Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Chateauneuf Castle, Burgundy

The village of Chateauneuf-en-Auxois has a real castle on top of a hill, with a moat, great views, etc. It's been restored and the public can visit it. This is a shot of inside the walls. The building on the far right is the oldest, dating from the 1200's.
Scale model of the castle.
View of countryside through medieval leaded glass window. 

A newer part of the inside courtyard. 

Same view only better of the tower. I like towers.

View from our hotel window which looks lovely
but it was a terrifically hot day - over 30 degrees Celsius and the room was stifling hot. No air moving and no AC. This was the second room we had as the first was a garret room with one small window with bars.
We felt like we were in prison and being roasted to death.  
Peek-a-boo. I see you. 

Fun times must come to an end......

End of a long downhill run and a stop at a small stone bridge
over the river Ouse. 
We experienced wonderful sights, sounds and tastes over our two months of travel in France, Belgium and England. Thanks to everyone who joined me by reading some of this blog. I appreciate your interest.
Bikers and vineyards
Sunset in Long Marston, Yorkshire. 

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Cycling Burgundy

Charming old houses with gardens and cats. 
Roses grow everywhere
Curious lanes
Of course, vineyards
Ivy covered houses
The odd chateau with typical Burgundy tiled roof.
Medieval churches (Dijon)
More lanes (Chateauneuf)
Where dead wine makers are buried

Friday, June 23, 2017

Across the Valley, Champagne

The view across the Marne valley from the balcony of our "gite".

The prerequisite church for each village.
Our Renault Kangoo. For the locals a popular small utility vehicle.
Like a pick up truck is to Albertans.
Vines and village in Champagne. Perfect. Tranquil. 
A small road through vineyards and a chateau in the distance.
Vineyards as far a the eye can see. The Marne river valley.

Friday, June 16, 2017

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

To honour the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Vimy Ridge, Canada's 150th and while in France, we made our way to the Canadian National Vimy Memorial. Carved on the walls of the monument are the names of some 11,285 Canadians who died in France and whose final resting place was then unknown. Standing on the monument's wide stone terrace overlooking the broad fields and rolling hills of northern France, one can see other places where Canadians fought and died during the war. More than 66,000 gave their lives during WWI. While there, we witnessed a service, complete with bagpipes, given by a group of young men from St. Andrews College, Aurora, Ontario. These youth probably would have been close in age to many who died here. It was a very moving experience on a wonderfully sunny, clear and warm day. As we travel through various countries these past weeks I am continually reminded how lucky we are to live in Canada and be Canadians. Bon anniversaire mon pays.

See Photos below....

Canadian National Vimy Memorial

Front of Memorial

Back of Memorial

St. Andrews College, Aurora Ontario.

Mourning female.

Monsieur Castor and friends pay their respects.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Critters in Champagne

Moxi, Gustavo and Monsieur Castor are happy to be back in France. England was fun but we've  made our way to the  Champagne region after a long day of travel and it is nice to sit, enjoy the view and sip on some bubbly. Especially pink bubbly.  

Saturday, June 10, 2017

A busy day in York, England

We started our day early with a visit to York Minster
         A gothic cathedral that has had a building continuously on this site since 627

    The beautiful Chapter House ceiling

We walked up 275 steps to a tower with a view

Moxi, Gustavo and Monsieur Castor almost got blown away from the top.

Then we walked the city wall

Above, had lunch at a great street food vendor called Los Moros (North African) and lastly visited the National Railway Museum in the afternoon. Whew! I was pooped after all that.

Monday, June 05, 2017

There but for the Grace of God ( go I )

Queen's house

The big clock

The big wheel

We're leaving London, this marvellous city, with some sadness today. The recent terrorist attacks have left their impression. I was out the night before (Friday) at a concert and coming back to apartment on bicycle about 10:30pm. It was a lovely, balmy early summer evening and many, many people were out on the streets. Many people are always out on the streets here. It's just that kind of place. My route did not take me near London Bridge. But, I could have kept going and biked to the bridge Friday night. It was only just beyond my destination on the bike path.

The next night at about 10:30pm the incident happened. Such a meaningless loss of life and injury. And for what? No one wins when these actions take place. What makes people so disenfranchised that they do this? How do we get to the root of the problem and fix it, not put more security on the streets which is needed but really just a band-aid? So many questions. I don't have the answers.

I leave you with three photos I took of London icons on my bike ride home and one from the BBC of people gathering to pay their respects.

Sunday, June 04, 2017

Court of Justice, not.

Visited Guildhall. It's one of the only remaining mediaeval buildings in London because they had a huge fire in 1660 and much of London burnt down. However this place is from 1410 or so. Impressive. They held trials here and no one sees to get out alive. If you read the list of important trials everyone was either beheaded or burnt at stake. The only guy found innocent then had his jury thrown in the jail. The plaque is hilarious to read and rather sad in other ways. There were two women tried. Their punishment was rather awful. One even tortured. I read their stories after my visit to Guildhall and neither woman deserved what she got. 

The two strange figures were also rather funny I thought. Part knight, part Hobbit. Names are Gog and Magog. Protectors of the realm. No not really, but protectors of something. I'll have to Google it again.

A pint and pork pie, London

Moxi, Gustavo and Monsieur Castor enjoy a break from sight seeing in a local pub.

Friday, June 02, 2017

Hampstead Court Palace, Thames River, London

Henry VIII had a summer home, actually Cardinal Wolsey built it and Henry took it over.  Now it's a 35 minute train trip from London. Probably took Henry and entourage a day or more to get there. The photo above is one of many inner court yards and the structure in the foreground is a fountain that flowed wine because Henry was a show off. Well........ he was king. I guess he was allowed to show off.
The palace has funky chimneys all over. Every room where guests stayed had heating and their own privy. Nothing like modern conveniences. 
Every palace needs a great hall where the 600+ people could be feed. 
Fun with napkins. These are folded into various intricate shapes. Pretty amazing. All with linen napkins but during he Georgian time, not Henry VIII's.

One of Henry's kitchens. Massive and a lot of meat was cooked over open fires.

Henry's wine cellar. Apparently they drank it young and fresh and went through barrels of the stuff. Remember the fountain? The next two photos are a couple of gardens of the massive property. The roses are divine and the entire area had the most wonderful fragrance.