Sunday, January 26, 2014

We spent a magical morning at the National Sea Life Centre in Birmingham, despite the penguin area being rebuilt - so no penguins to see. What was great was receiving tickets to go back after the penguin exhibit re-opens in June to catch up on the penguins. The family are certainly going to do that, of course.

National Sea Life Centre

Sunday, January 05, 2014

A couple of days in Paris

We took the train (TGV) up to Paris and said goodbye to the family who were flying back to New Orleans. We found our hotel, Hotel Aviatic, in 6th arrondissement and suitably close to Saint Germain des Pres where we wanted to wander and look at the little shops, tea and coffee places.
And that is what we have done for the last couple of days as well as buying some delicious tea from Mariage Frêres to take home.

On Friday evening we ate a great meal at the Belle Epoch style Restaurant, Montparnasse 1900, with its amazing decor and bustling atmosphere. And on Saturday evening we were recommended to visit bakkus Restaurant, a completely different kettle of fish, with wine stored behind glass doors in temperature controlled vaults, high seated tables - or low ones, which we opted for. Our meal here was outstanding, and we would heartily recommend a visit there should the occasion arise. We'd definitely return.
We took a stroll around on Sunday morning, along Montparnasse as far as avenue de l'Observatoire where turned and walked through the gardens leading down to Jardin du Luxembourg. One of these gardens is the one dedicated to the Great Explorers, Marco Polo (1254-1324) and Robert Cavelier-de-la-Salle (1643-1687), with its fountain representing the four corners of the world.
Soon it was time to head off for the airport and home.

Hotel Aviatic
Montparnasse 1900
bakkus Restaurant
Mariage Frêres

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Lurs and Les Mourres

A bit of a bleak day to start the year, but we decided to get out and about, so drove up to the little hilltop village of Lurs. A village that was rescued from crumbling by a group of architects. It is a pretty place overlooking the Durance valley and surrounded by olive groves and apparently lavender. We, of course, saw none of this today. We drove on to discover the weird geology of les mourres, that look like science fiction creatures in the landscape. Apparently some 25 million years ago islands of waterplants and primitive seaweeds were embedded in limestone which built these mounds into a number of different shapes as they evolved into rocks.(according to the guide board at the site.)