Barcelona Steet Walking

GREAT meal last night – more to come on that – but our first full day in Barcelona we took to the streets. Gaudi. Ever heard of him? I had not until started researching Barcelona.

Let’s talk about him.

Antoni Gaudi (1852-1926) was a Catalan architect from Spain and known as the greatest exponent of Catalan Modernism. His works were highly individualized with most located in Barcelona. His masterpiece, the still-incomplete Sagrada Familia, is the most visited monument in Spain. HIs work was influenced by his passion in life: architecture, nature and religion. He integrated ceramics, stained glass, wrought ironwork and carpentry while introducing new techniques in the treatment of materials. Gardi rarely drew detailed plans, instead preferring to create them as scale models. There could probably be a posting just dedicated to him. I’m sure others have done that and I will leave it to them. Let’s start walking!

We took their Metro and emerging into the light were presented with this: Casa Batllo. It was the result of a total restoration in 1904 of an old conventional house built in 1877.

Lots of tourists were lined up for tours. We were good with an outside look. This building was next door.

We continued walking down the street, coming upon Placa de Catalunya, a large square in central Barcelona generally considered to be the city center and the place where the old city and the 19th century-built Eixample neighborhood converge. LOTS of statuses but pared it down to these few shots.

Several fountains.

We also usually found these signs near the fountains. The fox? Someone added their own piece of artwork to the base. BTW – don’t dump your fish here!

One last photo of the square with a reflection pond and different sculptures at opposite ends. All those buses in the background…………the start of Le Ramblas.

What is the Le Ramblas?

It’s a tree-lined pedestrian street, stretching .75 long. It’s popularity with tourists has shifted its composition to cafes and souvenir kiosks – and pick pockets. We were very careful, and all was good.

Historically this pedestrian way was a place for markets, festivals and sports and…………. until 2010 an open-air market for caged birds and other small pets. No more. Kiosks selling flowers, plants and seeds were interspersed amongst the cafes.

Buildings along this street continued to be interesting structures. This one with umbrellas and a dragon lamp caught my eye.

There was one main reason we were here………La Bouqueria Market. Walking under the sign you are hit with multiple vendor stalls. Lots of vendors selling all type of food items, some prepared, others fresh with some ready to take home and eat.

Yep, another market. Like churches, at some point all those markets start looking alike. I tried to find a few things in here that that was not seen previously in this blog.

First up, a stall dedicated to empanadas.

These fruit drinks looked delicious.

These were some of the best looking fruit we saw – and artfully displayed.

The famous Iberian ham.

Of course, Eric and Adrienne drifted to the oyster vendor. Those were some B>I>G oysters. I tried one and it was really, really hard to get down – just saying. Another species was much smaller, very salty and much more to my liking.

Purchases could be made dozen per box or single bivalve purchases.

While we really love visiting markets with the intent of purchases………..this was different. We came to eat! Eric had done his research and one of our stops was high on his list: Bar Boqueria.

Like many places in Spain, this was about tapas – or small plates. Seating was along the outside of the booth with all of the cooking in the middle. We made some fabulous choices.

Tomato bread – naturally. This one was pretty good. Dry crusty bread is the key to success.

Other choices were potatoes bravos and various croquettes. Croquettes were never something that I would normally order, but they seem to be popular, and we’ve tried different fillings. I’m sold.

These shrimp were delicious and had a spicy kick.

Fried sardines – not bad. Seems like a lot of work for very little meat. Just my thoughts.

These razor clams didn’t have much flavor. They were okay, but not repeated during our time in Barcelona.

Last food shot……….more octopus. These slices of smokey, grilled goodness was very tasty. We had them several places and they never did disappoint.

As with most meals………….a little bit of liquid refreshment. This was a GREAT day.

Ginny

Barcelona Bound

Since we didn’t rent a car, all of our trips started at the train station. This next leg began no different – well…………kind of. Before the picture below was taken, we had a situation.

The taxi dropped us off, we grabbed some coffee and croissants and then this happened. A gentleman said something to us in French, we obviously didn’t understand and then he said ‘get out’. Huh? Looking around, others were getting their bags, throwing away their purchases and heading outside of the station.

