September 2010


Woke up relaxed and decided to have a day of relaxing.
Headed out.

of our litle home

and up to La Cite

Had a crepe in here. It was the worst crepe that I had ever eaten in all my days. Like cardboard really. And shite chocolate. I would have gone to town with them but.

Jesus was watching.

Strolled around for a while

Had a look at Basilique Saint Nazaire

Then on through the tourist trap of La Cite.

Had another lovely crepe from a different place before we left. Got rid of the bad feeling from the other frigging place. The lady got mad there because I put jam on my crepe. She started saying it was a Euro more. Well feck don’t leave it out for people to dip into then. She was fine with it after a moment though. No harm, it was a good one.

Headed into town leaving La Cite behind.

I noticed a shutter holder was looking like a little lass. A nice wee detail.

Stopped into a Real Estate office to get the ball rolling now that the area to live in is figured out. Met with Didier at Aude Immo Futur.
he was from Normandy origionally and had an understanding of English. Gave him the details and now the ball is in his court. Got info on the local Home Depo type of stores in France. Left there happy. But not for long.

Went to buy train tickets to Paris for Saturday morning. Credit card denied. Called Chase USA and worked it out. Still refused. Called again. Still refused. Called again, refused. Called again was told I had the highest security clearence on the cards and it still didn’t go through. Called again and after an hour or so of this shite a high up fucker said that The train company here SNCF doesn’t do business with Chase Credit fucking Cards. Motherfucker sons of bitches. Went out and used the ATM card at a bank and got the cash for the train.
Then went into the supermarket to get a few items for dinner. Decided to use the credid card here and Yes it worked no problem so Fuck SNCF and the ………….. oh no wait this may be the country I will move to someday.

Homr for dinner.

Lazed the evening away. Vacation time finally.

 


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Slept bad during the night in room 4. I shouldn’t have eaten the ice cream and coke before bed. Bollix and i should know better but this is my life.
We head down town for a breakkie or the like.

Our Jimi was remembered by a photographer named Steve Hiett with some rare photos that he took back at The Isle of Wight Concert in 1970. so H H 70 it is.

Oh and Nostradamus was born in this very house in 1503. I never knew his first name until now. Michel.

I like the French work schedule off work on Mondays and open late the rest of the time.

We go back to the Austrian girl (who would live on an island if she won the lottery) and we check out.

Went in for a cuppa before heading out of town.

and a wee prayer.

and a wee prayer to Saint anthony in honor of me granny and me mammy.

Finish up my prayers in the church of St. Martin. My namesake. Then off out to see the room where my favourite painter spent his time in the Asylum. 

“I do not hide from you the fact that I would rather have died than cause or suffer so much unhappiness.” (Vincent Van Gogh)

Vincent Van Gogh wrote these words to his brother Theo, just before he was admitted to the Saint-Paul-de-Mausole asylum in Saint-Remy in May 1889. In this letter, he refers to the incident of December 1888 in which he allegedly attempted to attack his roommate and fellow artist Paul Gauguin, and then proceeded to cut off the lobe of his ear, which resulted in a hospitalization that lasted until January of 1889. After this first hospitalization, he returned to the house where he had been living with Gauguin, but continued to experience hallucinations, and was hospitalized twice before May (Vedovello 155). More than a year passed between the time he wrote these words to his brother and the time that he finally left the asylum at Saint-Rmy for Paris and then Auvers, where he would remain for two months until his suicide in July 1890 (Brooks). In the interim, Van Gogh lived and worked at the asylum, creating a vast collection of drawings, sketches, studies, and some of his most famous paintings. The reference to death in the passage above would prove to be a striking foreshadow of Van Gogh’s time at Saint-Rmy: the specter of death haunted him throughout this period, as manifested in many of the pieces he created. Because they did not fit with the sanctuary of the asylum, Van Gogh correlated these overbearing thoughts of death with the outdoors, with the natural world that he found outside the asylum, and he makes this correlation visible by distorting his images of the outdoors specifically for this purpose.

