Monday, September 23, 2013


Well we have come via Spain, where it was steamy hot to Paris where is is cold and wet, 16 degrees today, a lot different from 35 in Spain!
Had to buy winter coats and a long sleeved top, and socks as my ankles were cold.
The town of Tours was lovely, so different from where we have been. We had a great day riding a bike along the river to the next town, did some wine tasting! Local wines of course.
The day tour to the chateau was lovely, a small bus with a small group, so much easier than a large group.
Now to see as much of Paris in one week! Had a walk along bd
 Haussmann to the Arc de Triomph, shame that one nasty little black thief gave us the creeps when he bumped into Peter, luckily no damage.
Well my camera is broken, and it has taken me several days to get motivated to post, even though I wrote the first part of this blog  a few days ago.
We have been everywhere of note in Paris, to Versailles, on the metro, out to dinner and to the Moulin Rouge.
My photos are a bit random as I have been using peters camera. Hmmm, he wouldn't let me bring my trusty old one and the shutter has jammed on the new one I just had to have.....we have 2  more days of holiday, then home. Giverny tomorrow.

Bed decoration

Chair at Versailles

Ceiling, so many wonderful ceilings to see

Garden at chateau

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Bordeaux to Tours

We had a lovely few days in Bordeaux, lots of lovely food and many wine shops for peter to peruse. We had some great dinners in local restaurants, and did a fun 1 hour tour of the city.
An afternoon tour of 2 vineyards and wineries that bought back lovely memories and smells from our little winery and also friend's wineries in Hobart.
Train travel is the way to go, clean and comfortable. We passed lots of fields of grapes and sunflowers and old towns.
We arrived in Tours in torrential rain, caught a taxi to a cute little hotel, note it has no lift and we are on the third floor.....
Then when we came to our senses- discovered the tourist information was opposite the train station so walked there in the rain!
Booked a tour in the end to chateaux and wineries for monday, sort of would like a car to do it on our own, but not in the rain!
Woke up today- Sunday to discover clouds, with some blue sky and no rain, a good day to explore on foot and maybe hire a bike, there are lots (600km) of bike tracks here, maybe just a small portion of that could be covered today.


 Bordeaux sculpture with and without lights.
Peter at home in the vineyard

The rest of our breakfast

Friday, September 13, 2013


Last dinner in Spain, Bilbao, it is always wise to wear your glasses when ordering food, not quite what I thought it was, but tasted great! Outside of restaurant below.
Well here we are in France, Bordeaux to be exact. The train is such a lovely peaceful easy to travel, great views, quiet, comfortable seats.
We like Bordeaux, its easy to walk around, the only troublesome thing it has been raining a little. We walked up 231 steps to the bell tower of the st Andrews cathedral, the best view of the city, a long way up then back down again.
We have dined at the most wonderful restaurant- le Petit Mignon, such great food, service and wine. Our French is abysmal, but we managed admirably! I recall that Paris has many more English menus, oh well we do know what steak tartare is and even could eat it,But ordered some lovely dishes, I had great prawns and scallops, followed by panna cotta.
Pictures of dinner on Peter's blog-


Look what was opposite our Bilbao hotel!

Our last dinner in spain- such fun

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


On the train we encountered a woman from New Zealand who was about to start a pilgrims walk, we were a bit interested as we didn't know anything about this. Now we know lots! There are about 500 people every day leaving the start, they carry packs! And a lot have walking poles, some in groups of old and new friends, some solo.The walk is usually from St John de Pied de Port ( on the france side in the Pyrenees) to Santiago de Compostela, across Spain. Some only do part of the walk, some all, in varying time frames. The trail is called the Camina, and many people stopped us and asked if this was the Camina? The first few times I had no idea what they were asking!!
I am not sure if they find themselves or not! But I am sure that pilgrims do not usually fly first class ( as I heard them saying) or dine at top class eateries, or even sleep in nice hotels, my image of a pilgrim is sleeping on the floor, sharing food etc. Hmm maybe I should rethink!!
An early night in Pamplona for me, Peter found some Irish pilgrims to drink with! And they drink like fish- or at least these ones do.
Pilgrims resting on the bridge after we rode across it

Another bridge we rode across

We ride 5 km from Pamplona, then back and around the town. We passed many walking pilgrims on our bike ride, by far the easier way to get around.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013


We caught the train again and came to Pamplona, arriving in the middle of a medieval festival, many people in the street, craft stalls and a parade. What fun! So much to see.. Walked around the citadel and marvelled at its size.
Wine and tapas of course then dinner and more wine.
Today we hired some bikes and cycled along the river, lovely and cool, although we did get a bit sunburnt. A short siesta for me while Peter did the laundry, he met a few new friends there.
Then more walking around and food and wine. We need the cycle to wear off the food.
View from the walled city onto the river

Felting Spanish style

View from the plaza near our hotel
Off to Bilbao tomorrow.

