We got home last night after spending 9 days in the Charente Maritime. The trip back was exhausting. It involved three plane trips for a total of around 14 hours in the air. Plus the rushing through airports/customs/passport control/security. Multiple times.
And then I only slept for about 4 hours.
I need a vacation.
Another shot from the Palace of Versailles. I think I am about done with the photos from the trip. I'll take one last look and see if there is anything else worth posting.
So keep checking the Flickr set.
More art appreciation. Doesn't the balloon dog look like he is gazing at the painting?
This piece, by Jeff Koons, is called Balloon Dog (Magenta), and was one of about a dozen pieces by the artist on display throughout the Palace of Versailles.
The juxtaposition of these neo-pop pieces with the classical art of the palace was, to say the least, intriguing.
It turns out there are 5 Balloon Dog pieces, in different colors. I've been told that the red one is currently on display in Berlin.
I am still not done processing photos from our trip, but what I have done can be seen here.
I hope you had a great election day, and I hope you voted.
Our trip to Paris is winding down. We've had a pretty good trip, despite some cold and rainy weather. But I kind of wish we were already home, so we could follow the election returns.
We can't stay up all night to keep track of things, as Ali and the kids have to get up early to catch a train to La Rochelle. So learning the outcome will have to wait until our morning.
Have fun tonight, however you plan to spend it.
The first time I visited Alison in France in the spring of 2005, I took hundreds of photos. Over 400 in Paris alone. At the time, I only processed a small number of them for upload to Flickr.
I had every intention of completing the task over the next several months, but I ended up back in France for 5 weeks that fall, and I never returned to the photos from the first trip.
Since I haven't been taking many photos lately, I decided to try and complete the task. As it turns out there were only a handful of photos that I felt good enough about to upload. They are now in my Flickr sets here and here.
This shot was taken as we sat outside of Café Psycho, across from the Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, enjoying a beer and watching the world go by.
Alison and I are getting ready to vacate the gîte, and begin our trek back to Lexington.
It is customary to leave a rental such as this as spotless as you found it when you moved in. This one was immaculate. Alison wrote the other day about how nervous it made her. But I think we will be leaving it in very good shape.
The floors are vacuumed and mopped, and we are going to go have lunch somewhere. We will finish packing when we return.
We will pick up the kids when they get out of school this afternoon, and drive to Bordeaux, where we will spend the night in a hotel. We have to get up early in the morning to return the rental car and board our flight to Paris.
We will then board another very long flight back to the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, followed by an hour drive back to Lexington. We should be home early Friday evening.
As usual, it has been an adventure. Full of fun, meeting old and new friends, and the consumption of wonderful food.
And the traveling isn't over. In a few short days we heading off again to spend time with Ali's family for the holidays.
See you all soon.
Alison and I made it to France, and have settled into the house we are renting for the week.
We realized that we had gone for more than 24 hours without sleep. It was impossible to sleep on the flight over. The plane was packed, and we were surrounded by some of the most annoying fellow passengers you could ever imagine.
I wish I could afford for us to fly first class on international flights.
In any case, as I said, we are settled in. The kids are spending the weekend with us. Ali cooked a wonderful meal last night, and afterward, we sat down to watch Shrek the Third. Well, Ali and the kids watched it. I fell asleep on the sofa and missed the entire thing. I went into our bedroom to check the internet (yeah, we have tenuous internet access, thanks to a neighbor with an open router), and crashed on the bed.
I awoke sometime during the night in a dark room, fully clothed, and covered with a quilt. I went right back to sleep, and woke again at about 6 a.m. local time. I had slept for 10 hours.
Ali had slept in the kids room, and had awoken a little bit before me.
I guess that puts us back on a relatively normal schedule.
It is very cold here, but the skies are clear, and it promises to be a beautiful day. I don't know what we will end up doing, but I don't think we will spend it inside.
Time to put some kilometers on this unlimited mileage car we rented.
When Alison and I first became friends and got to know one another, she sent me a gift. It was a small glass jar containing a number of pieces of colorful sea glass. Sea glass she had collected at a beach near where she lived.
I don't know what the real name of the beach is (if it has one), but she always called it Treasure Beach. The sea glass she found there were her treasures.
The first time I went to visit her in France, when she picked me up at the train station, she drove straight to Treasure Beach, where we ate a picnic lunch and then searched for sea glass.
This past Wednesday, Ali spent the afternoon with her kids. They went shopping, then they went to Treasure Beach. When she told me the next morning, I imagined walking the beach with them.
Then I went and got the glass jar with the she had sent me and gazed at its contents.
This morning, I took some of the sea glass and photographed it using the light tent and Speedlight.
I wanted to see what it would look like when photographed that way. My previous photos of sea glass has all been done in natural light, or under an incandescent light.
I like how this turned out.
Alison is in France.
It was quite a journey, fraught with delays and a long layover in Philadelphia.
She called me three times yesterday, once from Cincinnati, and twice from Philadelphia. Some friends of ours in the Philly area rescued her from her 6 hour layover, and took her out to dinner.
She called me at about the time her flight for Paris was scheduled to leave. Boarding was delayed, apparently because the passengers who arrived on the plane from Puerto Rico had made a huge mess of the plane and it took some time to clean it up.
She was finally able to board, then the take-off was delayed since they had missed their scheduled take-off slot. They took off almost an hour and a half late.
I discovered a very cool way to track her flight using Google Earth. All you have to do is put the flight designator (in her case US 1426) into a Google search box. Then choose the link to fboweb.com. From there, click the link to track the flight using Google Earth (you must have Google Earth installed on your computer).
I went to bed when her plane was over the Atlantic.
A few minutes after my alarm woke me this morning, my phone rang. It was Ali, calling from the train station at Charles de Gaulle Airport. She was waiting for the train which will take her to her destination. She reported that the flight was uneventful, and that she managed to sleep for a few hours.
She hopes to be online to check her email by days end.
Click the image to see it on its Flickr page.
That's the theme for the day. Plans to travel to France next month (first by Ali, then again by both of us at the end of the month) have fallen apart due to a mix up by another party.
Until we receive confirmation of the rescheduling of a meeting she has to attend, we can't schedule our flights/car rentals/other accommodations.
I'm afraid that by the time we know when we can travel there, that the fares will be much higher, if seats are even available.
I don't suffer uncertainty very well. I need a drink, but since I am trying to lose some weight, a drink is out of the question.
It's quiet around here. Too quiet.
The kids returned to France last night. We drove them to the Cincinnati airport yesterday afternoon, and checked them in at the Delta/Air France unaccompanied children counter. Alison was allowed to accompany them through security and wait with them until they boarded the plane.
We were on the road back to Lexington before they left the ground. Ali talked to them this morning. They were with their dad on their way to spend the week with their grandmother. They will start the new school year soon.
They were with us for only a month. We did a lot while they were here, but it didn't seem like enough time.
And the house seems so empty now that they are gone.