We saw what we determined was the ‘incident commander’ and ultimately this turned out as an abandoned bag, eventually claimed, possibly by a homeless woman and we were let back into the building. Geez that was exciting – not.

Eric got us first class tickets again and we’re not riding ‘backwards’, yeah!!!! However, instead of being the first car, we were the absolute last car. I mean, the v.e.r.y. last car.

Yep, still in France as we continue to see vineyards along the route.

One more train before arriving at Barcelona.

Even though we’re on one of the ‘fast trains’ I was still able to get a few photos.

While not visiting the Pyrenees Mountains, I was able to get a quick shot. They straddle the border of France and Spain, extending 300+miles. They are older than the Alps.

A short taxi ride and we were at our last AirBNB for this trip, located in the Gracia region of Barcelona. Dare I say BEST AirBNB ever? We only met the owner a few minutes to handover the keys and do a quick walk. We didn’t have any full-blown meals at the kitchen table but there was plenty of room. Loved the bench seat along the wall.

This was our first place on the ground floor. While Eric was aware (yet vocal) about the steps in our first place (remember 86 steps – one way) it was getting wearying by the end of our stay. Even I will admit that. 😦

This place had three bedrooms.

Adrienne’s choice

Next room was our choice. The headboard was formerly a door, secured to the wall.

The third but un-used bedroom is seen below. The bedrooms were pretty much in line with each other. This place was skinny but had depth as you will soon see. In the photo below a fan is seen in the corner. Each of the bedrooms had one. If put on high……….felt and sounded like a tornado! Thanks, hon for waking me up. At night. After I was settled in.

Small but efficient living area with a TV (unseen). The couch was pretty darn comfortable and big enough for two of us to share easily.

Towards the back of the apartment was the kitchen. Again, small, tidy, stove top & oven along with a small dishwasher. What looks like mats on the floor are tiles incorporated in the concrete flooring.

Turn around 180 degrees and you see a small fridge on the counter but another unseen fridge directly below it behind the curtain. The rest of the space behind the curtain………washer/dryer combo unit. Just like my time in Shanghai. Don’t ask Eric how many times he washed the first load, over and over and over. Adrienne helped him figure out the buttons (her ulterior motive – she had clothes to wash).

The powder room was also tight and the only time we shared one space during our trip. Compact corner shower was a continual fight with the shower curtain! No matter how much you tried, water escaped confinement.

One of my favorite spots was at the v.e.r.y back part of the apartment. It was partially covered with plexi for rain protection, with the remainder open and uncovered letting all the sunshine in.

Every time I sat out there I found more ‘things’ hidden amongst the foliage. There was a lot of stuff placed in the outdoor living area.

When I said this may be the best AirBNB ever, the owner truly thought of everything. She left us a new box of Nespresso cups for coffee, sugar cubes, snack cookies and a sugar-free option. Recommendations for restaurants, directions for nearby shops and extra powder room supplies were found. This doesn’t seem like much, but I absolutely could not think of a thing in the place that ‘wished we had’. Now, as you can see in the photos above, this place was quirky, which added additional charm.

We had to walk sooooooo far for lunch. Not. 100 yards (maybe) and we had arrived. Tapeo. Remember that name if you ever go to Barcelona. Spanish tapas were prevalent in the area we visited. Perfect for me. Get to try lots of things and not waste food.

Tapas, defined as appetizer or snack in Spanish cuisine.

What do (should) you start every meal in Barcelona with?

We stayed with the red wine sangria. First ordering a 1/2 liter. Ordered another 1/2 liter and possibly one additional glass. What can I say, it was that good.

What else did we order? We were introduced to tomato bread. Simple yet oh so satisfying. Crusty bread, grated tomato with a splash of olive oil and sprinkle of sea salt. OMG.

Pan-fried sardines and lemon.

At my request, asparagus tempura with romesco sauce.

Vegetable stuffed squid. Yep I tried it. They enjoyed the remainder.

Now, I did like these…………..if I could only figure out what they were! We poured over this photo more minutes that ‘Id like to admit. And we still don’t remember.

