Posts Tagged With: Architecture

An Archangel Burns a Hole in a Skull and Malo Isn’t really Bad at All

The morning was uneventful which is okay by me since the rest of the  day (and this post) is going to be jam-packed with visual delight.

We are renting (“hiring” in Aussie and Brit talk) a car and heading out to the coast.  Our first stop will be Mont Saint Michel.  I’m a bit nervous about the drive.  French drivers are really good but drive at lightning speeds.  Fortunately I won’t be driving.  Dean has bought a GPS for our journey so we won’t be getting lost either.  We don’t have much of a route set up. We are traveling, as always, waiting where the winds – in this case the wheels – will take us.  I like it that way though at times setting up good accommodations requires a bit of knowing our itinerary ahead of time.

I cross the street to buy some croissants and milk and coffee for the road. And we are off.

It’s a two-hour ride to Mont Saint Michel and it just flies by.  Before we know it we are approaching the very familiar site of Mont Saint Michel.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island As we get closer the little spots I see in the distance turn into munching cows that concentrate solely on eating and disregard the island behind them.  They create a perfect photo-op that I can’t let pass by.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island, cows  We park the Renault (which curiously enough has not been named by us) and take a shuttle bus Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, bienvenue, bienvenidos that takes us closer to the entrance and then walk to the island which is linked by a causeway, which makes it technically not an island any more.  A fact that does not deter from its beauty and impressiveness.Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  There’s a medieval town on the mount with its expected winds and turns and narrowness.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, medieval town  The hoards of tourists remind me that this has been, through the ages, one of the top pilgrimage sites for Christians.  The abundance of souvenir shops Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, souvenirs lining the quaint (and exercise inducing) steep streets may make you forget that this place has much history, dating from when years didn’t have four numbers.  It also has a peculiar history.  It is said that before the abbey that’s on it was built in the 8th century, the Archangel Michael appeared to St. Aubert, bishop of Avranches, in 708 and instructed him to build a church. Seems that Aubert ignored the archangel so Michael burned a hole in the bishop’s skull with his finger.  The abbey was built afterwards.  First there is a little chapel we visit.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, chapel  And then onwards towards the abbey. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, Mont Saint Michel Abbey

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, souvenirs  The abbey is built on the islet’s top point so it’s a bit of a climb. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, church  It has a gothic feel to it.  The church Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island is more austere Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, church than any of the other churches we have visited but if it doesn’t quite match the beauty of the others it holds its own by just where it is situated.   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island   Before heading back in I am fascinated by how large the seagulls Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds are around here. Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, seagulls, birds  And how privileged they are to fly so high and have such an amazing place to land.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel  Once my eyes get unglued from the birds and the view, my imagination takes flight.  I can almost see the robed monks going from one side of the abbey to the other through this bridge.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, bridge  And going about their chores around water source which has the largest faucet I’ve ever seen.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, water, faucet  We go back inside to explore how the monks lived.  I like the simplicity and solidness of it all.   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island   Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island  As usual, I am distracted by a window with a soft view of the outside.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, window, stained glass  But I concentrate on my steps in the inside for it is dark and a gentleman going down the steps has fallen.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, hallway

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, Archangel Michael, psychopomp, archangel   I encounter the Archangel Michael in the basement.  He is a plaster replica of the one that is on top of the spire and he is the one I mentioned earlier who burned a hole in the bishop’s skull.  I certainly would do as ordered!  He is also a psychopomp – which I wouldn’t mention except for the fact that the name made me giggle – though the responsibilities of one are quite serious.  He leads the dead and weighs souls (didn’t know souls had weight) on the day of judgment and is often presented with a balance in the scenes of the Last Judgment. I would definitely want this guy on my side!!

It isn’t a sunny day but it almost enhances the feeling of going back in time.  The view, with the tides low around the mount, is a bit surreal.

Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel  Another unique feature of Mont Saint Michel is that the bay around it has the highest tidal variations in all of Europe.  At low tide the Mont is surrounded by sand.  At high tide the water comes in at an astonishing speed, compared to a galloping horse.  In fact, Wikitravel has a warning that says that it is not unheard of for tourists to die after being cut-off by the tide if not crossing through the causeway.  It must be quite a sight but we didn’t stay for we were headed to Saint Malo.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, tides I, quite the contrarian, have to look up as we are going down.  A door caught my attention and reminded me that this place was also used as a prison.  What a history!  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, door  As we descend the many steps we pass The Mere Poulard which cooks its famous mega omelettes on an open fire.  I was sorry I wasn’t hungry enough to eat there.  They looked really good, served in a really great setting.  But I am glad I didn’t for the reviews on yelp were pretty bad and at 28 to 60 Euros an omelette it would have been quite disappointing to not have an extraordinary meal.  Normandy, France,  pilgrimage, abbey, island, tides, Mont Saint Michel, La Mere Poulard, omelettes, restaurant  One look back.Normandy, France, pilgrimage, abbey, island, causeway

And we leave.  Mont Saint Michel, car park, Normandy, France  The Renault is waiting for us.  Mont Saint Michel, car park, Normandy, France  We have already paid for our ticket so Saint Malo here we come!

Saint Malo was recommended by a travel group I belong to, The Travelzine.  They said the walled city was lively and a good base to explore the area. We are not staying there (more on that later) but I am fascinated by walled cities and we figured it would be a good place to have dinner before we on to the farm.  We enter the narrow streets of the walled town and are at a loss to where to park.  A delivery van is blocking the street in front of us so I get out and ask him where to park.  He tells me to follow him and takes us to a municipal parking lot (car park for my Aussie and Brit readers) right next to the water and marina.  We cross the street to the city itself entering it through the Saint Thomas Gate.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  We are rewarded with beautiful views as we climb the steps to walk the wall that surrounds the city.

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

I’ll just be quiet now, for the view captivates me and hopefully captivates you as well.

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Malo.  Malo in Spanish means “bad” or “mean”.  This “malo” is good!!!

Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled cityThere’s a lookout point that has a telescope which points into the direction of areas I have some connection with.  The Falklands (Malvinas to the Argentinians and from where a lot of my friends are).Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Rio de Janeiro, where I lived for 4 years. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city Quebec, where two children of a family I considered my own live, one of them who I taught to drive.

A pool on the side of the sea that reminds me of Australia, a country I have learned to love because of who I love.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  It’s not that warm outside but there are people enjoying it, diving from the board.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city The city was not only walled but well protected. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city  I loved the city but later Brittany locals (the region the town is located in) would tell me that they consider it a “sad” town mainly due to its history and the fact that it is walled in.

