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The next stop is to the beautiful city of Paris.  I love the architecture and the history that is in this city.  People in a hurry carrying a baguette and someone reading a book sipping on a small cup of espresso is common and everyone was friendly.   I’m not sure if the Eiffel Tower lights up at night every night or only during the holiday season but seeing it on top of the Arc de Triomphe with the bright lights was amazing.  I cannot come up with another place that does this at the same as scale as the Eiffel Tower.

It’s nice to know as we head south for each destination that the weather gradually got warmer.  It was still cold during the winter time but it was becoming more bearable.  I regret not trying the hot wine but I’m sure it would’ve kept me warm.

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The next stop after Amsterdam was to Brussels.  My buddies and I took a train from Amsterdam down to Brussels.  I love transportation in Europe.  You can almost get anywhere by train.  We left the snowy Amsterdam to a less snowy Brussels.  The first thing I had was an ice cream waffle at the train station’s Ben & Jerry’s.  Man, it was good!  Their chocolate was very good too and I’m not a fan of chocolate.  I must’ve tried at least 8 types of beer during my stay in Brussels.  The beer was close to 10% alcohol and they are usually served in a large glass.

We had dinner at a restaurant that served herring salad.  Herring is a fish, sort of like a large sardine.  It is usually served raw with vinegar.  I had to order it so I can taste the fish and see what it’s all about.  I must say… the vinegar was very strong but necessary because the fish taste was extremely strong.  Well, at least now, I can say I gave it a try.  The next day, we tried their mussels which surprisingly turned out very good.  It went well with the strong beer and they seem to complement each other.

Next stop… Paris!!!

Manneken Pis

Ice Cream

Herring Salad

Leffe Beer

3 Sample Beers

Waffles

AJ Gil

My second photo shoot a three weekends ago was with AJ Gil from American Idol Season 1.  We’ve worked before when he worked with VibeKingz’s DJ Static and was there for their music video shoot.  We went out to the valley for the shoot.  It rained on and off that weekend but luck was on our side since we had nothing but clear skies.

Night Photos Part 1

I dug up some night photos I took last summer while taking a photography class at Cal Poly.  I labeled it Part I since I know there will be more night photos in the future.  I took some of the pictures at Westfield’s Santa Anita and from CalTech/Pasadena.

CalTech

CalTech Auditorium

I-210 near Old Pasadena

I had two photo shoots this past weekend with two artist, Kingpen and AJ Gil.  It’s been a while since I had photo shoots lined up to keep me busy on the weekend.  I came up with the idea to shoot at the art district in Downtown on Saturday since Kingpen was a hip/hop artist and he needed backgrounds with an urban feel to the background.  There was an upper level parking structure which became the shooting location.  I’m glad the parking attendant was okay with us on his property.  He was a nice guy and having us there just made his time go by faster.

After the photo shoot, we saw a Kia Soul pass by with people in blue suits and a camera crew behind them.  I guessing they’re shooting another commercial with the car full of hamsters.  I was standing on one of the street corners so I might end up in the commercial.  You never know.

Visiting Amsterdam in mid-December is probably not the best time to visit due to the cold, but not bad enough to keep me from visiting some of the sights there.  I’ve heard stories from friends who knows someone from Amsterdam tell them how tourist always end up at the coffee shops or window shopping in the Red Light District instead of seeing what Amsterdam really has to offer.  Amsterdam has the Van Gogh Museum, Anne Frank House (where Anne Frank and her family stayed during World War II), Dam Square, pancakes, desserts, etc.  I only stayed in Amsterdam for one day but I had to plan out where I really wanted to go since there were so much to do with so little time.  The city is one of those places that you cannot find anywhere else.

River Canal

Tram Stop

Anne Frank House

Pancake with banana and chocolate syrup

Potatoes and sausage patties

First stop in Europe…London!

I’ve been wanting to go to London or just to Europe for years.  I visited Asia 2 years ago so I got that out of my system so Europe was next on my list to visit.  My direct flight to London was smooth and pleasant with Virgin Atlantic.  The service was great and they passed out a small gift bag full of travel stuff like a toothbrush, toothpaste, eye mask, and a pen.

My buddy Tony has a place in London which was the main reason why I decided to go since there will be a place to stay.  I heard the prices of hotels and hostels were as much as £300 a night around Christmas and New Year.  I stayed in London for 3 days before traveling to Amsterdam and four other cities in the continent.  Stay posted for posts from other cities!

London, like New York, is one of those places where there are people everywhere, an efficient subway system, (known as The Tube), and a great collection of museums.  There are pubs at almost every street corner to grab a cold glass of beer and socialize with your friends or coworkers.  Leicester Square is what I consider the center of London with tons of restaurants, pubs, and museums all within walking distance.  Leicester Square also has an area full of theaters (West End) for plays and Broadway shows.  I was able to catch a play towards the end of the trip called “The Misanthrope” starring Damien Lewis and Keira Knightley.  The theaters are much smaller than the ones I’ve been to in the U.S. so any seat is a good seat and the best part is the prices of theater tickets are cheaper for the same show you would see here.  Visiting London was a great place for the beginning and end of my 3 week long Europe trip!

London Eye

London Eye

Big Ben

Parliament Building and Big Ben

London Bridge

Empty Tube Station

Famous Underground Sign

Giant Bear @ Harrod's

British Museum

Underground Tunnel to cross river

Traditional English Breakfast

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