Sunday, June 29, 2014
Two months ago we saw the first of these purple long-armed starfish, this Sunday we saw at least fifteen. I find it hard to believe that a bunch of eggs developed and managed to grow so big in so short a time, so they must be part of an invasion force. It is only a matter of time until we will have to bow down to our new rulers.
Click HERE for more photos from this morning's ocean swim.
Saturday, June 28, 2014
Meet the Giant African Land Snail. I see lots of them on my walks, especially after a soaking rain, but this one was by far the largest I've ever seen. Some people stomp on them whenever they see them, but I am always reluctant to kill living creatures (except for mosquitoes actively trying to bite me). Now that I've read the Wikipedia article - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Achatina_fulica - I will not be so reluctant in the future. I knew they were an invasive species, but that they spread a dangerous Meningitis to humans does concern me.
I also see a lot of Egrets, but liked the way this one was brightly lit by the sun and perched before a darkly shaded background.
Friday, June 27, 2014
Tuesday, June 24, 2014
Monday, June 23, 2014
Sunday, June 22, 2014
All the streets of old Avignon were closed to traffic and well over a hundred thousand people packed those streets. There were stages on practically every corner and music to fit all tastes. Wow. Of all the possible music festivals to be my first, I'm glad it was this one.
Over on youtube I threw together a brief montage of acts taken with my phone.You can find it at:
Saturday, June 21, 2014
Then as a favor to Doug I took another bus, this time to Nimes to visit the best preserved Roman Arena in the world. This is where they filmed "Gladiator" with Russel Crowe.
Oh, and I stopped and toured a couple of castle/fortresses along the way, of course.
A train ride home upped my luxury quotient, but I am now being bombarded by non-stop very loud reggae music from the convent below. I have to get out and away. NOW!
The huge Avignon arts festival is still a week off, but in preparation stages are set up all over town for all kinds of music.
Even the convent below my balcony has a stage in their courtyard. And what kind of music do you think they're featuring? Classical, Gregorian Chant, Medeival? Nope. Reggae. All Reggae, all day.
But I'll spare you that and instead give you a small taste of one performance at the train station today...
umm, the direct upload from my iPhone did not seem to work, so here is a link to the same video on youtube -
Friday, June 20, 2014
I looked at a lunch cruise down the Rhone to the town of Tarascon which cost $100. Or I could take the bus for $5 round trip and spend as much time wandering as I wanted. Today I opted for the bus. The town was nice and I was very impressed by the castles and cathedrals. And I saved $95. Oh, and had a great lunch too.
Thursday, June 19, 2014
First I checked on the bus which cost $2 but takes three hours. Then I looked at the train which cost $25 but only takes 19 minutes. Train it is.
The streets of the town are incredibly scenic and I took tons of painting pictures with my special camera.
At every historic monument that I've visited, I've encountered at least one school group on an outing. And I've noticed in every singe case that the adults conduct an activity to keep the children engaged. Today they were teaching gladiator fighting techniques to the kids, and the kids were loving it. I was hoping for some private instruction, but no such luck.
Tuesday, June 17, 2014
And, of course, what museum would be complete without a piece of art consisting of tennis balls stuffed with candies? This one's for you, Doug.
Monday, June 16, 2014
And the view back across the river caught me by surprise. I hadn't realized how much the citadel of Avignon rose above the surrounding plain. Nor how tall the mountains off in the distance were.
Anyway, it was a great way to spend my birthday. Now for dinner at home . . . alone.
Sunday, June 15, 2014
In the local section where I'm staying (no hotels or fancy shops here), most of the streets are only ten to fifteen feet wide and are solidly lined with four-story walls of stone or stucco. Initially these artificial canyons seemed sterile and lonely. But after walking them several times daily, I've warmed up to them. I love the personal touches, the flower boxes and brightly painted doors and shutters. In the heat of the day I am especially appreciative of the cool stone shade cast by the high walls, and today's light showers seldom made it into these narrow slots.
Of course, every few blocks the streets open into tree lined squares which are always filled with people. People who are sitting, strolling, chatting, shopping, dining and riding carousels. I love this place.
Saturday, June 14, 2014
Friday, June 13, 2014
Strangely, most of this former center of worldwide Catholicism was filled with artwork in the manner of Picasso of an overtly sexual manner. In fact hanging over the alter of the main chapel was a reclining nude prostitute. Very strange.
Thursday, June 12, 2014
We went sailing from the Mediterranean town of Cassis this morning. How is it every time we head out into this large sea, it is glassy flat calm?
Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Fortunately, this heat was a dry one, so it wasn't at all unpleasant to be out and about.
Tuesday, June 10, 2014
The second photo is the view out our bedroom window when we woke up this morning in Avignon. Magical.
And finally, we visited the old ocher mines near here and are now covered in red and yellow dust.
Monday, June 9, 2014
Sunday, June 8, 2014
It was especially nice being outdoors after spending a day in bed with a nasty cold yesterday.
Friday, June 6, 2014
Today was also my turn to make lunch. Thank goodness there are so many, many local purveyors of fresh - well - everything. Fresh fruit, vegetables, pastries, cheese, meat, everything. And all within two blocks of our apartment.