks ago and I thought we’d skip spring this year. Alas, last weekend was a glorious 22 degrees, so it really did seem like the end of winter…I think?

I see a lot of cats in Louvain-la-Neuve, and this one I liked a lot. One day as I stepped out of the house to go to work, it ran over to my feet out of nowhere and whispered the softest “MEOW” I’ve ever heard from a cat. Then it ran off quickly, as if it was shy. Honestly, it may look badass in the photo, but on the contrary, it’s super gentle and adorable ❀

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IDS 2013 part 4 – Geneva, post-training school

Finally, we get to Geneva, the fifth Swiss city in a year, for me.

I was supposed to go to Geneva in May 2011, almost two years ago, but due to some clumsiness in planning, I had to cancel the trip last-minute. Of course having the training school in Annecy this year meant that a Geneva stopover was inevitable since well…the return tickets were from Bordeaux to Geneva (go Easyjet!)

I gotta say, compared to the other Swiss cities I’ve been to (Basel, Interlaken, Zurich, and Lausanne), Geneva did seem lacking in characteristic. I partly blame the weather for this – not a fair evaluation of a city but…oh well. Anyway, the unique memory in Geneva was not in exploring the city itself, but being with my IDS-FunMates one last time and experiencing collaboration in a big group…at our hostel! You’ll see.

(Full photo album is on Facebook, as usual πŸ˜‰ Catch up on the entire series – part 1 in Lausanne, part 2 and part 3 in Annecy.)

Unlike Annecy, Geneva was met with gray skies 😦 I was so tired by the time I arrived in Geneva, after a whole week of running around. The combination of weather and fatigue dampened my energy quite a bit, which was why I missed quite a few places in Geneva – I was too tired to explore so I stayed back to rest while some of the others headed to the Flower Clock and the Reformation Wall. (By the way, yes that IS the Jet d’Eau behind the flowers, if you were wondering.)

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It’s Christmas time!

Christmas is the time of giving and gathering, a time of being joyful and thankful, a time of celebrating the reason why we should be joyful and thankful. 2012 years ago, the one and only God came to this world as a man, a humble king who would die for the atonement of our sins. Because He came, we are free, and today, we gather to sing His praises and celebrate His wonders.

Throughout the years, Christmas has become such a commercialized holiday that many people have forgotten its true meaning. The other day my sister asked me what presents I got, and while I said none, she replied in surprised, “How could you not get presents? It’s CHRISTMAS?” A bit ironic, isn’t it? Because it is Christmas, I should be getting presents? Is Christmas all about putting presents under the tree, waiting for Santa Claus, and singing carols? Among the dazzling lights and cheering crowds, who remembers the real Christmas story?

Regardless of the way we perceive Christmas, it is a time where joy is present in the air. Bordeaux, of course, lacks no Christmas spirit. Although it is rain instead of snow that covers the city, Bordeaux dances in its own beauty even in the rain. Although our Christmas market isn’t as grand as the ones in Paris or Strasbourg or Cologne, the crowds are not to be belittled. Although I am far from my home in Canada, I found a family here with whom I could share the peace and joy that was blessed upon me πŸ˜‰

So you wonder if Santa Claus really exists. Did you know that Santa Claus is really…a thief? Yep, that’s right. Santa Claus was caught in action in Saint-Γ‰milion! There was a big “attention au chien” (“beware of dog”) sign in front of this house, but I guess the dog somehow missed the stealthy Mr.Claus…

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Reflections

It’s been a while.

In fact, it’s been too long.

I kept telling myself to update, but life has been so abundant and exciting lately that it feels surreal. So much has happened, yet it feels like no time has passed at all. All too fast, too sudden.

This is going to be somewhat of a personal entry. I haven’t done much travelling since I came back to Bordeaux (other than St. Emilion again, twice actually), but when you’re in a place that feels like a true home, even wanderlust can’t pull you away. And this is exactly how I had been feeling for the past month or so. Bordeaux – and the people I’ve met here – has already become such a part of my identity. I feel happy here. No embellishing adjective needed, just happy.

The following set of pictures has no particular theme, and are selected from the 32084092384 photos that had been taken within the last month and a half to represent my everyday life. Each picture is accompanied by a small blurb of personal thoughts with regards to my experiences in Bordeaux so far. I apologize if this entry seems scattered; I just want to reorganize my thoughts a little, and share with you something that is more “real” life, for once.

Outside my little studio, we see the mighty St. Andrew’s cathedral and the Pey Berland tower to its right. It still awes me that I am in France, living in such an elegant city. There’s that word again, elegant. I used it to describe Bordeaux when I first arrived in the autumn season, and during the summer, this gem is elegant as ever. It’s so different than the Toronto that I know, and though I’d like to believe that my heart will always remain first in Toronto, Bordeaux is slowing stealing it away from that land that feels so far, far away…

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Beyond V-Day

I had been contemplating the idea of investing in a better camera for a long time. At one point in time I was seriously looking into a purchase within the next three months. This week, I gave it a little more thought. My final decision is that I will not be buying any fancy camera any time soon (that probably means at least not this year). I will stick to my basic Canon A2000 (and my Sony Ericsson K770i cell phone camera, if I don’t have my Canon) for my day-to-day photography.

Many friends have encouraged me to get a DSLR for my adventures in Europe, and I do admit it’s going to be quite a loss if I were to insist on getting the perfect images, but really, anything beyond a pocket camera is simply impractical for me at the moment. Not to mention the cost of getting one of these babies, but having to carry a large camera around everywhere I go would be a hassle in the first place. I don’t think a DSLR would be on my list of things-I-bring-to-work-in-my-backpack-every-day, and it certainly is not something I’d like to lug around my neck most of the day. (Maybe I just need to be convinced that they’re not all as inconvenient as I imagine them to be.) My little A2000, however, conveniently fits into my coat pocket and I can draw it out any time when I see anything interesting that catches my attention (examples to follow).

I have no intention of becoming anything near a professional any time soon, although I have definitely developed a strong interest in photography after observing the works of my peers. However, I think I have also underestimated the amount of time that is needed to dive into the field and truly experience the essence of professional photography. I realize that this is time that I am unable to afford at this stage, and so I will remain as an outsider and retain this interest until much later, when I feel that I have the time to take on the challenge.

In the end, my purpose for taking photos is not to have gorgeous colours and effects, though that would be an added bonus. Photographing daily life is a pleasure in itself and does not require any extensive equipment beyond a small camera for an amateur. Of course, travel photography is much more thrilling, but to get a DSLR just for this purpose – with the constraints of budget and time in mind – is not worth it, in my opinion.

Enough about cameras and on with the photos πŸ˜› By the way, happy Valentine’s Day or Singles Awareness Day, whichever one applies to you. Personally I think V-Day is immensely overrated anyway.

 
We start off this post with some adorable animals that I’ve encountered in Bordeaux. The first two photos are of a cat that happened to be staying at a friend’s house for a couple of weeks when I was visiting. It was a shy fellow, always hiding in the corner like a spy observing our every move. It has such sharp and beautiful eyes though, and no, it is not dead in the second picture. Next, friend and I met a small puppy during a walk. This little guy was tricky; I was never able to capture a picture of it from the front, but it was cute, nevertheless. (Click on photos for full-sized version.)

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