Hunger strikes me and Dean knows me well enough to get me into a restaurant fast before I get cranky. 🙂 So we dive into Le Lion D’Or.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, restaurant in Saint Malo, I’m glad we did cause it had great reviews on Tripadvisor and I would add mine to them.  I had a really great huge plate of mussels that was delicious though the mussels were small and could not compare in size to the Tasmanian mussels a friend and I had at the Sydney fish market, though they were matched in taste. Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, restaurant in Saint Malo, The city is on the coast after all so I was counting on good seafood.  Saint Thomas Gate, Brittany, France, port city, walled city, marina, boats

Once we retrieve the car we are on our way to another real adventure… which I will tell you all about tomorrow!

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A Market That Was Not, And Everything Else That Was

I’m going to the market. Not a mentionable fact except that the owner texted us saying that Place des Lices is a well-known market. People come from all over the area to it.  I am one that loves markets so, needless to say, I am not missing this one.  Dean is.  I head out alone.  It’s Sunday and the streets are deserted.   Almost seems set up for me to enjoy this town through my lens.

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P1190472 Here comes the blue door deluge.  One I had not photographed the day before. P1190473

 I reach Place des Lices in no time at all but find it as deserted as the streets. P1190474  I peek in and in fact the installation is there but no people around. P1190475  I walk back and I see a couple with produce and baguettes protruding out of their bags and I ask them if they know about Place des Lices and they tell me that the market was on Saturday.  I resign myself but also am grateful that it wasn’t on for there would have been hoards of people. This way, I got to enjoy the streets calmly.

At the turn of the corner I am reminded of my hometown.  P1190501

P1190498I roam around a bit and see that Saint-Pierre Cathedral is opened. In reality there is a sign that says it is closed between 11 and 2 today but the door is open and I go in.  Turns out it is closed for the public but open for mass. It’s only me and I’m pretty quiet so I tiptoe in.  Right after me comes a Russian tour group.  The leader seems unaware or doesn’t care about the fact that there is a mass going on and talks loudly to his group of around twenty.  I cringe.  But I am also technically ignoring the rules so I move around.

The inside of the church is being repaired.  At the very end the congregations prays.  P1190477

If a cathedral has a life of its own, this one is not trying to impress but does. It is dark and uses much wood in its decor. It almost imposes introspection and demands you to stay and pray. I don’t but walk as close to the altar as I can without disturbing the congregation.  P1190481  On the side aisles (I am sure there is a proper word for the passageways on each side) there’s darkness from the paneling and I get this desire to just sit and close my eyes.  P1190485  The stained glass is beautiful though it is not the main attraction in here.  P1190482  P1190489

Before I leave I pass a little altar.   The name of Lourdes catches my attention.  My parents and I visited  Our Lady of Lourdes when I was around 6, footage that I recently saw. I don’t quite understand what it says but I have the urge to light four candles here to the Virgin.  2 for my mom and dad and 2 for Dean’s Nan and mum.  I am sure that they are looking down, protecting us as we go.   P1190490  P1190491

As I leave, I take a last glance – as I usually do. P1190478

I continue my exploration.  This wall is not pretty but anything that was built between the late Third Century and early Fourth Century has to have my respects even if the expensive and expansive wall that surrounded the city was soon to be found almost useless.

 P1190499    P1190500

P1190505  Wall art / graffiti again reminds me of Los Angeles.

  And what would this blog be without a little more on blue doors?  P1190506

This little tabby cat comes up to me and follows me as I reach the main plaza once again.  He gives up after a block.  P1190508

P1190502I reach home and am greeted with a nice cuppa (cup of tea).  Dean leaves to get a GPS for tomorrow we are renting a car for the next portion of our trip.  First stop is Mont St. Michel.

I am left to explore our home. This place we got through airbnb (I know I am sounding like an ad but it has afforded us some incredible opportunities to stay at wonderful places and meet such interesting people) is certainly not the most luxurious P1190512 though it is quite large and has really good vibes.  The bathroom is fun.  You have to go through a saloon-type door to take a shower. P1190511 Inside a sign that says its wombat crossing. 🙂 The owner has a lot of knick-knacks from Southeast Asia June 16 and that already makes him way cool in my book.  He also has tons of books some of the greats in Spanish literature. And how not love a place that has antiques P1190520 P1190518 that remind me of my little store and one which Tutu has claimed for his perch. P1190514 He is pretty stubborn just like this collectible bull which is my astrological sign. P1190524  Outside there is a kiddie park P1190525 that is for exclusive use of the building we are in, and on the other side is the park we visited yesterday.  In the middle some city work building and I catch a worker taking a break.  P1190528

I would cover the same ground I did this morning again, for when Dean returns we go out to dinner.  We settle in an Indian restaurant P1150654 where I have a vegetarian dish of spinach.  P1150658 It was delicious.  We chat at length about the town with our Nepalese waiter.  He tells us how he came to Paris first and is now in Rennes.  How there isn’t much to do but he loves it here.  I may have to agree with that!!

As Walter Conkrite would say: “And that’s the way it is.”  Good-night.

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Versailles and Toto in One Day

We wake up early (this is becoming a pattern it seems) and head to the metro that will take us to the RER train which we will take.  Looking through the window, and past the bars in the wagon, I see a flash of an image of a weeping willow that will be forever ingrained in my psyche and my heart for it is under it that our péniche, Soleil, resides.  The dark clouds, the drizzle outside and the quickness in which we pass it do nothing to dampen the happy feeling had.

I take a quick photo and it is a bad one but here it is.   péniche, Port Debilly, 16yh Arrondissement, Paris, France, houseboat

After catching a glimpse of my little haven in Paris, a houseboat I considered my palace, we are going to Versailles, a palace with much greater notoriety, grandeur, and appeal. A fine drizzle does not cease for the full half hour the train ride takes. I wonder if it will dampen our visit. RER Versailles-Rive Gauche, France  Map, Versailles, palace, FranceI will soon find out since we are here.  We are promptly directed to cross the street for tickets which isn’t quite the truth since it’s a tour company where you buy a tour/ticket combination.  But it has headed us in the right direction and we follow the crowd.  It’s around 10:00 am and even with the bad weather and being a weekday, there is a huge amount of people as we approach the Chateau de Versailles.

Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate,

Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, There is a huge, interminable line to enter The Palace so we decide then and there, as we wait in line to buy the tickets, that we will visit the gardens first, rain and all.

I entertain myself with how they have chosen to decorate Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, the area where you wait in line, or as my Brit an Aussie friends would say: where we queue up.

We get our tickets Versailles tickets and as we walk to the gardens I find it a bit unsettling that there are guards/army guys with rifles all over.  I laugh internally because these very official looking guys were merely on a break and heading to the cafeteria.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate,   This I don’t find unsettling at all… the gardens flanked by the palace are impressive, the dark skies and rain not being able to lessen its impact.Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate,

escargotsBut just in case I have forgotten to look down Dean points to what at first glance looks like little colorful buttons on the fence. On close inspection they are little snails which are probably just loving this weather where no one stops for them. Suddenly escargots in butter and garlic (a dish I actually like) doesn’t seem so appealing.

Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate,

Yo dude… look up!

So after this demand from the little cherub above I concentrate more on the statues we pass as we walk.  Le Printemps (Spring) Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, statue, Le Printemps, spring  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, statue, Le Printemps, spring is in the right time of the year, since summer hasn’t officially started, but it feels like fall -cool and rainy.  But perhaps daybreak, Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, statue, Le Matin, daybreak represented here Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, statue, Le Matin, daybreak may bring a sunny day.

The gardens cover such a huge expanse. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, Versailles gardens

They are impeccably manicured and for now a bit deserted for not many want to walk under the light rain.  I’m not cold yet so I am truly enjoying the semi-solitude it gives us

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P1190107 P1190112 P1190110 Lonely paths. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate

The plants and flowers in the garden are beautiful.  You can also find flowers of the inanimate kind. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, garden, sculpture, flower

Though I have a green thumb I lack the skill of shaping a tree to do this:  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, shrub, tree I can only imagine how incredible the water fountain show is coming out of these.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate This path just charmed me. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, gardens, The Grand Trianon, Marie Antoinette's Estate, path, trees From nature we go into The Grand Trianon.  “A little pink marble palace with delightful gardens” is how Mansart, the architect, described it in 1867.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon We find Empress Marie-Louse’s bedroom.  Originally it was Louis XIV’s bedchamber but she is the one that furnished the place as it is today with the exception of the bed which belonged to Napoleon.  It’s a little too pink for my taste. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon,  Empress Bedroom The Room of Mirrors, the furniture was sold during the Revolution and replaced by Napoleon. The archduchess Marie-Louise, Marie-Antoinette’s great-niece, whom the emperor married after divorcing Josephine used it as her drawing room.  I rarely carry a mirror in my purse.  Don’t think I’d like a room where I couldn’t avoid looking at myself!  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon,  The Room of Mirrors, mirrors  Don’t remember if this was in it but since we are on the subjects of mirrors…Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon,  Room of Mirrors, bust This is the family room. Doesn’t seem too cozy to me. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon,  yellow room Even all this opulence does not stop me from diverting my gaze towards the outside.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Grand Trianon  To have a peek of Marie-Antoinette’s private life we go to her estate which, compared to The Grand Trianon, is almost rustic in feel. At least the hamlet is.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate Starting with the Queen’s Garden.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate

It’s The Petite Trianon Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate, Petite Trianon is beautiful inside and is impressing me more than The Grand Trianon. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate Perhaps because it has a music room with a harp and a theater (which we did not see).  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate  And a billard room with the biggest pool table I’ve ever seen. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate Her bedroom sitting room. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate

Once outside, the light rain is no more. It’s graduated to a Rain with a capital R.  There’s a little shuttle bus/choo-choo-train that shuttles people for an additional fee between The Grand Trianon, Marie-Antoinette’s Estate and the Palace which we decide to wait in line for rather than walk the miles in between under the rain.  In back of us in line is a family from San Diego who we chat with. P1190168 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, Marie Antoinette's Estate Arriving to the Palace we find the line has dwindled to nothing and silly of us, thought the crowds had too. Nope, once inside it feels like there are a million people which makes it a bit harder to enjoy. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace

I think if this guy, Henry D’Aguesseau, – a French Chancellor -says to stop, I definitely would. Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace But for now I have another window to look out of.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace What’s this?  A souvenir shop in the middle of the Palace and among antique statues? Me don’t like.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, souvenir shop I’m sure that Michel de L’Hopital, a statesman from the 1500’s, would not approve either.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, statesman,    Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, Hall of Mirrors This is what I had to battle with to take the previous photos.  Ugh, claustrophobia may be kicking in soon.

 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds

 Without the crowds.

 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace

With it.  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace    Beautiful with or without people.

 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace

Without crowds.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace,

With crowds.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace,  That was the Mars salon which is a planet and also a God of War. A bedroom.    Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace

Probably the most famous room of all:  The Hall of Mirrors.  Merely a passageway and waiting room and an over the top feast for the eyes. 357 mirrors adorn the 17 arches in this room. A paradise for those who like to see themselves reflected.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, Hall of Mirrors    Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, The Hall of Mirrors    Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, The Hall of Mirrors

I like the figure of a goth girl strolling through it looking ahead, not much interest displayed.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, The Hall of Mirrors

This is me, bringing you yet another photo. 🙂  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, The Hall of Mirrors  And now to the Queen’s Antechamber where the family had its meals.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, The antechamber of the Grand Couvert, Queen's Antechamber, Can someone show me how to fold napkins like this please?  Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, The antechamber of the Grand Couvert, Queen's Antechamber, What a beautiful door.  One that may lead me outdoors and even though the rain hasn’t ceased it is starting to look really like paradise just to be able to get away from the hustle and bustle of the thousand of tourists swarming around.   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds,

 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds    Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds  Yes, I want to be out there!  So a sculpture later, which clearly depicts a lung,   Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds, sculpture and we are out.  Yay!

