I was in Europe on business traveling from Paris to Germany to Sweden to Lyon to London. It sounds glamorous but switching cities and taking two plane flights every night is a pain in the butt. Here are some pictures from the trip.

Waiting in the lounge for my flight...

I arrived in Paris and took the RER down to Gare du Nord. I was meeting a colleague there and then taking a high speed train to Dusseldorf, Germany. So I had a little over an hour to wander around and eat some lunch.

I was le tired so I grabbed a coffee.

And had a sandwich for lunch. This is "Croque Monsieur" which is an open faced grilled cheese sandwich. Just about every cafe in paris sells them and it's a good lunch to have. They also have "Croque Madame" which is the same thing only with an egg on top.

I found a market where people were doing their grocery shopping.

It's a little different from the US. They have lots of vendors selling fresh food. It's like a farmer's market.

I decided to walk around and look for motorcycles.

Here is a Kbike proudly standing next to a variety of other two-wheeled transport.

Mmmmmm. This is a bike that would be fun to tour Europe on.

I keep saying that my next bike will be one of these.

For the scooter fans out there.

After that it was time to head back to the train station.

My hotel rooms on this trip were colorful. This was the bathroom in Germany.

This was the hair dryer in the hotel room. I guess the name is a combination of the two properties of the device. It's free, so it's a "courtesy" hair dryer, but they're also really "Noisy."

And of course every hotel in Germany has a bottle opener right there ready for you to help you enjoy a beer!


We were in Germany for half a day and had time for a beer. (there is always time for a beer in germany.)

The warnings on cigarettes are a little more definitive and direct in Europe. Oddly, it seems like more people smoke over there.

We flew to Sweden or someplace. Here is the little lunch they gave us on the plane.

Smoked salmon and turkey and some other stuff. It was good.

I liked the way they described the salt and pepper.

The hotel in Sweden was also colorful.

In much of Europe the hotels have these main switches in the hotels. You activate the lights by inserting your room key. This keeps you from wasting energy by leaving the lights on when you aren't around. I had a hell of a time with them. I would walk into the room, and see a switch on the wall. I'd set my key on the table, and head for the switch. As the door was swinging shut behind me, and i still had some light, I would take a few steps to the switch and hit it. (This is a normal light switch, not this main one.) Then the door would swing shut behind me and leave me in TOTAL DARKNESS. Then, and only then, would I remember the main switch. Now I was in darkness, in a strange room, separated from my room key. So what I would have to do is carefully grope my way back to the door of the room and open it. That would let light in from the hallway. Then I could see the room key. Then i would LUNGE for the key before it got dark. The door would shut. I would grope my way back to the door and then open it again, and using the light from the hall, insert my key into the $(*%&ing main switch and then get light in the room. The first time I just chalked it up to inexperience. After the THIRD time I realized I was too dumb for this, and needed a work around. I discovered that you can jam anything into that slot and enable the lights, so I would fold up a piece of paper and stick that in there. Pretty funny though.

This hotel was all about convenience. Right there together, a bottle opener and a phone. Presumably it was so that you could call for more beer as you opened your last bottle? Something was missing though....One more element to make this the most convenient place.

That's right! These were located so that you did not have to get off the toilet! What a concept! Sit on the pot, drink beers, and call down for more! This is sooooo convenient that I was surprised that the previous occupant of the room was still not seated on the throne guzzling beer. The saving grace is that you have to get up to get to the mini-bar.

Ketchup is called chili sauce in Sweden.

In the airport in Sweden i had this sandwich. The pink sauce was weird looking, but tasted delicious.

I found this pill on the ground in the airport. Olimp? No idea.

Later we flew to Lyon, France, where I had escargot "bolognese" style. They were good, but I prefer the more traditional garlic/oil/wine method of preparing them.

View from my hotel in Lyon. We didn't see much of the city, the visit was short. Ok, off to the UK...

In England when they want to tell you to be cautious, or watch out for something, they tell you to "mind" it. This sign was on the stairs to make sure you didn't bang your head on the low ceiling. (Which is confusing because "bangers" are sausage.)

