Beuvron-en-Auge, Normandy

After our visit to Chateau Le Breuil-en-Auge, our coach stopped for quick visit to Beuvron-en-Auge.  Situated to the west of Lisieux and 25 kilometres east of Caen in the Calvados department of Normandy, Beuvron-en-Auge is one of the most beautiful villages of France.

The house’s are half-timbered of which Normandy is famous for. The village is small and I think at last count there are roughly 250 people living there. Of course we could have some more cider or cheese, perhaps a coffee, however we chose to wander around take photos and breathe in the history.

 

We found the most amazing shop full of scarves, lace, lace edged ,oh so many to choose from.  If you didn’t know by now I love a scarf.  It changes the whole outfit and it is handy for spills of food and drink that would normally fall on your clothes.  I could have stayed in this shop for hours perhaps days.  One of the women from our tour purchased a stunning red one and wore it that night at dinner.  I wished now that I had gone ahead and purchased one for myself. Oh well I will have to go back.

Many of the houses are now shops selling the famous cider and calvados or cafe’s and restaurants.  Lots of antique shops also.  I wish we had more time to get lost in these shops.

I might just leave the idol chat and let you see this beautiful village for yourself.

 

 

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Beautiful Beuvron-en-Auge

 

 

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Stunning half-timbered houses now shops
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Beautiful flowers everywhere
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Half timbered homes
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Quirky little shops with my favorite all time climber – Wisteria
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Half timbered homes
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Beuvron en Auge tribute to the fallen 

In the first two weeks of May the town features a flower festival mostly geraniums a speciality – and a very large cider festival is held at the end of October. Both events are great times to visit the town if possible.  We were there end of August and the geraniums were still in full flower.

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Half timbered home 
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Wouldn’t it be nice to have a picnic here?

Do you think I might like to go back and stay for a few days?  Yes!

France is much more than Paris or Nice.  So many delightful and quaint villages to visit and explore and Beuvron-de-Auge is right up the top of the list.  Normandy has certainly won my heart.

Chateau du Breuil en Auge – A Taste of Normandy

 

We visited Chateau Le Breuil en Auge and its famous distillery for tasting of their cider.  Of course we also were able to sample the cheese that is produced  in the area.  Can I just say “thank you to all of those at my table who decided to not try the cheese.  Some were concerned, yes concerned that some of the cheese was from un pasteurized milk!  Yes I ate it and it was delicious.  No, it didn’t make me sick. As you can see from the photo these samples were not small.

 

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Of course there was more wine and cider to have with the cheese.

Learning how they make the apple cider was fun.  From these gorgeous apples on the tree

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The Distillery
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The cider on its way to the oak barrels
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Cider Oak Casks in the aging cellars

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Not just one tasting either.  So many different varieties are made, depending on how long they are left in the oak casks.

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Don’t mind if I do

You can purchase the cider in the gift shop however I resisted the urge.

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I decided to taste more of what was on offer

 

As we left the distillery building before the tasting we were giving a “taste” of what 100% cider is like.  100% would have knocked us out, maybe even worse.  You know how you spray your perfume into the air and walk through it, that’s how we were given the “taste”.  Oh such a beautiful scent!

As we wandered around the aging cellars you learn from the information on the front of the oak casks as to the age of the cider.

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Oak Casks filled with apple cider

While we were in the aging cellars an amazing light show was put on.  The cellars came to life with stunning colors and beautiful sounds. ( No photos were to be taken while this was on. )  “La Part Des Anges”  I learnt when we got back home in Melbourne that this light and sound show had just started that year (2017)

The gardens are stunning, with 100-year-old trees, beds of flowers and chairs and tables to enjoy the surroundings.

 

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100-year-old trees
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Picturesque Gardens
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Stunning flowers

 

The Chateau with its pink tiles wasnt part of our tour, such a shame as it is said to be stunning.  Built in the 16th – 17 th century and home to noble families such as the Bouquetots, the Montgomery’s, the young Tancrède de Rohan and the Bences.

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The gates to the Chateau
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Glimpse of the Chateau over the stone walls

 

 

 

 

 

“The Pays d’auge, located to the east of Calvados, is Normandy’s most emblematic area.  From Pont I’Eveque to Livarot, via Lisieux, this is the land of the apple orchards, stud farms and half-timbered houses.  Cider, calvados and pommel are produced throughout Calvados and Normandy but more specifically in the Pays d’aude.  Also the Pays d’aude is also an AOC (controlled designation of origin) area.

The Cider Route, the east of Caen, is a 40km marked tourist trail throughout the beautiful area of the Pays d’auge.  Cheeses such as camembert, post l’eveque and livarot are all produced at the Graindorge cheese dairy in Livarot, using non-pasteurized milk, of course, to guarantee the AOC label.”

*more photos of our visit will be featured on the instagram account*

 

Invisible in Melbourne. WHAT’S IT LIKE TO LIVE HERE WITH CHRONIC ILLNESS?

Sheryl from https://www.achronicvoice.com is hosting an Invisible Link Up.  When Sheryl tagged me in this I was like yes please I will do that.  A great way to learn what it is like for others living around the world with a chronic illness.  I have several chronic illness along with a couple of rare diseases.  I have learnt over the years to work around them but some days it can be hard.  So here are my answers to the questions.

Q&A: What’s the Quality of Life Like in Your City with an Invisible Illness?

 

Best thing about your city for living with chronic illness?

Melbourne has been voted on many occasions as the most livable city.  We have an excellent rail system and trams and busses. If you have a chronic illness and are on disability pension you get a health care card which gives you cheap travel.  Melbourne is also known as the sporting capital of Australia.  You can choose from Australian Rules (which is the only sport in my mind), Rugby, Soccer and Tennis.  We have the grand prix of racing in March and the spring racing carnival for horses.  The Melbourne Cup the most watched horse race in Australia and a public holiday for Victorians is on the first Tuesday of November.

 

 

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Aussie Rules Footy

Melbourne has several major hospitals all with excellent specialists.

Worst thing about your city for living with chronic illness?

Melbourne is known for its 4 seasons in one day.   Start the morning with a light coat by lunch your sweltering and by afternoon its a thunderstorm.  It’s also know as the asthma capital of Australia. A couple of years ago quite a number of people died when there was one of the worst “asthma thunderstorm”.

How accessible do you think your city is in general?

Public transport for the most part is brilliant for wheelchair etc access. All stations have lifts if required.  A lot of trams and tram stops have been redesigned so everyone can easily access.  Busses have an option that the side of the bus goes down so the step is fairly easy.  However, some trams are still the old clunky ones with steep narrow steps.  Streets.  The pathways are sometimes cobblestones depending on which part of Melbourne you’re in. Not all buildings have ramps. I soon learnt how hard it is to get around Melbourne when I did my ACL, MCL last year.  The old trams are lovely but on hospital routes?

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Melbourne Trams

There are plenty of disabled toilets in the city.  Our public transport has certain sections set aside for people with walkers and wheelchairs.  There are also signs everywhere to give your seat to a disabled person.  Makes it hard for those of us with invisible illness’ as we usually “don’t look disabled”.  You can apply for a disabled sticker for your car via your doctor and that allows you to park in disabled parking spots.

How educated is the public on chronic illnesses there?

They do understand to a point.  If you keep saying no to going out, they get sick and tired of it and stop asking.  Those of us with a chronic illness all understand the “but you look good” or “still sick, I thought by now you should be ok”  I try to stick to friends who do understand and do get it.  Often when parking in a disabled parking space with the sticker, you can come back to your car with a nasty note saying “you look fine, you shouldnt be parking there”.

If you could pass one new law in your country, what would that be?

To allow dogs on leads on public transport and in restaurants and cafe’s.  We are so behind the rest of the world.  Service dogs are already allowed.

 

Which is your favourite city or country (other than your own) and why?

Paris. I fell in love with her two years ago and I had to go back last year as my heart was aching.  Paris has wonderful people, cafes, history, architecture. Last year I fell in love with France.  Such a stunning country.

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Eiffel Tower

 

 

Where in the world would you visit, if disability, illness or level of fitness weren’t an issue?

Anywhere in Europe, in fact I would move there and travel to my heart’s content.

What sort of alternative treatments or therapies wouldn’t raise any eyebrows there? (Perhaps it’s ingrained in the culture, totally legal, etc).

There really isn’t any that people wouldn’t raise their eyebrows at.  I find when I mention I don’t eat pasta or breads, people think your missing out.  I wish people would just understand that everyone is different and what works for one might not work for another.

 

Which are the most and least affordable therapies there? How much do they cost in general?

In Australia for those of us with a chronic illness we can get whats called a chronic health care plan where we can get “free” therapies. You can choose from physiotherapy, Podiatry, Dietician, Osteopathy.  Here in Victoria you can also get 5 visits with a counsellor under the Mental Health Care Plan.  Unfortunately our government is trying to take these away.  *keep us sick*

Most shopping centres have massage shops where you can just walk in and get a 20 minute massage for $20.  Physiotherapy can cost from $50 to $120 depending on where you go and how long it is for.

How expensive is it to live with a chronic illness there? Any stats you’d like to share to give a clearer picture?

Medications are extremely expensive.  A lot are on the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme which does bring the price of medications down.  If you have a health care card – to get one you must be either on a disability pension or a low-income.  If you do have a HCC then you can get most medications for about $5.20.  Specialists are very expensive or one can be put on our waiting lists for public hospitals however the waiting lists can be anywhere from 6 months to 2-3 years.

What are the hospitals like in terms of service, quality of care, emergency room protocols, etc?

We have some outstanding hospitals here in Melbourne.  I should know I visit two of them regularly for my Tuberous Sclerosis and Lymphangiomiomatosis – Lam lung disease.  In fact the Alfred Hospital has a Lam clinic and women from other states visit the clinic on a regular basis.

I think the quality of care etc in our hospitals for the most part is brilliant.  I’m sure though that there are the odd occasions that it falls below par.  When I injured my knee I was triage very quickly and given pain medication. Within 5 minutes I was being wheeled into the emergency room.  I couldn’t fault it.

 

What should foreigners be aware of in regards to healthcare, if they want to visit or work in your city?

Travelers should have travel insurance if coming to Australia.  We have a system in Australia called Medicare for Australian Citizens and permanent residents.  A lot of doctors however charge over the standard rate for a visit so even those of us Australians still pay the difference.  If you’re a New Zealander citizen and have lived in Australia for 6 months or more can get a medicare card.  This enables you to visit a doctor that bulk bills, which mean you pay no fee.

Tourists can stay up to 3 months in Australia.  If they wish to work they are required to get a visa before entering.  Customs can send you back if they think you might be entering the country to work and you don’t have a visa.

Working Holiday Visa gives you 12 months  to travel to Australia from the date the visa is granted, and allows you to stay in Australia for 12 months from the date you first enter Australia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A stroll through Giverny France

Giverny is roughly 3 kms from Vernon and only 75 kms from Paris.  So an easy day trip by car or one of the many day tours that go there.  You can also stay in one of the many little “Gites” or B&B’s that are in Giverny or Vernon.

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Fancy staying in Giverny?  Then look at gites-de-france.com

Giverny is pronounced – Jee-va-nyee.  It is located on the right bank of the Seine River.

After the garden we walked through Claude Monet’s Home.

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The dining room
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The kitchen
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The view  from the house
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Monet’s Art room

 

Muriel and I decided to take the walk through the town to the local church.  Monet and his family are buried there.  We were told by one of the guides that the church is well worth the 15-20 min walk.  We must have walked fast as it took us half the time.

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Monet family gravesite

 

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Monet’s Grave site – always with flowers

 

 

Not only is Claude Monet and his family buried in the cemetery in Giverny but also 7 British Airmen who’s Lancaster bomber crashed in flames on the night of the 7/8 June 1944.

 

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A marker for the 7 airmen who were shot down on the 8/6/1944 near Giverny
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The grave for the 7 airmen at Giverny

 

There were only a handful of us who ventured to the church.  Most found a bar or cafe till we would be taken back to the ship.  It was oh so quiet after the hustle and bustle of the gardens.

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The Altar in the Church in Giverny
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Seating in the church, see the hat resting on the chair?

 

 

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Tribute to the British airmen
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Stunning Stained Glass Windows

 

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Oh so quiet the streets of Giverny
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Beautiful flowers in the garden of Claude Monet
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Rue Claude Monet

 

We arrived back at out meeting place to see  the 4  tour guides having an argument.   In French, oh how I wish I knew exactly what they were saying.  It was so funny to see the waving hands.  Muriel understood a bit that’s how we knew it wasn’t just a conversation. I wish I had taken a photo it was so funny.

 

Did you know the airmen were buried in the cemetery?

More photos of the garden and the house will be on the Instagram account.

 

 

 

The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries

 

Back in April of this year my sister Paula, our niece Penny and myself – Bree went to the exhibition of the The Lady and the Unicorn Tapestries at the Art Gallery of NSW.

Designed in Paris around 1500, these tapestries are considered to be some of the greatest surviving masterpieces of medieval European art.  They depict a lady with a Unicorn on her left and a lion on her right.  In some there is even a monkey.  They are surrounded by enchanted animals, flowers and trees.

This was only the third time in  500 years the Lady and the Unicorn tapestries had left France. A generous loan of the collection of the Musée de Cluny – Musée national du Moyen Âge in Paris.

 

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The Lady and The Unicorn
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The Lady and The Unicorn
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The Lady and The Unicorn
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The Lady and The Unicorn

When you first walk in there is a long passageway with photographs of excerpts about the tapestries.  See above

 

There are 6 large tapestries.  Some say they depict the  five senses – sight, hearing, taste, touch and smell – as well as a sixth sense – heart or will – represented by the phrase ‘mon seul désir’ or ‘my sole desire’.

 

 

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The Lady and the Unicorn – Taste

 

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The Lady and the Unicorn – Sight

 

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The Lady and The Unicorn – can you see the little dog?

 

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The Lady and the Unicorn – Desire

 

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The Lady and The Unicorn – Smell

 

Unfortunately I somehow missed getting a photo of the tapestry for Touch and Hearing.  Hopefully one day I can see these again perhaps in their home of Paris at the Musee de Cluny.