Nope, nada, no way and never going to happen. Stewed tripe with chorizo, ham, smoked eel and chick peas.

That’s it. We’re in Barcelona.

Loved the tapas way of eating and the accompanying sangria!

Ginny

Basilica Saint Sernin

While you might think this is just another church in Europe, it’s slightly different. This church was considered a major stopping place in a notable pilgrimage through France to Spain. The architecture and history of the basilica can be understood within the framework of two religious realities: pilgrimages and the cult of relics. Hence, the Basilica of St Sernin is one of the type of churches known as a ‘pilgrimage church’.

Medieval faith entailed a strong awareness of the reality of sin. Pilgrimages and veneration surrounding the relics was seen as a means of atonement. Relics were big business and trading & selling of relics was done amongst churches and principalities.

It was built in honor of martyr Saint Saturnin who was the first bishop of Toulouse living in the first half of the 3rd century. A modest basilica was built in the 5th century. Due to his exceptional popularity, the Toulouse martyr contributed to an influx of pilgrims. The building needed to be expanded. This doorway is the only thing that remains from the early building.

We entered the basilica through the doorway in the background of the above photo. The relief above that doorway celebrates the ascension of Christ in the midst of angels.

The nave or central body of the basilica is impressive and grand.

This next shot is a closer view of the tomb.

The area surrounding his tomb was adorned with baroque decor during the 18th century designed to glorify the saint.

Behind this area are five chapels that holds a collection of retables or structure, cabinets and reliquaries in painted and gilded wood. Also called “Tour of The Holy Bodies”. It presents some of the basilica’s numerous precious relics for veneration by the faithful. Relics can be the physical remains of saints, such as bones, pieces of clothing or some object associated with them.

Underneath this all was the crypt which was open for visitors to walk through. A number of relics from saints are entombed for the faithful to pray over. This shrine had something a bit unusual. Notice the grate at the bottom of the photo? Individuals had dropped coins through the open squares, and it was being collected below.

There was an upper crypt and a lower crypt containing shrines of several apostles and saints.

Going outside of the basilica the bell tower remains striking and seen across the city.

The octagonal bell tower represents two stages f construction: a Romanesque stage, recognizable by its three levels of openings with semi-circular arches: and a Gothic stage with its two levels of mitered arch openings, surmounted by a spire with a cross at its summit.

As we were leaving the basilica the bell tower was chiming. Here is a short recording.

This church really stood out and we kept saying it was ‘pretty’. The detailing and the building materials were meshed together well. Initially the masons used brick and stone but the high price of stone forced them to only brick on the top sections of the building. While this was a necessity of the times, the end result was very striking. It definitely made an impression upon us.

Ginny

A few(more)Toulouse restaurants

My first Toulouse post mentioned a reservation Eric had made at La Gourmandine which was a bit challenging for me. Our last night we had a reservation but in between we went to this bistro for a more casual lunch.

The Kanteen Restaurant.

No reservation needed and we walked right up and was seated. While given a menu, we all went with the Nos Plats du Jour.

Those two were in the mood for a salad (trying to ‘lighten’ the food intake I think).

I was in the mood for a burger, Adrienne got the local white fish with Eric’s selection being lamb.

Eric’s meal

Desserts were a bust – only because they were out of our initial selections. We had these two choices, and the fruit choice literally only had one available.

The last night’s meal was something this area is known for le cassoulet – bean soup. S>T>O>P. Don’t implode. This really is much, much more. It is a meal in itself as you will see shortly. Eric read that Le Colombier made a traditional cassoulet. Dinner reservations booked before leaving the states – done.

Any good French meal needs to start with wine.

Only one photo was needed for this post, since we all ordered the same thing.

Now, you can finally see the masterpiece. So much tasty goodness in one bowl. Believe it or not, the salad was the perfect accompaniment.

So what exactly is Le Cassoulet? It is a rich, slow-cooked casserole containing meat, pork skin and white beans that originated in southern France. It is named after the traditional cooking vessel – a deep, round, earthenware pot with slanting sides. Our particular cassoulet recipe contained Toulouse pork sausage, goose confit and pork skin. There are regional differences, usually involving the meats that are included.