 Versailles, Ile-de-France, France, palace, The Palace, tourists, crowds

I’m hungry (Isn’t that rare?) so again I do not complain when we head into the first fast food we find which happens to be another upscale McDonald’s where a few Americans are talking and saying that these Frenchies are going to feel very disappointed if they go to one of our McDonald’s.  Yeah, they probably would but they would like the prices.  McDonald's Into the RER we go.  It will take us back home. This one doesn’t want to let us forget where we came from. Seems that it is trying to be as ornate and over the top as Versailles.  🙂  P1190240 P1190241 P1190242 We get to the apartment,      quickly change and off we go again for we are going to see Toto! concert, 35th Anniversary tour, Zenith Center, Paris, France

We take a cab and follow the people. The Zenith Center (Le Zenith) is one of the most important concert halls in Paris.  P1190246 P1190248

What a fabulous day and what a way to end it.  We dance (we were practically on stage) to the tune of songs like: Rosanna, Africa, Hold the Line and I’ll Be Over You, taking me back in time!!  Zenith Center, Paris, France, concert, 35th Anniversary tour

Categories: 19th arrondissement, Chateau de Versailles, France, Ile-de-France, Zenith (Le Zenith) | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Finding a New Obsession… or Two, or Three.

We move again.  This time from a hotel to another apartment.  It is also the day that my scene will be shot.  The day starts relatively early for us since there is quite a bit to be accomplished.  For now I lazily get out of bed and go down to the café for breakfast.  A sacred ritual that must not be set aside even in the most hectic of days.  Must not let a heavenly croissant and noisette wait long. I watch daily life pass us by as I sip and go over my lines mentally.  Paris, France, 20th arrondissement P1150632 Then it’s onward to finish packing, doing my hair and getting into a taxi to our next home.  We get one quickly.  On the way he tells us that the neighborhood we are staying at is very much a village within a city.  I’m liking the sound of that.  We have been given instructions to ring the bell of the apartment owner’s neighbor and that she will give us the key and let us in.  Filming starts at 1:00.  It’s 11:30 and no one answers the bell. I breathe in and try not to think that I still have to find my wardrobe (for the shoot) in the suitcase, iron it (after searching for the iron in a new place), get make-up ready, hair retouched and centered for the scene.  We text the guy.  We wait. I breathe. I entertain myself with the floor tiles which are old and I really like. Paris, France, floor, tiles He texts back from California where he lives. That amuses me. I’m in his place in Paris while he is in my hometown. He, on the other hand probably isn’t amused since I think it’s about 2:00 am for him when we text.  We ring her again and she finally answers.  So we go in, and my mad dash begins.  Clothes found.  Iron inexistent.  Ring neighbor. May we borrow your iron?  Check.  Iron.  Good that I don’t have to search for the adapter. Go over lines. Make-up done. Hair retouched. And is it a film wrap (end of filming)?  No. It barely has begun. We film. I grab my camera when they do the other actress’ close up.  La Pleuresse, Paris, France, filming, short film They shoot my close up and then it really is a wrap!

The next day I wake up to my usual calm self. I look out the bathroom window and see the usual windows with flower boxes that I so like to look at. Flowers, window, Paris, France Flowers, window, Paris, France

We are off to the Sacre Coeur but knowing us, there will be a lot side trips before destination.  Already after coming out of the metro metro, Paris, France, Sacre Couer I see so much to photograph.  An old car antique car, Le Progrés, Paris, France, street scene, cobblestones, café, Parisian bistro that seems to be positioned just right for people to capture it on film.  I find it amusing that it is parked next to a café that is called Le Progrés (progress).  Is it trying to say something to this antique car?  Would love to identify what kind of a car this is. This building caught my attention Building, Paris, France not so much by its architecture but because it was on the top of a steep street and would probably have the best views. I find the balcony architecture, Paris, France, building, balcony that I would like to look out of every morning (second after the deck from our beloved péniche, Soleil, on the Seine.) We are in Montmartre; I’m hungry.  Grant you, no relation of one thought to the other but in my mind there is, for as soon as I see a place to eat my pace quickens and ends up in this café, Le Carrousel, which has gotten terrible reviews but I found really good with great friendly service.  I do notice, as I am heading there this group of women that have stamped on their T-shirt my feelings about this city: “J’adore Paris!” t-shirts, Le Carrousel, Montmartre, Paris, France Once mydog, street scene, water fountain, Abbesses, Paris, France tummy is full sandwich, pizza, hot sandwich, salad, food, Parisian bistro, latte we continue our exploration of the area. I’m enjoying seeing bits of life happening around me.  A woman kneeling down to get water from a fountain for her dog. Abbesses, Paris, France, buildings  Streets so steep it seems that they are going right into other buildings. Signs that make me think and laugh internally.  Imagining a conversation that goes somewhat like this:  Hi! Where are you staying? At My Hotel in France. Really?  Which one? Just My Hotel in France. Oh?  You own one? hotel, Montmartre, Paris, France Buildings that keep on making me look up.  Paris, France, Montmartre  Then off to see a street, rue Cavallotti, that a friend had mentioned to me that when the shutters are down, art comes up.  P1180924_2  P1180927_2   P1180929 P1180930 P1180931_2  Aside from the shutters I look into the few stores that are not shutter closed.  I love the mannequin on the window of a vintage clothing store with the reflection of a building on the glass. vintage clothes, rue Cavallotti, open-air gallery  A Do Not Enter sign made cute by graffiti. P1180935 We walk on and bump into Le Moulin Rouge.  The plaza is teaming with tourist, tour buses, people in line to go in.  I would like to see a can can dance but the place is crazy expensive and we have already done something crazy at Les Jules Vernes so I content myself to look from the outside.  Loving the red car in front of the place matching with the Moulin.Les Moulins Rouge As usual I find a window to be amused by.  Window  We walk a bit more. Loving the ups, downs and curves. P1180957   P1180958 And enjoying seeing an old windmill on top of the restaurant Le Moulin de la Galette.  Wait, a windmill?  Yep, one of only two remaining from 1717 (from 14 originally).  windmill, 1717, Le Moulin de la Galette  Did you know about D.E. Inghelbrecht? He was a pretty famous self-taught composer and director and we pass the building he lived in where he also has a statue commemorating him. music, classical, French director, composer,   http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/D%C3%A9sir%C3%A9-%C3%89mile_Inghelbrecht  We are starting the roundabout climb to the Sacre Coeur.  Le Consulat I have a feeling this restaurant has been photographed a lot.  I look up, as always, and photograph one of its windows. It has a flower and bull (symbol for Taurus which is my astrological sign). Window

Chat NoirHere is probably the most bought souvenir image Tournée du Chat Noir and just in case you have been wondering as to the history, as I was, click here. More windows.  Windows And please say it ain’t so… a Starbucks amongst all this? Starbucks  A gallery window to counteract. Gallery  Wall art of something I couldn’t possibly have in this town.  Wall Art, Montmartre, Paris, FranceAnd more wall art of something that rhymes with it, but could be closely linked to it in reality.  Repression often brings depression. Repression

