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I've been toying with the idea of changing the DetailSD website and I could use your opinions. I have a rough cut of a new one made up, so if you have a minute, check it out and let me know what you like better! Here is the link to the other one: http://www.wix.com/christopheristo/detailsd
Just leave a comment here on the blog and let me know what you think.
Also, if I've detailed your car and you want to write me a testimonial to put up on the site... I'd love it!!!
Thank you all in advance and again, can't wait to see you guys when i come home!
Tonight Algeria played Egypt in a world cup qualifier match. Egypt hasn't been to the world cup since 1990 and Algeria hasn't been since 1986. Naturally, this was a huge match! Algeria ended up winning, and all of Marseille's huge Algerian population decided to "celebrate" downtown and the Vieux Port. A buddy and I had gone downtown for a cafe this afternoon and ended up staying for a beer. We noticed quite a few riot police set up all around, but didn't really think much of it as its pretty common lately. So we were sitting at a cafe drinking and talking when we start to hear some commotion and see two guys standing on a balcony with flares. It gradually grew to more and more people so we decided to go check it out. We went around the corner to the port and there were just masses of people and the entire sky was red with the flares. The streets were all closed down around us and there were people going nuts on scooters riding in all directions. I've never seen anything like this before in my life. I can now say I've been in a riot! We got closer to the center of it and it was just pure madness. There were flares, all sorts of fireworks, cars drifting around corners with people hanging out the windows, multiple scooter crashes, people jumping into the water where all the boats park, people doing wheelies on scooters with 2 people on it, people riding on the shoulders of people driving scooters, the longest Algerian flag I've ever seen (probably 50 ft long), just pure insanity! It was nuts. We stuck around for a while, but then headed home when people started throwing these little exploding firecrackers into crowds. Not so much fun. We also had to figure out how to get home, since they shut down the entire city transportation system because of this. One very long walk and 2 hitchhiked rides later and we were safely back at home. An Egyptian friend here said that things are even crazier in other places. His brother called to make sure he was okay as there were people getting killed in Egypt because of this. People take their football pretty seriously here!
In other news, I'm going to Florence again next weekend! One of the school's organizations is organizing a trip there for a very reasonable price so tons of people are going. Should be a lot of fun! And Dec 4th i'm headed to Paris and possibly Bordeaux on the way home. Gotta squeeze in some time to do schoolwork at some point...
My trip is quickly coming to a close and I'm really not ready for it to be over! I've been trying to do as much as possible and enjoy every minute while I'm here because before I know it, it will all be over.
Anyway, it's late here so i'm going to head to bed and hopefully get a ton of homework done tomorrow! See you all in about a month.
Finally back home after an awesome week! Sunday my friend Ray and I left for Belgium and after a bus, a metro, another bus, a plane, another bus, 2 more trains, and a tram we finally arrived in Gent! We met up with Xavier at the train station and he showed us to our hostel and then we went out for a traditional Belgian meal. Consisted of bicky burgers and belgian fries. The fries lived up to their reputation (they're amazing) but the bicky burgers were a little strange. Here's the deal. The burgers are the pride of Belgium but nobody is allowed to know the recipe for what's in the patty. So it's basically mystery meat. And if you're caught filling someone in on the recipe or if you try to recreate it, you go to jail. I only ate one...
The next day we rented bikes and rode all over the city. It's a really beautiful city with tons of old buildings and churches. In fact, there was a castle right across the street from our hostel! We explored a few of the churches, stopped at every single chocolate shop, ate Belgian waffles and Belgian hot chocolate for lunch, and tried as many Belgian beers as we could. That night another friend from Marseille met us there and continued the rest of the trip with us.
We spent one more full day in Gent riding around on bikes and then early Wednesday morning, we left for Italy! We left at about 6 in the morning and got to Florence at around 2:30 that afternoon. Italy is so nice! We found our hostel and just walked around the city a bit, then found a nice restaurant to go have our first Italian meal. It was really really good. We actually ran into a couple other friends from school before dinner, then after dinner ran into even more. What are the chances?
The next day we toured around the city all day. We took a free walking tour through the hostel which was pretty interesting, we went into Il Duomo, saw Ponte Vecchio, and saw the Statue of David! All pretty amazing stuff. That evening we hopped on another train and headed to Rome.
