Thursday, August 01, 2013

POSTERITY ::: My old blog description from 2007

Allons-y as I pack my St. Louis bags and head for Lyon, FRANCE to teach and be taught in the classroom of life! Did I mention I'm a Hugenot? There may be drama, there may be culture shock, but most importantly, there will be dancing - so I'm good.

No one in Europe wears cowboy boots.

I spent the last day marching around Paris. (are you checking my instagrams?? Eventually I'll figure out a way to get all my europe stuff to go to all my platforms -- ok enough techspeak, you're in europe lori! Talk about architecture and culture already!) I must've walked 10 miles all over - louvre, pont neuf, tuleries, sacre coeur, belleville, and an old church, also Notre Dame), but hey, I'm sortof uniquely qualified for that. I love a long walk through a town. Taking it to the streets makes me feel like I'm a person who lives in town and I'm just like, trying to get somewhere.  I could walk 20 miles and not really notice. I climbed up to the Sacre Coeur, too. Yeah, I'm bragging. I have leg fitness, I'm proud.

In other news, there's a lot of macho culture here in Paris. Lots of dudes want to tell me how beautiful I am and generally it makes me feel skeeved out. It's not like Maurice Chevalier dancing around a lightpost kinda stuff. Calm it down dudes, it's annoying! And with that, I will stop complaining. I like how provocative my shoes are though. They may as well be space boots. Some teenagers mustered up the english skills to ask me if I was a cowboy, and i relished the opportunity to sass right back at them, "No, are you?" - of course now I can think of a million other funnier things to say to these dudes, but I did ok, and in french!

I am loving all the french people crowded outside drinking a beer and having intense conversations - in cafes and on canals - it is a pastime that I really vibed with when I lived here, and I miss opportunities for that in my everyday american life - partly b/c i don't try hard enough, partly because I dont' really like being that deep all the time and partly because there are like 90% more places to drink a beer and look intellectual but actually be talking about like, cheese or shampoo or something in France. Ambiance is key.

I can't wait to go back to Lyon and get a Biere au Peche - just sharing that with you. I'm so happy to be returning to Lyon and to my fav family, the Calderos. They are angels. We're going to sing ray charles all night and talk about Quentin Tarantino. OMG i can't wait. It's like they were sent to me from heaven, I can't even.

I don't know if many of you who know me have witnessed it, but I am crazy good at speaking french. It's almost like the time away from speaking it has made me better? Maybe I just don't care now that I'm an older lady and I'm less judgmental of myself, & I just wanna talk. I JUST WANNA TALK! I have also noticed how much I have forgotten how to speak italian and spanish. I never forget french, i guess I take it for granted that i'm 900% better at chatting in french because of some fortuitous timing and some abroad trips early in my foreign language development moments.

So, my walk through paris yesterday was lovely, my hostel has wifi so I can work and take skype calls and generally have my own mini coworking space and I can stay in touch with my clients, i just wrote a lot of postcards, I found the perfect shoulder bag for travelling and I'm reading the Happiness Project and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas! (liking them both...they're kindof complimentary).

European cities are so pleasantly accomodating to tourism, it really really really is inspiring me to keep up the prep to launch - I could be the Rick Steves of AMERICA! The prospect of even trying fills me with bubbles of hope for the future. PS Rick Steves is awesome. Just don't bother with any other european travel dude. He has such a lighthearted attitude. He is my guru.

I catch the train for Geneva in a few hours, where I'll spend the night with my college pal Katie (yay, friends!) and we're getting picked up by my college friend Chann and we're driving to a wedding! THE wedding. The reason I got my ticket and am taking this ride. I'm already getting sentimental about this wedding, I wish I'd brought waterproof mascara! It's gonna be a weeper.

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I was thinking about how I was going to keep track of all the whatevers that are going to be happening on my 2013 trip to Europe (last time I updated this was 6 years ago, on my last trip) and I thought what better idea than to re-open Fleur de Lori!

Woo! Check here for daily updates for all your Lori travel centric needs.

I leave tomorrow and I gotta finish packing!
I'll probably blog again from JFK tomorrow!

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Updates coming soon

Realizing that I just didn't cover some countries, I'm going to be revisiting the back of my mind to fill you all in on the going's on of almost a year ago. Whoa.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Spain is the perfect place to end one´s country hopping

Especially before returning to france to ride my bike by rivers and eat like, au gratin potatoes and other regional specialties.