This is taken seriously. Organized competitions featuring cassoulet have occurred every year since 1999.

Didn’t want anyone to think we were letting Eric off the hook during our time in Toulouse. This spread was complements of our shopping at the Victor Hugo market. It was quite the feast: fresh fruit, olives, (some were stuffed), pate’, dried tomatoes, cheeses (3), lardo, dried meat (3) and smoked salmon. Oh and some bread and wine (I had cider for a change of pace).

Yes, definitely good eats in Toulouse!

Ginny

Out & About in Toulouse

This is a great city to walk. It seems everywhere you turn around there are (very) old churches, interesting archecture, local artwork outside and of course flowers. This post is designed to give you our ‘feel’ or ‘take’ on the city from our perspective.

Since our AirBNB was in the old city, our taxi driver literally drove through one of their most notable squares – I thought he was making a wrong turn. Nope, everybody does it. There was a gap between the umbrellas and that was the driving lane.

Besides all of these eating establishments it’s also a notable meeting spot as seen one morning for a bicycle tour.

There are numerous pedestrian zones, which also highlights their living area. We have seen a lot of 4-5 story buildings, bottom are the shops and above are living areas.

And just in case you don’t want to make your balcony your ‘green zone’ a few steps away could be one of your neighborhood’s green zone.

Complete with a few colorful flowering gardens.

Walking through their narrow streets……….

…………you might also come across artwork on their balconies, like this yellow sculpture.

Invariably it seems you walk past one of their churches like we did.

It was a gothic church dedicated to Mary in 1534. Smaller than most we’ve walked into, I was standing in the middle and took photos toward the pulpit, turned around and got a shot of their organ.

For being relatively small it contained numerous striking features and stained glass in their side chapels.

The choir had these beautiful carved seats.

So glad we stopped in this city. While I knew almost nothing about Toulouse, wanted to share a few facts about the city that I listed below.

~Today Toulouse is the center of the European aerospace industry.

~The University of Toulouse is one of the oldest in Europe – founded in 1229.

~It is the fourth largest student city in France with a university population of 140,000 students.

During our time here we felt we were part of a community, not on holiday. That’s kind of a nice feeling.

Ginny

Food Markets! Oh MY!!!!!

While we have a.l.w.a.y.s. loved food markets, we’re slowly bringing Adrienne over to our side. Especially when they are like this one.

From the outside, I was less than impressed. It looked like a concrete parking structure (which it is above) and we saw people walking into the few openings along the sides. But once you get inside…………………….

…………..OMG! So many vendors were present and so many options for purchasing. Our first stop was cheese, Betty’s cheese.

Then we saw the meats, and the Iberian ham – so expensive. Those piggies were fed a diet of acorns.

Ham wasn’t the only thing. There was a rotissarie and these looked great.

This did not look so great for me – tripe. Now that is a special niche.

There were also some veggies. Adrienne had been craving olives.

While I stopped at the vendor with honey………and came home with a sampler package. Hope it makes it in my luggage – boy would that be a mess if it broke. 😦

Let’s talk seafood, and seafood and more seafood. Everything was so artfully placed.

There were oysters most places and this one also sold wine. Okay, okay, I ate one. I loved the saltiness, but they were bigger than what I’m used to. Those two – love that. Me, I prefer them a bit smaller.

After walking the market, what was next on the agenda? Lunch. On the far side of the market, restaurants were lined up with tables outside for eating. Eric checked out menus, asked to be seated, was told no and then we went back to our first stop (not a single person was sitting there yet) for a seat outside. Here’s a shot of their menu.

OMG – best decision ever coming back to this place. I mentioned in an earlier post about some of the best chicken I had tasted? This topped that. We ultimately ordered the chicken for four (okay, I know, there’s only three or us) which had two sides (frites and salad) that was a better price than ordering three meals. Sold.

BTW – nothing was left on the plate when we were done.

