Thursday, October 29, 2015
Barcelona - what a fun city! It's got history, with walls erected in Roman times, and churches and mansions built centuries ago. The city is dominated by monuments and bizarre architecture, many of the Alice-in-Wonderland, curlicue style of Gaudi especially the famous church, Sagrada Familia, with its immense spires soaring into the sky. More than a century in the making, it’s still a construction zone.
The people are friendly, but many speak a
On Sunday, we savoured a gelato while rambling along the broad Las Ramblas boulevard, which was jam packed with strollers. And the buskers are high-class! We enjoyed a classical pianist, guitarist and two opera singers, whose voices echoed beautifully along the narrow stone-walled streets of the Gothic Quarter.
We wandered to the Columbus statue on the waterfront at the foot of the
Although we received many warnings about pickpockets, nothing was filched. Perhaps instead we should have been advised to bring good walking shoes, for that is a must, to enjoy all this delightful city has to offer.
Wednesday, October 28, 2015
Awakening in Pezenas is like opening your eyes in paradise. Living here amongst the narrow twisting streets hemmed in by tall buildings is like being immersed in ancient history. This was the local capital in the 1600s attracting nobility who preened in luxurious lifestyles and built magnificent mansions, many of which remain today. Even the King visited.
The town is built like a dartboard, laid out in concentric circles. The inner core is centred on a hill where a castle once stood and was once surrounded by a high, thick stone wall with only
How can you not love this area, for rural France has a character and
When we went for drives, we were overwhelmed by the thousands and thousands of acres of vineyards and hundreds of wineries. The Languedoc wine region is immense, explaining why wine is so plentiful and inexpensive. Even gas-station kiosks sell wine: red, white and rosé.
Location is everything, and only 20 km to the south is the vast, blue Mediterranean with long sandy beaches and incredible seafood. Also nearby are many historic, picturesque towns and great hiking.
Ah, life in Pezenas is simple, but oh so pleasant.
Monday, October 26, 2015
We sat for hours at sidewalk cafés, sipping a coffee (too tiny) or, better, a vin blanc or pression (draft beer), watching the hustle and bustle go past. I can’t help but mention, strictly as a scientific observation, that Parisian women are elegant, even striking. I loved the tight-fitting jeans, the colour–coordinated scarves, and their confident, haughty, poise. And don’t get me started on the sexy Frenchaccent!
Our favourite place was the immense, rambling Luxembourg Gardens and Palace, a short stroll from where we stayed. Like everything in Paris, it is elegant and historic, yet comfortable and liveable. Parisians flock there on sunny days, enjoying the lawns and statues, playing pétanque, sailing boats on the pond, reading newspapers and smoking, all in view of the grandiose palace where the French Senate meets. Every once in a while, a soldier wearing a beret and carrying a lethal-looking automatic rifle, was a reminder that Paris has recently suffered terrorist atrocities.
Ah, Paree, Paree. Indeed, one of the great cities of the world. Probably the best.