 

 

Note’s from ” Wikipedia

  • The Lady and the Unicorn is the title of a 1970 album by the English folk guitarist John Renbourn, comprising arrangements of early music. It shows the tapestry À Mon Seul Désiron its cover.
  • These tapestries are depicted in the novel The Lady and the Unicorn by Tracy Chevalier.
  • Several of the tapestries can be seen hanging on the walls of the Gryffindor Common Room in the Harry Potter series of films.
  • The six tapestries have inspired the six movements of Kaija Saariaho‘s clarinet concerto D’om le Vrai Sens: the title is an anagram of “A mon seul désir”.
  • The tapestries are featured heavily in the novel Mobile Suit Gundam Unicorn and its anime adaptation. The Lady, Lion, Unicorn and chest are symbolized by various characters, mecha and items in the series.
  • One of the tapestries can be found hanging in the Musée Crune in the game Broken Sword: The Shadow of the Templars.
  • The tapestry Sight is the cover art of Anonymous 4‘s 1994 early music album Love’s Illusion: Music from the Montpellier Codex 13th Century.
  • The tapestries’ orange trees were adapted and redesigned by artist Leon Coward for the mural The Happy Garden of Life in the 2016 sci-fi movie 2BR02B: To Be or Naught to Be.[6]The mural also makes use of the millefleur style.
  • The tapestries appear briefly in a scene of the 2016 movie Alice Through The Looking Glass
  • Rumer Godden’s 1938 novel ‘The Lady and the Unicorn’ is based around a run-down 18th Century house built by French emigres in Calcutta, where the chapel (now converted into an apartment) bears the coat of arms with the unicorn and a French sundial in the garden is inscribed ‘Mon Seul Desir’. The ghosts of the first inhabitants appear to the current residents, principally Rosa, who is having a love-affair with a young Englishman
  • After discovering them in a book, the tapestries become an obsession of the protagonist in the 2018 film “The Escape”. “

 

To me these tapestries are the epitome of romance and a magical time of love and life.

As my sister Paula said -” A treat of the senses”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Claude Monet’s Garden

Claude Monet’s garden and house is in Giverny Normandy.  We have all seen the photos of the garden on the internet, Museums. To actually be there and see all the different colors and flowers is one of the greatest things anyone can do.  At the previous post I said I wasn’t into flower arranging but that all changed when I saw the beauty of these gardens. I was also unaware that the gardens consist of two different types of gardens.  The one out the front of the home called Clos Normand and the water garden which is Japanese inspired.

As we first approached the gardens we were taken through a walkway that was surrounded by bamboo and a bubbling creek.  We wandered along this path for what seemed ages. So much beauty.

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Water garden with bamboo forest

Then  magically the bubbling water opened up to an amazing huge lake filled with water lilies and surrounded by so many different types of flowers.

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The water garden which has inspired many a painting
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stunning water lilies

It was summer and the gardens were crowded yet you felt as if you were there alone with the beauty.  A place where time can stand still.

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Claude Monet’s Garden and his house

 

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Inspiration for Monet’s art

 

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Two Sisters  Muriel with the hat — Bree with the sunglasses we were on the famous bridge…See our smiles!

 

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Amazing colors

 

 

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stunning colors

Monet didn’t like organized gardens or constrained gardens. He married flowers by the color and let them grow freely.  As you walked around the gardens in front of the house, there were black, purple, orange, yellow, red, pink flowers.  Stunning, brilliant, gorgeous are some of the words that describe what we saw that day.

I must go back one day in spring to see the bridge covered in wisteria.

 

*I will do a seperate post on his home and the town of Giverny*

 

 

*More photos will soon be on 3sistersabroad

 

 

 

 

Chateau de Bizy

It was only a very short drive in the coach to Chateau de Bizy.  Hidden behind trees in a huge estate is Bizy Castle.  The castle and the park surrounding Bizy is under monumental protection and features water gardens of the baroque splendors of the 18th century.

 

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Water features like this are all around the Chateau de Bizy

The famous stables still home for a few ornate horse-drawn carriages.

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The stables are full of carriages that were used back in the 18th century

As it was everyone on the ship to do this tour we were all given colored cards that would be our guide to which part we would be doing first.  The 4 of us, Muriel, Tanya, Peter and myself were in the same group. Our 3 guides below for the tours.  They are dressed in the fashions of that time.

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these 3 put on a bit of a show for us as well as our guides

The first part of the tour was a workshop smelling all the different herbs, flowers etc It was fun to start with then it just went on a wee bit too long.  We had to answer questions which some of us couldn’t be bothered doing.  Then some were to make flower arrangements.  I love flowers and plants but to make an arrangement wasn’t my cup of tea.  Others throughly enjoyed it.

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Our flower arranging class

The we were taken on a tour of the grounds and the castle.  What an amazing place it is.

 

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The magnificent grounds
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water features everywhere

We were taking through the Grand Salon, the drawing-room and the dinning room.  It is furnished how it would have been back in the 18th Century.  The Castle is still privately owned by the heirs of the Duke of Penthièvre.

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the front of the Chateau de Bizy

We were taking through the Grand Salon, the drawing-room and the dinning room.  It is furnished how it would have been back in the 18th Century.  The Castle is still privately owned by the heirs of the Duke of Penthièvre.

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What a stunning light fixture

 

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anyone for dinner?

 

 

 

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Such a stunning place to visit.

 

We had such a wonderful time visiting Chateau de Bizy and I recommend anyone reading this post to put this wonderful place on your places to visit.

There is so much history behind this stunning Chateau of which needs a separate post.  That will come much later..and I hope you enjoy it when I do.

More pictures will be on instagram

 

 

 

*Next on the blog – Monet’s Garden

 

 

 

Panoramic Sightseeing Tour of Paris & River Cruise

 

I should have read the brochure properly. In 2016 when  in Paris and had a morning sightseeing tour of Paris, our coach stopped  many times for loo (Australian for toilet, bathroom )stops, coffee stops and opportunity to take photos. This time we were whizzed around the sites of Paris, look left look right, it was like watching a tennis match.  Then we would be taken to our boat for a lunch cruise along the Seine.  The panoramic sightseeing was very quick and not once did we stop until we got to the boat for our lunch cruise.

We were  also supposed to be having lunch at the restaurant on the Eiffel Tower, however due to “management problems” this was not to be.  In 2016 our tour of the Eiffel Tower was cancelled due to a terrorist scare.  Apparently the day before, someone tried to get through the heavy security with a gun. Machine gun! I think they had even got through the first lot of security.  You wonder how.  Anyway they did and all we and hundreds of other tourists had to look from afar.  We were safe that’s all that mattered.

This time it was some kind of management problem.  We were advised about 3 days into our cruise along the Rhone.  Everyone that was heading to Paris were very upset.  So they advised us we would be having a nice cruise along the Seine for lunch.  Don’t get me wrong it all sounds nice, however we had just spent 7 days on a cruise and were going to embark on another 7 day cruise along the Seine.  It was a bit of a let down.

When you see all the cruises that go along the Seine, honestly I and many others said we would rather be on an open top cruise.  You see more, and a stop at a cafe for coffee and a baguette would have been enough.

There was a small walk way on either side of the boat that you could slide out to get photos. Perhaps 5 on either side could fit.  Yes very small and tight.  We went past the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty.  Our ship was moored just by them both and we did go past the ship, our crew waved as we went by.

Lunch on the cruise was ok.  We managed to drink a bit to ease the disappointment of not being able to visit the Eiffel Tower.

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The wine

I have a few photos of the coach and cruise and will post more on Instagram.  They are not the best as you have the glare of the glass from the windows of the coach.

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The wheel
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The Acadmie National De Musque – Paris Opera
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The amazing architecture of Paris
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Fountain

The Louvre and the Pyramid

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The Louvre

The Louvre and the Pyramid

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The Louvre

Fontaine’s de la Concorde

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Fontaine’s de la Concorde – Fountain in the Place de la Concorde
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Charles de Gaulle

The Bridge of Golden Statues – Pont Alexander 111. Beautiful to see at night, a romantic spot as the golden statues are illuminated.

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The Bridge of Golden Statues – Pont Alexander 111
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The stunning  lights around Paris
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Eiffel Tower
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Seine River

 

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Bridges as far as the eye can see along the Seine River
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The Statue of Liberty

The Statue of Liberty in Paris, France was given to the City of Paris by the American Community to celebrate the centennial of the French Revolution in 1889.

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Our cruise ship the Amalyra that would take us up the Seine River.
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The Eiffel Tower
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Peter and the Eiffel Tower photo bombed!

 

 

Au Revoir – See you later on the next blog post

 

 

 

The TGV is fast! Lyon to Paris in less than 2 hours!

Excitement and sadness filled the air as our cruise along the Rhone had ended.

We would be heading to Paris on the TGV – which translates to very very fast.

Our coaches arrived to take us to the Lyon Part-Dieu railway station. Wow such a busy train station.  We had been warned that pick pockets are common at the train station so we all must very vigilant.  We gathered together and were on the lookout for anyone who might try to take advantage of any of us.

Our suitcases would be taking the slow road on a truck, so that’s one thing we didn’t have to worry about. Thank goodness.

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Our guide told us that we wouldn’t know until 20 mins before the train was due, of the platform.  The trains leave on time and waits for no one!

The TGV has a world speed record of 574.8 km on the 3 April 2007.  That’s 359 mph.  In 2007!  Our trains in Australia are lucky to do even 100 km’s an hour.  That record was in 2007 can you believe that!

Our train came in we all quickly boarded.  We squeezed in to our seats.  Leg room was tight, as we had a table to share with the 4 of us.  No sooner had we sat down that the train was on its way.  I sat by the window opposite Peter. The scenery was a blur.  In no time at all 2 hours, actually 1 hour and 57 mins we arrived in Paris at the Paris Gare de Lyon Station.

Quick trips to the loo’s (Aussie slang for toilet, bathroom etc) then onto the coaches for our panoramic drive around Paris and then to the Seine for a private Lunch cruise through the historical center of Paris.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lyon France – just a few more pics

 

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Lyon so breathtakingly beautiful
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The amazing Traboules of Lyon
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Stunning architecture
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More of the amazing secret Traboules
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Place Bellecour
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Carousel in Lyon
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Bree – me by the gorgeous fountain. Place Antonin Poncet

 

It was fascinating watching the young children play in the fountains.  We could have watched them for hours.

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The swimming pool near our ship on the banks of the Rhone River

The pools were crowded.  What else does one do on a hot day.  Wander around doing touristy things or going for a swim.  We did the tourist things. Im so glad we did.  You can swim anyday.

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The swimming pool on the Rhone River in Lyon
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So pretty – Place Antonin Poncet
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The church on the hill  and Lyon’s Eiffel Tower
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Louis Vuitton
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Stunning  – Place Antonin Poncet

Lyon is such a pretty city.  Muriel and I wandered around probably for about 3 or more hours.  By the time we arrived back at the ship we were hot, tired and thirsty. After the scare of Muriel bag contents being stolen we didn’t stop much until we got to the Place Antonin Poncet.  Such a beautiful and calming place.

Our ship was  mored opposite the Lyon University.    There is so much more of Lyon that we didn’t see so one day I hope that we get to go back and do this place the justice it deserves.

We arrived back to the ship and enjoyed a cool drink of water and then a couple of wines.  Tonight would be our last night on this ship.  In the morning we would be heading to Paris for the next part of our holiday.  Time for a lay down before our farewell dinner.

Its been an amazing trip so far and so much more to share with you.

Phew that was lucky!

After our tour of the Traboules and the old town of Lyon we were taken back to the ship for those who wanted lunch.  I was full from all the samples we had at the market.

After cooling down we walked back into the city.  I had my cross body bag from Modipeller and Muriel had her backpack on.   I was walking ahead of Muriel and I turned around to speak to her. The tiny street we were on was crowded.  Tourists and locals bustling for a space.  A dress shop ahead looked inviting.  It was a local French clothes shop. No sooner had we walked into the shop, a sales lady came up to Muriel and let her know her bag was open.  Fear gripped both of us as we knew it had been closed when leaving the ship. Muriel went white and immediately looked in her bag. Everything was still there. It seems that when I turned around to speak to Muriel, I must have scared off the wannabe thief.  He/She must have thought Muriel was easy prey and on her own.

On the way back to the ship Muriel carried her backpack to the front.  Why do backpack makers put the openings away from the body?

It didn’t dampen our enjoyment of Lyon.  It was just one of those things and makes you realize it can happen to anyone, anywhere.  You can be in your own home town.

 

 

 

 

Traboules Of Lyon

 

In the 5th district or Vieux Lyon most of the streets run parallel to the river making it difficult to get from one street to the next without making huge detours.  So courtyards and passageway were designed making lots of shortcuts. This also helped the workers who would move their produce through these covered walkways.  Therefore avoiding the often awful weather.

During the Second World War these passage ways were used by the resistance for secret meetings preventing the Nazis from occupying the whole of Lyon.

There are over 400 of these Traboules however only 40 are open to the public.   We entered several and walked from street to street. The streets are noisy and busy yet once inside the Traboule it’s so quiet you could hear a pin drop.  No wonder the Nazis had no clue of these hidden walkways – traboules.

The staircases leading up to the different levels are made of stone and each one had a wrought iron gate in the “foyer”.  Making it safe for residents.

The walkways are narrow and dark then open up to beautiful courtyards.  Water fountains are in nearly every courtyard.  One resident even had a chandelier hanging in their little garden.

One of the walkways we went through was the 27 Rue St Jean connecting with 6 Rue des Trois Maries.

You can do a self guided tour of the Traboules, keep a look out for the picture of the Lion and an arrow.  Or you can organize a guided tour.  It’s a 2 hour walk and approximately 12 euros.

The longest traboule in Lyon runs between 54 Rue Saint-Jean and 27 Rue du Bœuf, and a famously picturesque traboule begins at 9 Place Colbert/14 bis montee Saint Sebastion, and features a historic six-story external staircase.

It was a very hot day in Lyon last August however once inside the traboule the air was cool and refreshing.

 

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The stairwell tower 
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Memories of Lyon
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See the thickness of the door. Please ignore the partial blue shirt. Its so narrow and tight that its hard to get a photo without someing being in it. The arm belongs to our guide.

 

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The archway above the stairs, you can just see the top of the gate in the picture
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Just look at the colors of this amazing Traboule in Lyon
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 stone steps
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Unusual stone steps with the wrought iron gate

 

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The traboules are dark with filtered light.

 

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Chandlier at the entrance to one residents home.  Look at the huge thick doorway

 

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Stone steps
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Water fountains
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Just look at this door, I wonder what is behind it?
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Amazing architecture of Lyon

 

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Notice the curve of the street and the buildings in Lyon
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Still hungry?

 

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Macarons

 

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Place DE LA Baleine
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Beautiful Silk clothes
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Corner of Rue St Jean and Please Neuve St Jean
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Silk Worms

 

Once we had traversered the many Traboules of Lyon we then learnt  a little about the Silk Industry in Lyon.  Spied many a shop window with Macrons and yummy pasteries just wanting to be eaten.

One day I want to go back to Lyon and stay for a few days/weeks/months/years.  Yes I know I say this about every town I visit.  There is so much more to see.

 

*More photos will be on Instagram*

 

 

 

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Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse

Our next stop would be the famous Les Halles de Lyon – the food market.

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Les Halles de Lyon – Paul Bocuse ..markets…nothing to impressive outside.wait till your inside.

In 1859 Lyon  opened its doors to its first food market in a large metallic structure located at Place Cordeliers in the centre of the city known as the “Presqu’ile”.  100 years later they built a new market to represent their love of food.

 

In 1971 Les Halles opened its door in the area of La Part-Dieu close to Lyons main train station. It is over 3 floors now however we only went through the ground floor. Paul Bocuse added his name to the market.