After about a 4 hour train ride we had arrived and were all really excited to be there. We had originally not booked a hostel for that night, thinking we could just take an overnight train and sleep on the train right? Well our plan didn't work out as it was 9 o'clock and we were already there. So we went to the hostel that we had booked for the next night, assuming we could stay there. Full. Checked two other hostels, full. Finally we were walking to a third when an Indian guy walks up to us and asks if we were looking for a hostel. Well.... yes, yes we are actually! He promised us a private room for three, bathroom, and breakfast in the morning included all for 17 euros each. A little bit sketchy but we decided to go along with it and see what it was all about. We follow this guy to a Western Union/internet cafe where he goes in and finds another guy. We follow the two of them down to the very end of this street and then they stop at this unmarked residential building. No hostel signs anywhere! We follow them upstairs and he has about 4 rooms on one of the floors and tells us this is his hostel. To make a long story short, we stayed there. Interesting night...
The next day we saw all of Rome. We literally walked everywhere! Saw the Coliseum, the ruins, countless churches, the Trevi fountain, the Vatican, the pantheon, and tons more. It was really awesome. To be honest, I liked Florence more as it was just a nicer looking city, but it was really cool seeing all of these sights in Rome. This was our last day in Italy and the next day we flew back to Marseille.
All in all, it was an amazing trip, the three of us had a lot of fun. It is good to be back here though. Been pretty busy this week with tons and tons of school work, but now its the weekend so I have a little bit of time to relax. Look for pictures on Facebook soon, i'm going to try to put some up today.
We have vacation this week from school so it's time for another trip! A buddy and I are headed to Ghent today and will be there until Wednesday. We'll be visiting a Belgian friend who stayed with my family a few years ago. Should be fun! Another friend is meeting us there Tuesday and then Wednesday we're all heading to Florence for 2 days. Meeting up with more friends from school there and then catching a train to Rome until Saturday. Should be a fun trip! Wish us luck and expect lots of pictures when I get back.
What an awesome event! Its been a few days now since the race, so my muscles are finally starting to feel normal again haha.
The morning of the race we got up and left at around 8:00 (the race didn't start till 9:30!) and went to take the bus to the start, only to find out that all the roads were already closed. There were all sorts of people parked along the road right outside our residence, hiking up the mountain with baguettes and such. We ended up just running to the start as it's only about 3.5 miles away. It was unbelievable how many people were at the start! I found out later that 15,000 people ran the race. It was pretty fun though, with about 10 minutes to go before the start everyone started cheering and chanting and just going wild! Laurent Jalabert was there as well, so it was pretty cool to see him. Finally the race started and about 5 minutes later we made it across the line. The whole first half of the race was basically composed of zig-zagging through all the people, trying to find gaps in the crowd. I felt really good running too, felt strong on the way up the Col de la Gineste, then started to fade with about 5K to go. The top of the climb was at the 10K point, and I didn't realize how much further it was from there to the finish in Cassis. It went by really quickly, though, and before long Cassis was in view and we made the steep decent into the very picturesque vacation town by the sea. The last 5K was wild as there were people just jammed packed along the sides of the road, in some places even 3 or 4 people deep! It was like running through a wall of sound. These fans get really into it here! Finally after making the most circuitous route around the city we made our way to the finish line right by the beach. I finished in 1:39:13. I was definitely pleased with that, considering the amount of climbing in the race. All in all, it was a fantastic day. We went swimming in the ocean for a little while after the race, then caught the bus back to Marseille.
The race itself was really a cool event. Just seeing the amount of people running and the amount of people cheering on the road was amazing. There was even a helicopter filming the entire race, check out the videos here:
Anyway, just wanted to fill you all in on how the race went. We all had a lot of fun!
Other than that, not much new news here, other than a riot downtown on Sunday. They cancelled a soccer match between Marseille and Paris because 3 of the Paris players had swine flu. So what do they do? Riot, naturally.
The weather has been absolutely beautiful here these last few days so I think today we're going to take one last trip to the Calanques for some swimming and cliff jumping!