I’m learning so much about people I didn’t know existed.  Now we see the house where Maurice Neumont, a lithographer and painter who made propaganda posters, died. And I am loving the door.  P1180985_2   P1180986_2

I may have a new obsession with street art.  P1180987 P1180991_2 P1180992 P1180990 P1180982

I try not to dilly dally though, because the Sacre Coeur is just ahead. Sacre Coeur  I go into the basilica remembering my mom. The view from up here has always been so magnificent. P1180999

Sacre Coeur

We eventually make our way down passing the carousel.  Frankly the view looking up isn’t half bad either! Sacre Coeur

P1190042  Sacre Coeur  Carousel Horses

I wonder if this guy ever gets tired of his view? His apartment faces the basilica.  Window

Well, time to go back home so we get on back into the streets, Street Scene into the metro, Anvers metro Anvers and are able to reach home with enough light to look out the window onto a garden in the sky that our neighboring penthouse has.  Garden in the Sky

I know I have said this before but I do love this town!!

Categories: 18th Arrondissement, Abbesses, Anvers, Moulin Rouge, Sacre Coeur, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

“N’oublions jamais l’Australie”

We are on the road again…  We are off to Villers-Bretonneux a little town that experienced the first world’s battle (in World War I) between two tank forces (the British and the Germans).  The Germans took the town but the Australian Imperial Force recaptured it a few days later.  1,200 Australians died in the process.  A few miles from the town is an Australian Memorial and a cemetery where 770 are buried.  That is where we are headed.

Initially we were to take a bus to the Amiens train station but it is such a beautiful day that we end up walking.  In front of the Amiens station I spotted the cutest of buses.  I still get a kick out of how little cars are – even traditionally big ones as the Range Rover and Mercedes – in Europe.  Seems that they miniaturize buses too!miniature bus, Amiens, Fance

At the station train station, Amiens, France we buy our aller-rétour (round trip) ticket to Villers-Bretonneux.  We are lucky that the train departs about 15 minutes from when we arrive.  train workers, train, Amiens, France In one hour we will be there. The train is pretty comfortable SNCF, train interior, Amiens, Franceand I settle in with my espresso.  train, SNCF, Amiens, France  To my side, a reminder that I am in France: a baguette a main part of a traveler’s luggage.  Luggage, train, baguette, Amiens, France

We arrive.  station, sign, Villers Bretonneux, France  train, Villers Bretonneaux, France  Villers Bretonneux, France, train station, gare

We are two of only few that exit here.  No signs guiding us to the memorial so we decide to follow the only person that is on foot. Villers Bretonneux, France  Should we take the path unknown?  dirt road, Villers Bretonneux, France, Australian Memorial  The Franco-Australian Museum  comes up (the first thing that attracts me is the tiles on the floor)  Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, Franceso we go in Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, France   Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, France  Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux, Francefor info on how to get to the Memorial.

They tell us that the Memorial is a couple of miles out of town and that it’s walkable.  So we continue. I am loving the stone houses. Villers Bretonneux, France. stone house,  Everything in this town has something Australian on it. Villers Bretonneux, France. kangaroo

We are leaving the boundaries of town. See the sign with a diagonal red line on it?  sign, leaving town, Villers Bretonneux

I promise not to go more than 50 km per hour (31 mph) in the construction zone.  In fact I don’t think I can walk that fast. Villers Bretonneux, France, road, road signs, km per hour   Though I may have to because that memorial looks quite far…Villers Bretonneux, France, countryside

The walk is long, the day is hot so I extend my right thumb in good hitch hiking mode and… nothing happens. So we continue on.  It doesn’t seem to be getting any closer yet suddenly we are there. Australian Memorial, Villers Bretonneux, France No one around.  We are alone. I fall silent.  Villers Bretonneux, France  Villers Bretonneux, France

Words of the mayor in 1919: “Soldiers of Australia, whose brothers lie here in French soil, be assured that your memory will always be kept alive, and that the burial places of your dead will always be respected and cared for…”

Villers Bretonneux, France Villers Bretonneux, France Many tombstones engraved with the one date they all died.  All so very young. Fighting someone else’s war. But the people of Villers Bretonneux are grateful, for, according to Wikipedia, on top of every blackboard in the school there is an inscription “N’oublions jamais l’Australie” (Let us never forget Australia.)

P1180639  P1180653  P1180649

There are stairs to go to the top of the memorial and I decide to go up disregarding my fear of heights. Villers Bretonneux, France, memorial  Going up. P1180656 The door to the outside.  P1180660  A few more steps and I’m outside.  The wind assaults me. I am quite high but vertigo does not take over and I am able to enjoy the view. P1180663 P1180665 P1180666  The markers have some names with significance to me. Amiens, London, Berlin, Paris and Villers Bretonneux.

 P1180675 P1180674 P1180673  We are not alone any more and as I climb down Dean remains upstairs and chatting with a fellow Aussie that thankfully gives us a ride back to Amiens where they are also staying.

We walk through town  children playing, fountain, water,  to meet with Lydie for us to have a mini table read.  The pastry shops are going to be the death of me.  This one has the dessert that I so loved: Paris-Brest (I know there is a joke here but please refrain.)P1180697 P1180696 Casa Crepes which kind of joins my culture with theirs, don’t you think? P1180700  But not all is food.  I’m taking my door photos too.  P1180710 P1180708  And windows.  P1180714  And buildings. P1180712 P1180711 Okay, back to the table read. Amiens, France, outdoor café  These are the remains of sorbets that our réalisateur (director) has devoured while we work. P1180717  Think I’m back to the food subject.  We leave.

I am now starving.  I get cranky when I am hungry.  I can’t concentrate when I’m hungry.  I need to eat now!  And when I’m this hungry even a McDonald’s will do.  And this one holds some surprises.  It is manned by smiley, cute people and it’s more in the vein of an upscale café than a McDonald’s, with comfy chairs and cool decor. Amiens, France, chair, McDonald's  And a sauce for the fries that is more on the mayo side which I like. Amiens, France, McDonald's. fast food A chicken wrap with a package that you can stand it up in.  P1180719 Amiens, France, McDonald's. fast food Prices are also a surprise: not cheap at all.