OMG again. When the frites were dipped in the juices of the chicken – h.e.a.v.e.n. Notice the olives in the photo above? They added enough salty flavor without being over-powering.

We got a quick shot before food started arriving. Our waiter was in the background. He was a real character. Those two had red wine and I was ready for beer. When the waiter thought my beer was too warm (drinking it too slowly), he swapped out my glass for a colder beer. Really? Really!

Almost forgot, we had a starter – shrimp carpaccio. OMG once again. Didn’t look like much since the shrimp were sliced so thin, but we all contemplated licking the plate. Those little round-ish things – crackers.

What to do after this? Walk. We had read about their canal system and also that it was great for enjoying the outdoors. The weather has been so good (much better than the forecast prior to arriving) so googled our walking directions and headed out.

We came across the locks initially.

Which led to the Canal de Brienne.

Very scenic and peaceful. Joggers went past us as we walked past locals, sitting out enjoying the great weather. . Naturally I found a few flowers along the way.

We walked the entire mile length (we definitely needed it!) walking under several bridges like this. Our pathway originally was the towpath for animals to pull the boats.

Let me close this post with these doors. I found many more as we wandered the streets of Toulouse, but eventually paired it down to these six.

Ginny

No Americans in Toulouse

That’s one of the reasons we made plans to stop there. Most everyone commented that Americans don’t visit. When they heard us speak English, assumption was British upbringing. So here we gooooooooooooo!

It was time to leave Bordeaux and once again, we’re going via train. Love the mass transit in Europe.

We’re staying at another AirBNB on the top floor, but this one has a (small) lift. The kitchen was well-appointed and the living space had plenty of room. Adrienne took the circular staircase to her loft bedroom. Eric was done with stairs if he could help it. And also, the suitcases would have to be brought up. 😦

First order of business was LUNCH. While not our original choice, this Italian restaurant had excellent options and was a nice change of pace.

You’ll never guess who ordered the duck lasagna? Me! I decided to jump in with both feet and truly try something different. It was very tasty. Adrienne enjoyed her salmon ravioli and Eric tolerated his 4 cheese pasta.

For our first night in Toulouse we had dinner reservations in a location near one of their historic churches. Walking there we continued to find monuments and landmarks. One of the first was this WW I tribute.

Down the street we spied this monument and walked to check it out.

It was a tribute to the brave men that took and held Egypt for Napoleon.

We finally got to Cathedral St. Etienne which was the intended destination.

Like a lot of things, there was ongoing construction and resoration. I tried to get a short without the orange construction fence, but just couldn’t.

The entrance doorway is always fascinating. It’s meant to be imposing and this one hits the mark

Imagine our surprise upon walking inside and a wedding was taking place.

The ceremony was almost over and we saw them walk down the aisle and be greeted outside as man & wife.

There was a huge plus………..we got to hear the church’s organ. And now, so do you.

There was a gentleman playing the organ and after the newly wed couple walked out, we were treated to several more minutes of playing.

I don’t want to be jaded, but visiting all of these churches, their beauty was starting to dull my senses. This was an odd mix of proportions and architectural styles. Renaissance tapestries sit along stained glass windows.

I read that it seems like there are two different churches in one building. Same church, different doorway around the corner from my first shot. The cathedral was built over 500 years and plans reconfigured several times and ultimately smaller than the original plan.

Two shots from inside this doorway and it was a different feel. The stained glass was the oldest in Toulouse, dating back to the 1200s.

Across the street was our restaurant that evening.

Their offerings were a little ‘more’. More interesting, more daring and more creative. First up hummus. Definitely a change from our most recent starter selections. Sorry for the blurry photo. We were hungry and I’m surprised I didn’t get a few fingers in my shot.

We made interesting choices. Adrienne had veal with mixed veggies topped with shaved parmeshan.

Eric chose the XXXXXX. Loved the edible flower (pansy) that complemented the sweet potato puree.

I had a hard time selecting. The waiter mentioned a special with beef and I said yes. Still not truly sure what I got, but the meat was cured – not cooked. Something got lost in the transation. The veggies were pickled and was a nice foil against the thinly sliced meat.