Over 48 vendors, butchers, bakers, wine merchants, cheesemonger, poultry.  If you eat it you will find at the market.

Of course what market would it be if there were no samples of food.  We all assembled at the back of the market for a our own special tasting.  It was cordoned off however quite a few French folk tried to join in.  They love free food and who wouldn’t.   In France you don’t taste wonderful food without the glass of wine or 2 or 3.  Or more….

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Our sample’s table

 

We tasted nose to tail pork with aromatic herbs that made your taste buds tingle with delight and wanting more.

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Muriel sampling the wine and food
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Nose to tail samples
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Omgoodness so yummy

We were then given some time to wander around the markets. So much beautiful produce.  The displays are sensational. I think our markets here in Australia should take a note or two from the French markets.

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Pate Croute – all different kinds…

The famous Bresse Chickens – white chickens  only raised within a defined area of Bresse in Eastern France.  They are sold intact …heads and all…see the pictures.  They also have slate blue legs.

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Famous Bresse chickens

Wine…so much wine…rows and rows of bottles.

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French Wine

Cheese oh my you name it its there.

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Cheese

Cakes – I think the pictures will do the talking here.

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How cute is this cake
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more macaroons

 

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more macaroons

Chocolate – rows and rows of this amazing stuff.

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Chocolate 

I think I put on a few kg’s just looking at the most wonderful display of patisseries. Can you believe that I didn’t have at least one patisserie.

I did however purchase some chocolate lipstick!  Which I still have. Yes surprise surprise!

 

We survived the market somehow we managed to get back on the coach and taken into the main part of the city.  The wheels on the bus kept going round, lucky, for all the food we ate it was surprising they didn’t go flat lol.

 

Coming up next  – our afternoon in Lyon.

 

More pics on Instagram…

 

 

 

 

 

Lam Awareness

The month of June is coming to a close.  June is Lam Awareness month.  Sarah from https://www.travelbreatherepeat.com has done an amazing awareness program each year for the month of June.  Below is my piece this year.  Do go over to her blog and check them out.

 

https://www.travelbreatherepeat.com/physical-therapy-with-lam/

 

Thank you for reading and following.

 

 

 

 

 

Fitzroy Gardens and the MCG Melbourne.

On Saturday I made my way into the city to catch up with a friend who was visiting from Perth, Western Australia. Such a bleak cold Saturday so what does one do apart from staying indoors and keeping warm.

We got on a tram and made our way to the MCG – Melbourne Cricket Ground.  My friend Gina had only been past the ground via a train.  So a walk around the outside.  No AFL games were being played this day so it was very quiet.

The MCG is home to AFL Football and many clubs based in Melbourne this is their home ground.  MCG is also home to the MCC – Melbourne Cricket Club.  It was founded in 1838 and is one of the oldest sporting clubs in Australia.

In 1859 the members drafted the first rules of Australian football. In 1877 it hosted the first Test Cricket played between England and Australia.

Around the grounds are statues of famous sports people.  The opening ceremony of the 1956 Olympics were held at the MCG.

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1956 Olympics Melbourne MCG
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Aussie Rules / MCG

We then made our way up the hill to the Fitzroy Gardens.  The gardens were named after  Sir Charles Augustus Fitzroy  (1796-1858).  He was the Governor of New South Wales (1846-1851) and Governor General of the Australian Colonies (1851-1855).

The gardens have a history of over 150 years and is visited by over 2 million people every year.  It’s very easy to get to you can catch a tram or tram or just walk.

We walked down a tree-lined pathway to the Fairies Tree. Ola Cohn’s Fairies Tree – has carvings on the stump of one of the Red Gum trees and its over 300 years old.

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Fairy Tree

 

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Fairy Tree

 

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Fairy Tree

From 1931 to May 1934 – Victoria’s Centenary Year – Miss Cohn worked on the delightful likenesses of fairies, dwarfs, gnomes, a marvelous jackass, koalas, flying foxes and a host of typical Australian animals and birds. She used all the natural irregularities and curves to transform the tree trunk into a thing of beauty.

Opposite the Fairy Tree is a Tudor Village.  This was modelled in cement by Mr. Edgar Wilson, a 77-year-old pensioner who lived in Hamilton Road, Norwood, London, England.  The model buildings represent a typical Kentish village built during the “Tudor” period of English history. The village is composed of various thatched cottages, a village church, school, hotel, barns, stocks, pump, and all public buildings which make up one of the delightful villages. Also included is a scale model of Shakespeare’s home and Anne Hathaway’s cottage.

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Tudor Village

 

Tudor Village

It was bitterly cold on this day.  The wind was coming straight off the antarctic I’m sure.  Time for a coffee and maybe a bite to eat. We found KereKere pronounced Kerry Kerry named after the Fijian custom of  which a relative or friend can request something that is needed and must be willing given with no expectation of repayment.  When we ordered our coffee and let me tell you this coffee was amazing, served in beautiful large and wide glasses we were also given a large playing card.  We found out that each month they have a community event.  On a board they list 4 different events and the one with the most votes is the one they will do.  To cast your vote, you place you playing card in the box of the event you think should be done.  I can’t remember all them but I voted on a local artist coming to the cafe and doing some painting. What a wonderful idea I thought.

Once we had warmed ourselves up on the coffee and took advantage of the  heating we ventured  to the Cooks cottage opposite the cafe.

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Cooks Cottage
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The main room in Cooks Cottage
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The small bedroom downstairs – with the chamber pot

 

 

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The main living room with some of the clothes worn in those days

This is a memorial to Captain James Cook.  He was a British explorer, navigator and captain in the Royal Navy. He was born in November 1728 and died in February 1779. This cottage is said to be where he spent some of his youth.  .  The cottage was transported from England to Australia in 1934.  Its been on the same ground in the Fitzroy Gardens since then.  A typical English garden was built around the cottage. You can try on clothes that would have been warm around the time Captain James Cook was alive.  We chose a typical captains hat.  The cottage is very small.  Has a living area and a small bedroom downstairs.  I didn’t venture up stairs as they were very step and with my walking stick and sore knee I didn’t want to take the chance.  Gina went up and said it had a bedroom which would have been the main bedroom.

 

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My photo with the statue of Captain James Cook – I think I need new finger-less gloves

 

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Gina with Captain James Cook Statue

As we were leaving Fitzroy Gardens we passed the Conservatory.  We didn’t go inside this day but I have in the past and its filled with the most amazing plants and flowers.

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The Conservatory in Fitzroy Gardens

 

We then  made our way through the  Treasury Gardens and up to the old Treasury Building at the top of Spring St.  Jumped on a tram and the best thing it was in the free zone. Melbourne has made travel in the CBD free travel which is great for tourists and workers.

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Old Treasury Building
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Old Treasury Building
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Melbourne Tram

We went to Gina’s apartment where she grabbed her coat and then back on a tram to Southern Cross Station where we would part ways.  Gina was going to friends for dinner and I was heading home.  What a lovely an inexpensive way to spend some time in Melbourne.

 

Now if you’re visiting Melbourne you can arrange  tours of the MCG and MCC.  I do plan on doing the tour later in the year with one of my friends from the Football cheer squad we are in.  I will do a blog post on it after I have been.

To visit Cooks Cottage, general admission is $6.50, Concession/Seniors is $5.00 and children 3-15 $3.50.  They also have family admission 2 adults and 2 children $18.00.

To get to Fitzroy Gardens you can catch a train to Parliament Station or Jolimont. The Free City Circle Tram line the stop is Spring St Treasury Buildings.  15 minute walk from Federation Square.  Tram’s 48 or 75 the stop would be Wellington Street opposite the park.

 

**All photos taken with my I phone 5S**

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Painted Walls of Lyon – La Fresque Des Lyonnais

After breakfast we boarded our coach to be taken on a tour of Lyon.  Our first point of call was this amazing building.

A mural of over 30 of Lyons famous figures past and present. The Roman emperor Claudius, who was born here when Lyon was the fortress of Roman Gaul; the pioneer filmmaking Lumière brothers; silk weaver and inventor of the Jacquard loom Joseph-Marie Jacquard; author and aviator Antoine de Saint-Exupery and others appear on their balconies by the Saône River. The famous Lyon chef Paul Bocuse stands in the doorway of a typical Lyonnais restaurant, and at one of his tables is crime writer Frédéric Dard.

I think we all took what seemed a million and one photos.

Lyon is famous for its “troupe l’ole” painted walls, and there is nearly one hundred mural frescos painted on frontages of buildings.

I think I will let the pictures do the talking. At first glance when you look at this building it looks busy with people on the balconies, in the shops, people walking past.  It’s all just one giant fresco.

If you are visiting Lyon here is the address for this particular building.

angle 49 quai St Vincent et 2 rue de la Martinière – 69001 Lyon 1er

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La Fresque Des Lyonnais
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Famous People on the building
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Lyon wall painting
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Lyon Wall painting
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Lyon Wall Painting
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Murals of famous Lyon people
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Mural of famous lyon people
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Paul Boscue
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Murals of famous Lyon people –  Auguste and Louis Lumière.
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Murals of famous Lyon people
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Murals of famous Lyon people

 

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The famous 18th century tooth puller Laurent Mourguet – he created a puppet show to distract his patients. The puppet was called  Guigno. Can you see him? The one with no balcony

 

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Bookstore ….

 

 

Next post the famous Les Halles de Lyon – Paul  Bocuse!

The lights of Lyon on the Saone and the Rhine

 

After dinner at Abbaye of Collonges we made our way across the road to our ship to be taken into Lyon.  We were to arrive in Lyon around midnight so quite a few of us with drinks in hand stood on the front deck to watch the lights as we meandered to out stop.

Lyon is the third largest city in France and the centre of the second largest metropolitan area in the country.  It is the capital of the Rhône-Alpes region.  It is on the banks of the Saone and the Rhone.

As we made our way to our port you could be mistaken ever so slightly that you were in Paris.  On our left on the hill was a replica of the Eiffel Tower.  It is called  Tour métallique de Fourvière (“Metallic tower of Fourvière a landmark of Lyon.  It was built between 1892 and 1894.  Back in 1914 it had a restaurant and an elevator that could take up to 22 people to the summit.  Today it is used as a television tower and is not accessible to the public.

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Lyon – Metallic tower of Fourvière  with the Basilica of Notre-Dame in the background.
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Love how all the colors reflect on the water
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The lights on the bridge 
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another view of the banks of the river in Lyon
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The lights of Lyon
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The lights on the murals of Lyon

 

Once our ship had docked we made our way back to our rooms for some shut-eye.

There were two tours on offer the next day, a Lyon city tour with Silk Workshop and Lyon Culinary sightseeing tour.  Both Muriel and I had decided to go on the Culinary sightseeing tour.  More of Lyon on the next post.

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Wide Lam Awareness Month

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Can you say Lymphangioleiomyomatosis?

Let me break it down for you – Lymp -angio -leio- myo -ma – tosis.  What a mouth full.  Us Lammies and the medical profession call it Lam.  So much easier don’t you think!

What is Lam  or Lymphangioleomyomatosis you ask?  Here is the link to the Australian Lam organisation.

http://lamaustralia.org.au/what-is-lam/

“Lymphangioleiomyomatosis is commonly referred to simply as LAM. It is a rare lung disease affecting women.

Caused by a single cell malfunction, the disease process replaces the lung lining with smooth muscle cells. This change progressively reduces the uptake of oxygen into the bloodstream, causing breathlessness, especially on exertion, and other diverse symptoms. These usually appear when women are in their childbearing years.  Because LAM is so unusual, many doctors are unfamiliar with the disease. It’s not unusual for LAM to be misdiagnosed initially as asthma, bronchitis, emphysema or depression.

There are 2 types of Lam.  Sporadic Lam – is not inherited . Caused by a random gene mutation and affects mostly women.

TS/Lam – is associated with Tuberous Sclerosis and is heredity. It is slower to progress than the sporadic Lam and less  debilitating than sporadic Lam.”

 

When my girls were little I began to experience mild asthma.  My doctor advised me to use an inhaler only when i truly needed it.  I was told I had bronchitis or bronchial/asthma.

Winter would be the worst season for me.  I would go a couple of years and be ok only to get so sick it would go from a chest infection to pneumonia. Still I was told it’s the flu season/winter/bronchitis.

If it wasn’t for a friend I met on a Thyroid Facebook group who was trying to find out what her COPD was, I would still be none the wiser.  She had looked up her symptoms on the internet and it came up with Lam and Tuberous Sclerosis.  She had emailed the Professor at the Alfred Hospital in the respiratory department regarding her symptoms and he advised her it wasn’t Lam.  However, she let me know his details and I thought ok I will email him.  Within a couple of hours he had emailed me back to tell me to get to my GP and ask him for a high frequency CT Scan.  I was still in denial and my thinking was why didn’t one of my doctors mention this to me before, especially when they knew of my TS involvement and my “asthma bronchitis”.

So off I trudge to see my doctor who organized  the  test however he was pretty sure I didn’t have it.  He was also of the same mind as me  that surely in the past a doctor  or specialist would have diagnosed it.

I still remember that day in March 2013, when I went back to get the results.  He called me in to his office and I sat there happy in my mind he was going to say “no your clear you do not have Lam.  Instead he sat there and said  “its positive” I felt like the rug had been pulled out from under me.  Everywhere I read on the internet was that it was a 10 year death sentence from diagnosis. I felt numb. My doctor immediately wrote a referral to the professor at the Alfred Hospital.

I searched Facebook for groups for people with Lam. I wanted to know I was going to be ok.  In those early days I was scared but didn’t tell anyone of my fears.  I didn’t tell my work mates or some of my family.  If I  was scared, then I didnt want them to be scared. I wanted to find out more before I told anyone.

I found out from one group that there was an Australian Lam group.  I joined and found such amazing wonderful caring ladies.  One of the ladies rang me and we chatted for a while.  Certainly put my overworked brain at ease.  I was told there was a clinic the following month for the Lam ladies and to see if I could get into it.  I rang the hospital and was told yes I could attend.  These clinics are every 6 months and most of the ladies meet for lunch after the clinic at one of their homes

That day of the clinic was scary.  I was in the waiting room with all these other Ladies who also had Lam.  Most had  Sporadic Lam but there were a couple of ladies who were just like me, TS/Lam.

I had a walking test, I had to walk for 6 minutes and they checked my time (I don’t think I won any gold medals for the walk) and then I had a lung function test.  Also a blood test.  This is to check the oxygen in the blood. Then I went into to see the Lung specialist.  I was terrified, I had no idea what was next.   The Lung specialist showed  me my lung pictures and you could see little white dots all over the lungs.  Lucky for me it was mild.

That first lunch was the start of some wonderful friendships.  I realized that there is life after a diagnosis of Lam.  I was inspired by these ladies.  Some had been diagnosed for years yet they were living their life.  A few are on the new drug Rapamycin or Sirolimus. This drug has been a life saver for many who have Lam.  It was first found on Easter Island  in soil bacteria.  The drugs name came from the islands native name Rapu Nui.  It is a naturally derived antibiotic, anti fungal and immunosuppressant.

