Monday, July 29, 2013

While the Cat's Away . . .

Last week I was whining to my sister, Marilyn, about the size and amount of weeds in my sunken garden... all my gardens, in fact.  Whine, whine, moan...

Marilyn said, But you have such a lovely yard.  I said, what? And she returned with, You are focusing too much on the weeds, not the beauty...

Marilyn, notice the size of the weeds?  

Sherwin had to have a photo of this.  I do believe I have 'State Fair Prize Winning Weeds'!

Have to stay home awhile to show those weeds who is boss around here.  

Hope your summer is going along just great.  

Until next time, God bless and be well.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

To Honour our Granddaughter, Maizy Lee

"Today you are You, 
that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive 
who is Youer than You!"
- Dr. Seuss 

Happy Birthday to Maizy Lee Goerlitz
Born July 28, 2000

Dear Maizy,

Grandpa and I are sending you this little love letter to tell you again how much you mean to us.  We have watched you through the past 13 years and we are so proud of you.  

You are not only beautiful on the outside but we believe you are also beautiful on the inside.  You are kind and helpful, talented and caring; you are a lovely young girl growing into a woman.  

We wish for you the blessings only God can give you.
Be well.

Love and hugs and feather kisses, 
Grandma and Grandpa

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Marseille, France

"The world is a book 
and those who do not travel 
read only one page."
-Augustine of Hippo

Our first stop after leaving Spain was Marseilles, France on Saturday, June 8. Seems a long time ago now...

Happy to have this opportunity to see some of the south of France we chose the tour that took us to two well-known spots, Arles and Aix-en-Provence where we were promised we could walk where Van Gogh and Cezanne had walked and painted... even Paul Gaugin had been there.

(Farmhouses in Arles, Paul Gaugin)

On the map you can see Marseilles right on the coast... look on the map to the left a short distance and you will see Arles on the Rhone River... then look to the right of Arles and just above Marseilles on the map and you will see Aix-en-Provence.

Within minutes of boarding the bus and heading out we saw old Roman ruins on the hillsides... old fortresses.  The Romans added to the infrastructure in most all of Europe.  This is France, good grief, but the Romans were here.

This 'drive-by-shooting' may lack some clarity but you get the picture.

Our first stop was Arles, Van Gogh country.

(self-portrait of the man)

This is where he painted some of his most important work.

Starry Night, Sunflowers and The Bridge at Arles were among the many he painted in this part of France.

Arles is known as 'the soul of Provence' but it was also known as 'the little Rome of the Gauls' because Constantine named this town his second capital of the empire back in AD 306.  The locals still capitalize on this.

As a history lover I was intrigued with all the facts (fiction) of the ancient part of town but the spot that spoke most clearly to my heart was the open market... they had the most wonderful displays of fruit, vegetables and herbs available.  A feast for the eyes and nose.

Tour books mention this Saturday morning market in Arles...

We were both so enamoured with this market that we lost our tour group.  Oops! It was our first day out with a group and a guide so weren't too worried.  We knew where to meet at what time so went about our business of photos and photos and photos...

And bushels of artichokes...I do wish I could take you there physically so you could feel the ambience and enjoy the scope of this market.  I loved the experience of watching the vendors interact with their clients and with each other. To hear French being spoken with no hesitation does put a smile on my face... we stammer and halt trying to find a single word and pronounce it correctly. It is beautiful to hear.

In our wanderings we found churches...

Winding narrow old streets...

The amphitheatre that served the Romans and the Gauls... it is still used on Sundays in the summer for bullfights...

and inviting restaurants. Well, inviting at the right time of day...we were early so many were still closed.

There was still no sign of our tour group but we sort of remembered that the guide had said something about this direction...

Should we knock?

Doors and floors are of special interest.

Aha, just down the street from the amphitheatre we saw a group of people and heard the unmistakable voice of a guide...

We finally caught up to them about the time the guide was giving 'free time'...

Here are some folks from our bus in the town square, Place de la Republic...

City Hall...

One of many local churches... Eglise St. Trophine.

Found that my iPhone did a much better job of capturing the interiors of dark buildings.

Loved the tile floors.

And around the back side of the church we found the cloisters where the nuns live(d).

This was our first of many Roman-Gaullo ancient towns but no matter how far we wandered in the month of June we seemed to never tire of looking at yet another old musty building.

Now I am just a little confused with directions and where we saw this hotel in the photo below.  Hotel Nord-Pinus is mentioned in Frommer's Europe Travel Guide in the town of Arles somewhere close to the above square.

After a walk about in the centre of town we headed back the way we had come, past the amphitheatre one more time knowing that the minutes were ticking by...

This area of Roman antiquities is a designated UNESCO site which made it a must-see on our list.

We did not have time for a tour of the amphitheatre but we peeked into gated areas that afforded us a hint of how it was.

We hopped on the bus and said au revoir to Arles.  Provence is definitely a place we would like to visit for an extended period of time.

Every time we could catch a few minutes to nap, we did, so the hour plus to Aix-en-Provence went by very quickly.

We rolled into town, sleepily got off the bus and started chasing another Catch-Me-If-You-Can tour guide. They just do not understand photo nuts like us.