But as for Granada .... It´s so hot here! It feels super super nice, the real heat.
Its pretty dry, its sortof crazy. There are at least 4 hammocks in my hostel´s garden courtyard. Legit.

This one gypsy -- after he tole me I was ¨juapa¨--- and invited me to dance or something, saying:

¨there´s flamenco in the mountains--- in caves¨

It was pretty much the most creepy/awesome thing ever said to me, and I was in a good mood bc his friend was a good flamenco singer dude, and I was getting some sun (If i haven´t told you before, I think I´m photosynthetic a little). Still, I was like, yeah, no thanks.... as much as I love flamenco, I´m going to wait until I know spanish, and kung fu, to come to dance flamenco in the mountains.

Actually, I should probably also learn flamenco. Spain´s existance will be a nice inspiration for me to pursue hobbies I had already intended to pick up. I can pretty much fake all the aforementioned things, but that´s just not the same as acutally knowing how to do stuff.

When I was having dinner with the Calderos, who are awesome (and who my friend Julia .. who I´ve known since I was 0-- is going to meet) I mentioned that sure, I´d figured out what I wanted to do, career-wise, but I thought I´d like to learn computer programming or something, too.... and Phillipe, Mr. Caldero to...well to pretty much no one (maybe his math students) said, ¨Lori, you must decide!¨

But I know he was kidding, since he´s a mathematician that likes to play David Bowie on his piano, and was in a one hit wonder band in Martinique in the 80s.

PS Becca helped me to figure out that I probably have some Black Irish ancestors (I´m thinking paternal grandmother) ... which would really really explain why most europeans I meet - when I ask them ¨what¨I look like, since I don´t really know - say....hmmm, you have a very latin face. Its the black irish! Spanish invaders in Ireland! This is why someone at the Methodist Church in kirkwood asked me if I was from South America! It would alsol explain why my dad looks sortof Spanish, especially in my family pictures from when we are young and bouncy blonde german lookin´kids! It really has unfurrowed my brow a great deal, this insight.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Argentina - best restaurant owner Vernazza!!

Blythe and I, being naturals at the whole "lets take 7 hours to eat dinner" thing that Italy seemed to have going for it, of course were the last ones to leave Volterra's best restaruant, whose name I have forgotten.
However, if you go there, just ask whoever you're staying with where to find Arge's (short for Argentina) place, and they'll probably know exactly where to find her, and heck, they will probably be related to her, b/c the town is rather tiny.

Arge, generous broken italian interpreter exemplaire, spoke to us about her name, her game and her love of restaruant owning. She is all about just chatting away for no good reason other than the best reason - just because. We spoke to her in english/italian, but by this time of the trip/night/wine bottle I was pretty confident in my italian speaking, and probably even ventured outside of the present tense a few times, hey-o.

The Precioius Georgian Couple were seated in the corner, and slightly impressed with our speaking italian, but my favorite Precious Georgian Couple moment was yet to come. Of course, the Precious Georgian Lady, PGL, had already asked us if we had boyfriends, so she knew we were single ladies (shock!) travelling. Being a true PGL, she was on the lookout for us at dinner, and made sure we knew that the Germans dressed as Fiddler on the Roof Chorus members (who were travelling around the Continent fixing people's roofs, as per some tradition -- they also had a cool walking stick) were "lookeein at y'all!" And then she did a little flapper-esque dance to show that we were single, they were single, hey! It was pretty hilarious.

Anyway, Arge ruled, and my anchovy pie ruled (it was quite inTENSE, but I tried to eat it) And my coffee had foam that looked like italy. It was another night of just chillin' with random people.

Blythe goes medieval

Blythe goes medieval
Originally uploaded by lolololori.
Earlier that day, Blythe and I decided to go on a crazy hike, b/c that's what you do in Cinqueterre. Blythe had heard that the paths were dangerous, so I was anxious to find out if they were "don't go there when you're drunk b/c you'll fall into the sea" or "roving bandits" type of dangerous.

I think it was the former, b/c I only saw not-quite-open, but awesome-looking cliffside restaurants, and a lot of fun trees to climb (not to mention crazy hiking germans with walking sticks).