Since my diagnosis, I have a preventative I use every morning and night.  I have had a couple of times where I have had to take extra medications.

I have also started taking Affintor or  Everolimus a mTor inhibitors to help with the angiomyiopalomas on my kidneys.  This hopefully over time will reduce them and also help with the lungs and the facial  Angiofibromas that I have over my nose and cheeks.  I was using the Topical Cream and it certainly helped reduce the redness and the “lumps”.

 

Since my diagnosis, I have a preventative I use every morning and night.  I have had a couple of times where I have had to take extra medications. One time  was really scary and my doctor was going to admit me into hospital to have antibiotics via intravenous drip.  I attended a lam clinic during this and was put on stronger antibiotics, stronger preventive and  Prednisolone  I had to attend the clinic every 6 weeks until they could see an improvement then 3 monthly, then back to 6 monthly.  The hospital doctor also sent a letter to my GP advising that when I get a chest infection to treat it as if its pneumonia.

If the weather is really windy I stay indoors as this can affect the lungs. If I do need to go out I wear beanies, gloves and scarfs.

When  I go shopping or walking the dogs, I always take a puffer with me.  When I travel I take with me antibiotics, Prednisolone and extra inhalers. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.

I count my lucky stars every day.  Lucky for me that this rare disease  is mild. Some are not so lucky.  In the 5 years that I have been diagnosed quite a few women have passed away from this disease.  Their condition so severe that they die waiting for a lung transplant.

*x-rays do not pick up this condition* 

In Australia there are  approximately  104 women diagnosed with Lam, these  figures are from 2015.  There are probably many others, however they have been misdiagnosed with other lung conditions such as Asthma.

“Facts about LAM

  • LAM is not caused by lifestyle choices
  • LAM is not contagious
  • LAM develops after puberty and appears to be accelerated by the hormone oestrogen
  • Pregnancy and hormonal medication may affect the progress of LAM
  • Average age of diagnosis is 35 years, but most women notice symptoms long before LAM is diagnosed.”

 

Since I was diagnosed I have been overseas twice.  Once with both my sisters in 2016 and last year with my eldest sister.  I have been to Sydney and Perth a few times.  I have done Tai Chi, doing physiotherapy and hydrotherapy.  I walk my dogs.  I am doing everything I can to stay as healthy as I can.  I have many other chronic illness’s as well as Lam.

 

Thank you so much for reading and learning a little bit more about Lam and a little bit more about me – Bree.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Châtillon-sur-Chalaronne

After we had some wine and the frogs legs our guide would be taking us on a walking tour through this delightful town.  We needed to walk off all the wine that comes flowing with these tastings.  Our walk took us around an hour.  We wandered around the little cobblestone streets going through “secrect” walkways that connected each street.  Walls painted with farming scenes, the humble chicken taking pride of place.

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Covered walkways linking the tiny laneways
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Paintings of typical farm life

Chatillon-sur- Charlaronne is a charming Medical town situated on a peaceful river in the heart of the Dombes.  This beautiful village has a 4 flower rating and a winner of the National Floral Grand Prix.  Floral bridges and river banks is a wonderful place to wander for flower lovers of which I definitely am.

  • The market house was replaced in 1440 by cathedral-like halls: 80 m long, 20 m wide and 10 high. The building divided into three spans is supported by enormous pillars of oak on which rests the framework also in oak.
  • Destroyed partly in 1670 by a fire, they will be rebuilt identically thanks to the generosity of Mademoiselle de Montpensier, Countess of Chatillon, who allowed the inhabitants to take the necessary wood in his forest of Tanay.
  • Every Saturday morning, they welcome the market for fresh produce and serve as a refuge for outdoor events surprised by the weather.

The village has timber-framed houses and a 17th century wooden market hall.  It’s so pretty and quaint and yes I will say it again, I would love to stay here for a few days to experience the village life.

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Beautiful Timber framed homes with flowers at every window 

 

The French mostly grow Geraniums at every window as not only do they look pretty they are great insect repellant.

Some refer the town as the “Pink Town” from the color of the bricks used in the buildings.  It’s also referred to as “Little Venice” .

The small medieval town of Châtillon in the Dombes region is still marked today by the trace of humanist Saint Vincent-de-Paul who set up the confraternity the Ladies of Charity (la confrérie des Dames de la Charité) here, and was canonised in 1617.

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Saint Vincent De Paul 1617
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1617 St Vincent De Paul was canonised

As we walked through the town a few things stood out.  So pretty, so clean and so quaint.

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Flowers everywhere.
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15th Century Market Hall

Imagine the hustle and bustle on market day.  Fresh produce from the region, I can almost smell the fresh vegetables, the cheeses, the wine!

 

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The humble Chicken
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Breathtaking beauty
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Flowers on Bridges

The Porte de Villars is part of the fortified walls of Chatillon sur Chalaronne. Built by the Dukes of Savoy, begun in 1273 by Philip I, Count of Savoy, it was completed in 1321 by Ame V, the Grand Duke of Savoy.
The enclosure was pierced only in four places to allow the entry and the exit of Châtillon
Porte de Bourg at the Hotel de La Tour
Porte de Lyon rue Johnson
Useless door rue Barrit 
Gate of Villars
Only the remarkably preserved Porte de Villars remains. Unobstructed from neighboring houses, the Tower looked very beautiful.

(I tried to find information on google regarding the “useless door rue Barrit”  .  I wonder why it was given that name?)

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Port de Villars
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Port de Villars – registered as a historical monument 

 

The convent of the Capuchins was built in 1636-1639, the laying of the first stone took place April 16, 1636. When the Revolution broke out, the church was assigned to meetings of popular assemblies and became the seat of the district in June 1790. An inventory drawn up October 29, 1790 mentions the church, the sacristy, the cloister, the kitchen, the refectory, the expense, the heating room, the winter refectory, another room of expense, the library, several rooms of religious, and two dormitories that can accommodate ten religious. In January 1791, the Capuchins left the convent.  It was sold in 1796.

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The Convent des Capuchins

There is so much to do in this town.

They have a miniature steam train museum.  Unfortunately we only had a little time in the town.  Perhaps next time when I visit.

Now its back to the ship to get ready for a night of more eating and drinking and fun!

 

 

Frogs and Snails and puppy dog tails

Today we would be taking a tour into the Dombes region to visit the picturesque town of Chatillon sur Chalaronne where we will have the opportunity to taste the regional specialty of frog’s legs and visit a snail farm.

Now I have had snails on many occasions.  I love them especially done in a garlicky butter sauce. Frogs legs never, so this would be a first.

“Cuisses de Grenouille” for those like me who don’t know is a delicious dish that the French call ‘frogs legs’. Frog’s legs are particularly traditional in this very region, the Dombes. Only the upper joint of the hind leg is served, which has a single bone similar to the upper joint of a chicken wing.  3,000 to 4,000 tons of frog legs are consumed annually in France and that represents around 80 million frogs.  

Frogs have recently been declared a protected species in France so today most are imported from Asia.

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The Restaurant where we ate the Frogs Legs
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Frogs Legs
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Peter and Tania sucking the sauce of the Frogs Legs

Did I like them?  I found them very fiddly to eat, not at all like a chicken wing.  Hardly any meat on the bones so your basically sucking the sauce.  I did love the wine that was served with them.  I love the way the French especially when doing any food tasting they always serve great wine.

The visit to the snail farm was so interesting and of course we got to sample different ways you can prepare them along with the glass or 3 of some mighty fine wine!

Did you know that humans have been eating snails for at least 30,000 years, based on archaeological evidence.  Couple of years ago, scientists found evidence of the world’s first snail feast along the Mediterranean coast in Spain. Thousands of years later, Romans enjoyed their snails fattened on milk, while monks in medieval Europe kept snail gardens, as snails were classified as neither fish nor meat according to the Catholic church.  Thus making them a valuable source of protein during Lent.  They are high in protein, low in fat and rich in essential fatty acids.

 

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The snails, row upon row
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The Farm House
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Escargo…..soon this will be on a plate somewhere…
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The Wine
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Escargo…..soon this will be on a plate somewhere…
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Close up of the snail underneath
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Snail
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The farmer with the snails
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Snails
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Snails
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The Farm House
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The snails, row upon row
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The Wine

 

 

Today in France there are less than 200 Snail Farms.

 

 

Vienne France

 

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From R – L Peter, Muriel, Tania and Bree
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From R-L Muriel, Tania and Bree

 

We spent an afternoon sailing along the Rhone as we headed to Vienne.  We could eat as much as we liked of the “Calorie Free” Ice Cream after lunch.

 

 

Then Muriel, Tania, Peter and I did a tour of the Wheelhouse with Captain Tony and Pierre about river navigation. Captain Tony learnt in the days before all the “gadgets” they have now.  He says its so much easier to navigate the rivers these days.

Another surprise – Valrhona Chocolate put on a chocolate tasting in the lounge.  I so wanted everyone to have a lie down so I could eat it all.  It was delicious. No photos as I gobbled them up to quickly.

We arrived at Vienne during dinner.  Muriel and I headed out as soon as we could to get a look at this Village.  Our ship would only be docked for a couple of hours. This was to allow “Adele” a local who would be our entertainment for the evening.

Vienne is located between the Rhône River and the hills, has been occupied since earliest Antiquity and is one of France’s Cities of Art and History. It has preserved a rich built heritage from its long past, including monuments dating back to ancient times: the imposing Temple of Augustus and Livia built in 1BC; the vast 1st-century AD Théâtre Antique, one of the largest theatres in Roman Gaul; and the Garden of Cybele with its Gallo-Roman archaeological remains, among others. The city also boasts beautiful medieval heritage that you can discover by strolling through the old, narrow lanes and visiting the many listed buildings, including the Romanesque Saint-André-le-Bas Church with its superb cloisters decorated with carved capitals, and the Romanesque Gothic Saint-Maurice Cathedral, built from the 12th to 16th centuries, which has a breathtaking western facade with three Flamboyant-style carved portals depicting the holy history. Its luminous and harmonious interior features a long nave with three side aisles, Romanesque capitals and, displayed around the choir, Flemish tapestries portraying the life and martyrdom of St Maurice.

The city also hosts a major music event, the Vienne Jazz Festival, in the prestigious surroundings of the Roman theatre every first fortnight in July. A must for all jazz fans.

The second largest market in France takes place in Vienne city centre every Saturday morning. Offering a host of local produce and specialities at over 5 km of stands, it’s a gourmet’s paradise!

 

I know I think I say these each time I write or talk about a village in France, that its beautiful, I could live there, I must go back and stay a bit longer.  Vienne is no exception. A quick walk around does not do this place justice.  When I win the Lotto – the big one, this place is defiantly on the list of “must go back and visit”

I love the old buildings, the flowers, the charm.

I wish I could say more but I will leave you with these photos I took.

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Vienne Port
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Flowers everywhere in Vienne
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More flowers

 

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The little blue and white tourist train
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The little blue and white Tourist Train
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A park in Vienne
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A park in Vienne
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The Walk Bridge at night.
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The walk bridge at night

 

I have posted more pictures on Instagram.

 

The next post will be on our visit to a snail farm and tasting frogs legs.

Things I always carry in my bag

The Wine!

The last few days I have read two wonderful posts on “Things I always carry in my bag” and I thought to myself why not do a post on this.  The Happiest Pixel and Cheila’s Blog is where I first read this post.

How on earth do some men get away with just carrying a wallet in a pocket is beyond me! I mean don’t they need some of the things I carry in my bag?

Whether I am home or away my crossover bag always has these things in it.  Its just the right size!

 

My drugs – medication

  1.  Serc – just in case I experience a dizzy spell or fullness in my ears, this works very quickly.
  2. My puffer – having chronic asthma it’s very important that I have it in my bag at all times.
  3. Panamax and Panadol Rapid. – I suffer with headaches and body aches so if it’s really bad I can take either.

 

Makeup

Lipstick – not sure why as once I apply it I never reapply.

Lip Balm

Moisteriser

Mini Makeup Mirror – to check for toothpaste on the face one of the last things I do before heading out to the shops is I clean my teeth.  I have no idea how it gets all over my face!

 

Other stuff

Wallet – with all my important cards – disability card, seniors card, ambulance card, X-ray card, myki card (transport card in Victoria) Opal Card (transport card for Sydney)

Letter from my doctor  –  with all my chronic conditions and what drugs I take for them

Reading Glasses – Otherwise I can’t see

Lens Cleaner – Obvious

Sunglasses – Unless they are on my face!

Tissues – I always need one when I don’t have one!

Dog poo bags – I have two dogs say no more

Coin purse

Pen

small bottle of water – I get thirsty and its handy if i have to take medications when out

Phone and portable charger – Going into the city for medical appointments I often browse on social media.  My train trips are at least 1 hour each way. Plus I keep all my information on my phone for my doctors.

Keys – To get back into my car and house, very important

Small Diary – To keep all my appointments handy for physiotheraphy, doctors, hydrotherapy, specialists so I don’t book them all on the same day. The day I didn’t take it I booked the bone surgeon and lung specialist on the same day at the same time.

Camera – When traveling I also have my camera in the bag.

Disability Sticker – As I might be in someone elses car.

 

If you the reader decides to do this let me know so I can read “whats in your bag”

 

Bree – the youngest sister

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Villers-Bretonneux Military Cemetery in northern France

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A Soldier of the Great War an Australian Regiment – Known unto God
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Australian National Memorial – just out of Villiers-Bretonneux, are inscribed the battle honours. The names of over 10,700 Australians who died in France and have no known grave.
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The names of over 10,700 Australians who died and have no known grave

 

 

 

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Row upon Row of White graves

 

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There name liveth for Evermore

On the 25th April  the Australian and New Zealand forces landed on Gallipoli.  This was a bloody campaign with both sides,the Anzacs and the Ottoman Turkish Defenders with heavy casualties.On the 25 April 1915 , 16,000 Anzacs  landed on narrow beach in Turkey.  By the time the sun sets roughly  2,500 lay dying or wounded.

This lasted for 8 months. Over 8,000 Australians died in this campaign and many more wounded.  They went through severe hardship in those 8 months.  Even though this failed its “military objectives” April 25 and Gallipoli became the day that Australians remember the sacrifice these men gave their country

In 1916 on the 25th April, the first Anzac Day commemorations were held around Australia.

Today is a day of reflection. To remember those that gave their life so we could live ours.

 

 

We  also remember those who served and lost their lives in the Second World War. Services are held around the nation at Dawn, the time of the first landing.  Later on in the morning there are marches in all major cities and country towns.  This is where former servicemen and women meet up.  Many thousands of people watch and wave flags as they all march by.  It’s a time when we as Australians come together as one.

Services are held also at Gallipoli and many thousands of Australians make the pilgrimage to be there for this very moving service.  There is also a service at Villiers Bretonneux to remember the fallen of the 1918 Battle to recapture Villers-Bretenneux.