Now that I’ve been fed I have energy and will to have a walk around town.  We find a gem of a square.  Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square

I find the building that I would like to own.

 Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square Amiens, France, Amiens Square

The day is done.  We have mentally wept for those gone, honored them, taken a step back in time, taken a step forward to filming, fed our minds and our bodies, and fantasized a bit about what we wanted.  Pretty full day. I smile and sleep once more.

Categories: Amiens, Amiens Square, Australian War Memorial, Franco-Australian Museum, Villers Bretonneux | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

“Honey, We Must Talk”

Yesterday, as I thought it would be, turned into a day to chill.  Tutu found a spot guarding the key. koala

We settled in.  Amiens, France, P1180329 P1180330 P1180331

Getting so many ideas by staying in airbnb places, like this chalkboard stripes in the kitchen to write messages in.Apartment in Amiens

We did walk about a bit in town and found some charming areas but I didn’t bring my camera.

Today we meet Lydie Melki and Guillaume Renoult and Buster (the dog), the actors in the short, for a cup of coffee in the morning, the segue to a walk to the theater where they will be performing tonight, to lunch and then to a siesta at the base of the cathedral.

The theater.   theater in Amiens, La Boite a Rire, comedy, Guillaume Renoult  P1180334Buster leading dog, walk, rescue dog, mix breedthe pack.  Walking to lunch.  This little guy (he’s not that little actually) in the middle of the river is made of wood.  Amiens, France  P1180340 Yesterday he did not have a t-shirt on.  Lunch.  Amiens, France, food, Melting Pot Buster wanting some lunch.  Buster, mix breed, rescue dog, wanting a treat, Amiens, France P1180345Part of the cast and crew working off the calories from lunch.  Guillaume Renoult, Lydie Melki, short film, exercise, Buster, Amiens, France Guillaume amusing us before the official amusement by the play Chéri Faut Qu’on Parle (Honey, We Have to Talk) which he wrote (and is in).  Guillaume Renoult, Lydie Melki, Amiens, France  Not quite Venice but this town is known for its canals and they are really charming.  canals, Amiens, France And it’s chill/siesta time at Parc de L’Evêché Amiens, France – centered around Buster, of course.  Amiens P1180374 P1180375

For me it’s photo roaming mini-safari time.   The area around the cathedral is a University campus.  P1180379 P1180384  They are having “Talent Day Auditions”.  I’m tempted to just walk in but don’t.  Don’t think I’m in their age range. 🙂

I go back to the siesta takers P1180404 but can’t sleep P1180392 and neither can Buster.  P1180402 P1180401 P1180396 Time to get up, say  á tout a l’heure (see you soon) and go into the cathedral.which is impressive to say the least.

A short walk around the park to reach its main entrance.  P1180411 P1180415 P1180421  P1180424 P1180425It was built in 1220!  This diagram shows the different stages and years of its evolution.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

It is the tallest completed cathedral in France The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, as well as the one with the greatest interior volume of any French cathedral.The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The main altar has wonderful carvings.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The organ dates for 1429 The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The labyrinth is quite intriguing as well and is the second largest in France. The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The center of it.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

There is the weeping angel which became a popular postcard sent by soldiers in World War I.  He has one hand on an hourglass, I think to symbolize the brevity of life and rests his elbow on a skull symbolizing death.   He is part of the mausoleum of cannon Guilain Lucas (d1628) by Nicolas Blasset and he saddened me much.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,   The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, And then there are the stained-glass windows, many of which were lost through the years.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

One flanked by an American flag.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

The cathedral has a spot where it remembers and honors those of other countries that fought for Amiens.  The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,    The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

We light four candles for four relatives who are very close to our hearts and in our thoughts.  I have a feeling that they are overcoming language barriers and meeting up above.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

Wherever you look there is something to admire.  Don’t think I have spent so much time inside a cathedral.

The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,   The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church,

We go out into the light, have a last glance at the cathedral The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, The Cathedral of our Lady of Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, Amiens, France, cathedral, church, and discover a city that has come alive.  Amiens, France, fountain P1180545 Amiens, France, carousel  We walk back to the apartment traversing four lanes Amiens, France  Amiens, France  Amiens, France a train track Amiens, France then the last lane. Amiens, France  We take a little siesta and back into town for the play Chéri Faut Qu’on Parle and then back home to get some more zzz’s.

Categories: Amiens, Amiens Cathedral, France, La Boite de Rire, Parc de L'Evêché | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

“Te Amo”: Graffiti That Just About Sums it Up!

Today will be an art day.   Our feet will take us to the Musée Rodin.  7th arrondissement, art, sculpture, Rodin, Paris, France No doubt The Thinker  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museumis pondering when we will arrive but we are in no hurry so we leave Soleil leisurely.  It is always hard to leave her.  She has pretty much everything we need.  The péniche is the epitome of a room with a view.   Even as we walk the bridge we look back at her.  There she is, the only houseboat with a weeping willow on the right bank of the River Seine.  See her?  péniche, houseboat,  7th arrondissement, River Seine, houseboat, heaven

We must past the Eiffel Tower to get to the museum. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower  The mass of crisscrossed steel (9,441 tons of it) fascinates me and many stops are made to photograph her up close and personal.  She welcomes us.  steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She amuses us. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She holds  our camera lens captive.   steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower She serves as a background to a couple that just got married.  steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower, wedding Seems like a popular location for couples; we saw another recently.

I don’t know how these players can concentrate on the soccer at hand having that structure as background.  But soccer players are fanatical and they pay no heed to anything but the game.  I love seeing it played.   steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower. soccer

But not all is Pollyana.  A middle-aged woman goes through the trash in the park. steel, Eiffel, 7th arrondissement, tower, icon of Paris, Paris, France, tower. garbage picker

We continue on.  A flash of gold attracts our gaze.  9What is that?  It’s the Hotel des Invalides. The dome is quite spectacular.  7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France So is the structure. 7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France I wonder how it must felt to enter through such a grandiose door. 7th arrondissement, Hotel des Invalides, Paris, France, gold dome, dome, museum, Paris, France  We sit on a bench and just enjoy the sunny day.  Museum workers are out on their lunch break.  An elderly person on a wheelchair is soaking the sun with his caretaker by his side.