Desserts – fabulous and interesting presentation. Desserts came in a jar with a lid. Our choices had a biscuit (cookie) near the bottom, with creamy goodness layered with tangy fruit.

This was a winner in Adrienne and Eric’s book, a little lower for me. To be honest, perusing the menu was a little harder for my selections – but I’m still smilng at the end.

Enjoyed the first night in Toulouse. More exciting things are coming.

Ginny

Food, food and more food.

Let’s get to one of the BEST parts of any vacation – the food! After recommendations from the AirBNB owner and on-line research, Eric made two lunch reservations in between our other activities.

The first was at Le Chien de Pavlov. A MIchelon chef wanted to open another restaurant where he had more options and less rules with the chance to serve a wider population. The result was this location. This day it was overcast and spitting rain so we ultimately ate inside.

We got a quick photo before ordering. One of my non-selfie photos. Why do I like selfies? Living in China I was a novelty as a Westerner and I ended up on their social media, a photo of me taking a selfie.

The menu for the day………

Needless to say, we ordered different things in order to taste as much as we could. Eric had been waiting to try the white asparagus as it was in season and he got his wish, while Adrienne order the seafood capaccio as an appetizer. For our main courses, Eric selected beef and Adrienne ordered the piche du jour (seafood). My chosen dish was the pintade (chicken). We each were very happy with our selections.

The desserts were very tasty but impossible to get a great shot. The only one we didn’t select was the cheeses.

Eric did well with this choice, this restaurant was a winner.

The second reservation was at La Brasserie Bordelaise.

It was located on Rue St. Remy – just a few blocks from our apartment. Instead of butter with your bread, a small tin of this arrived. Got to love the French.

I’m getting a little better at understanding the menu and don’t need to ask for the English version. Or, ask for both and its an easier way to learn the language of food. 🙂

We got the most awesome starter: smoked trout from St Etienne de Baigorry with lemon cream. It was fantastic. We could have all licked the plate. We were even fighting over the tiny radishes.

Eric and Adrienne both got the beef ribeye………….

……….while I ordered the chicken. That was some of the most tender and tasty chicken I’ve had.

All was accompanied by salad and frites.

Desserts? But of course.

Eric’s icr cream
Ginny’s brioche w/ ice cream
Adrienne’s coffee & homemade treats

Adrienne won – just saying. All were tasty but her selection(s) were fabulous. Eric would probably disagree as ice cream always wins with him.

Or, we could say that Eric won since he found and made the reservation.

Most of our reservations were for lunch, abeit later than our normal. We needed a little something at night. That was also part of our ‘shopping’ experience, for food. We hit the jackpot when we stopped at this place. That’s Eric through the glass with a most helpful merchant. She knew how to sell cheese.

We left with these three cheeses. This is the first blue cheese I’ve ever liked (far left photo)

This was our end result that evening. Add in some (absolutely delicious) fruit, briny olives and french bread and it was feast. Oh, and red wine for them and rouge beer for myself.

There were other nights much like this. I believe earlier I indicated we had an outside eating area with our apartment. This evening we had pears and kiwi with the meats and cheese.

We closed our time in Bordeaux with another nighttime feast. These were our ‘leftovers’ from the time we spent in this city. Add in the country pates and the meal was perfect.

While vacations for us are all about the food. When I wandered off, it was usually to grab a shot of flowers. I’ll end my Bordeaux posts with that.

Next up Toulouse.

Ginny

Walking Bordeaux 2.0

Here’s my second post focusing on the sites we came across as we were exploring Bordeaux.

An outstanding image – and not mine. This pops up a lot when googling the city and was an imposing image with a purpose. Built along the Garonne river during the reign of King Louie XV it displayed a welcoming yet prestigious image to travelers. It is considered one of the most representative works of classical French architecture of the 18th century. The reflecting pool is the largest in the world inaugurated in 2006.

Here is my photo. Between the reflecting pool and buildings was a busy thoroughfare. My second photo (with some water) has their city tram pictured.

Adrienne and I made it a point to get there before most of Bordeaux was awake……a few hours later I was able to capture this shot.