Anyway, it was a killer hike - I was really feelin' the nature and it was also somewhat strenuous and painful, but in a good way. The views were crazy, and I only almost fell down once. It was a little misty/hazy for our hike, but that didn't realy affect much - if anything it kept it nice and cool&breezy. We hiked to Corniglia, and I wanted to go further, but part of the trail further had fallen into the ocean, and well, we were hangry and tired so the train we took back to Volterra to have dinner.

Dinner was quite an affair, what with Argentina, the best restauranteuse ever, The Precious Georgian Couple, and some Germans dressed up like chorus members of Fiddler on the Roof -- and some crazy Volterrian specialty that was like an anchovy pizza thing.

Cinque Terre - 5 lands of fun

cool relic from WWII!
Originally uploaded by lolololori.
After a train ride from Pisa (where we took pictures of everyone pretending to be holding it up, and where we were, like many people, unimpressed with Pisa Proper), we were not sure if we were headed to La Spezia, last stop before going to cinque terre.

So we stayed in a nice hotel rom in La Spezia, watched music videos and generally fell asleep, as we were more tired than either or us wanted to admit.

We wake up, and after the supremely unhelpful train attendants helped us not at all, we had a sandwich and went to one of the 5 cities. We sat around, watch the children play, and decided to go to Volterra (I think) to find a room.

We waded through the cats (so many cats in a fishing village) to find a "camera" and I rang a bell. Suddenly all the windows nearby open and these kind, dried-apple old ladies start waving in every which direction. At last Martina, a younger local, shows us up to her rooms, which are lovely, and smell of saltwater and beachiness. Its great!

I don't remember if we ate in that night or what, but the night we we did go out, we wentdown to where the fishermen in safety orange were having a coffee (so much coffee to be had) and met a swell couple from Georgia, with whom we shared a few words and they helped us figure out where to eat later on that evening. They were awesomely Georgian, and in their southernly way told us about some american who was living with an italian who makes stone fortress/condos/hotel rooms up on the hill and how respected he is buy the community and how his american girlfriend has a baby that her parents havn't even seen. (Secret hidden implication -- they're NOT MARRIED!!! How does that even happen to people?)

Anyway, they were precious as precious can be, and a most excellent travelin' Southern couple.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

San Gimangniano days, Siena nights

Stretchin near San Gimangniano
Originally uploaded by lolololori.
Ok, so we went to San Gimigniano (sic?).

It was the town in Tea with Mussolini where, if you will journey back with me a bit, Judy "the" Dench ties herself and her cute dog to a bomb that the Germans were going to set off on one of the towers b/c she can do that sort of thing b/c she is The Dench. (to me, at least)

So we went and I am a genius, so I accidentally got us INTO the city in Jimmy (who, you should know by now, is our car) and probably drove around on a sidewalk for a bit, doing an Austin Powers-esque U turn on that sidewalk, much to the bepuzzlement of a nice old lady and her daughter carrying some groceries. OOops!

We found parking, where you see miss blythe, stretching (due to our miles long quest to re-find Jimmy, we had to walk a lot, and needed a stretch --- you would, too), and we set off. We saw towers, and we saw olive trees, and I made blythe climb to the top of a lot of stairs a few times. I supposed Austin is not as hilly as Lyon, so I am more thrilled by the prospect of a good stair climb to chill in some monk garden on a hill than she. But we did it, and together.

We were going to hit up a winery just northeast, but decided that we'd rather go get ready for dinner and go to sienna to beging hte 6 hour process of eating.

We park Jimmy next to the Insane Asylum/hospital, since that's the easiest place to RE-find, and set off to wander around (it was walking hour) and to find a place for a prosecco and some munchies. We finally, in all our hangriness (hunger induced anger/moodiness = hanger) decided upon Miami Cafe, and despite its lame name, was cool and local and had some nice little square pizza things that were amazing.

Done with our aperitivo, the great trattoria search began. Why not try BEHIND the big old building in the middle of the palio, we think?

We think right.

The trattoria we go to has books and other totally random stuff lining the walls, and 4 big tables, where they'd sit one couple on one side, and another on another side.