I'm a tourist in London for the first time. What do I do? Eat fish and chips of course! If you are planning to go to England, you need to keep in mind that everything is sold by weight. For example, this was eight pounds of fish and chips. I suspect that they are referring to the weight before they cook the food, because this obviously didn't weigh eight lbs when it was served to me. This was a recurring and confusing theme for me.

My hotel in London was a bargain (more on this later) and located near the British museum in the Bloomsbury area. (Yes, it rained.)

The museum is world famous. It's full of artifacts and sculptures from around the world.

It has actual mummies from Egypt in it.

Some 4,000 year old skeleton.

Here is the Rosetta Stone. It's famous because it helped decode the Egyptian hieroglyphics. It has the same message inscribed on it in multiple languages, including glyphs, so if you know the other ancient language, you can decode the glyphs.


Lion head inside the main lobby of the museum.

The entry way to the museum used to be an open courtyard with buildings on either side, but they put a nice roof on it. Good idea given that they have so much lousy weather.

Here is a room that has a bunch of carvings from the Parthenon in it. There is a dispute over who really owns these sculptures. The Greeks say they were stolen. The British disagree. And that leads to my general conclusion about this museum - I didn't care for it. As I walked through it I got the general impression that everything in it was stolen. All this stuff from Egypt, all of it from Greece, and things from all over the world. Now, it is nice to be exposed to it I guess, but my thinking is that these artifacts should be seen and experienced in their places of origin. I can imagine going to the parthenon, or the pyramids, and looking at empty spaces. They would have little placards explaining what USED to be there and how it is now in London. I personally think they should make replicas of all this stuff, and send the real items back home.

All over the place there were pubs like this. People stand around outside so they can smoke, and the insides are packed too.

Headed towards St. Paul's cathedral.

I walked down along the Thames to get some pictures of the famous bridge and also the tower of london.

That's the tower of London. It's not really a tower per se, more of a little compound. It used to be a castle for the King, but then they moved out and turned it into a prison.

This is not the London bridge, but is the Tower bridge.

Here is the wall around the tower of London.

So while this is supposed to have been a horrible prison, it looks quite nice to me. Nice grass, a teeter totter, swings, monkey bars. Heck, this looks like a park!

Some history for you...

After walking so much my dogs were barking. Should I take the bus?

or the tube?

I chose the tube.

And headed to Trafalgar square. This is the national gallery up there. Lots of good paintings that I was anxious to see the next day.

For dinner I had "fish pie" and cabbage and peas. It wasn't horrible, but I can see why the British had a reputation for lousy food. (Especially just having been in France.)

Ok, now a little about my hotel. Since I was spending the time in London on my own time, the company was only paying for food and lodging for one day. The other night was on my dime. So I found a really cheap hotel that was only 50 pounds a night. That's about $100. It was pretty horrible. This was my bed. It's tiny, which I don't mind, but notice how wafer thin my pillow is. And take a look at the little ridges on the mattress. Know what those are?

Fucking wires! Metal wires! They were the actual springs. The first night I was in the room I slept ok. This was because for the previous three nights I had gotten about 3 hours of sleep per night. (Meetings all day, then flying in the evening, then trying to do a little work before bed, then getting up at 5-6 the next morning. Not fun at all.) So I was exhausted and slept the first night. But when I woke up in the morning I noticed that as I tossed and turned it HURT. It took me a while to figure out why. I'm serious, this bed HURT.

So I found an extra blanket, and took the bedspread, and used them to act as a pad between the metal wires and my body. This worked great and I had no trouble sleeping the second night.

See? now it looks like a nice, puffy bed. Perfect!

For dinner? Shepherd's pie and chips. Good stuff.

And back down into the tube to go over to Piccadilly Circus.

There is a status of Cupid here. And also a bunch of obnoxious billboards and video screens.

I walked the short distance to Trafalgar square and the national gallery.

Fountains on the square.

This is the entrance area for the gallery.No photos inside of the actual paintings, sorry.

Just down the street from there is Parliament and Big Ben. (Look kids!)

The back of Westminster Abbey.

One of the walkways around the church. People are buried in the walls here, and under the walkway.


And right there with all the graves you can buy a coke and a baby ruth candy bar.

This is the front of the church.

Looking up at Big Ben.

That's it! Thanks for looking.