We park and walk inside
A wee nice walk up to the Place of controled madness.

Vinny greets us along the way.

with sun flowers in hand.

some of the garden areas where he painted.

He greets us again inside

Finally to his bedrooom here.

He had a kind of en suite I suppose where he could wash his balls.

He says goodbye as we head back down the stairs.

and yet again below.

all the paintings that are for sale here now are by todays patients here.

we head back out and say good bye to the watchful Vincent.

He looks for every sunflower and iris coming and going.


Ultimately, it is clear that while Vincent was haunted by thoughts of death, he felt safe from them within the asylum, and instead came to associate thoughts of death with the outdoors. These disparate views of the asylum interior and the outdoors can be seen by comparing the interior gouache and its accompanying photograph with an analogous photograph and painting of the exterior of the asylum. An anonymous photograph entitled Garden and Entrance to the Men’s Ward of Saint-Paul-de-Mausole shows the entrance to the asylum with a number of small shrubs and a handful of trees in front of it. Van Gogh depicted this same scene in Trees in Front of the Entrance to the Asylum, painted in October of 1889, but it is hardly recognizable. The trees have grown in number and size in Van Gogh’s imagination. In the painting, they dwarf the façade of the asylum, reaching toward the sky in the same gesture as the cypress in The Starry Night. While Van Gogh was content to paint an accurate depiction of the visual reality of the interior of the asylum, he chose to alter his depiction of the outdoors in order to express the fear of death that he associated with the world outside the asylum. This may have been one of the stronger motivations that compelled him to commit himself to Saint-Paul-de-Mausole: an attempt to escape this haunting fear of death. After he left Saint-Rémy for Paris and then Auvers in May of 1890,Vincent likely continued to be haunted by the specter of death until his suicide two months later. He shot himself in the chest on the evening of July 27, 1890 out of doors, in a field in which he had been painting

and we get away

Next we head back to the car and then to the town of Arles. This was the town Vincent lived before he moved here.

We go into the ancient  coliseum for a look around.

there are also some good views of the town from here.

why not?

I remember this

looks like a likely place for lunch


Bull fighting goes on in this 20,000 seat arena today

We head back outside.

and into the restaurant that I had spotted from the arena.

A nice French girl who spent some time in Ireland waited on us. She is in College now in Germany but here at the minutte.

An emmental cheese crepe for lunch and a nutella crepe for dessert. What are the French doing serving Swiss cheese?

Crepes arrive and they are gone in seconds.

Me and my French student.

Off we go and into Cap d’Agde and find the nudist resort town there that Danny and Courtney told us about on the Little Beach in Maui all those years ago.
No cameras allowed.

Back on the road and stop off in Beziers for a quick look around.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pierre-Paul_Riquet

Well I did try the Euro Millions in this town.

Saint Peter

We leave the town with a pile of chocolate and head back home to Carcassonne.

Dinner and Dessert and a whole pile more dessert.

Another chat with Una gan a guna and lights out.

Current mood: happy

 
Woke up late and got a lazy start so cancelled the trip to the Pyrneese National Park and decided to head over towards Avignon instead.  We stopped off at The Pont Du Gard on the way. It has been like 22 years since I have been been in this neck of the woods. It has seemed to change a bit.

We headed up the left side to the lookout first.

Looking across the top of the Pont.

then down and back up the other side for a wee look.

We find a seat with a view and make our lunch wraps here. A nice view from this resturant.

We have a guest who dines with us.

Time comes to head out so bye bye to our seat and guest, Back down we go.

 

Into the Micra and off we go at speeds of up to 160 kpm in the little fucker.

 

Arrived into Avignon a while later.

Had a look at the famous bridge they couldn’t keep erected. The Viagra wasn’t around back then I suppose.

Then The Palace Of The Popes. This is where the popes lived for many years back in the day.