 

 

On Anzac Day and also Remembrance Day – November 11th, we wear poppies. November 11th 1918 is  Armistice Day, the end of the first World War.  The red poppy is the  first flowers to grow on soldiers graves in Flanders.  We also wear Rosemary as this signifies remembrance and it is found growing wild on the Gallipoli peninsula.

In Flanders fields

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row,
That mark our place: and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
In Flanders fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, though poppies grow
In Flanders fields.

John McCrae (1872–1918)

 

 

 

Last August Muriel and I were privileged to visit Villiers Bretenoux and the  Australian National Memorial.  On the walls  the battle honours awarded to the Australian Imperial Force for service on the Western Front between 1916 and 1918.  Beneath these inscriptions are the names of more than 10,700 Australians who died in France and have ‘no known grave’.

 

2,144 Commonwealth servicemen of the First World War buried or commemorated in this cemetery, 605 of whom remain unidentified at Villiers-Bretonneux.

Row upon row of white headstones.  As one walks amongst the fallen, the silence of our tour group was felt.

We visited many memorials this day to pay tribute to  the Australians, the New Zealanders, Canadians, British and the French.

I will write more about this day in a later post.

The new Sir John Monash centre that has just been opened was being built when we visited.  One day I want to go back and visit this centre.

**************

Our Dad George Donald Adams served in the Second World War.  He was in the 2/11 AIF. He was stationed in Darwin in the Northern Territory of Australia.  From our dads notes:

“Early March 1943 I was sent with our battalion the 2/11 to the 51 Mile Peg out of Darwin. We had taken over that post vacated by the 2/2 Pioneers.  The Japs were bombing day and night. On some manoeuvres we had up to 40 Jap bombers and fighters passing up to 30,000 feet above. ”

 

Lest we forget.

Ardeche Steam Train

When I knew that we would be going on a Steam train I was beyond excited.  As a child I loved catching the steam train for family picnics and school outings.  Hanging the head out as you go along the tracks. The clickety clack of the wheels and the whistle as the train headed to the destination.  We would hang our heads out the windows till we got covered in smoke and steam.  Even as an adult I throughly enjoyed a trip on Puffing Billy in the Dandenongs with my friend Lyn when she visited.

I was feeling much better thank goodness.  I would have been very sad if I hadn’t been able to go on this trip.

We boarded the coach to head to Tournon – Sur – Rhone, a very attractive village in the Ardeche region. We were going to catch the Chemin de Her du Vivarais, translated as the iron road of Vivarais.  A scenic railway line that runs between Tournon, in the Rhone Valley and Lamastre, the Doux Valley.  The Doux, a tributary of the Rhone, has cut deep gorges into the Ardeche plateau and from the carriages, we can view the most inaccessible part of the Doux gorges.

The line was opened in 1891 and the meter gauge line is 33 km long and is renowned for its historical steam locomotives and collection of historic rolling stock.  The train journey runs for 1.5 hours

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Locomotive 414
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Tournon – Sur – Rhone – St-Jean-De-Muzols
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Locomotive 414

 

Everyone was loves a good old steam train ride, you could feel the excitment.  Or was it just me!  This was going to be amazing.  The Doux a tributary of the Rhone, has cut deep gorges into the Ardeche plateau.

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Our carriage.  Just before we left Tournon – Sur – Rhone
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One of the many bridges
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The train ahead
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Doux River, a tributary of the Rhone

 

The scenery is stunning as we made our way up the hills and through dark tunnels.  Wonder if anyone kissed in the tunnel?

Arrived at Colombia le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain.  A charming little station where the locomotive has to be turned around on a swing bridge and placed in front of the train.  We had a 20 minute stop here so we wandered around while this was going on. The station master had chickens and lots of eggs were ready to be picked up.  So many places to stay here from camping to hotels and Air BNB.

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Colombier le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain
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Our locomotive driver
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Such a pretty little place at Colombia le Vieux – Saint-Barthelemy le Plain

 

 

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Coming out of the tunnel
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Stunning Scenery

We arrived back in Tournon ready to head back to the ship. It would be an afternoon of sailing as we headed to Vienne.

Our Locomotive was 414, however if you are there and you get Locomotive 403, it has been running the route since 1903.

 

If you’re in the area do this trip its fun, exciting and you see just a bit more than sailing down a river.  Perhaps even stay for a few days.

 

Thank you reading.  I will be posting more pictures on Instagram.

 

 

Viviers – Ardèche Region

 

By the time everyone came back from the Truffle Farm and Grignon Castle I was bursting to get out and do some exploring.  Being sick is awful, double that when away on holidays.  Poor Muriel, as soon as she came back I was like “come on let’s go exploring in Viviers. ” A quick bite to eat and I was dragging her off the ship.  Sorry Muriel.

What a wonderful little village it was.  Full of surprises.  This is one place I would really like to go and stay for a while.

As we turned the corner from the where the ship was berthed  came across a tree-lined street.  It was beautiful and so cool in the heat of the day.  Napoleon is said to have planted trees all over Southern France for his troops to rest.  Along the street are benches so even today one can rest.  Although I don’t think the seats were around when Napoleon was.  Thank you so much Napolene!

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Beautiful Tree Lined Streets

There were narrow laneways and given more time I would have loved to wander in and around them.

The street opened up into the Town Square.  A gorgeous fountain was in the centre.  It was very quiet, however we did go past some older men playing Boules. We could see people on the top of the hill.  I even used my camera lens to zoom onto them.  It looked interesting so decided to see if we could get up there.

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The Town Square
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Narrow Laneways

Doors! Yes doors, I love taking photos of doors.  So many interesting doors in this town.

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Love this red door!
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Medieval door

Many shutters were closed to stop the heat from getting into the homes.

We didn’t notice for a while that we were actually slowly going up a hill.  We even found a house to buy!

These little lane ways  were like a maze.  We passed some of our fellow cruise folks and   they pointed us in the right direction to the Saint Vincent Cathedral.  Its said to be the oldest Cathedral still in use.  As we walked up the steps we were in awe.  These photos do not do it justice.  We asked the priest in broken English  and French if we were able to take photos.  He gave us permission to do so. I think it went a bit like this.  I point to my camera  and the tapestrys  go click -click he nods and says Oui.

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Inside the Cathedral – Saint Vincent – Rich Tapestrys adorn the walls.
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One of the candle chandeliers inside the Cathedral

 

Behind the Cathedral is a wide open space with views so stunning, that at first I think we were both speechless.  It was also very windy up there.  Hang onto your hats for sure! You could see the Rhone River where our ship was berthed and also the Nuclear Power Stations that are scattered all along the Rhone.  The roof tops of the old town just stunning.

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the rooftops of the old town In Viviers
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The wall around the village built-in the Medieval ages
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Keep hold of your hat Muriel – it was very windy

We slowly made our way back down, clicking all the way.  I look at how many photos I have of this village.  Loads so lots will be uploaded onto Instagram.  We even took photos of hotels that perhaps one day we could go back and stay.

Look at this picture below.  Ignore me, I think I was still a bit seedy/sick.  Isn’t it fascinating.  Those walls and the archways.  I’m glad it wasn’t raining.  The cobble stones can be really slippery when wet!

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Leaning against a wall.  I think I was still a bit seedy/sick

 

We got back to the square and noticed by now a couple of cafes were open. Probably closed earlier during the heat of the day.  As many small villiages still close between 12-3.  I like that idea.  Close the shop and go home for a nap.

As we approached the ship, many people were walking their dogs.  There were 2 golden Labradors  having so much fun in the river.

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Look at those faces…so cute.

We boarded the ship for a well earned drink and get ready for dinner.

 

I am so glad that we went for a wander through this villiage.  What a wonderful place it is.  I feel very lucky to have been able to visit Viviers.  I hope you the reader get that opportunity also.

 

Thank you for reading.

 

This was in our brochure from APT so I thought I would add it here.

Viviers is located in the southern Ardeche, south of Montelimar, on the banks of the river Rhone.  In the 5th Century, Viviers became the seat of a bishopric and the town grew around the Cathedral of Saint Vincent, which dominates impressively over the town.  In 1307 Viviers was attached to the Kingdom of France.  Walls were built to shield the growing population from attacks during the 100 years War – a series of conflicts from 1337 – 1453 between the House of Plantagenet (rulers of the Kingdom of England) and the House of Valois, over control of the Kingdom of France.  The 15th and 16th Century saw great growth and Viviers emerged as a leading town of the Bourgeois, grand houses were built, including the Maison des Chevaliers owned by Noel Albert, a rich merchant enriched by the salt trade on the Rhone.  The important clergy and wealthy merchants would have lived in the upper town, close to the Cathedral, with the less important townsfolk living closer to the river.  Like many medieval town, its best years and peak population 30,000 are well behind it, but a walk through sleepy Viviers is to take a walk back in time.  Take a moment to imagine life in medieval France as you pass the old merchant houses and market squares on your climb up the steps, cobbled streets to the beautiful Cathedral at the top of the Town.

“You have a collapsed Lung”

February 28th is Rare Disease Day all around the world.

Today I am sharing with you a guest post – Lauren who has Lam -Lymphangiomiomatosis.   Thank you so much Lauren for sharing.

 

“You have a collapsed lung”. I looked at my husband Chris, whose face went white. “What does that mean?” he asked. I was 36 weeks pregnant with my first baby.

The next few months are a bit of a blur: multiple chest drains, a caesarean (due to the lungs), another collapsed lung, two pleurodesis surgeries, a bacterial infection and a diagnosis of LAM. When most people should be celebrating the birth of their new baby, I was lying in a hospital bed while my mum was stepping into the role of primary caregiver.

I’ll never forget the day my surgeon came into the room and told me I had LAM. I had already heard whispers from the student doctors who speculated that it could be this weird disease I had never heard of. Of course, I had googled it and called my mum and husband in a mad panic. They reassured me that I was being ridiculous. Even the doctor who was prepping me for surgery said, “You won’t have LAM, its been on an episode of House with Hugh Laurie, that’s how rare it is”.

Turns out I have LAM.

Fast forward four years and here we are. It was my daughter’s birthday this month – it always reminds me of the hardest time of my life. I nearly didn’t make it through. After developing post-natal depression and post-traumatic stress disorder to then being told we couldn’t have any more children; it’s been a hard journey. It also took me this long to learn how to spell lymphangioleiomyomatosis. Most doctors still look at me blankly.

Hours of therapy, ongoing support from my family, husband, friends, LAM sisters and medication has got me through. I have also tried to adopt a positive attitude and I do try to find the light in the dark as much as I can. What I have learnt is that I can endure a lot of hurdles and can still come out the other side fighting. I am proud of the person I am today and I have learnt to accept that I wouldn’t be this person if it wasn’t for my LAM.

Although this time of year can be difficult, it is also a celebration because I am four years post diagnosis and I currently have stable lung function tests. That’s not to say I don’t have hard days, I do, but I’m so blessed to have an amazing doctor and I am thankful to modern medicine for slowing down my decline. It doesn’t come without its side effects: headaches, mouth ulcers and acne but the biggest issue I face is fatigue and generally feeling unwell. I am CONSTANTLY tired and at 34 years of age that’s a hard pill to swallow. This year I have decided to take steps towards slowing down my life and accepting that I can’t do it all.

I have been told the next 5-10 years will be a good indicator of how my LAM will progress. I try not to think about it too much because it makes me anxious, but it’s always there. Ticking in the back of my mind. Will I see my daughter grow up? Will I grow old with my husband? Will I need a lung transplant? Will I get to keep travelling? Will I be able to do the gardening?

I don’t have a crystal ball and even if I did, I don’t think I would want to know the answers to my questions. All I know for sure is; every year that my daughter gets older is another year that I have had with her and for that I am truly blessed.

 

 

 

Lam Lung Disease and Tuberous Sclerosis

 

Its Rare Disease Day on the 28th February so I wanted to share a bit more about the  two rare diseases that my youngest daughter and I have.

 

When I was young around 6 I had some suspicious lumps removed from my face.  I remember having them and then not having them.  I know its weird.  What happened in the middle I have no recollection.  Paula said I had radiation on them as they thought it was cancer. I remember going to school showing off the scars.  As any 6-year-old would do.   The only problem with the radiation is that it’s what probably brought on my Thyroid disease.  These “lumps” were actually part of a disease called Tuberous Sclerosis.  I was not  to be diagnosed  until I had my second child.   As a parent you always want to have a healthy child.  You hear it often enough, ” I don’t care what sex it is as long as its healthy”

This disease, Tuberous Sclerosis has always taken a back seat to all my other conditions.

When I was 3 months pregnant with my second child, on a routine test, the doctors said my kidneys were very large.  I went into one of the main teaching hospitals in Perth and had a biopsy.  This was back in 1980 so this was the only way to check for cancer.  I remember laying so still while I had the biopsy.  It didn’t hurt, it was just uncomfortable.  For 24 hours after I had to lay flat and still to ensure there were no bleeds.  The one thing I remember was the food.  It was like a puree especially for people who were having dialysis.  The young girl next to me was on dialysis.  I laid on the bed looking at the machines keeping her kidneys going.

I was given the all clear from the  medical staff  I could continue with the pregnancy and once the baby was born they would do a lot of testing to find out what was going on with me.  We were living in Derby in the far north of Western Australia and with the wet season bearing down we were  flown down to Perth to prepare for the birth.  As my first pregnancy had many complications they didn’t want me to be stuck in a town with limited facilities.

 

After she was born, I spent 10 days in hospital having numerous tests done.  Every day, scans  and lots of blood tests etc.  I only remember one, it was a water-bed ultrasound.  It was so comfy even with a full bladder.  The others I have forgotten about.  They must have been horrid.

When she was 14 days old, the 3 of us flew back to Derby.  Their father had already gone back up as he had to work.  I was told to come back in 12 months for a follow-up with the specialist in kidneys.

So we go back to Derby with not a care in the world.  We had two beautiful girls all was right with the world. Who knew that our world would come crashing down around us.

When she was only 4-6 weeks old we noticed that she was experiencing jerking movements.  If I was feeding her she would latch onto my breast and her whole body would stiffen. If she was laying in the baby bouncer, her little body would jerk.

Her eyes wouldn’t actually look at you either, like she wasn’t able to focus.  When her body would jerk her eyes would roll.

As a mother you just know!  My first child Sarah had been born premature.  Yet she was always ahead in all her milestones.  So when your second child who was only 10 days early wasn’t sitting up etc when they are supposed to, you begin to worry.

In those days you actually took your baby to a health nurse who did all the milestones.  Weigh them etc.  The health nurse was concerned about these jerking movements and that she was slow in her milestones.  The nurse organised a visit to the  local hospital.  Jennifer was admitted to hospital for observation for a few days.  After several tests they said she had epilepsy and then the beginning of all the nasty drugs she would be on.  Phenobarbitone was the first drug  they tried on her.  It was bitter and the poor baby would shudder and she would splutter as I tried to get this horrible concoction down her throat. I know it was bitter as I tasted it.  Horrible muck.