We move on and not much after that arrive at the Musée Rodin.  A column has many stickers on it giving it a festive look.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museum, column Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, thinking, 7th arrondissement, museum, column People that leave the museum get rid of the sticker (proof of ticket purchase) there.  After a bit of a line we enter.  I immediately feel the same thing I did when I visited first, which is a sense – in spite of the crowd – of calmness.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,  Out of the bushes comes a new age type of music, an installation by Erik Samakh.  Not everybody’s cup of tea as is noted when a Brooklyn couple that is sitting in front of  The Gates of Hell, Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,  expresses in a not so soft voice.: F#!x music is morbid!”  I focus on a detail of the door.

This sculpture, Monument to the Burghers of Calais, Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell, always draws me in.  Faces in despair. Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, The Gates of Hell,  

We go towards the garden Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,  where on the wall is a scene of the artist at work.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, garden On a very irreverent note, I am still collecting butt images for a bathroom collection, so since getting real ones to pose is quite difficult and frankly unappealing to me I content myself in taking shots of those that can’t say no.  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum,

A class is in session and I am hoping no one saw me zooming in on the butt of the sculpture!  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, art class  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, Rodin, sculpture, 7th arrondissement, museum, art class

A gelato break before we enter the museum itself. Musée Rodin, Paris, France

Not much commentary from me for a while, just follow along, will ya?

 Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The Kiss Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The sculptures are certainly the central point but the ceiling captivates me almost as much as the view from those beautiful windows.       Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin  Back to the sculptures.

 Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin Balzac  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

The Cathedral  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

And the artist Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin immortalized by others. Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin, painting,   Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

As I leave, a sculpture made me feel great sadness.  I was going to continue but I came back took a photo and a second look.  Misery  Musée Rodin, Paris, France, museum, Rodin

We leave and I’m back to noticing what is unusual and cute to me.  A gas station on the side of the road.  Paris, France, scooter

Paris’ doors.  Paris, France, blue door Paris’ windows. Paris, France, window, flowers  Another wedding and is that Air France’s headquarters? wedding, Air France, Paris, France  A last look at Hotel des Invalides.  Paris, France

A chance encounter with my favorite bridge in Paris, Pont Alexander III.  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France  bridge, Paris, France

Yep, Paris je t’aime! graffiti

I have mentioned I like this bridge, right?

bridge, Paris, France

But I tear myself away and back into the metro we go.  Paris, France, subway, metro  Meeting with a production assistant for the short.  I wait at a café,chandeliers and capture the “frenchness” of it all.

Parisian café, noisette, bistro, Paris, France

Parisian café, noisette, bistro, Paris, France   If I wasn’t sure where I was, I look out to this monument and a waving French flag.

Paris, France, monument, flag, French flag  I get picked up and as we cross the street I love seeing this couple on a bicycle.  She in the highest of heels.  Paris, France, bicycles, high heels  Paris, France, bicycles, high heels  Instead of going into the subway my stomach starts grumbling and we dive into a Thai restaurant that was actually really good!  Thai Food  Thai Food  After this we cannot avoid the metro but I oh, so don’t mind, because on our walk home this is the sight that awaits.

Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement

We hang around the terrace.  It’s a mild night and Parisians and tourist alike are out in full force.  There’s tango at one of the terraces that reminds me of a few friends back home.  They would love to perform/dance here.    Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers  Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers Paris, France, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, tango dancers  A photo shoot is being shot.  P1180218 race car  This time the Eiffel Tower takes a secondary part.  It’s the car that is the star.  race car, photo shoot

I feel so content that this is our route to return to our houseboat.  Don’t think I would ever tire of it. carousel, Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France carousel We cross the street and the United Nations road reminds me of my dad who worked there for over 25 years.  Eiffel Tower, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, Ave. des Nations Unies  Back on the quay a little boat at the foot of Eiffel Tower.

Port Debilly, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, boat,

And before we go into Soleil a last look at Eiffel and our weeping willow tree for the night.Soleil, Port Debilly, 7th arrondissement, Paris, France, boat,

I will sleep with the biggest smile ever.

Categories: 7th Arrondissement, France, Hotel des Invalides, Musée Rodin, Paris | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

And So It Starts…

2013 has started.   It’s around 12:30 am and we find out that there may not be much of a bus service to the Overlake Station where we left the Prius.  After waiting a bit we stick our hand out and a taxi materializes.  The driver is big and bubbly and has a Tom Petty CD blaring on the stereo.  Traffic leaving the city is pretty heavy and he tells us he won’t turn the meter on until we are on the freeway.  I’m liking him already.  Our cab fare will be around $40.  We are not sure of the exit and neither is he so we end up paying around $50 which he almost didn’t want to charge us ’cause he messed up.  An honest cab driver.  Guess the New Year has greeted us in a good way.  Baby Blue is alone except for another car in the parking lot at 2 am and is covered in a not so thin sheet of ice.  Yep, it’s cold.

As expected we rise late on January 1st 2013.  What is left of it will be spent on the computer and lazing around.  We decide to go out walking to dinner where there is a mall and Firenze, an italian restaurant that is open tonight.  Food was really good and service excellent.

The second day of the year was to be spent lunching with a friend Ramon Shiloh frog Ramon Shiloh which I haven’t seen in years since we were mentors for the Young Native American Playwrights Program.  He is a wonderful artist, illustrator, and storyteller.  He has a book published and one out soon: Listener.   Unfortunately it wasn’t meant to happen. We’ve been a bit under the weather and exhausted. Another day of lazing around it is.

The third day of the year finds us in our tourist mode.  It’s the first Thursday of the month and the Seattle Art Museum (among others) has free admission.  It’s close to where the Underground Tours are so as they say in my neck of the woods we are going to “matar dos pájaros de un tiro” (to kill two birds with one stone) Disclaimer: I am not advocating any violence against animals or anything of the like… it’s a saying that has existed for eons.

We drive to the Overlake Station Overlake Station   and go on the bus to downtown.

I like how the buses are accordion-like and bend in the middle.  Accordion Bus

As we cross the bridge it looks like we are inches from the water.Seattle Bus

Steep Seattle streets   Wait a second, are we in San Francisco?  Some roads are steep!

I’m liking the architecture of this city.  Seattle City Hall

Seattle Smith Center  The Smith Center, built in 1916, is a beauty.  It has an outdoor observation deck which we did not go up to.

It’s cold.  Somehow that fact is really diminishing my enjoyment of this city.  This city is grey even on sunny days!  It has earned its reputation as the Suicide Capital of the world. The cold and the rain and the lack of sunshine is conducive to depression but as this link  states it isn’t even on the top 10. It also debunks other myths about states and cities. Fun read.