Talk to you all soon,
I've been seeing more and more billboards and posters for the Marseille-Cassis Classique that's coming up this Sunday. To be honest, it came a lot faster than I was expecting. I got off my training schedule a bit with the trip to London at all, but nonetheless I think I'll have a lot of fun. Today I went out and did a 9 mile run, so I think i'll be able to do another 3 1/2 with no problem. (though the race will be pretty hilly...)
Anyway, felt pretty good running that far today and it was my longest run to date so I'm happy. Other than that, not a whole lot exciting going on here. I've been busy with school again - lots of projects to work on.
On Saturday, a friend and I went out to run a hill we usually do near here. While we were at the top we spotted another hill on the other side of the road that looked like it would give a great view of the city. We decided to try to get to the top (not as easy as it looked) and finally made it only to find the view blocked by trees. Bummer. Then we saw another one a little further that looked promising, We made our way to the top of it and it really was an amazing view. I'll definitely be going back with a camera at some point because it was basically an unobstructed 360 degree view of Marseille. Awesome!
Anyway, hope all is well with everyone. Talk to you soon!
I got back from London at about 1:00 am Thursday morning and man did I have a good time! It was a blast. I'll give you a day-by-day of what I did (which was a lot!!!)
Got up at about 6:30 and caught the bus to the metro station, took the subway to the train station and then the other bus to the airport (a lot of work, I know). The flight went very smoothly and we landed at about 11:00. I was a little bit amazed that it was an actual normal jet that we flew on after paying only 30 euros round trip for the flight! From there I took another bus ride a little over an hour to get into the city. Finally there! It was really nice being in a city where people spoke English haha. Made things much more convenient. After I got off the bus I decided to walk over to Camden Town and check out the Sunday market. I walked through Regents park to get there which was really really nice. Everything in the royal parks is very well groomed and it all looked really nice. Made it to the market and man was it huge. There are just markets everywhere there! And lots of cheap food too. I got a great hot dog for lunch and it was only 1.50 (made me feel at home!) From there I wandered through all the other markets and proceeded to get lost without a map. Got directions and ended up walking along the Regents Canal which borders the park and goes right through the London Zoo. So I got to see some pretty cool animals as well! At that point I figured I was pretty close to Abbey road so I may as well go check that out. IT was really fun! Lots of people there taking pictures. I got a few as well. After that I decided I better head toward the hostel since it was getting late and I had a very very long walk to get there. Finally arrived and got my bed made then went out to get some dinner. The hostel was an interesting place. Pretty nice actually, but my room had 12 beds in it (and it wasn't a very big room...). But hey, for 8.99 a night it was a pretty good deal.
The next day I got up at about 7:30 and ate breakfast at the hostel. They provided all you can eat toast and tea. I took advantage of it. I then headed to the metro station and bought a day pass for the tube and the busses. Took my first ride on the underground! It's a really good system, with stops all over the place. I first headed to the British Museum, which was one of my favorite places in the city. They have a lot of really cool stuff! I even saw Cleopatra's mummy! There was a really good Egyptian exhibit going on right now. Pretty cool stuff. From there I went to Soho, then took the tube to Westminster. I saw Big Ben and the houses of Parliament - pretty darn impressive. I also saw the London Eye and Westminster Abbey. From there I went and checked out an old church then headed to Picadilly Circus. I wasn't really impressed with that so I headed back to Camden for some lunch. Got some great fish and chips.
After that I went over to Hyde Park and walked around for a bit. I ended up walking further than I had expected and found myself at the Albert Memorial, right across the street from Royal Albert Hall. Both of these are pretty cool to see! After that I hopped on a double decker bus and headed to Notting Hill. Very nice there. Also checked out Kensington a bit. At that point I had no clue how to get back to my hostel by Hyde park, but ended up finding a very convenient Underground station close by. One of the stops was about 50 yards away from the hostel so it worked out really well. Went for some more fish and chips, then checked in for the night.