The specialists that would come to visit Derby organized a specialist appointment for Jennifer with one of the top neurologists in Perth.  They were concerned as even with the  seizure drugs she was still having infantile spasms.

So when Jennifer was turning one the four of us drove down to Perth.  We would be staying with my parents while both us were having these appointments.

The neurologist did a few tests, used what they call a woods lamp on her.

The diagnosis was in.

Tuberous Sclerosis. Two words that I had never heard of before and two words I wished I hadn’t heard.

We were told the prognosis wasn’t good.  Life expectancy would be around 10.  Take her home and love her or put her in a home and forget about her.

We went back to my parents and I finally cried.  Why us!  Why her!

This beautiful little baby.  I said I would prove them wrong. No one was going to say my daughter was going to be no more than a vegetable.  Yes that is what we were told.  How could they say this about our gorgeous baby .

 

Then I went to see the Prof at Sir Charles Gardiner Hospital.  He asked me how my baby was.  I told him she had just been diagnosed with Tuberous Sclerosis.  He went quiet and said “Oh no…..pause……I diagnosed you with Polycystic kidney disease.  I think I am wrong that you may have Tuberous Sclerosis.  He did a few more tests, looked at my skin etc.

The look on his face when he told me that I too also had this disease.  I wanted to know what my prognosis was and was told that I would have to have more tests and be monitored by blood work every year. I asked him what was the worst thing.  Kidney Failure or a major bleed.  I asked him how I would know if I was having a bleed.  He just said that I would know.  I hope so.

I went back to my family and I cried.

We went back to Derby but decided that as we both had this disease that it would be better if we lived in a city.  Where medical help was right there.  No chance of being cut off, due to cyclones and floods.

I then wanted to learn as much about this disease as I could.  The library  in Derby managed to get a medical book in for me.  One very small 4 line paragraph was all there was about this disease.  I couldn’t believe that was it!

4 lines, that was it!

Today if you type in Tuberous Sclerosis into google there are pages and pages and so many organisations all over the world.   Facebook has lots of support groups where I have met some amazing  people.

Life continued on for us.  Jennifer, has the disease quite bad.  She is intellectually disabled, has autism, behavior problems.  Once we moved back to Perth she saw the neurologist on a regular basis.  Many changes of drugs.  Many different types of seizures.  From petit mal – absent seizures to drop seizures.  Many sprints to the doctors for X-rays to see if any damage was done.  Eventually she was fitted with a helmet so as not to crack her head each time she dropped.

Lots of therapy with social workers.  

Today many children are diagnosed while in the womb.  Medication is given very early within the first few weeks of life.  If they can stop the infantile seizures then there is less chance of intellectually disability.  There are better drugs for the seizures.

She now lives in assisted living.  Most of the time she is happy.  She loves shopping, music and eating.  Jennifer goes to a blue light disco every Thursday and she loves it.  She has done abseiling, yoga, cooking, boating.  Jennifer has been on a couple of holidays, one a cruise up to Queensland and also to the major theme parks on the Gold Coast.

Five years ago I was diagnosed with Lymphangiomiomatosis.  It’s a rare lung condition, however, its unfortunate if you’re a female and you have Tuberous Sclerosis you are more likely to have Lam.  I think the stats are around 80%.

Over the years I would get sick with a lung infection then pneumonia every 3-4 years.  I would use a puffer for a short time then be ok and stop using them. Antibiotics would always be given as well.

I realize now that my asthma and the lung infections has always been the Lam.

I noticed that after Jennifer was born was when I began to get sick with these awful chest infections.  Lam seems to get worse with the hormones of pregnancy.

Just recently Jennifer was also diagnosed with Lam – Lymphangiomatosis.  I am hoping that its mild and it will not  affect her too much.

There are two types of Lam – Lymphangiomiomatosis, TS/Lam which is what Jennifer and I have and there is sporadic Lam.

With Tuberous Sclerosis its a 50/50 chance of having a child with TS if you have it.  I was what is called a genetic mutation.  So the rest of my family do not have the disease. I am the youngest of 4.  When I was diagnosed my parents went through genetic testing.

 

I have just started taking Everolimus mTOR inhibitors to control the Angiomyolipomas (AMLs).  They  are a benign tumour in the kidneys made up of blood vessels (angio), muscle (myo) and fat (lipo). They occur in about 80% of people with TSC.  I am hoping that this new drug I am on will stop the angiomyolipmas from growing and in fact shrink them.  It can also help with my Lam disease and the facial angiofibromas.  I have been using a topical Rapamycin on my face and it has reduced the redness and some of the “lumps”.  These would bleed often if knocked or if I had to blow my nose.  Often doctors would ask me if I had been diagnosed with Lupus as it looks very similar to the butterfly rash.  Actually TS calls it a butterfly rash as well.  Growing up and wanting to wear makeup was a nightmare.  Since I have been using the cream, I have been able to wear a bit more makeup which is nice.

Here is a link to find out more about Tuberous Sclerosis  and Lymphangioleiomyomatosis

 

If only one person learns a bit more about these two diseases then I am happy.

 

Thank you so much for reading.  I could have written so much more and maybe I will in May this year when its Tuberous Sclerosis awarness day and in June for Lam.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Grignan Castle – Château de Grignan

 

 

 

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Grigan Castle

 

 

 

 

Grignan Castle

Or as it is known – The Chateau de Grignan is built on a hilltop with the small village built around it. At present the number of people living here is just over 1,500.

The village dates back to the 11th century with the walls being added in the 12th century. There are 12 towers built around it but many are now in disrepair or completely destroyed. It has been rebuilt several times – as a fortress then into a luxurious residence – became ruins in 1793 – then reconstructed in the 20th century by Madame Fontaine. It now belongs to the Drôme Départment and is used as a major tourist attraction.

Originally however excavations have discovered that this rocky area has actually been occupied since the Iron Age and the Bronze Age as well as Roman occupation in the 5th and 6th centuries AD.

In 1239 the Grignan family lost the ownership to the Adhémar de Monteil family rising in the French court from Barons to Dukes and then to Counts in the court of Henry II, King of France. Eventually it was owned by Francois de Castellane-Omana-Adhemar de Monteil de Grignan, who was also known as the Duke of Turmoli, Count of Grignan, Count of Campobasso, and the Baron of Entrecasteau and as a Knight in the service of King Louis XIV. As well, he was Governor-General of Provence, and because of some Dutch heritage as well also Governor-General of Orange.

Apart from all these jobs that he had to do his social life was also very crowded. His first two wives died very quickly after each other (too much work to do or a too busy social life). He married for the third time – a certain Francoise- Marguerite de Sévigné. Her mother was very powerful and wrote many, many letters about her son-in-law and daughter. Historically these letters are kept in the castle and perpetuate the memory of the family and the castle.

From the Chateau’s terrace a panoramic view extends as far as the Vivarais Mountains in the Ardeche. Madame de Sévigné is buried in the Eglise de St Saveur (church) directly below the terrace and her statue is in the town square.

 

Post and Photos credited to Muriel, the eldest sister.

 

 

 

 

Sunshine Blogger Award

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I have been nominated by Esther from https://richerfortravel.wordpress.com/home/  who I have had the pleasure of meeting up through a wonderful support group on Facebook.  Esther is a fellow traveler and also chronic illness warrior. Please head over to her page and check out her travels to Italy and her latest post to Lego Land!  To be nominated by a fellow blogger is such an honour.  I thank you so much Esther.

The Sunshine Blogger Award Rules:

1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you for the award and link back to their blog.

2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.

3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.

4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

My 11 questions for my nominees :

 

1. Where in the world are you based and have you ever met up in person with any fellow bloggers in your local area?

2. If blogs had to have a theme tune that played every time people came onto your website – which song would you choose?

3. Why did you choose the specific niche you write about for your blog?

4. Tell us about the best photograph you have taken, that is featured in one of your blogs (include copy of the photo in your answer).

5. What is the most fun country you have visited that is both varied and beautiful?

6. Which social media app do you get most blog traffic through and what makes it work so well for you?

7. How long have you been blogging and have you ever taken time out away from blogging during that time?

8. If you had to choose a smoothie recipe to represent your blog what would it be?

9. Have you ever heard of Fibromyalgia?

10. What piece of advice would you give bloggers for creating images and for taking photos / flatlays / blog feature images etc?

11. Do you make money off blogging? If so how?

 

 My Answers:

  1.  I am based in on the Mornington Peninsular Victoria Australia  in place called Rosebud.  I just love the name as every time I type it in a rose appears.  As yet I have not met up with any bloggers in my area.

2.  Sisters are doing it for Themselves by Aretha Franklin.  This song was played every night on our first cruise overseas.  Each time it was played we danced.

3.  On our first cruise we were snubbed by some of the fellow passengers.  They didn’t believe we 3 were sisters.  I admit we do not look like each other but hey would it matter if we were not sisters?  Any way we would chat about when we were going to be famous and they would all wish they had been nicer to us.  So 3 sisters abroad was born.

4.  I love this photo I took when in Paris in 2016.

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The Eiffel Tower

 

5. I loved France. The people are so friendly and lovely.  It has so much to offer especially a lover of history, which is me!

6  I love all social media platforms.  I get a fair amount of visitors to the blog from all of them.

7.  This blog has been going since August 2016 so in the scheme of things not that long.  Some months are quieter than others for blog posts but as yet had no break.

8. A smoothie to represent the blog would have to involve berries.  Esther we have 3 things in common, the smoothie, the travel and the history.

9.  Yes I most certainly have heard of Fibromyalgia as I have been diagnosed with it.

10. I only use my own photos.  I love taking photos with my camera or even my phone so I have heaps to choose from.  Only when I am nominated for an award is when I use the picture that goes with it.  I don’t use any of the programs listed.  I like a natural photo.

11. No I don’t make any money from blogging.  I know a few do.  It would be nice to earn money from something you love to do.

 

My Nominee’s are:

Esme from https://cookandenjoyrecipes.wordpress.com

Esme’s blog is about food, that she has tested and cooked. Everyone that knows me, knows I love to eat and cook.  My eyes light up when I log into WordPress and I see another recipe from Esme.

 

Elsie – Lucy from https://elsielmc.wordpress.com

Elsie as she goes by on the blog – real name Lucy has such a diverse blog.  You will find recipes, poetry and awesome pics of her bedroom in her latest blog.  I throughly enjoy reading Elsie’s posts.

Lorelle from https://amindfultravellerblog.wordpress.com

Lorelle’s blog is about her travels around the world and also our wonderful country Australia.  Plus some amazing recipes namely gluten-free chocolate cookies, which I will be making over the weekend.

Please go and check out these amazing diverse blogs.  I throughly enjoy reading all of these and I am sure you will also.

I have only nominated 3 of the many blogs I follow and love.  If anyone reading this wants to do this post please do and let me know so I can read it.

I have used the same questions that Esther shared on her blog as I thought these were excellent.

 

I want to also give an honorable mention to Sam who blogs over at https://medicalmysterymusings.wordpress.com.  Sam is such an inspiration to me and I am sure once you go over and read her blog you will be inspired as well.

 

Thank you so much for everyone who follows our blog and reads, like’s and comments.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ever had a Truffle – a black Truffle?

Ever had a truffle – or a black truffle. The area of France known as the Dordogne produces 80% of these truffles – called Tuber melanosporum or The Perigord Diamond.

They have a subtle aroma and an earthy flavour and reminds every one of rich chocolate or so they say.

Since the best times to get this flavour and aroma is during the European winter or January and February our August visit was not really the best.

The wooded area reminded me of our hills in Australia. Sheep and cows over the road and low scrub under the trees. The truffles grow just beneath the soil among the root systems of oak, beech, hazelnut, chestnut,t birch or poplar trees.

In France the truffle hunters are called rabassiers and use either dogs or pigs – usually the female pig or sow – as they have a fantastic sense of smell – to unearth these black truffles. Trouble is, if you use a pig, you need to be very quick because the pig will eat it. Now there are more dogs being trained to do the search.

The dog – wasn’t told its name – was gorgeous – as per the photos. Once it found the truffle it just pointed its nose toward it and stood there waiting to be patted, fed a thankyou then off to another one. We all thought that the truffles for our trip had been planned previously because the dog rushed off to the next tree before the first truffle had been picked up.

The truffle farm we went to was not very large and 2 large tourist buses had got there long before we arrived so it was difficult trying to take photos and get into the little shop/café. Also our farmer did not speak much English – in fact he didn’t speak much at all. However I think we got the idea of what happens when they go truffle hunting. It was nice and cool under the trees and I enjoyed talking to the dog after it had been tied up after its great efforts. Very few other people bothered – they were more interested in getting into the shop.

We did not stay long at the truffle farm because we were then visiting Grignan.

 

Post and photos by eldest sister Muriel.  Thank You Muriel.

Be prepared to be amazed at the Pont du Gard!

After lunch and a few cold drinks – it was very hot down in the south of France last August.  There were two afternoon excursions a trip to the Pont du Gard Roman Aqueduct bridge or Chateauneuf du Pape: Town and vineyard tour with wine tasting.  MMMH choices…an old bridge or wine.   The bridge won,  as we can have bucket loads of wine on the ship.

Having watched the movie “Paris Can Wait” on the flight over I was extremely excited to see the amazing bridge. Pont du Gard was featured on the film. On the cruise the year before in 2016 our cruise director and friend Richard had talked about the Pont Du Gard in length. I had researched so much before this holiday.  The photos were out of this world of this giant aqueduct.  Hope mine come somewhere near the professionals.

Where the coach drops you off you do not see a thing.  Nothing!  Apart from countryside which is very beautiful I will say.

As we walked along the path I saw this, I’m sorry it’s not a very good picture.  I meant to go back and take another before we left, but somehow I forgot. I think it was because I spent our last few moments in the souvenir shop before boarding the coach.

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Peace Tree

 

It says:

In Memory

of all the victims

of terrorism

around the world.

Planted January 8th 2015

after the terrorist attacks in Paris.

Friedensbaum – Peace Tree

Part of the tour was the museum at Pont du Gard.  We were to visit here first before heading to the giant aqueduct.  It gives the history of the Roman aqueduct with Models, virtual reconstructions, multimedia screens and sounds. As you wander around and learn how they built this amazing construction you realise that what your about to see is something truly wonderful.

I could feel the excitement welling inside.  Oh, is that a  glimpse through the trees!

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Just a glimpse through the trees

 

As we walked around the bend this was our view!

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wow the Pont du Gard didn’t disappoint

 

It’s such an amazing place, I hope the photos do it justice.

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The view from the first level.

 

As we crossed over to the other side we noticed a cave.

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the Cave

The Pont du Gard was teeming with people.  Tourists and locals alike.  For those who live nearby this is their swimming hole. You can visit the Pont du Gard on both sides, plenty of parking.