Walked around for a bit.

Then hopped into the baby car and headed to San Remy. This is the town made famous by a slightly mad man who moved to the Asylum there where he painted many of his pictures like Irises and Starry Night. Well loads and loads more while he was here. Vincent Van Gogh. So why not spend a night here.

We stay at the Hotel du Soleil. http://www.hotelsoleil.com/us/hotel.htm

There is a carnival in full swing in town.

Have a nice salad and ice cream for dinner

Up and lazed.
Breakkie

Walked into town.

Then found a place to rent a car. A nice fellow named Nicolas from L.O.V. hooked us up. We get 1,000 km thrown in but this won’t be enough and it will be 15 cents a kilometer after that.
A Nissan Micro

Back home and loaded up. Then headed down to see a Cathar Castle.
Château de Peyrepertuse 
 
We go through some nice towns along the way.
Here is one called Bugrach

We make it up the long windy road to the Castle. I remembered the history of the Cathars and it is great to walk in history here. We hike up to the castle. 5 Euros entry.

A look at a village down below

we continue walking through the ruins.

Another Cathar Castle is in view way off to the North.

We then hike up to the church of Jordi

Then hiked back to the car and off we go. We stop off in Rennes Les Bais. I would like to find a place to live in this area so far.

We then head back home. Met Julianne heading off to the airport as we arrived. Had the dinner and then dessert.
Then dessert and dessert again later on.

Talked to Una online for like five hours.

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Barcelona to Narbonne to Carcassonne
Woke up early and had a huge breakfast. Packed the bags and headed off to the train station.

Waited for our train and headed up the rails to France and stopped off in the town of Narbonne. Bought a ticket here to Carcassonne. Then we headed into town for a look around. It was dead quite because of it being a Sunday. We had lunch in a park there.

Then took a walking tour of the city. We went by the Palais De Archeveques for a gander. Then on down the Canal De Robine going through the Sunday Market which was closing down for the day. Crossed the Ponte De La Liberte.

 

Then back along the canal at the other side.

Then back over it again along a street.

Then stopping off along the way to train station.

Waited for a wee bit and then onto the train heading for Carcassonne.

30 minutes later we arrive.

Walk through the town in the direction of the Walled City.

Over the bridge and down to the place of residence here.

Met Julianne. A fine girl from London with Irish parents. Chatted for a while.

Headed up to the supermarket for provisions.

Dinner and dessert.

Went up to the Walled City for a walk around.

Tired

ZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZZ

Up early and fecked around on the notebook. I didn’t realize I was wearing my yellow tee-shirt yesterday when I told Niamh I would be wearing it today so I washed it in the sink and it wasn’t totally dry but on it went.

After the breakkie we headed over to the Arc to meet up.

Niamh arrived Irish time. Big hugs. Met her good man. Damon. A truly nice fellow. In a wee bit Australian Jessica gets out of a cab and off we go in the Nissan up the freeway and then the windy road to Montserrat. We park on top and head up to the Monastery on the mountain.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Montserrat_(mountain)

Damon ad Niamh

Scariff United

We go inside for a look around. Natasha notices a Lough Derg St. Patrick mention on the wall so it is only fitting that Niamh and I step in for a photo.

Then up the stairs to touch the ball of The Black Virgin  and make a wee request.



 


Jessica and Niamh

Natasha and Damon


 

After a look around and a gwall of water we head back down. We take a different turn and go a great longer way back to the Monastery. 95 minutes coming down.


At the bottom

 

We pile into the car and head back to the city. Drop Jess off and then we head to Princesa St.  

Niamh had grown up to be a beautiful person both inside and out. Looking forward to getting to know her more in the coming months. God Bless and safe travels.

A big good bye hugs and kisses and we head inside. This was a great day.
But wait it is not over.

Eat the dinner and head out.

We head up to see a couple of buildings by Gaudi and his fellow designers.

