Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Today we set off for Aix after a birthday breakfast. It is the most popular destination for tourists in the area, and even at the turn of the year there were plenty of people visiting the ancient city. We walked all around, finding many lovely shops and a special toy shop we plan to return to in the next couple of days. The macaroons were delicious, and as the special almond cakes called calissons were in many shops, but we had been told to look out for La Cure Gourmand. Here they had lots of different flavours, all beautifully set out in the shop. As we were going back to the car we walked through some stalls selling santons, the nativity figures they make in this area.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Today we set off early to catch the best market in the area at Forcalquier. It was a lovely bright morning and we had a wonderful time seeing the huge variety of stalls and lots of fabulous local produce. In the afternoon we had a thorough walk around the old medieval town of Manosque, where we are staying.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Gorges du Verdon

Yesterday,we flew down to Marseilles and hired a car for the drive up to our destination of Manosque. We found our gite and soon settled in quickly. Today we set off on our planned trip to drive around the Gorges du Verdon,and although the day was bright, the shadowed areas were still cold up in the mountains. Our first stop was for a quick coffee in the town of Moustiers Sainte Marie., Then we had the breathtaking drive around the gorge before us. Spectacular views of mountains and down in to the gorge with the river running in the bottom, as well as the beautiful lake. It must be fabulous in the summer when it is warm and all the activities are going on. It took a surprising length of time and we had to be careful in the shadier parts of the drive as there was ice on the road. At last we were back in Moustiers and found a table in the very busy crêperie for a welcome snack. All through the town are metal cut-out figures representing scenes of the Nativity.

Friday, December 27, 2013

Library of Birmingham

At last I got to visit the Library of Birmingham - an iconic building by architect Francine Houben of Dutch architectural practice Mecanoo. It is said to be the largest public library in the world.

Library of Birmingham

Thursday, December 05, 2013