Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Celebration and Reflections 2

First, this is a week for celebrations both north and south of the Canada US border: Canada Day on July 1 and Independance Day on July 4th, hoping the festivities are (were) fun and safe. Also I just realized I am slightly overdue to celebrate one year (actually about 13 months) of Whimsy Wednesday posts.

Thank you to everyone who dropped in and commented my Reflections 1 post last week, hope you enjoy this one too.

As promised here are more pictures from our recent holiday. These ones are from France.

This little guy seems to be saying, "Haven't seen you before, you new here?".

"No I'm just visiting for a few days," I answered.

We spent 3 days in Paris before  heading south.

These are views of Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris, with the rows of gargoyles, must be quite a sight when it rains, to see all these decorated spouts gushing water. The ones below are not true gargoyles, they are just decorative (eg they don't drain water) and they are referred to as Chimera.

 Of course this is Notre Dame Cathedral from the front.

This woman was obviously well known to the pigeons, as soon as she walked onto the plaza in front of the Cathedral they swarmed her, vying for a place on her hat. This guy won, hoping for the lion's or "pig"eon's share of the birdseed she had brought.

These roses were beautiful, but it was the scent that stopped me in my tracks and begged me to come closer and take this picture. Roses are beautiful flowers but not all have a scent to match their beauty, these roses were delicate, beautiful and had a sweet aroma that kept me entranced for quite a while. The little park they were in was also a cool respite from the heat of the day.  Paris is full of little neighbourhood parks.  Since most people live in apartments they are the Parisians' back yards.

Sacre Coeur Cathedral commands a beautiful view, and since it is atop a hill it is also a good hike uphill.

See what I mean?

Lots of street performers, this guy below suddenly went out of character startling a passerby.

In Montmartre the square was full of artists painting, drawing and showing their art.

A beautiful window above a corner cafe.

A favorite cookware store near where Les Halles used to be:

We went to the exibit at the Centre Pompidou and then enjoyed the sculpture park, the art and street performers outside as well.

I stopped for flowers, again and again.

This pedestrian bridge is covered with padlocks also called lovelocks. A closeup below, each lock has the name of a couple on it. More on the locks....

I like this boat, wouldn't it be a great place to live.

This was the staircase down from our hotel room, there was an elevator too, but that's no fun.

Good place to stop for a coffee, glass of beer, some lunch and a short rest before continuing.

This is a glimpse of the Sunday market in Isle sur la Sorgue in Provence.

This is the arena in Nimes, first a view of the outside and then a couple of views of the inside. There was a very interesting self guided tour, posters describing the different types of gladiators and a display of toreros (matadors) costumes.

 Did you know that this is where the word denim came from Nimes (de Nimes)?
"The word comes from the name of a sturdy fabric called serge, originally made in Nîmes, France, by the André family. Originally called Serge de Nîmes, the name was soon shortened to denim.[3] Denim was traditionally colored blue with indigo dye to make blue "jeans", though "jean" then denoted a different, lighter cotton textile; the contemporary use of jean comes from the French word for Genoa, Italy (Gênes),[4] where the first denim trousers were made." (Wikipedia)
Some beautiful reflections, still in Nimes.

I liked these reflections from store displays.

This is a chandelier in a restaurant we had lunch in Montpellier There were some made of wine bottles too.

Saturday market in Sommieres, in the Gard department in southern France, only a short drive from where we rented a house while we were in the area.

The weekend markets often have a brocante section, a combination of flea market and antiques. I really liked the shadows cast by this display.

We visited the Camargue too: Flamingos, white horses, bulls, salt pans or salt ponds. This boat was tethered at the shoreline creating interesting reflections.

A salt mountain below and then a view across the salt pans, which appear a pinky purple colour.

"Salt evaporation ponds, also called salterns or salt pans, are shallow artificial ponds designed to produce salts from sea water or other brines. The seawater or brine is fed into large ponds and water is drawn out through natural evaporation which allows the salt to be subsequently harvested. The ponds also provide a productive resting and feeding ground for many species of waterbirds, which may include endangered species.[1] The ponds are commonly separated by levees."
"Due to variable algal concentrations, vivid colors – from pale green to bright red – are created in the evaporation ponds. The color indicates the salinity of the ponds." (Wikipedia)

A mountain of harvested salt  to be processed into seasalt.

Well I don't know about you but I have built up quite a thirst, time to stop for a quick drink before moving along?

I have spent a lot of time sorting through the pictures from my trip recently but I have also done some painting. Here is a watercolour that I have finished recently (actually I haven't decided whether it is finished yet or not), it is titled "Bleeding Heart":

Just a reminder to my Vancouver blog readers:

July 7, 2012 10 am until 3 pm (this Saturday) is the Brock House Summer Fair:
 It's Fun, It's Free and Everyone is Welcome! 

Happy Whimsy Wednesday, until next week ...