Civaie – Casalinghi


Firenze

This is the kind of thing that I love Europe for, but which is disappearing as more and more US style global corporations enter into markets. Maybe someday this will be a Starbucks, but I sure hope not. I love these little individual stores, full of unique personality and surprises. The kind of thing you hardly ever find anymore in the US, where Walmarts and Walgreens and Home Depot have taken over this market, and forced these kinds of places to cease to exist.

Here we have a major metropolitan area – Florence (Firenze) where thank goodness, there is not enough room for these ‘big box’ type stores to start to take hold – and I hope they never do. These kinds of tiny stores are everywhere in Firenze and other places in Italy and France, though in France chains such as ‘Mr Bricolage’ (Mr Fixit) are starting to have the same kind of effect as Home Depot and smaller local quincailleries disappearing. Luckily many urban areas still ban these kinds of stores but they are ever-present in the more wide-open countryside. I found this Blog to have some good opinions in a similar vein.

Toothy Climbing


Standing on the Haute Cime

For the extended 4th of July weekend I took this year (yes I live in France and still get American holidays) we did the Tour des Dents du Midi. What a gorgeous 4 days. The climb up Haute Cime was a slog but in the end worth doing for the views.

Edit: Funny to think that in 4 days I only covered 1/2 the distance and a lot less height gain of what a few months later I (mostly) would run in 20 hours . . . . Of course my pack was not nearly as big when I ran the North Face Ultra Trail CCC.

Avalanche Level 4

Well, very happily my EOS20D arrived back into my hands yesterday morning. But not without incident. The box was crushed by either the Royal Mail or La Poste and arrived looking like an accordion. Luckily it was double boxed and wrapped in bubble wrap, so ended up OK.

We’ve had storm after snow storm, and the hill was shut 2 days ago, leading to playing on a little jump my roommate Mark (MUK) and a few of our friends built (well I lent a shovel – the girls made a convenient decision to let the boys build the jump) and we all took turns jumping, then walking back up the hill to do it again. The weather was crap so the light isn’t great, but it was nice practice (first time I’ve really gotten to take a lot of ski action shots) and we plan to do this up on the hill during a blue sky day before the season ends. Provided it stops snowing. This weekend I’d hoped to go out skiing, but now the prediction is again for more snow and gale force winds at altitude…sigh.

Oh, and I’m finally trying to sell some gear on eBay to finance my next ‘L’ series lens purchase … I would like a Canon EF 70-200 f:/4 L USM (2.8 L ruled out due to a combo of cost and weight since I tend to go on 3-7 hour hikes on a regular basis w/my gear). Hopefully this can be sooner rather than later. I really want this for hiking next season.

Sid et Nancy à Paris


Went to Paris a couple of weeks ago. There is something so alterno-twee about Montmartre – a studied decadance and certain ‘look’ that all the people who live their get into. They play the part so well. Even though it is one of the biggest tourist areas in Paris, it is not as full of tourist traps as the Quartier Latin. Sure the Place du Tertre is a cliche, but I still go back there every time (and you can find decent artists there). I know if I had come here in the 80s or 90s, I would have wanted to stay. But now, I am content to visit. I think I am done with big city life for some reason. Well, until the next time I change my mind or life totally, that is.