I don't remember what we got - i do remember that the dessert was strangely lemon/lime/merengue/licorice/? tasting, but actually it was a nice finish to things. I was a little concerned that we had an american couple next to us from like, Ohio or something ("crap, we chose a touristy place, this couple does not look cool" = my inner monologue), but luckily they were not awesome like us and only stayed 2 hours (I think we stayed like 5, to be honest, i love eating in Italy) making room for the best table-sharers ever, Gaia and her Husband of German/Austrian Descent! (never caught his name).

Blythe and I were having, as one does, wine fueled and firey conversatoins about life and such, and since its italy, we could be pretty loud and no one would notice b/c italians talk CRAZY loud.

Our table-sharers were nice enough to inquire where we were from, and talk about this and that, and I played the "i speak incredibly broken, but believably earnest italian" and blythe played some other card I probably didn't see and next thing you know it, we are all best friends. !

Gaia had been coming to this place for ages - she said she took her first date here, and now she was taking her husband, so it was super cool for her. Her lovely husband was nice enough to indulge us in some of his (probably way more expensive than our) wine, and it was all lovely, and we all got to try it and then make faces of approval. Gaia was buddies with the owner/head waiter, so he came to sit with us and talk about life. Blythe and the husband and the owner talked about WWII's effect on Italy vs. Germany, and about how Israel isn't necessarily always the good guy just b/c their Israel...blythe got snaps for her international/"person with a brain who uses it" perspective, I'm sure.

Meanwhile, me and Gaia were talking about how you can't stress yourself out too young, and one must travel and learn languages so that you can really live when you are the righ tage to really live. Something like that. it sounded really Profound and True in italian. I really liked speaking italian with Gaia, she was wonderful about correcting me in a very helpful way, and she is now my inspiration to learn Spanish and German. Ha, that reminds me, she was like, Oh, the german people, you must study! So fascinating a people, blah blah. I loved Gaia and her husband.

Mr. Gaia didn't like the strange yellow wine the owner brought out, and when he was away, Mr. Gaia would scoff silently to the girls, saying, "it tastes like Llamma (or some such ridiculous animal) piss." To that Gaia would scoff back at her awesomely drunk husband, and it was just sortof great. Oh man, it was a planetary allignment indeed. All from just STAYING where we were, ready to welcome whatever would be happening. I mean the food itself was worth the rest, but the people too? Wow.

We took a picture together (Gaia, Me and Blythe) at my urging, and being all wined up and whatnot, all the ladies were happy to oblige. Mr. Gaia was ready to give the stage to the ladies, so he's only narrowly in the shot. I was able to email Gaia (cool name, sidenote) the photo, and she emailed us photos of her kids at halloween (they were all dressed up as a famly of pirates!) and her and Mr. Gaia on vacation.

Real friends! I love it! Just thinking about it makes my heart want to tap dance.

Anyway, after reluctantly saying goodbye - closing town the trattoria about 2 hours after everyone else was gone.

It turns out Gaia's father, still a college professor and a writer at like, 90, invented the xray or brought it to Italy, or something totally ridiculous like that. Blythe did a good job of having a real or affected clue about that. I did a good job of being wowed, and talking about how I can't wait to be old and sprightly and wise and have birthday cakes with lots of candles.

After Gaia and her man walked off into the siena streets, blythe and I decided to roll around on the Campo in glee, b/c really there is no other way to express glee, especially not that late at night.

On our way back we ran into some youths, one of whom tried to charm us by telling us his american girlfriend had just broken up with him, so like, he neede comfort, and he had roses for us (Mine's pressed in some book now)....the best part was that the girl of the group kept on telling them that they were full of crap and that their crap would not work on these smart lookin' girls. Well she was right, and it was fun to say goodbye to them, and as we walked away, the "charming" one was nice enough to sing me a little song across tha campo that went a little something like this, "Loooooooooorrriiiiiiiiii."

A good song, but an even better night.


DirtyCoast is cooler than StL-Style

I hate to say it, but is way cooler than her sista up the riva,

I am really loving their Crawfish (known to Me as a crawDAD) ...crawSOMETHING shirt. Its cool, and I want to get it for my dad, so he can again be accidentally cool.

Why!? I hope they really use the "everyone loves a good tshirt" (hello Threadless) to the advantage of St. Louis at large, b/c i think they totally could. Why NOT?! New Orleans makes me jealous.

