A few weeks ago, I packed my bags and went on a 10-day holiday to France. I first went to Paris, where I hadn't been for years, to visit a very good friend of mine. The idea was to stay at hers for three days and then to carry on to the South to visit my family.
The few days in Paris were absolutely brilliant, as was the weather. I unashamedly played the tourist and went up the Eiffel Tower with my friend and her children. I have been up the Eiffel Tower several times in my life, and I have to say I don't ever get tired of it. Amazing fun! The Iron Lady is already a treat to behold round the corner of a nearby street...
...and getting more imposing as you approach "her" in the surrounding gardens.
And of course, the view from up there is breath-taking. This one below is only from the second floor, as the third was too full to accommodate more visitors. But I am happy with just that! Spot the gorgeous Sacré Choeur on the Butte Montmartre in the distance.
Even though I was in France, I still treated myself to some very British little pleasures, such as a nice "Liverpudlian" cuppa...
...and even though I was in a very urban setting, I still indulged in some nature-watching.
And of course, I don't go anywhere with a bit of crochet in my pockets - er, bags. I took along 19 sunburst squares and kept my promise to square them all off. In the pic below, though, it was the beginning of the holiday, so all I was doing there was to ponde the upcoming work ;)
My friend lives in a suburb south of Paris, which has this highly scenic aqueduct running through it. It became a familiar companion on the way to and back from the local station, and I marvelled every time at its magnificence. And at least, it managed to distract me a little from the painfully hilly aspect of the journey. For hilly it was!
Carrying on the tourist trail, I did something which I had never done in the many times I have been to Paris: going to the Louvre Museum. Here is the sublime glass pyramid that leads to its entrance.
This colourful young lady was parading in front of it, and her manga-inspired attired begged for me to take a picture.
Once inside, I had to go take a look at Da Vinci's Mona Lisa. This is the chaotic scene that it permanently causes!
Steering away from the crowds a little, I drank in the surroundings. Just look at this magnificent ceiling.
I took quite a few pictures of details of paintings that I was drawn to, such as this one by Ingres.
And then, I had just a little time left to quickly visit the Ancient History section, where I saw some beautiful objects with incredible detailing.
There followed a walk in the adjacent Tuileries park...
...and numerous more streets of Paris, where I encountered many visual feasts, such as this former Métro entrance with a distinctively eye candy feature.
Round the corner from the Centre Pompidou museum, we stopped for a minute at the whimsical Stravinsky Fountain, where I enjoyed the display of colours as much as the freshness of the water on such a sweltering day.
I also came across this gem of a graffitti in a Métro station, right next to a full classical orchestra delighting passers-by's ears with their beautiful playing.
Back at my friends's place, we watched the little 'uns while they played, and I marvelled at the fact that, in this high-tech day and age, hopscotches are literally the same as they were when I was little, at which time I am sure they hadn't much changed since my grandmothers were little girls themselves.
And then it was time to leave Paris, hop on the train and go back once more to my native South. The train journey is just under 5 hours, but it flew by thanks to my new crochet project...
And then I was in familiar surroundings again. The huge pine trees, the wineries...
My parents' village has an enormous pine tree that is so big and distinctive that apparently the army use as a landmark for their drills. It has also become the symbol of the village, and I have to say that as pacifist, I much more prefer this story!
More familiar places, as I visited my hometown nearby. Some of its walls still sport original advertising. How cool is that? The ones below are for cheese. What else in good old France, eh?
Then came the usual drive to the very nearby seaside. It was a stormy day, and unusually for the time of year, the beach was sparsely populated. My mum and I cheekily removed our shoes and delighted in walking in the cool, soothing sand. The stormy atmosphere made it a very scenic walk indeed.
It was quite simply exhilarating and we went home feeling refreshed and in great spirits, going on and on about how amazingly good we were feeling.
The next morning, as is often the case there, the sun was back, along with the heat. I went for morning runs in the surrounding vineyards and felt truly privileged to be able to behold such amazing views.
It was a short but sweet holiday, with simple pleasures scattered here and there, and above all, many, many colours for me to drink in.
More tea - Russian, this time - in colourful teapots and with naughty-but-oh-so-lovely ice-creams.
I love this next picture, due to its complete randomness and rather unexpected nature. One night, I decided to cook a beetroot risotto. This is what the chopping board looked like after I'd cut the beets!
How amazing is that? It almost looks like a modern painting!
And finally, one hell of a sunset that I captured one evening whilst lounging on the terrace.
Thanks for reading, peeps! See you soon :)