The Underground Tour is about to start.  They have us congregated in this really old bar.  Solid wood, defying time to lessen its stance.  The guide, Gail, is funny but I concentrate on the floor.  Old tile floorLove the tiles.

We go outside and I look up. P1140484  We are going into the bowels of the city and I concentrate on what’s on top.  Just being a bit contrarian here. But I love old buildings.

I adjust my directional rebellion by looking across the street and liking the iron bus stop pavilion.  Station in Seattle

And down we go. Underground Tour

And my attention is grabbed by this sad seat, tattered and faded holding no vibrancy in its color or plushness in its seat.  Underground Tour  I imagine it in the lobby of a theater surrounded  by rustling skirts, colors and overall excitement.

The floors are unleveled and sinking in parts.  Seattle below  We are given a lot of info on the building and rebuilding of the city and on its history, all in the context of a comedy routine that is a bit too much, but she is funny and makes it entertaining. We go back up before going back down but I’m so used to looking down that I spot another set of tiles Merchant's Cafe  that I like in front of what professes to be the oldest restaurant in Seattle.

Steam Baths lower level… Steambaths lower level

We are now under a skylight.  Purple Skylight Glass made circa 1800’s – it turned purple with age. sk

We head back up.  Underground Tour

And here is a skylight from above.  Seattle Skylight

My stomach is grumbling as usual and we go to a Cajun restaurant close by.  A nice hot gumbo sounds just like the best antidote to the cold.  The place, Marcela’s Creole Cookery, is a hodgepodge of decorating.  Marcela's Creole Cookery But the gumbo does warm me up and I got some colorful beads as a send-off.

Before we go to the Art Museum we decide to stop at Seattle’s Central Library.  I’m glad we did.  The building is structurally stunning and massive.  Seattle Central Library     Seattle Central Library

Today, surprise of surprises, it’s a grey day but on a sunny day it must be so stunning to see it from within with all the angles this place has.  And a really stormy rainy day probably creates quite a symphony in here.

The colors inside are pretty cool. Stairs in Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Stairs Seattle Central Library    P1140539    Seattle Central Library

Just in case you are wondering (as I did for a minute) if this really is a library, here is a librarian to go with it.Seattle Central Library

The world in books at your fingertips.  Seattle Central Library

Futuristic, eh?

Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library  Seattle Central Library

I almost want to stay.  Cocoon myself with a book and let the hours pass without notice.  But I bid my farewell by taking a few more shots of its facade.  Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle Central Library   Seattle

Seattle Art Museum  is now at our feet. And above us, some flying Fords with lights coming out of every opening in an explosion exposure.  Seattle Art Museum

I like that the museum has a large quantity of Native American and Aboriginal art, something my Australian was quite happy to see.  Native Art   Native Art  This is not one of it, by the way.

However, in some floors, periods and mediums are mixed in and somehow I am not drawn in.   What does, is this painting of a mother and child (his wife and daughter) by William Sergeant Kendall which brings my mom to mind.  In two days it will be three years since her passing.  Mother and Child

A lot of modern art.  Modern Art   Seattle Art MuseumMedia Installation

 

 

 

 

 

Then a statue of cupid.  I photograph its bum for I have the full intention of decorating my bathroom with photos of behinds taken all over the world.

Cupid

We are not far from Pike’s Market so we decide to have dinner there.  End up at Etta’s.  Food was really good though I found it expensive for what it was. But it won me over (I had serious hesitation looking at the menu).  It starts pouring which gives me an excellent excuse to order a decadent dessert while we wait for the rain to turn into a drizzle.  I am just going to become a roly poly if I keep on eating like this so Seattle has to promise not to give me any more excuses for me to keep on eating!

Categories: Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Central Library, Underground Tours | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

QVB and Legally Blonde

Today we are visiting Queen Victoria.  Well, not quite, for that we would have to travel back in time.  I’m visiting the Queen Victoria Building (QVB as it is fondly named) in CBD (Central Business District), Sydney.

It’s the building on the left.  It was built in 1898.  History in stone.  Queen Victoria Building, CBD, Sydney, Australia

And here she is presiding over her domain.

QVB, George Street, CBD, Sydney, Australia

She doesn’t seem jolly, does she?

QVB, Sydney, AustraliaAs soon as I walk in I know I’ll like the place.  Lovely tiles.

It’s an upscale mall.  Most well-known international and the best local designers are here.  I dare not enter any of the shops though. I am already having enough problems with the prices of regular things.  Don’t want to think how high the prices in these stores are.  Besides, I have a knack to pick out the most expensive item in any store I go into.  Sydney, Australia   Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Australia

So I concentrate on the patterns and burst of colors as I go on the escalator.

QVB, Sydney, Australia

I’m getting dizzzzzyyy!

I have a weakness for colors and stained glass windows, and light coming through and patterns and architecture and history attached and all of them combined!  Stained Glass, Stairs, Color  Stairs, Color, Stained Glass   Stairs, Stained Glass, Color

Unfortunately I do not bring my good camera and capture these images on my small pocket one. I have a small purse and high heels on today for we are going to the theater to see Legally Blonde Theater Ticketsand maybe to the casino.

We drive to Darling Harbour, another busy, bustling shopping center that has a marina.  It is a harbor after all.    Sydney, Australia

The Star Casino is the only casino in Sydney right now and is where the Sydney Lyric Theater resides.   We are a bit early so we walk around.  Sydney, Australia

Lyric Sydney Theater, Sydney, AustraliaWe walk around for about an hour before going into the theater.    Though not exactly embraced very enthusiastically on Broadway it did have good reviews out of which I like Variety’s the best: “It may not be bulging with subtext or boast a score for the ages, but this pinksapoppin funhouse delivers exactly what it promises.”   Click here to read a review of the Sydney ensemble of Legally Blonde.  You come out smiling and that is good enough for me.

Of course, though I can’t hear the hypnotic song of the slot machines, I know they are there and they pull me in as mermaids seduce sailors with their songs.  Hopefully it will not have the same end result on me.  I am happy to report that although I did not win much I left the casino with a bit more money than I went in with.  I may go on a supermarket spree tomorrow with it!

Categories: Australia, Darling Harbour, Queen Victoria Building, Sydney, Sydney Lyrical Theater, The Star Casino | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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