I had a pretty full set of plans for this day so I wanted to get up at 7 to get breakfast and head out as early as possible. I ended up waking up at 7:30 and frantically got dressed only to discover that somehow I had gotten up at 6:30 and breakfast wasn't ready yet (time difference got confusing...) Ate tons of toast (8 pieces to be exact) and drank lots of tea then headed out. I ended up getting on about 4 different underground lines (lots of delays that day) but finally made it to the Tower Hill stop. I saw the Tower of London (really cool!) and then walked across the Tower Bridge. This was really impressive. It's huge! I spent some time on the south side of the Thames, then headed back across the bridge and went to St. Paul's Cathedral. Wow! Huge! It was really cool. I went inside, but they were charging 11 pounds to tour it. Not worth it to me. From there I headed to go see the Tate Modern art gallery. I ended up stopping at another really nice cathedral with an enormous tower. I wasn't sure if it would be open, but I tried the door and sure enough, it was open. I was the only one in there for maybe 20 minutes or so. It was really cool. After that I went and explored the Tate Modern. Better than I was expecting! Lots of really cool art there including works from PIcasso, Andy Warhol, Monet, Matisse, and many more. It was really cool. After that I checked out the Globe (right next door) then headed back to Camden for lunch. I was a big fan of the 1.50 pound hot dogs! From there I had to take a trip back to the British Museum as I realized that I'd somehow missed the Rosetta Stone last time! It was really cool to see it in real life! A lot bigger than I had imagined. Pretty amazing when you think about what you're looking at. I also saw a lot of really cool egyptian statues including one of Ramses II. Pretty old stuff! From there I headed to Regents Park to explore it a bit more. I spent a lot of time sitting by a pond in Queen Mary's Garden. Very peaceful. Also my knee was hurting from all of the walking so it was nice to sit for a while! I had seen all the major sights at that point so I decided to take it a bit slower and enjoy my time there. I met an old man in the park who gave me a map and suggested I go to Primrose Hill just north of the park as you get a good view of the city. Despite how tired I was at that point, I decided I'm only in London once so I better just go do it. Boy am I glad I did! It was one of my favorite places in the city. You walk up this big grassy hill at the edge of the park and get an absolutely beautiful view of the city. I was there at dusk too so I got to see an awesome sunset and after I got to see the city all lit up at night. Well worth the trip and as it was my last night, it was a good time to reflect on all that I had seen in the last few days.
On my last day I got up and ate my usual half loaf of toast, packed up all my belongings, turned in my sheets and checked out of the hostel. Interestingly, I was a bit sad to leave haha. I didn't want to buy another travelcard for the day since I was leaving at 3:30, so I walked to Kensington Gardens and headed toward Buckingham Palace to see the changing of the guard. Two hours and 2 more parks later (Hyde Park and Green Park), I finally arrived at the Queens "house." What a pad! The whole royal thing seemed a bit strange to me though. There were a bunch of guys dressed up on horses blowing trumpets with flags on them and marching around and yelling - just to change work shifts? Definitely a really cool ceremony to watch though! I enjoyed all 30 minutes of it. After that I headed to Oxford Circus and changed out my remaining pounds for euros. Then I headed back toward Regents park to catch the bus back to the airport. I got there about 2 hours early, so I got some lunch and enjoyed it at the park next to a very nice little river. It was an awesome place to spend my last couple of hours in London.
8 hours later, I was back at "home sweet home" in Marseille. London was a really really nice city, but it still felt good to be back home. Back to reality... well sort of :)
The best part? All this including travel, lodging, food, etc for 120 euros! Had an awesome trip and I'm so thankful everything went as smoothly as it did. It was my first time traveling alone and I had an absolutely great time. Check on my facebook page, I'll be putting tons of pictures up soon. H
Well I just finished going over everything I need to take with me and tomorrow morning at 7:00 I'll head out for my trip to London. I'll be there till Wednesday and I'm really excited! I have a whole list of places that I want to go so I imagine it will be a busy four days. Anyway, I'll have a full report for you all when I get back and hopefully lots of good pictures too.
Wish me luck!
I just found a really cheap ticket to Brussels so I bought it! I've been looking for a place to go for a week that I have off in November and Belgium was one of the places I really wanted to go. It was always really expensive to get there though. Luckily I just found a ticket on Ryanair for 15 euros! I think from there I'll fly to Florence (6 euros) and then go to Rome as well. I haven't figured out how I'll get back from Rome, but i'm sure it will work out...
Other than that, no new news from France. I'll keep you all posted on how this trip planning goes though.