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WordCamp Paris!

This past weekend, I went to Paris for WordCamp. I was lucky enough to have found a very nice AirB&B in le Marais neighbourhood, in the 4th arrondisment, really close to Hôtel-de-Ville metro station. The area was beautiful, with all the really old architecture, the little shops, cafés and bars, and the Seine close by. It was cold, though, between -5 to +5 degrees Celsius the whole time I was there. I know, I know, a Montrealer complaining about -5 weather? It felt colder than that, though, because it was also very humid, so it felt like the cold was just getting into my bones sometimes. It was also grey and cloudy for most of my time there, except for my very last day, when I explored the city. Before I get to that, let’s talk about WordCamp!

WordCamp Paris was on Friday and Saturday, in 2 different venues. On Friday, I saw a few talks, in the morning, but the jetlag unfortunately hit me quite hard and I left before the day was done, as I was having  hard time staying fully alert for all the talks. I did do a quick stint at the Happiness Bar before leaving, though! Saturday was billed more as a “workshop” day and was the day I was scheduled to talk, so I gave a quick overview talk on Jetpack and then answered people’s questions about it for the rest of my allotted time. I had hoped that I would also get the chance to perform some in-person Happiness Engineering, but no-one had any burning problems (which is a good thing, I guess!). Here are my slides that used for the overview (note the gratuitous use of Metro maps and images):

The best part of the whole WordCamp experience, however, was meeting so many kind, intelligent and motivated people, all wanting to learn about and share their knowledge about WordPress and the web. I was particularly pleased to meet someone I had been following for years, Ozh Richard, the creator of yourls and co-author of Professional WordPress Development:

Can you believe it was his first WordCamp? I think he got bit by the WordCamp bug now, though, and I hope to see him speak again. I had a lot of fun talking to him about his previous visit to Québec, and shared with him my insights on Québec swearing. Look at how pleased I am! :D

Finally, Sunday was my last day, and the day I took to explore. I walked all day, for about 7 hours all told, with stops at the Pont Neuf, the Jardins des Tuileries, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Eiffel Tower. Then, a quick hop on the metro all the way to Bastille stop, and a tour of Place de Voges. I really wanted to stop and have a coffee at Café Hugo, but it was completely packed with not a seat available anywhere, so I left disappointed. In any case, it was a a fun day, and I was especially lucky that the sun came fully out from behind the clouds once I’d reached the Eiffel Tower. Lots of pictures after the jump!

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Just a few books on Paris!

I’m going to WordCamp Paris!

I am really exicted about this. I submitted a workshop on Jetpack for WordCamp Paris, and it was accepted! I will only be there for four days, one of which will be a jetlag day and two of which will be full of WordCamp goodness, so I elected to stay one extra day to walk around for as many hours as I can and see as much of the city as possible in one day (and of course, have a few pastries and glasses of wine along the way). Oddly enough, a few weeks before I even considered applying to speak there, I read How Paris Became Paris:

which was a fascinating look at the history of things like urban parks, sidewalks, the Pont Neuf, the Place Royale (now known as the Place des Voges), and other aspects of Parisian urban history. And now I’ll get to see these places in person! I even found a nice Airbnb in Le Marais neighborhood, close to Île St-Louis and Île de la Cité and all the other things I read about in that book. I can’t wait!

So, of course I did what I usually do before going someplace new: I took out a bunch of books from the library:

Just a few books on Paris!

Just a few books on Paris!

and I have extensively studied the metro and public transit maps that my friend Miguel gave me:

Le métro!

I already have my route mapped out from CDG: I’m taking the train!

Needless to say, I’m exicted! Of course, with only one full day in which to really walk around and explore, I can’t sacrifice any time to wait in line to go into any museums so (no Louvre this time), but my boys really want me to go visit the Eiffel Tower, so I hope the weather will be nice and that I’ll have a great view from the top. I’m going to try to do something like this itinerary, which will guarantee exhaustion by the end of the day!

For any of you who have been to Paris, I have a few questions:

  1. Where do I definitely need to eat (especially in the Marais area)?
  2. Which alcoholic beverage should I bring back, that I can’t find easily in Montreal?
  3. Last but not least, is there any particular noteworthy metro station that I should visit?
Stuffed Cherry Peppers in Olive Oil

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

A couple of weeks ago, I made some cherry peppers stuffed with tuna, anchovies and capers. It was actually pretty easy to do. The hardest part was dropping them in the jar without emptying out their contents. Next time, I’ll make the opening smaller.

Stuffed Cherry Peppers

  • Time: 20mins
  • Difficulty: easy
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Ingredients:

  • Cherry peppers (also know as Pimientos)
  • Capers, rinsed
  • Tuna
  • Anchovies
  • Vinegar
  • A touch of salt
  • Olive Oil

Directions:

  1. Cut out the stem and seeds from the peppers.
  2. Boil some water and with a bit of vinegar and salt.
  3. Dip the peppers in the boiling water for a couple of minutes.
  4. Take them out of the water, them lay them on some kitchen paper for a few hours to dry.
  5. Once dry, stuff them with capers and/or anchovies and/or tuna. I added some salt and pepper to the tuna as well.
  6. Store them in a jar with olive oil in the fridge.

They are quite salty because of the capers and anchovies so I can only really eat one or two at a sitting, along with some bread. I find that they are getting better with age, though. Since I didn’t properly sterilize the jar (I just boiled it for a few minutes) I will try to finish them soon, but I’m sure that if the jar was air-tight and sterilized, it could keep for months.

Tasty Peppers

Mass Transit T-Shirts

A couple of weeks ago, I had a Twitter conversation with a fellow Mass Transit geek about maps on t-shirts. It all started with this tweet:

Don’t those shirts look awesome?

Sara kindly shared with me a few links to other transit-themed shirts that she’d found online:

There are also lots of places where you can find unofficial shirts. Sadly, Mexico City and Montreal do not have official merchandise, but it’s easy enough to find cheap t-shirts in Mexico City.

I think I need to augment my metro map collection with t-shirts, just like Sara. Do you have any links to official merchandise stores? If so, share them in the comments!

Bonus:

Sara also has metro map mugs!