I love the revolving flash banner thing, (Look at the smorgasboarrd over there on the right) whose image changes faster than I change my mind about whether I like StL or NOLA more, and I love the "Be Hot, Be Local" tagline bigtime. I know of quite a few Stlsters who'd be pretty enthused to banner themselves up, not to mention to be hot and local.

Plus Mr. DirtyCoast gave me a nice list of NOLA blogs to read - that was rather kind of him.

StLStyle, you could be such a force for good, and you already are, a little.
Fry the big (craw)fish, already! I just don't think its possible to start up another tshirt company, create dissent, etc... in a town that needs all the unity it could get.

There are at least 20 local foods/traditions/whatever that, with a good design and a clever little somethin', would look nice on anyone's chest.


Indiana Jones, and the Lost Blogpost of Glory

February Vacation
Originally uploaded by lolololori.
Ok, fine, I promised I'd write more about Italy, and I'm feeling sufficiently content to write it. Expect many sequels (maybe starring Sean Connery! hm, nah)

It's sunny here in Lyon, and I've already had one vacation after the Italy one, and am set to enjoy yet anouther sejour in May. More people should be burdened with such overabundance! As I pack my things to go home, I can't help but feel a little bit of guilt that I have nothing really to give back as gifts to all the people who'd like a little piece of Europe. I do have some rocks. From the Italian Riviera. But still, I'm supposin' that the only way I can give back is to write about all the lovely moments of my trip.

I'm also anticipating sitting at some table in the land of the free (home of the brave) and having to answer the question, "So Lori, how was your trip?"

So its a preparation for me, and a blog for you! Hurrah, it all evens out in the end.

I realize that I have not told you about Siena! Oh Siena, thank heaven for you - you were all you were supposed to be! It's so nice when your expectations are met and exceeded - it is so nice!

Blythe and I arrived at our lovely hostel Fattoria di Something Wonderful, and our lovely host Bernice praised Jimmy the Splint, our specTACular smartcar, and welcomed us into her totally amazing farmhouse. There were even garages for the tractors and whatnot, and the next day at breakfast blythe and I spotted what could only have been Bernice's dad trimming the bushes in their totally glorious garden.

The first night we went to Siena, and found probably the only restaurant open after wandering around in circles, getting kissed at by boys, and walking around at "Italian Walking Around Your City" hour, which is 6. Seriuosly, everyone goes on a walk at 6.

So we walked. I bought the green scarf you may or may not be seeing in all my pictures hence. We found the restaurant, and despite its seeming to have a "west Indies" theme, had some pretty awesome Pecorino cheese appetizer, with some sort of jelly made of heaven to go with it. I believe blythe got some sort of ravioli that blew her mind, and I got the traditional big cylinder spaghetti (the kind that looks like the noodles I made in my Play-Doh press back in the day, snaps to mom for buying me that, b/c i LOVED IT). It was delish, and the house wine was of course amazing as it probably came from the hill over there.

After a little wine and song (and searching for non-existant bars that are open late) we wandered into the suburbs for an hour, only to wander somewhere else, and eventually find Jimmy the Splint, our trusty smart car and drive home. The medieval street plan must have been devised to confuse invaders to death, as we were just that. Were it not for the loving arms of our Smartcar, Jimmy, we might've died of the stress of it all. Luckily Siena is powerfully serene and awesome, so actually we were fine, just tired and confused.

Next day, SanGimigniano!

To those I'm about to link to,

I salute you!

I've only recently clued-in to the fact that whenever I link to anyone, either here or on my wiki , I may end up with an email from that person, however far away they seem. This is almost always a super cool and uplifting sort of thing (what's better than a few comments from a semi-random person you admire, or an email of snaps for a book i had listed in my Favorite Books on my profile). I really like linking to people/things in my blog (have ya noticed?) and well, I'm going to keep on linkin' onto others' sites, b/c its the frickin' interNET, yo!

I liken owning the fact that those who i link to probs will find me on their reference page (first time that happened, it was with my Boss - and it was sortof funny/awesome) and be like, "hm", to owning the fact that if I say hi to people on the street, they may also go, "hm."

Seems to me that the kind of peolpe who have reference pages, blogs, etc... are the kind of people that wouldn't go "Hm," but would probably go more like, "hey!" or even "right back atcha!" and that is just nice. The internet can be so wonderful.

Saturday, April 14, 2007

Mr. V

Kurt Vonnegut died.

I'm sad about that.