Pleasure is the beginning and the goal of a happy life - Epicurus

Europe has reminders of this around every corner it seems, and Paris is the prime example. I'm here for a few days this week, and the city's ability to provide pleasure for the eyes, mouth, nose, and brain is endless.

Day 1 included a metro strike (having just left one in London too), visits with friends, a walk through the Marais, baguettes, cheese, and wine.

Day 2 involved more visits, and a trip to one of the best spots on earth, Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This was followed by a random stop in a small courtyard cafe, where an art exhibition essentially exploded around us.

Day 3 - a walk along Promenade Plantee, a long stretch of gardens across an old aqueduct and then to Parc Belleville, one of the best spots from which to see the city (and almost completely devoid of tourists), then an amazing burger in a tiny spot in one of Grand Boulevrds' passages, basically covered alleys with wine stores, restaurants and stylish folk.

Day 4 - still occurring.

Quelques images from the last few days.

A side view of Notre Dame

Part of the art exhibition

Arts et Metiers metro station

The view from Parc Belleville, environs 16h30

The view from Parc Belleville, environs 17h00

Atop the Bastille monument

Along Promenade Plantee

The stairs at Parc Belleville

On the Move


Greetings from Henley-on-Thames, an impossibly quaint town - a hamlet, if you will - on the river outside of London that has existed since the 12th century.

Pubs, hobby shops, small restaurants, rain, and good manners. I half expect the Bard himself to stroll by, or at the very least a distraught Elizabeth Hurley in need of consolation after another disastrous break-up.

Alas, it's back to my Guinness, my imagination and then maybe some apple crumble.



...and it's hats off and a very difficult tot ziens Amsterdam.

Below, the final three days of Amsterdam compressed into a whole whack of photos. And a big thanks to the weather, for mostly cooperating.

Biking all over the city to soak it in, I hit classics like the Brouwerij t'IJ (open daily from 3pm-8pm only), went to a masterfully planned urban area called Westerpark, biked all over town, boogied a night away, strolled through de Pijp and stumbled through various goodbye beers.

You need years to uncover all this city has to offer. Open-air markets, over 1000 cafes, festival after festival, art, parks, and a seemingly endless selection of small spots to call your own and above all be yourself.

It was a fine way to bid farewell to my home of the past 11 months, or 2.5 months if you are reading this from the office of immigration. (i.e. I may be back very soon if work opportunities come to fruition).

It is cliched, yes, but the truth is that it's the people you meet that make it so difficult to leave. A public blog is not the place to really get into naming names, but it's been a very profound experience and I'm so grateful to have met dozens of cool, interesting, intelligent, passionate, kind, fun, and helpful people, a number of whom are now part of my life for good. My life has been enriched enormously.

To those who are thinking of making a similar leap: Go.

De Koffie Salon - Amsterdam's best coffee

The no-frills Brouwerij t'IJ - home brews of varying strength and cheap snacks

From the bench of Brouwerij t'IJ

A standard snack at t'IJ? Hardboiled eggs and salt.

Biking over the Amstel river

One of the many bars of de Pijp, a bustling residential neighbourhood

Loungin' in de Pijp

Westerpark, where nearby all the green space is a collection of theatres, cafes, and a great open-air market on Sundays

Dutch "poffertjes" - small pancakes, soon to be covered with butter and icing sugar