Monday, September 9, 2013


We had 3 days in barcelona, peter has managed to blog every day, well me, I am a bit slower and have taken about 200 less photos every day too! Barcelona was an interesting  place, very busy, we were not expecting such long lines at tourist places, and not being able to get on the tourist bus was a real bummer in the heat, lines round the block at Sagrada Familia! And that's round 2 sides of the block! Inside was magnificent, however we didn't go into any of his other buildings as the admission price was to high 20 euros......each.....The Park Guell was lovely, so much to see, it was warm and it was my birthday!
We continue to try many different foods when we eat, however the blood sausage is not one if our favourites. We have had several versions of patatas bravas.
Lots of yummy wine to taste, and of course cold refreshing beer.
Day 2 in Barcelona saw us vying for a seat on the tourist bus again! They really underestimate their paying guests! Then when we actually got a seat up the top it rained, and rained, and rained, the rain came down the stairs- a lot of wet strangers -some laughing together, standing wondering where to get off as we couldn't see out and there was no real shelter.
Finished up in a bar with some very nice Rosé and tapas.
Ceiling at Sagrada familia, how magnificent

Park guell, nothing was straight in a strange and fun sort of way

 Laundry Barcelona style- ours and theirs!
Peter at his new favourite shop

Footpath, have seen this inspire a quilt!

Friday, September 6, 2013


2 days in Cordoba were hectic, but we still managed a siesta every day. Train travel here is easy between cities, comfortable plus with a lovely view along the way. I think the bus may be cheaper but we like the train.
Cordoba is a small city, we stayed in the older part of town.
Inside the cathedral, the pillars

Ceiling, with bonus rays of light

Detail on wall

More amazing ceiling
The hotel was opposite one of its biggest tourist attractions - the cathedral/mosque. So much history and amazing works of art and architecture.
As usual we have eaten ourselves round the town. Tapas in every style, and of course the local wine to wash it down. Cordoba was significantly lacking in WiFi- we both had withdrawals......
The most exciting thing we did after touring the town was a relaxing bath and massage in an historic bath house- hammam- the brochure says - bath of feelings- it was warm and soooo good. Slept well that night.
Then off on the train to Barcelona, such a contrast to the small towns and old cities we have been in.
Check out Peters blog, he has many more pictures than me, I take about 10-20 every day- he does over 200!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Last day in Seville

A hot day for a walk, but we soldiered on. The Alcazar was our first stop, such wonderful architecture, colour and design everywhere! We are continually amazed by the opulence and forever straining our necks to look at the ceilings. We spent a few hours ambling around the rooms and garden. The audio guides may be added to the admission price but are well worth it.

A tiled wall

Woneedful arches and ceiling

Token vegetables for lunch

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Alhambra's treasures

Up early and off on a bus tour of Alhambra, many olive trees along the way, a few scattered sunflowers ready to be harvested. We had a great guide named Grace, then Fernando who guided us around Alhambra. So much to see again, a true visual sensory overload.
Thank heavens for comfy shoes, those cobblestones are hard to walk on.
Just noticed that my fingernails are growing! That's cause I am not washing my hands lots as I usually do at work.
Wall decoration

How wonderful is this?

Part of the beautiful garden

My travelling companion, always looking at life through his lens!

Wow, even more!

A fantastic ceiling, so much opulence

That's Alhambra! Later on we had lovely wine and tapas, getting good at ordering in Spanish!

Monday, September 2, 2013


A very early start after Peter's birthday yesterday. We had a lovely dinner by the river enjoying the view, quite late at night. Found a bottle shop with a decent range of sherry to try, should last us a week or two.
It was quite hot in Seville last evening, and we were quite happy to get back to our cool room.
Today was an early start- a bus trip to Alhambra, interesting scenery along the way, thank heavens for the coffee shop we stopped at along with about 60 hungry Spanish travellers!
Alhambra was magnificent, more visual sensory overload, a lot of walking, lots of pictures taken, as usual.
So much to see , its almost a travesty that we can't see everything.
Just resting in hotel now before trying another restaurant, so many to choose from!
A birthday treat, a ride round the  parque in a carriage

Appliqué on antique matadors costume

Sunday, September 1, 2013


An early morning and off on the train to Seville, second class way roomier and quieter than any airplane I have been on recently!
Thank heavens for taxis- the roads here are like nothing else! Wonky and not really like the map.
We did a wonderful walk up the Giralda tower to an amazing view of Seville, 35 ramps up to the top. 
There have been lots of tasting beer here and wine for lunch! Need to keep walking lots to wear it off..... Or buy new clothes....
We have found some yummy food along the way, and also through Facebook a fellow Brisbane quilter on a similar trip- hope Ros is having as much fun as we are.
A lovely way to end the night was a river cruise, a cooling breeze and some fantastic lights on fun bridges.
Flamenco shoes! Cheap!!
Getting lost at every turn, but having fun doing it!
Floor on way up to tower
Bullfighter's costume

A trip to Toledo

A bus ride to Toledo was a good way to see the countryside, then an interesting walk around the streets and alley ways of Toledo. The tour was OK, but had to listen hard to hear the guide. Peter took heaps of photos, me- only a few.
The highlight of the day was the Caixa Forum  gallery- a great Georges Melies exhibition,, the movie Hugo was based on his work, just fascinating, now I will have to watch the movie again.
Amazingly ornate
Column decoration


Another ceiling, my poor neck!