Picture of the Week

14 April 2017

Week 13: Alicante-Paris-Brussels-Alicante

Filed under: — Administrator @ 07:05

A bit of a whirlwind week, with a four-day trip to Paris and Brussels as the main event, but some local activities at the beginning and at the end of the week as well.

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On Sunday afternoon, I went with the children to have a drink at a beach bar in El Campello. On the way back, we happened upon a large flock of sheep:
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Locking horns:
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Well-endowed:
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On Monday morning I went to the office as usual, but instead of going home in the afternoon, I drove to the airport and flew to Paris for two days of meetings at the OECD.

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I settled into my hotel, and then met up for drinks with some OECD and US government officials. We ended up in this extremely kitschy Buddha Bar near Place de la Concorde:
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My hotel was near the Trocadero from where there is a great view of the Eiffel tower. So on Tuesday morning I got up early and walked there to take in this view:
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Apparently, this is a popular spot for couples to have their engagement portraits taken:
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Then it was time for the business. I spent most of Tuesday and Wednesday inside this building:
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More specifically, in this conference room, attending a meeting of OECD’s Task Force on Countering Illicit Trade, a body devoted to monitoring and coming up with proposals to fight trade in all manner of illegal items, such as protected wildlife, narcotics, counterfeit goods (that is why I was there) and even human trafficking. The people in the room are OECD officials, representatives of OECD member countries and selected other institutions such as the EU office for which I work:
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The people running the meeting–in the middle is David Luna, a US State Department official and chair of the Task Force, and next to him Rolf Alter, the director of the relevant department at the OECD. The guy in the blue tie is the OECD person with whom I work most closely, a Polish economist, Piotr:
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During the break, I photographed Piotr with the Italian delegate to the Task Force:
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The OECD headquarters consists of two buildings–the modern one depicted in the images above, and an older, grand house called simply “The Château” which houses some meeting rooms and the offices of the Secretary-General:
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The main hall:
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One of the grand meeting rooms in the Château:
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In the afternoon, I went for a walk to see how the Eiffel tower would look in the light of the setting sun. Already while walking down Avenue d’Eileau, I could see the tower in the golden light:
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And once I got to Trocadero, the view was indeed magnificent; different from the morning view, but still very nice:
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As in many touristy places, the Trocadero is full of African migrants selling various trinkets:
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And the ubiquitous selfie stick:
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I found a nice watering hole on Place de Mexico, 5 minutes walk from my hotel:
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Globalisation in the good way–Brooklyn beer on tap in the heart of Paris:
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Just a random fun image from the underground passage near Trocadero:
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Later that evening, I had dinner with colleagues at L’Hôtel des Arts et Métiers. This is the French take on steak surrounded by gnocchi:
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After dinner, I had yet another opportunity to photograph the Eiffel tower, this time with the special lighting that is actually protected by copyright:
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On Wednesday we were at the OECD again, and in the early evening we took a high-speed train to Brussels (the 330 km ride takes 1h 20m). This is the last picture in Paris this time around, a new sculpture outside Gare du Nord:
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Thursday morning in Brussels. When I was here in mid-March, I photographed the new memorial to the victims of the March 2016 terrorist attacks, back then still not unveiled. Now it is:
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I actually had time Thursday morning to go to an immigrant neighbourhood in Ixelles to look for a Portuguese cheese my son had asked me to buy. I found a Portuguese grocer where they had the cheese, and I also came across this Polish shop. I found the blend of languages amusing:
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On the way back to the office, I walked past Place Jourdan and Maison Antoine, home of the world’s best fries. Except that the old kiosk was closed, as it is being replaced by a more modern structure:
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However, frites lovers in Brussels can still get their fix, as Maison Antoine has set up a food truck for the duration of the reconstruction of the temple:
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It is early Thursday evening and I am done with my meetings. After changing into something comfortable at the hotel, I went for a walk to enjoy the spring weather. Lots of others were doing the same in nearby Parc Leopold:
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Hopscotch:
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Reflections:
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Anti-bank sticker, near Parc Leopold. It says, in Dutch, “financial flea market, every day from 9 to 5, everywhere”:
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I finished my walk on Place Jourdan, installed myself at an outside table in one of the many bars, and enjoyed life:
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I went for dinner at Schievelavabo, a neighbourhood restaurant a few minutes walk from Place Jourdan. At the end of my dinner, I noticed this man leaving, with his faithful companion. Belgium is different from many other countries. It is common to see dogs in shops, and as here, even in bars and restaurants (although this is less common). I had not noticed the dog at all, he had been quiet under the table throughout:
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On Friday morning I had a 6 a.m. flight back to Alicante, so I had to leave the hotel at 4 a.m. At the airport, I stopped at this small memorial for the people who died there last March:
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One advantage of such a brutally early flight was that I arrived at the office well in time to take part in our customary last-Friday-of-the-month drink at noon:
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The munchies:
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Pouring something strange and bitter:
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Then the weekend arrived. On Saturday, we went for lunch at a restaurant on the beach:
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We started with chipirones:
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We continued with the rice:
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And we finished with this:
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After lunch, Moses and I went to the dog park so he could see the ribbon I put for our late kitty on the pet memorial tree. We happened upon this man and his majestic dog:
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It took a while to locate Taco’s ribbon, but Moses found it eventually:
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My trip to Paris and Brussels meant that I had missed my wife’s birthday on Tuesday, but we threw a party on Saturday night instead:
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Moses talking to one of the guests:
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My friend Lars had arrived from Denmark earlier in the day, which meant, among other things, that I also appear on some of the pictures:
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As usual, Elio took command of the barbecue:
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Nereida and Mariluz share a laugh:
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At the end, the birthday cheesecake appears and the obligatory singing takes place:
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More pictures from Paris and the OECD can be seen here, and from Brussels here.

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