Get of my head you dirty fucker.

 

The festival is still in full swing as we walk around.

Stop into Brunells for dessert

Say a last goodbye to the better gelato shop in Barcelona. Even though Gelato is Italian.

Back home and pack a wee bit for the train ride in the morning.

 

Woke up at 4:30 after 8 hours of wonderful sleep. Got on the computer and fecked around with Facebook and loading up photos. After a couple of hours lay back in bed and lights out woke up like 5 hours later. This is the best sleep I got in all my life I bet. Of course I didn’t sleep a lot in the days before I left Seattle.

After Breakfast/lunch we headed up through the crowds to Ramlas where I called Niamh who was a wee hung over from the night before. She sounded great though. We arraigned to meet under the Arc De Triumph tomorrow morning at 8am. I told her I would be wearing a yellow Elvis tee-shirt.

Off we go for a walk over and up to Castell de Montjuic. We walk around and take in the view up there for a good while

Some good views on the way up.

The Giant Dildo

Sagrada Familia

 

The Harbor

 

Barcelona

The Castell de Montjuic

The Catalan Flag flies proud

We head back down the hill after some time rambling up hear. Back into the city proper.

I need to check what this is all about.

For Elder

 

We hop on the Metro (subway) and head over to see “Sagrada Familia. (Holy Family Church)

The expiatory church of La Sagrada Familia (Temple Catalan Expiatori de la Sagrada Família), known simply as the Sagrada Familia (Holy Family) is a large Catholic church in Barcelona (Spain), designed by Catalan architect Antoni Gaudí. Launched in 1882, is still under construction (September 2010). It is the masterpiece of Gaudí, and the exponent of Catalan modernist architecture.

Construction began in the Gothic style, but, assuming the Gaudí project in 1883, was completely rethought. According to its standard procedures, from general sketches improvised building as construction progressed. He took over with just 31 years, dedicating the rest of his life, the last fifteen exclusively.

One of their most innovative ideas was the design of the towers protruding circular conical pointed on the web, tapering with height. The dish with a twist designed to give an upward trend across the front, aided by a multitude of windows that pierce the tower following spiral forms.

The temple, when completed, will have 18 towers, four in each of the three entrances, portals and domes mode, you have a set of six towers, with central dome tower, dedicated to Jesus, 170 meters height, four around it, dedicated to the evangelists, and a second dome dedicated to the Virgin. The innovative interior will consist of columns and arches tilted tree based on hyperboloids and paraboloids seeking the optimal way to the catenary.

Gaudí died in 1926, only one tower had been built. Building project plans and kept only a plaster model that was badly damaged during the Spanish Civil War. have since continued the work at present is finished the portals of the Nativity and the Passion, and has begun Gloria, and are running the inner vault. The work performed Gaudí, ie the Nativity façade and crypt, has been included by UNESCO in 2005 in the World Heritage Site “Works of Antoni Gaudí.” It is also, since 2007, one of the 12 Treasures of Spain.

The temple will be consecrated on November 7, 2010 by Pope Benedict XVI. Following the dedication to worship, the church will be raised to the dignity of a minor basilica.

Then we go off down past The Monumental

 

And sit down for a gelato.

 

Then head down to the Arc De Triomf to get a feel of where we will meet Niamh


 

Then continue down along the Passeig de Lluis Companys towards home.


Back home and up the stairs

We then head back out the door again.

 

And head over to the Train Station and buy 2 tickets to go up to Narbonne on Sunday. We will get the train into Carcassonne from there.

Then back home for dinner.

We headed out on the town for a look around after the eating.

 

Stopped off for a gelato

Came along the Parade


 

Headed up along through the crowds to the square


 

I will pop in here later

 

 Watched the antics in the square

Stopped into the church on the way back.

Back to Princesa St. and had another gelato before going home.

 

 

Too many Gelatos eaten to this point. I will take a break for a while. 
 

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