Monday, July 25, 2011

In the countryside - la pétanque et le Ricard

A cragged landscape, a vaste plateau, penurious, only nourishing sheep and goats with a few brightly-yellow rape fields bringing up some coulour,
all this surrounded by the lush green valleys of Tarn, with their majestic slopes and ice-cold mountain torrents  - this is the plateau of Larzac.
The region developped its own specialties, la fouace, a kind of brioche, the roquefort cheese that ripes in the caves of this region and their unique accent...combined with the traditional french holiday pétanque et le Ricard, an aniseed liqueur.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Its all about surfing...and the rich and the famous

A forbidding coastline, a good surf, Basque-style houses, tapas bars....and a lot of summer tourists!
That is Biarritz, a prime destination in south-western France forever branded by the passage by Napoleon III.

Today, Biarritz, the pearl of the Basque coast, is a luxury seaside town for summer tourists.
Neoprene-clad surfers with their boards under their arms, families with children and business men all come together in the tapas bars along the coastline for a few bites and a glass of sangria....only a few kilometres from the Spanish border you can easily sense the Spanish influence!

A place of retreat and serenity

Cap Ferret -

some 60 km from Bordeaux, a conglomeration of small fishing villages stretched on a narrow peninsula between the Atlantic Ocean and the bassin of Arcachon - it is just the place to spend a weekend of calmness and privacy. A deserted stretch of beach, some oysters and a glass of white wine - pure happiness....

Paris, je t´aime

Paris- this time from a local point of view which changed my picture of Paris and made me love it even more! After visiting art galeries in St Germain-des-Près and a stroll at Père Lachaise, an awesome barman in Rue Oberkampf made us spend the best afternoon in a long time, thanks to his great moquitos, the little snacks he offered us, the "rum arrangé" shots and the Albanian music, just great times! Paris "off the beaten tourist track" at its best!

Madrid- at the pulse of life

Madrid surprised me being a very lively city with different faces. As a capital, Madrid makes a show of all its royal and governmental buildings that are, admittedly, very impressive, but it offers, for those who search for it, an alternative scene aswell, with shops and bars that made me think of Prenzlauer Berg in Berlin!

Madrid came up with a full-time program covering all possible interests - the royal buildings, art galeries, photography expositions, rose gardens, independent vintage shops, trendy bars and cafés, tapas restaurants, music in the streets and amazing nightlife! Sleeping is for others in this place.....

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Random markets

Our host recommended a special kind of market to us....a kind of flea market where the belongings of departed people are sold. If an old person fades away without leaving somebody behind to take care of his or her heritage, there are people specialised in emptying their apartments and selling the whole interior decoration on is a weird idea and somewhat repelling but as our host said, in a spiritual way, everything has to move on and the circle of life will be continued by passing on the goods of the deseased....

Eventually,you find yourself rummaging in books or postcards of a deceased person, pondering about his or her life, gazing at his or her pictures or canvases and wondering about his or her art taste...

The Brighter the Better

 In the footsteps of Gaudi, Barcelona becomes a city without any straight angles but curvatures and coils, brightly-coloured mosaic walls, wooden frame work and stain glass windows. A pioneer in architecture...colourful and futuristic... a fine contrast to the remnants of the Gothic city walls.