home again home again

Posted January 2, 2011 by Jude
Categories: Travel

So much to do, and blogging hasn’t been one of them! We have been home for 2 months now, moved into our apartment in Ultimo and caught up with some friends and family, returned to work, celebrated Christmas and New Year, and started to get things organised for life back in Sydney. Still lots to sort out, and plenty to explore from our new location right in the city, with a new car but also a new resolve to walk as much as we can!

We miss Paris and travelling, but it has been great to enjoy the summer weather instead of the freezing cold of this European winter! This year will bring its own adventures no doubt.. and hopefully I will also post the rest of the photos from Italy on Flickr soon!

Venice

Posted November 1, 2010 by Jude
Categories: Travel

The latest photos on Flickr are of Venice. We took lots of photos in Italy and it’s taking me a while to process them all, through the fog of jet lag and generally trying to settle back home and catch up with everyone.

We were lucky to have such great weather for most of our holiday, and were enchanted by the canals and boats in Venice as well as the architecture and views. The squares throughout the city are fascinating too, not least San Marco with the Basilica and Doge’s Palace and Campanile, which was partially flooded early in the day and dried out again in the afternoon. We took the obligatory gondola ride and were lucky not to be in crowded canals behind others, although we resisted the chance to have a singer..

I hope to post photos of Tuscany and Rome soon, and to enjoy some spring weather in Sydney if it ever arrives!

cinque terre

Posted October 12, 2010 by Lionel
Categories: Travel

A gorgeous sunny day in the Cinque Terre. We walked, ate, drank, trained, (waited around a bit) and boated.

Super place. The towns are every bit as charming as advertised, and we greatly enjoyed a bit of strenuous walking between Monterosso and Vernazza. This is a picture of Vernazza taken from the boat on our return journey at the end of the day.

We have been travelling by train through Italy. This is partially an immune response to our last (very negative) car hiring experience, but mostly a result of good advice, and opportunity. It has worked very well for us on the whole – low stress, very picturesque and convenient. We have had one train delayed an hour, and had another run just late enough to miss a connection (hence the reference above to waiting around), but Judy has planned everything perfectly and we have had lots of time and little concern.

My (slightly?) obsessive nature and ready adaptation means that I quickly find myself acquiring a taste for whatever is local. So now I have completely forgotten Paris chic and could happily equip myself with a full set of gear made from Tuscan leather. What will I want when I get to Rome, I wonder?

guess where we went today…

Posted October 10, 2010 by Lionel
Categories: Travel

We are now firmly in Tuscany (after 3 glorious days in Venice). This morning we cycled around the walls of Lucca and wandered its streets. Then in the afternoon we took the train to… guess – the picture is a tiny hint. 🙂

The view of the city, and the mountains, from the top of the tower is surprisingly inspiring. And the entire Piazza Dei Miracoli, with gorgeous marble building arising from a field of green is simply beautiful.

We are enjoying Italy a lot.

au revoir

Posted September 29, 2010 by Jude
Categories: Travel

As we pack up to leave our apartment on Monday there are so many reminders of all the wonderful places we have been and things we have done. (I still haven’t decided whether to keep all the souvenir brochures and guides, but will probably weed them out and keep enough to put in an album – or intend to anyway!) Of course there are also many photos we haven’t posted, among them the ones I have just added to Flickr of the remnants of the Bastille. The prison was demolished following the 1789 revolution but you can still see some vestiges of the foundations on the Line 5 Metro platform at Bastille, some stones in a wall in Square Henri-Galli and the bricks marking the location on the road at the daunting roundabout which Lionel crosses on his bicycle each day at Place de la Bastille.

I’ve been looking for a photo to put in here, to show some of the everyday things we will miss, and I think this is it! We were delighted to have one last visitor when Trish came to stay recently too, and we had a great time seeing some of my favourite places. We’re looking forward to a short holiday in Italy, flying to Venice then by train to Lucca in Tuscany where we will do some day trips, then another train down to Rome for a couple of days before returning to Paris for a week. We should be heading home on the weekend of October 22nd.

an hour from Paris

Posted September 7, 2010 by Lionel
Categories: Travel

On our return from Bourgogne we still had another week of holidays in hand. We spent more than we would have liked doing the necessary to reconstruct our identities (passports, National ID cards etc), but also took the opportunity to fit in a couple of day trips.

Our destinations were St Germain-en-Laye and Provins. Each lies at the end of a railway line from Paris, but in different directions, at quite different distances, and with very different senses of place.

St Germain-en-Laye can be reached on the RER (suburban train). It is west of the city, perhaps a 30 minute ride, and is a desirable residential area with an easy commute to the city. Its dominant feature is the curiously asymmetric Chateau, which was the birth place of Louis XIV amongst others and now houses the National Museum of Antiquities. It has a classical garden designed by Le Notre (of Versailles fame), with a terrace which commands a stunning view over the valley of the Seine and across to the city of Paris.

But our objective on this occasion was the Musee Maurice Denis. It is located in Denis’ former home, an historical building built by Madame Montespan (longest-reigning and most productive of Louis XIV’s mistresses) as a hospital. The museum showcases the works of Denis, and others of the symbolist movement of which he was a part. The art nouveau chapel he decorated is charming, and the grounds are beautiful, but on the whole the work of M. Denis was not quite our thing.

Provins, on the other hand, is entirely our thing.

Lying an hour and a half train trip to the south east of Paris, beyond Fontainebleau, it makes for a perfect day trip. There is a lower town, which is interesting in its own right (not least for its lop-sided church), and fascinating underground passages, but the upper town is an almost complete, walled, medieval city with an amazing octagonal keep and rather reworked cathedral (proudly boasting of Jeanne D’Arc’s visit in 1429). The town holds regular medieval pageantry shows, and falconry displays – but we were happy just walking around the walls and finishing up in the beautiful Rosarie.

Bourgogne

Posted August 19, 2010 by Jude
Categories: Travel

August is summer holiday time in France, and Lionel actually took time off for us to go to Bourgogne (Burgundy). The whole area is very pretty, with wide valleys full of vineyards and small towns, many still with evidence of their medieval history. We based ourselves in Beaune and drove around the various regions enjoying the landscapes and the great food and wine. Although the weather was a bit grey we really enjoyed ourselves until our car was broken into towards the end of the week. Unfortunately my bag containing all our documentation was taken, and our good camera, and our house keys. Luckily Lionel still had his Blackberry so we were able to arrange cancellations, changing locks etc fairly quickly with the help of Lionel’s wonderful assistant. We returned to Paris and have spent many hours chasing up replacements and insurance. A very sobering lesson and reminder not to leave your belongings unguarded even for 10 mins at a lonely lookout..

Back in Paris, the implications of ‘summer holidays’ are very apparent in all of the closed doors and windows on the streets. Everything from boulangeries, restaurants, hotels, supermarkets, and dry cleaners to clothes shops and offices can suddenly post a little notice about their ‘vacances’, and close for 2 or 3 weeks in August. I have taken photos of some of the nicest and most interesting ones I have seen and posted them on Flickr.

The weather has turned cool again and a bit wet for David’s visit, but we are hoping he will have more sunshine as he travels for the next couple of weeks. We had a good weekend with him and look forward to seeing more visitors soon too! Counting down to our departure in late October and the long trip home.