I know, I know. My random photo doesn’t compare to others that waited for perfect conditions, but I was kind of hoping for better. In the summer, the water is on a 15 minute cycle where it produces plumes of mist creating a thick fog. Once the fog disappears there is 2 cm of clear water. They have a drainage system that recirculates the water every 15 minutes, keeping it clear and fresh.

A little harder to see in the photos above was the fountain in Place de la Boursin (square in front of the buildings).

My first shot of the day: Fountaine des Trois Graces.

Another shot showing a few more details. The ladies at the top are Zeus’s daughters: Aglae (Splendor), Euphrosyne (Mirth) and Thalia (Good Cheer).

As this faces the river, there was (naturally) a nearby bridge. It was the first stone bridge in Bordeaux, commissioned by Napoleon and opened in 1822.

Why cross the bridge – besides the obvious – to see the blue lion sculpture. Once you know what you’re looking for you can almost see it in the above photo.

Created by a local artist a number of years ago it makes a striking figure. Hmmmm only two in the photo. Where’s Eric?

Once we got Eric up and about, we had two last places to visit. One was Basilique St Michel.

It is the largest church in Bordeaux but politics was not kind and focus had been on Cathedral St Andre for restoration and preservation. Eric had not been interested in visiting this church initially due to reading all of the original stained glass windows had been removed.

But you might notice, there are colorful windows. The glasswork was much more contemporary. Eric was a fan, I was not.

Still the church had many beautiful things to offer.

The woodwork was carved oak.

They still had their organ at the back of the church.

They also had a bell tower, separate from the building. I read the 114 metre spire is the second tallest building in France.

Our second place to visit…………….back at the Marche des Capucins for oysters. Both of us read (independently) that Chez Jean-Mi was THE place for oysters.

Before the oysters arrived there were drinks. Yep I had the coffee.

Oysters and bilots were enjoyed. Let me tell you the oysters were very salty – loved that! I had tried the bilots earlier in the week and didn’t need a repeat.

One more post is coming from Bordeaux and is one of our favorite ways to immerse ourselves into the culture.

Ginny

Walking Bordeaux – 1.0

Here’s a quick round-up of some of the sites seen during our time in Bordeaux…………

There are a number of city gates in Bordeaux. Some we had put on our ‘list of places to see’ and others we unexpectedly found as we turned a corner. Of Bordeaux’s original city gates, only six remain today. We ran across four of those that were within walking distance.

One of the most famous was La Grosse Cloche (15th century). It was one of the remaining gates from the Medieval walls. And at one one time was the belfry of the old Town hall.

La Grosse Cloche

A close-up of some of the finer detailing.

This view would have been seen from outside of the gates. At one time the building was also a prison.

Porte Cailhau gate or the Palace Gate served as both a defensive door and a triumphal arch. Constructed in the 15th century it was the main entrance to the city from the port.

Port Cailhau

Porte Dijeaux gate was originally one of the fourteen doors of the Roman enclosure of Bordeaux in the 4th century. The current gate is the third rendition.

Port Dijeaux

Aquitaine Gate‘s construction began in 1748 and was made of St Macaire stone that becomes hard and pink. After the Second World War, it took the name of Victory Gate.

Victory Gate

After walking through this gate, these copper turtles munching on grapes caught our eye.

I thought someone had vandalized the baby turtle until I got closer. The smaller turtle had the wine-growing regions engraved on its shell. That’s pretty cool.

Adrienne had this idea………………..she wanted to push the little kids off but I held her back.

We continued to walk near this monument throughout the week and finally detoured to see it up close. It was a monument dedicated to the Girondins – burgeois businessman who strove to promote the interests of their land. It was all for naught as they all met with violent deaths.

Totally loved the fountains at the bottom. The details in the animals were intricate and coupled with the spraying water, made this spell-binding. I took lots more photos but pared it down to these two for the blog. Didn’t want to bore you too much. 🙂

How did we finish one of our evenings……………going back to Michel’s. You know it had to be good because Eric n.e.v.e.r and I mean n.e.v.e.r repeats a restaurant on vacation.

Ginny