The bus parked on av. Victor-Hugo just off of place de Liberation or place Gen. de Gaulle, depending who you are talking to, which opens onto cours of the loveliest streets in the south of France. Our guide was most anxious to show us the home of the parents of Paul Cezanne.

Apparently they lived in the house on your left, top two or three floors?

(Still Life With Basket of Apples by Cezanne)

We did not see the actual studio of Cezanne but if you listened carefully the tour guide would drop his name here and there throughout her discourse.  We looked forward to 'free time' to explore on our own.

It is a lovely little town with great potential as a extended vacation spot... have to brush up on the French but it is a very comfortable spot to explore.

Saints are a major influence in the Catholic church as is the Virgin Mary... you see lots of statues and artwork depicting both.

These saints line the doorway to Cathedrale St. Sauveur.

In spite of the threat of rain we were delighted to be there seeing much of what our art heroes had seen and felt.  The lighting in France has a magical quality to it even if most of the sky is grey.

The contrast between the old and new is a constant.  You see 4-500 year old houses with antennas or satellite dishes on the roof tops.

The lovely thing is that these houses are still used today.  What may have been a palace for one family back in the day, is today broken up into apartments or businesses for many.

Not sure anyone will be living in our house, or yours, in 4-500 years. 

We were happy to see that Aix also had a Saturday market... a flower market.  The visual feast was magnificent.

When I was in Paris a couple years ago with Marilyn and Gail we all enjoyed the food from a patisserie called 'Paul'.  It was my delight to introduce Sherwin to their food. We bought our lunch and had to find a bench down cours Mirabeau to eat because their shop was so full.

Sherwin is always happy to have a picnic...

Our day in the south of France came to an end too quickly but it was time to head back to our floating hotel and on to ports east!

Au revoir, Be Well!

"I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. 
I travel for travel's sake. 
The great affair is to move."
-Robert Louis Stevenson

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

I Want to See You Be Brave

Came upon this accidentally... love it.  Wishing you all well.

Until next time then.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Still In Barcelona

On our second day in the city, first day on the HopOn HopOff buses, we hopped off at a spot that had caught our eyes the day before on our way to the hotel.

At the time we were not sure what it is we were going to see but as we walked towards the building on the hill ahead we saw a sign for an Art Museum.  Well, looking at each other, we knew we were going to like this spot.

The surroundings and the approach were very pleasing to the eye.  We had discovered the Museu Nacional d'Art de Catalunya. This building was erected for the 1929 International Exposition in Barcelona and then made into a museum to house over 5000 works by Spanish artists.

The dome at the top is made to copy the dome on St. Peter's Basilica in Rome.

We never did count the stairs to the museum but we climbed a while.

We were delighted to come upon one stretch of moving steps!

These four columns fronting the entry have only been recently placed there. Originally the 4 columns were created by Joseph Puig i Cadafaich to symbolize the four stripes in the Catalan senyera (flag).  When there was a revolt in the government in the 20's that brought down the Catalan government of the area, the columns were destroyed only to be rebuilt and erected in 2010. The columns today are made of concrete instead of the original brick and they are placed a few metres from their original spot.  Of course, those two reasons are enough to spark some controversy.

The nice thing about being a tourist is that you can look, see, walk on by and not have to stay around for the harsh words thrown about by the die-hards.

During the month of June we viewed more male and female anatomy than ever before.  The human body is worshipped throughout the countries we toured.  I would have had to hover over a water fountain to get a full frontal of this handsome soldier...

 but his butt is there for you all to admire!

The buildings on this hilltop cover over 50,000 square metres...we saw only a small part of one exhibit.

Sherwin and I both admire the use of wrought iron and clay tiles used in Spanish architecture. Small details finish off the tops of the towers you can see on the left in the photo above and up close below.

Now come inside with us.  Where do you begin in a building this size?  It seemed a little overwhelming.

We chose Modern Art and were rewarded with exceptional pieces... we will need to go back to Spain to take a second and third look at all the treasures they have there.

If you look at the next photo you will see the mix of architecture from the original building in the 1920's to some modern additions; the museum was given new status in 1990 when it was refurbished and brought up to date for the 1992 Olympics in Barcelona.

The first exhibit we saw was a Large room of models.  If you have been following Sherwin's blog (click here) for some time you know he has had a lot of fun building a model of our addition here on Mayne Island.  So we loved this room.  Below is the model for that new bullet shaped building that I showed you some days ago...

that is used to symbolize the New Barcelona.

In the next photo you will see Sherwin snapping a ceiling but if you look beyond him you will see low tables... that is where the models are.

This is what he was looking at... of course, I couldn't just walk on by.

This ceiling is fresco work by artist Francesc d'Assis Gali. You can read more about the museum if you click here. There are explanations on the refurbishment program.

I won't show you over 5000 pieces of Spanish art... how about a half dozen?

 And our friend Mr. Gaudi is also included with his furniture design he used at Casa Batllo.

We spent one afternoon there... imagine how much time it would take to view it all.

One last view inside as we leave the building...

And one more backwards glance before we say good-bye for now...

"Now more than ever do I realize 
that I will never be content with a sedentary life, that I will always be haunted 
by thoughts of a sun-drenched elsewhere."
- Isabelle Eberhardt

Adios.  Until next time, God bless and be well.