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Amazing place to visit
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Pont du Gard
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a lot of the workers carved into the huge bricks. Early Graffiti – on the limestone blocks or is it a number as per history says?
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Bree Tania and Muriel at Pont du Gard

If you visit this giant Aqueduct in the summer months in France be sure to take your bathers.  As you can see in the photos we are in long pants and runners.  Peter, Tania’s husband walked out into the water.  He said it was lovely and cold.

I so wanted to get into the water, I have promised myself if I ever go there again I will.

A bit of history –

Pont du Gard, an amazing ancient work of art:

The Pont du Gard is one of the world’s best preserved examples of Roman ingenuity.  Its turbulent history has also inspired numerous artists.  It required hundreds of workers both skilled and unskilled over many years. It included stonemasons, carpenters, blacksmiths etc.  It was built halfway through the 1st century AD. It is the principal construction in a 50 m long aqueduct that supplied the city of Nimes formerly known as Nemausus, with water.

It was built as a 3 level aqueduct standing 50m high.  It allowed water to flow across the River Gardon.  Its construction is of soft yellow limestone blocks, taken from a nearby quarry that borders the river. The highest part of the bridge is made out of breeze blocks joined together with mortar.  It is topped by a device designed to bear the water channel whose stone slabs are covered with calcium deposits. This 3 story bridge which measures 360m at its longest point along the top. The Roman architects and hydraulic engineers created a technical masterpiece that stands today as a work of art.

Today, we know that over 21,000 cubic meters of rock, weighing 50,400 tonnes. (go back and look at the photos – the mind is boggling at what they did back then) They also found numbering on the stones, points of support for scaffolding and evidence of the use of hoists.  Materials used in the construction of the Pont du Gard were obtained from the Estel quarry, situated roughly 600m away. The rock found there is a soft coarse yellow limestone, referred to locally today as “pierre de Vers”.  The blocks of limestone were extracted using picks and sharp metal corners. Around 120,000 cubic meters of cut stone were extracted, not only to build the Pont du Gard, but also to construct the various bridges and culvert supports that went into making the aqueduct that stands downstream on the right bank. Another advantage of the stone quarry’s location on the edge of the Garden river was that the rock could be transported by boat to the building site on the river’s right bank.

The above history notes taken from our Daily Planner on the ship.

Next: Truffles

More photos on Instagram.

 

 

Palace of the Popes Avignon

Avignon, a city in southeastern France’s Provence region, is set on the Rhône River. From 1309 to 1377, it was the seat of the Catholic popes. It remained under papal rule until becoming part of France in 1791. This legacy can be seen in the massive Palais des Papes (Popes’ Palace) in the city center, which is surrounded by medieval stone ramparts.

The Avignon city walls constitute the 2nd longest continuous wall in the world, after the Great Wall of China. It is 4.3 km’s long!

Our tour would start with a walking tour of the City before heading to the Palace of the Popes.

 

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Part of the wall surrounding Avignon

 

As you walk through one of the many passages of the Wall surrounding Avignon you begin to realize what an amazing place it is.  Many tourist pages on Avignon say once you stay you won’t want to leave.  I can agree with that.  Although if you read all my posts I want to stay at every village we visit.  I’m sure you the reader will also think the same once you get the opportunity to visit France.

 

Once inside it’s a maze of tiny little streets with many shops and cafes.

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One of many tiny street in Avignon
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Belle Époque Carousel at the top of the square

Then you come to a huge square called Place de l’Horloge. Here, you find the City Hall built between 1845 and 1851 over a former cardinal’s palace of which it has kept the old fortified tower, transformed into a belfry in the 15th century with clock and Jacquemart. Next to it, the municipal theatre, also from the 19th century, houses the Avignon opera and, all the way at the top, the delightful Belle Époque style carousel still turns.

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Le Theatre Opera House

 

 

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14th Gothic Century clock-tower with life-sized figures on the top, known as ‘jacquemarts’, that strike the hours.  Unfortunately my photo isn’t very clear for you to see the Jacquemarts.

 

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Pierre Corneille at the front of the Theatre
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Statue of Molière at the front of the theatre

 

Originally the forum of Avenio, the city’s name under the Romans in the 1st century BC, the  Place de l’Horloge is still the “centre” of Avignon. A meeting place, bordered by cafés and restaurants, the square is always bustling. Just like the Place du Palais higher up, a vast esplanade where you could spend the day just watching all the street performers in summer.

 

 

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In front of the CATHÉDRALE NOTRE-DAME DES DOMS D’AVIGNON
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Inside the Palace of the Popes

“The Palace of the Popes is the biggest building ever built during the Gothic period. It stands in powerful testimony to the presence of 9 popes who lived in and reigned from Avignon in the 1300’s. Construction of the Palace took less than 20 years, and took place between 1335 and 1352. Two popes were the primary builders of the Palace: Pope Benedict XII, who built the first pontifical palace (now referred to as the “Old Palace”), and Pope Clement VI who built new extensions, referred to as the “New Palace”.”

 

Priceless Frescoes –

Photos are not allowed of these Frescoes unless you use no flash. As it is not very light in the Palace I decided to not even bother.  The flash of cameras destroy’s the Frescoes.  As we went through the palace they had TV screens with a story of the Palace and the Frescoes.  Here is one I took.

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However, you see so many tourists taking photos with flash.  Why dont people listen?

While we were at the Palace of the Popes we were lucky to see an exhibition of Contemporary African Art.

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Contemporary African Art

 

Did you know there were 9 Popes in Avignon – 7 Popes and 2  Schismatic Popes. More here on the web page Palace of the Popes

 

After our tour ended we had time to wander around the town of Avignon. We walked down little laneways.  Some used Segways see photo.

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I prefer to use my feet

 

Down another laneway we found this.  Another blogger Julie from http://www.anotsoyoungwomanabroad.com gave a great hint.  Always look up, you never know what you’re going to find.

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What you find when you go down little laneways

 

Eventually we found ourselves in the huge square where our lovely friend Tanya was enjoying the sunshine.

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Tanya in front of the Belle Époque Carousel

Muriel and I decided we would take in the atmosphere of Avignon and have a coffee and perhaps cake to share.

As I’m gluten-free, its sometimes hard to find something to eat. We wandered around taking in all the sights and sounds.  What a beautiful and romantic place Avignon is.  I know I know I probably say this on every blog post.  At least I’m consistent lol.

In France if your gluten-free all you need to know is Sans Gluten.  We were in luck we found a cafe that had a cake that was gluten free or Sans Gluten.  Even luckier it was chocolate!  Coffee and cake get in our tummies!

 

 

We both throughly enjoyed our coffee and cake.  I will say though its not like we starve on the cruise ship.

After our cake and coffee we wandered around a bit more.  We really didnt want to leave this amazing place.

 

However, we knew we had to get back to our ship as our next tour would be at the Pont-du-Guard.  On the way over to Nice I had watched the movie Paris can Wait with Diane Lane.  She was in Under a Tuscan Sun which gave me the travel urge to visit Tuscany.  Yes I will get there one day.  The movie really showed France off, more like a travel documentary than a movie.  They stopped by at the Pont-du-Guard.  When you see it in the flesh up close and personal its just breathtaking.

 

Next: Pont-du-Guard

 

 

Pont Saint Benezet – The Bridge of Avignon

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Pont d’Avignon at dawn
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon
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Pont d’Avignon

As we were having breakfast our ship was sailing into Avignon.  We passed by the famous  Pont Saint Benezet – The bridge of Avignon.  This bridge was built in the 12 century and is made famous by the song – Sur le Pont d’Avignon.but it is better known as the Pont d’Avignon on which one dances, as the song says. The dance actually took place under the bridge and not on the bridge.

Chorus

Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse, On y danse
Sur le Pont d’Avignon
On y danse tous en rond

On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there, we all dance there
On the bridge of Avignon
We all dance there in a circle

1st Verse

Les beaux messieurs font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The fine gentlemen go like this (bow)
And then again like this

2nd Verse

Les belles dames font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The beautiful ladies go like this (curtsy)
And then again like that

3rd Verse

Les filles font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça

The young girls go like this (salute)
And then like that

4th Verse

Les musiciens font comme ça
Et puis encore comme ça.

The musicians go like this (they all bow to women)
And then like that

If you type in the “song of the bridge of Avignon” several U tubes will come up and you can sing along also.

 

The bridge is known for its amazing construction.  Twenty-two arches spanning 915 meters / 3,000 feet ! The bridge has been washed away many times by the floods of the Rhone. The bridge is Classified World Heritage by UNESCO. Today there are only 4 arches left of the 22.

According to the legend, the bridge was built in the 12th century by a young shepherd from Ardèche – Bénezet – who heard voices telling him to build a bridge in Avignon. The bridge was completed in 1185, creating the only place to cross the Rhône between Lyon and the Mediterranean sea. The bridge originally spanned approximately 900 meters and had 22 arches. It was dismantled in 1226, then rebuilt. It was later washed away several times by flood waters and rebuilt until it was abandoned in the 17th century. Today, all that remains are four arches and a chapel dedicated to Saint Nicolas.

Muriel and I didn’t get a chance to dance on the bridge as after the tour of the of the Palace of the Popes we decided to grab a coffee and a gluten free cake at one of the many cafes.

As we passed by the bridge they played the song over the intercom.  We all sang along, even those of us who knew hardly any French.

 

 

Next : The Palace of the Popes

 

 

 

 

 

Les Baux de Provence

After the Olive Farm we headed to Les Baux de Provence.  Our coach slowly wound its way up to the parking area.  There was a short walk from the parking area to the Village, where many restaurants, cafe’s and souvenir shops along the little cobblestone roads.

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The view from the coach as we approached Les Baux de Provence

 

The village of the Les Baux de Provence is a very picturesque Medieval village at a fortified rocky plateau 245m high.  Its situated between Arles and St Remy-de-Provence.  Les Baux is well worth visiting for the ancient village, the extensive fortified Château area, the magnificent setting, the views and the museums.

It is a must see.  If you’re in Provence then do not miss visiting this amazing place.

Its only 15km from Arles and 25kms from Avignon.

The village has no cars, so you can wander anywhere without fear of having to jump out-of-the-way.   Reportedly over one and half million tourists visit Les Baux de Provence every year.

 

The name “baux” means a prominent cliff  but has become more well-known for the bauxite named after this region. Bauxite was first discovered in the Alpilles, and named after the village of Baux-de-Provence.

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What an amazing view at the top
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What a glorious view!
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The map of Les Baux de Provence
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View from the top overlooking Provence
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The Catapult

 

Back in Medieval times, the amazing views that we see today were used to keep a look out for invaders.  It was a stronghold for the Baux Wars and the Wars of Religion.

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Anyone for lunch?
Some of the wares sold in the shops
Anyone for a spoon or fork?
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Souvenirs from Provence
Little narrow laneways
Its amazing what you find when you go off the beaten track
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Little restaurants and cafes everywhere

When you look at any page on line about this amazing village is the same as what we thought “its one of the most beautiful villages in Provence. ”

 

The village is rich in heritage with over 22 historical monuments, such as the church, town hall, Château, hospital, houses even the doorways.

At the top we were greeted by these strange sculptures.  I have tried to find out information on them but I am unable to find anything.  If any of my readers can enlighten me I would be most thankful.

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strange sculptures at the top of Les Baux de Provence.

 

So if your ever in Provence do not miss out on visiting this amazing place.  I wish we had more time to explore more of the village.  Our coach was waiting to take us back to the ship for lunch and then we were off to explore Arles.

Words were hard for me on this post as its such a beautiful and amazing place that I felt pictures would be better to capture how wonderful it is.  I hope to get back there again one day to explore more.  Perhaps a glass of wine in one of the many cafes and restaurants.  I hope this has inspired you to visit this beautiful village or perhaps you have already been.

 

To be continued:

Next an afternoon in Arles.

The Olive Farm

After a hearty breakfast aboard the ship, those of us who were going on the morning tour to the Olive Farm and Les Baux de Provence boarded our coach.

It wasn’t a very long drive to the Olive Farm.  Moulin du Calanquet Saint Remy de Provence .

The road leading to the Farm House was surrounded by petunias  and olive trees.

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The road leading to the Olive Oil Mill – Petunias and Olive TreesOlives
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Nothing but a sea of Olive Trees 

Growing up I never really had a taste for olives.  Even though our neighbors were Italian it was one thing that I couldn’t understand why anyone ate them.  I used to think they were bitter.  One time when visiting my daughter in Sydney, I happened upon a little cafe/deli near where she lived.  They were Greeks and they had heaps of olives (and coffee).  They allowed me to taste a few and it actually gave me the desire to want to include them in my life.  I now do not think Olives are bitter, they have a wonderful taste and seem to take on whatever they have been marinated in.  My brother and his wife have an Olive Farm in the South West of Australia.  They have won many gold medals for their oil.

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Olives

Our Tour guide gave us an insight into the history of the Olive Farm.  Five generations of Saint Remy farmers and are the descendants of the poet Frédéric Mistral.

In 2001 after 40 years of no production of Olives in the Saint Remy  de Provence they began olive oil production as a community  at the Calanquet oil mill,”Its name stems from the lovely site on which it is built, in the countryside 4 kilometres from the centre of Saint-Rémy, on the old Roman road. It originates from the word “calan”, meaning a rock used as a welcome shelter from the Mistral.”

This was to be the first we would hear about the Mistral winds. These winds are famous for there cold dry northwest wind which blows down through the Rhone to the Mediterranean  and reach speeds of over 90 kms an hour.  (I wonder if the good ole Mistral fan is named after these winds)

 

From the official website of Moulin du Calanquet Saint Remy de Provence .

“THE HISTORY OF MILLS IN SAINT-RÉMY

The Greeks and Romans grew olive trees on the northern slopes of the Alpilles. On the Glanum site (a Roman town 1 km north of modern St Rémy) there is a large stone slab intended to support an olive grinding wheel in the corner of the “Doric portico” and traces of a press on the western side of the Rue des Thermes. From the Middle Ages to modern times, oil was produced for home consumption only.

In Saint-Remy-de-Provence, there is evidence of the work of mill owners during a number of periods. In 1829 there were 3 mills producing 450 hectolitres over the year. In 1888, two mills employed 24 workers and operated until 1956. In addition, the third mill in the “Impasse du Lapin Blanc” (now rue Hoche) was still operating at the start of the 20th Century.

But the olive plantations painted by Van Gogh suffered from periodic frosts, especially those of 1889 and 1956. Production fell from 800 quintals of olives in 1912 to 125 quintals in 1930. After the catastrophic frost of 1956, the last remaining mills became oil merchants in Saint-Remy-de-Provence and the region, then ceased to operate. In 1969, over 3000 olive trees were declared to be “regenerating” and 400 were planted.”

 

 

 

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Our tour guide explaining all there is to Olives.

Many famous French and European chefs are connected with the olive oil and other products.

The walls are covered with photos of these chefs.  Here are just a few.

 

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Many photos of famous chefs line the walls.  We will later in the tour go to one of Paul Boscue famed restaurants. 
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The Millhouse and shop
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Tasting all different Olives 
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Jams 

Once inside the mill we were taking through all the different process’s of production.  From oils to tapenades to jams.

