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elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: Let the River Run..........

on Fri, 02/17/2012 - 09:41

Lots of our work at the Untours Foundation is about clean water.  And what about those of us in the Global North, who have plenty of water? (I do realize that more and more of us in the North don't in fact have enough!) What can we do to help the problem in addition to using less water and giving money toward clean water projects? Harvest our rain water.

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Riesling

on Thu, 02/16/2012 - 09:34

With its award-winning cuisine and fairy tale villages, Alsace is probably the best place you've never been to in France. Staying in Alsace keeps Strasbourg (official seat of the European Parliament) and Germany's Black Forest only an hour's drive away, while you're also in close proximity to Mulhouse, the town in France with the second highest concentration of museums.

mtaussig's picture

Culture clue: "esprit de l'escalier" and other untranslatable moments.

on Wed, 02/15/2012 - 09:41

Esprit de l'escalier: literally translated, it means 'the spirit of the staircase'. Rheingold translates its fuller meaning as 'the clever remark that comes to mind when it is too late to utter it.' And haven't we all had one of those moments?! "Oh, man!" we say, "If I'd only thought of that then!"

nickfortunatus's picture

How to Get Around Paris by Bus

on Tue, 02/14/2012 - 10:26

When planning today's blog post about getting around Paris by bus, Dodge Amaral (our resident Paris Expert) shared this piece he received a few years ago from longtime Untourist Judith Wagner. She writes of a trip to Paris with her mother and how taking the buses gave her a much more Parisian experience. Enjoy!

When my mother and I returned to Paris, we knew we needed an alternate local transportation system because the Metro steps were impossible for her to navigate and we both disliked the often-crowded environment and constant need to look out for pickpockets we had experienced on previous trips.  What we didn’t anticipate was how much richer the experience would be because we used the buses.  This was largely due to the fact that tourists rarely ride the buses, and therefore you sit with your Parisian neighbors on the bus.

mtaussig's picture

Untourist of the week: Ron Redman

on Mon, 02/13/2012 - 10:48

Albert came by several times during our stay in the Riesling apartment, and brought wine and fresh produce from his garden. Then one morning he asked if we would like to go with him to his farm nearby. It was a beautiful sunny morning and he hitched a wagon to the back of his tractor and arranged a couple of chairs in there and off we went. The route to his farm took us through the middle of Bergheim over cobblestone streets. The locals seemed to enjoy seeing us on the wagon and waved to us enthusiastically!

elizabeth.killough's picture

Foundation Fridays: A Fan Club Member Speaks Up

on Fri, 02/10/2012 - 09:50

When I joined Hal at the Untours Foundation a number of years ago, I read my way through the filing cabinets as part of my personal orientation program. One of the surprises was the following letter from a friend and fan of Hal's.

"Dear Hal,

I am writing to let you know that you now rank in my 'Top Ten Most Influential People of My Life' list. Along with the notoriety of this dubious distinction comes a substantial cash grant (enclosed), which can be used for anything you see fit. This recognition is non-transferable. So you're stuck with it.

Others on the list are: 1.) My mother, 2.) father, 3.) wife, 4.) stepdaughter, 5) daughter, 6.) Cheri Honkala of the Kensington Welfare Rights Union, 7.) Harvey Finkle 8.) Malcolm X, and 9.) Daniel Ellsberg (Richard M. Nixon was bumped to make room for you)."

nickfortunatus's picture

Untours Featured Property: Gamet

on Thu, 02/09/2012 - 10:46

If you've ever wondered what all the fuss was about with Peter Mayle's A Year in Provence, well, you just need to go to Provence. Of course, there's the renowned wine, the beautiful lavender and the ancient terracotta walls. To get a more in-depth view of Provence, head to the Pernes-Les-Fontaines section and stay in our Gamet apartment.

As you may have guessed from its name, Pernes-Les-Fontaines is filled with fountains

mtaussig's picture

The Gallic Shrug

on Wed, 02/08/2012 - 10:43

It may be true what they say: "In Europe, one speaks with one's hands and feet!" and it is certainly true in the gestures that accompany the beautiful French language. Of all the gestures, one has its own name: the Gallic shrug. It gets our vote for one of the most versatile and subtle ways that the French tell you, without words, what's going on.

nickfortunatus's picture

Paris Just Feels Right

on Tue, 02/07/2012 - 10:27

"The first time I went to Paris, I was barely out of college. I graduated on May 21 and was at Montreal's international airport on May 22 to head out for a 5-week backpacking tour of Western Europe.

At that point in my life, I naïvely wanted to see as much as humanly possible in those 5 weeks. I wasn't sure when (or if) I'd ever make it back to Europe so my plan was to just check things off my list.

mtaussig's picture

Untourist of the Week: Bill Parnell

on Mon, 02/06/2012 - 10:36

Our first night back in Paris, we decided "Frog Legs" would be fine. So off to a restaurant on Rue Mouffetard we went and when we entered the restaurant, the owner came running to us and said "I haven't seen you in a long time!" We explained that we were in the States and had just returned. She said, "The Madame drinks champagne and you, Monsieur, drink a Kir, is that correct?" It was placed on the table we had in prior years.

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