I love the way the French – European serve wines with there food.  Today was no difference.  We were able to taste so many products along with having a few (lots of sips) of wine.  Glad we were on a coach and not driving.

The Mill also has a shop and you can buy anything from the local area.  Of course olives etc are the main stars.  They also have an online shop.  Do yourself a favour and check it out and if your in the area do drop in.

Olives

After a very yummy and informative morning we were then off to Les Baux de Provence.

 

 

To be continued:

 

 

 

Arriving in Arles

The bus trip was a bit long and to top it off one poor lady coughed most of the way.  She sounded awful.  Later on the second leg of the trip up the Seine people were dropping like flies with the flu.  It turns out that’s what she had.  Probably needed a mask and antibacterial wipes….for us. Our cruise director from last year told us to avoid anyone with a cold etc and sit away from them.  We did the best we could.

It was so lovely to finally board our ship.  The ship the MS AmaCello was at the port of Arles on the river Rhone.

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MS Amacello in Arles

 

 

 

Check in was very quick and we had a quick shower change and went up for the “Port Talk” with our cruise director.  Oh dear and could he talk.  Port talks are a quick run down of whats going on the next day.  We also found out he expected everyone to come to the talks.  Last year, the cruise director was happy if just one person of each group attended.

 

The four of us settled in on the couches and had a few sparkling wines as he talked.  Not sure if we actually listened to it all.  It had been a long day.

 

As the talk was winding up we sent Peter down to the restaurant to find us a table. As dinner is at one setting it can get a bit hard to be able to sit with your friends.

Dinner didn’t disappoint, and as usual I was well catered for my dietary requirements.  No gluten, fish or peanuts.

Dinner is usually about 4-5 courses with wine with each course.

After dinner we made our way up to the lounge to listen to the music and have a few more drinks.  Perhaps even a bit of dancing! Oh and singing.  Muriel, the eldest sister didn’t disappoint and got up and sang along with our  resident musician who would be tinkling the ivories for the cruise.

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Muriel singing with our music mastro.

 

One of the best things I like about traveling is you get to meet a lot of different people from all walks of life.  We were already traveling with our friends Peter and Tania who  we met on the cruise from the year before.  This year we had the pleasure of meeting Val, a wonderful inspiring lady who was traveling on her own.  Unfortunately her hubby was to have traveled with her but a few weeks out broke a leg.  Lyn does that remind you of anyone?

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Val our new friend

 

Eventually we went back to our rooms to finish unpacking as we would be on the ship for 7 days.

Our cabin was really nice. Enough storage space for 2 people.  Computer/TV with in house movies and news programs.  Shower and toilet.  Muriel and I had twin beds with plenty of room to move around.  We were on the bottom deck this time with just small windows.  That didn’t matter as the room would only be used for sleeping and showering etc.  We had wifi in our rooms although sometimes when in port the wifi was very slow.

 

On our beds was our Daily Cruiser.  This explains what we are doing the next day.  Some tours are for everyone and some you choose between 2-3 tours.

We had decided to do the morning tour to Les Baux de Provence and the Olive Farm visit.     We would do a self walking tour of Arles in the afternoon.  We would have plenty of time to wander around Arles as our morning tour was due back roughly by 1pm and the ship wasn’t departing Arles until the early hours of the morning.

Finally we were in bed and looking forward to our cruise up the Rhone.

 

Night night – to be continued:

 

 

 

Nice with Friends

 

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Peter Muriel and Tania with the Little White Train in the background.

One thing I can say about breakfast at hotels in Europe is “lots of food”.  You name it its there.  From bacon and eggs to croissants and fruit.  You can eat as little or as much as you like.  Lots of tea and coffee as well and fruit juices.

We then all went back to our rooms finished packing and met down in the lobby.  The hotel (and most hotels in Europe offer this) have room for storage of our bags.  Explore Nice without lugging around the bags.

The hotel receptionist called a taxi for the 4 of us to go into town.  We didn’t have long to wait and within minutes we were in the city.

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Payment required to be on this beach in Nice

The taxi dropped us of at the promenade.  The blue waters didn’t disappoint us.  The 4 of us walked along the promenade taking in all the sights.

The promenade was very busy.  Lots of people walking, running and quite a few Tour groups on Segways.

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Segways on the Promenade in Nice

It was hot again and the beaches were packed.  We took many photos of the paragliders as they were getting ready to take off, to the boats roaring out into the blue water with the paragliders being swept up into the blue sky.  7 minutes they are up in the air.  For me that would be 7 minutes of pure hell.  I hate heights lol.

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I could watch them all day.  I love Nice.  Paragliders

 

Muriel and I had spoken at great lengths about the Little White Train to Peter and Tania. So after soaking up the sun and all the action on the boulevard we went and lined up to go again on the amazing trip.  Doing it again for the second time I actually saw more than the day before.

We arrived up at the peak and went and took photos of the view over the Bay of Angels.

If you do nothing in Nice but the Little White Train then to me that’s plenty. On the website it says it takes 30 mins, however as it’s a busy time in Nice during summer the whole trip was an hour.

The little white train got back  to the Esplanade and we  realized that we had better find a taxi to get back to the hotel.  We were to met the  rest of the tour group at 2pm at the Nice Airport.

Our taxi took us back to the hotel and waited while we got our bags. Then dropped us at the Nice airport.

It was easy to find our tour group with the APT signs up.

A lot of our group were flying in that day.  We would rather arrive a day before just to get into the time zone.

So about 3pm we boarded our busses to take us to Arles where we would board our river ship.  It was roughly a 3 hour drive on the coach.  We stopped at one of those roadside cafes to have a bit of a walk get a cuppa.

Finally around 6pm we arrived in Arles.

The next chapter of our holiday was beginning.

To be continued:

 

The Little White Train that could- Nice France

The Castle Park (Parc du Chateau),

We went down to where the Little White Train was parked.  Many people were already sitting in it so we asked the driver and he said to hop on and he will come and get the money.  It was only 10 euros each for adults and 5 euro for children 4-12.

So we found a seat and waited for the adventure to come.  After waiting for no more than 5 mins we were off on our way.  We went down the Promenade des Anglais towards the port.   Then it veered left and went into the Place Massana, then through the flower market.  We went through small little laneways that any other vehicle unless a bike wouldn’t be able to get through.  Passing cafes with many patrons sipping their coffee and eating pastries, I could have easily lent out of the train and had a sip or a bite to eat. We meandered through the old town of Nice, back onto the Promenade des Anglais round to the Port of Nice via the Place Garibaldi.

 

We began to climb up a steep hill to where once many years ago a very impressive Castle.  You could see people climbing up the stairs, perhaps if I was fit I may have “tried” that,  The little white train was doing the climb much easier than if I had climbed the stairs.  At the flower market there is a lift you can use also.

The views were amazing.  We passed the ruins of the Castle – Castle Park (Parc du Chateau / Colline du Chateau). The train stops at the top for about 20 mins.  There is a little cafe where you can get cold drinks or ice cream.  Muriel and I were more interested in the views.  You could see all of Nice with their orange roofs in one direction or look out over the Bay of Angels.

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Roof tops Nice
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The Bay of Angels – Nice

 We boarded the little white train and it weaved its way down the hill and around the Port up the Promenade De Anglais to where we first boarded.  The trip took over an hour.  Although on the website it says 45 minutes.

We then wandered through the park to come across a festival. Decided a drink was on the agenda.  Every cafe was full to overflowing so we wandered into a Macdonalds and got a drink and a seat.  It was very hot.  When we came out we flagged down a taxi to take us back to our hotel.

Our friends we met on the trip the year before were flying in this evening from England. Peter and Tania would arrive around 9pm and would catch up with us in the lobby/cafe at the hotel for a couple of drinks.  They were staying in the same hotel.

So we went for a lie down and then a shower to freshen up.

We went down to dinner around 7pm.  Lovely restaurant it was by the pool.  We ordered drinks and something to eat and to wait for our friends.

Their flight would take around 45-50 minutes from London to Nice.  How nice it would be to live in Europe and only have a short time to travel and your in another country.

Muriel and I were trying to stay awake when finally our friends arrived.  They were exhausted and I think so were we so we had a drink a bit of a chat and decided to catch up for breakfast before going into Nice for the day.

 

To be continued:

 

 

 

 

 

 

The start of the holiday

I was flying to Perth for a few days before heading to France with my sister Muriel.  It was so we could have a catch up with Paula who unfortunately was not going to be coming with us.

I was driven to the airport bus and encountered my first little issue.  It was cold while waiting and I went to use the bathroom in the foyer.  Only to find it locked, so I went to the reception and was advised I would have to get the key from either cafe at the front of the building.  Somehow both had steps going into their establishments  and with my suitcase, backpack and camera case plus my body was a bit sore I was wondering how I was going to do this.  Mother nature was not going to wait so I managed to get the key.

Then the bus pulled in and I got a seat half way down the bus.  Suddenly, I realized I had left my thyroid medication at home.  3 weeks without my medication was not something I even wanted to think about.  With a bit of help from my housemate who sent a copy of my thyroid medication via the phone and my best friend in Perth, who called a compounding pharmacy and they said they would be able to organize it for me.  We picked it up on the Sunday.  Lyn was lovely and had already worked out if we couldn’t get any she would let me have some of hers.  That’s  what friends are there for.

Arrived at the airport and checked my bags in and then went and had a wine at the wine bar.  Could have had a few more but thought getting on the flight a bit under the weather was not a good idea.  So I then went and enjoyed a coffee and a slice.

My flight was ok, no inflight entertainment as I only had my phone and hadn’t even thought about downloading the app to watch movies.  So I actually read a magazine!

My sister was there to pick me up and we went to her place where we had a cuppa.

Next morning, Lyn arrived at Muriel’s and off we went to church.  Yes you read it. Church, no bolts of lightning, fire or wrath!  Just a lovely church service and morning tea afterwards.

Lyn then took me to visit her Mum who has been in hospital for a while now. Her mum was on fire and was in such good form.  It was a lovely time.  However, she can change at a drop of a hat.  Lyn if your reading this I do understand.

After the visit we went to a local pub for something to eat and drink.  It was nice, good food and good company.

Later Lyn dropped me back at my sisters and we had dinner together then Lyn went home.

Monday we were all meeting for lunch at the Herdsman Pub.  Lyn, Muriel, Paula, Richard – who met on the cruise last year and me!

It was a great lunch lots of laughs. We talked about last years holiday and our trips we were all about to go on. Richard was going on a small ships trip and would still be away right now, I think.

Tuesday, I went to the hairdresses near Muriels place for a shampoo and trim.  I had some streaks put in my hair the week before I was leaving, to hopefully not allow the grey to be the shinning light on my head . Last minute shopping, then finish packing the suitcase and we would be heading off.

Just after 5 we were picked up by friends of Muriel and taken to the airport.  This time we were flying with Emirates and going via Dubai.

Lyn met us at the airport and we enjoyed a cuppa and something light to eat.

We then checked in for our flights and luckly we managed to get seats next to each other.

Said goodbye to Lyn and we went through customs and passport check.

We were about to head off to France, 2 weeks on cruise ships!  Holiday of a lifetime!

Our friends Peter and Tanya who are in England were flying to Nice where we would meet them at the hotel in the evening.

Our flight was boarding – Nice France  here we come!

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L to R – Richard, Muriel, Lyn and Paula
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Right to Left – Paula, Lyn, Muriel, Richard and Me – Bree

 

15 days till France

This time last year the 3 sisters were in Europe.  Never in my wildest dreams would I have even thought that I would be going back.

In 15 days Muriel and I will be boarding a flight from Perth to begin our journey. I am flying to Perth on the Saturday before to spend a few days with family and friends.  The 3 sisters will be catching up with another traveler we met on our cruise last year.

I am in the excited, anxious phase of have I got everything, do I need anything.  I have all my medications ready to go in my backpack. My clothes are sorted and my shoes.  I am getting my hair trimmed and a color put in it tomorrow.  Muriel has booked me in for a trim and shampoo on the Tuesday we are flying out.  A girl has to look good.

I have decided to leave the Mac Air at home and just take my phone and camera.  Just in case rules change while we are away with having lap tops in the cabin.

I will be posting pictures on my Instagram account @3sistersabroad.  and my Facebook page.  I will try to post a couple of blog posts while away.  Will depend on internet and time.  I know from last year we were on the go from the minute we woke till we put our heads on the pillow.

 

The countdown is on!

 

 

 

15 Films Tag

My wonderful blogging friend  Cheila did this Tag the other day and as I read hers I was like “I must do this”.  So here is my list.

 

Favourite Film

I have too many to make one stand out.  So I will be doing the same as Cheila did.

1  Happiness Never Comes Alone – a 2012 French Comedy –

2. Just like Heaven –

3. The Lake House

4. Under the Tuscan Sun

5. Gone with the Wind

6. Sleepless in Seattle

7 Les Visiteurs –  The Visitors -1993 French Movie – Hollywood did a remake in 2001.

8   Spoorloos – The Vanishing – 1988 French Dutch movie – Hollywood did a remake in 1993.

9 Anything for Her –Pour elle – 2008 French Thriller – Hollywood did a remake in 2010 called The Next 3 days.

10 Oscar and Lucinda

11. Red Dog

12.. All the Indiana Jones Movies

13 Picnic at Hanging Rock

14 The Notebook

15 Midnight in Paris

16. Schindlers List

Favorite scene from favorite film

So many in Happiness Never Comes Alone, watch it and let me know what you think. Here is the link for the promo when it was coming out.  It never showed all  the bathroom scene but that’s hilarious.  I love the bedroom scene 🙂 I love the whole movie.!

 

Favorite actor:

Again too many.

Gad Elmaleh

Harrison Ford

Sophie Marceau

Reese Witherspoon

Sandra Bullock

Keanu Reeves

Dianne Lane

 

 

 

 

Favorite Director:

Stephen Spielberg

David Lynch

Ron Howard

Deborah Lee Furness

Gillian Armstrong

Peter Weir

 

 

 

Film that makes you cry the most:

Red Dog

 

Film Saga you have given up and why:

I dont think I started any to not finish.

Favorite cinematographer Genre:

Romantic Comedy

Least Favorite cinematographer Genre:

Horror

Childhood Film:

The Sound Of Music

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Cinderella

 

What Film You Would Like to Star In?

Under the Tuscan Sun

In what film you would like to live?

Under the Tuscan Sun – would love to live in Tuscany.

 

Films you want to watch:

None at the moment as they all seem to be action packed movies at the moment or end of the world type movies.

 

What’s your favorite cartoon film?

Cinderella

Films you would recommend:

any I have mentioned

Films that made you laugh:

Happiness Never Comes Alone – had to watch it several times as I laughed so much I missed bits.

 

This was so much fun.  Everyone is welcome to do this Tag, just let me know so I can read your list.  By the way this is my list, Bree the youngest of the 3 Sisters.  I would say Paul and Muriel have a different list to me.

 

Have a great day and thanks for reading