Tuesday, April 26, 2011

FRENCH RIVERA, SANARY-SUR-MER AND BANDOL

My blogfriend Claudie who lives in the South of France had invited me to spend a week with her and family in Ollioules at French Rivera and Provence.

The first day she took me for a visit to Sanary-sur-Mer which is located between Bandol (direction Marseille) and Toulon, at the western end of the Cote d'Azur.

In the centre of the houses along the port you see the tower which dates from the 13th century and was once part of an important defensive system for the town, and the village developed in the middle ages around the tower.

Sanary-sur-Mer has a a pretty harbour lined with palm trees and pastel coloured houses, which reminded me very much Italy, which I know far better of course due to my Italian husband.

I learned that it was in the waters off Sanary-sur-Mer that Jacques Cousteau developed the diving equipment that is still crucial to deep-sea diving.

I didn't know that quiet a few German authors exiled to Sanary-sur-Mer before the second world war. Many were subsequently interned by the French as enemy aliens. The writers included Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann among many others.

A warm welcome ! attention to your car !

views on the little town and the habor

the city

and the seafront

lots of boats big and small were parked here waiting to be used in summer although the season had already started.

The tower

and a very curageous lady half naked with only 18°C (64 F)

*********

Bandol

I found Bandol to be a cute little seaside resort in a sheltered bay, cradled by hills and protected from the wind. It is popular in summer but especially pleasant to visit out of season, when the crowds have gone and you can savour the beauty in the clement climate of a Mediterranean winter. It is very popular to French families from Paris or Lyon, who descend to their summer houses for the long summer vacation, jealously protecting their privacy from the eyes of the world. I haven't seen any !

The sheltered situation of Bandol provides excellent conditions for grape growing and there have been vineyards here since 600 BC. There are five different appellations grown on a variety of terrain, producing terrific whites and rosés on the coast (a marvellous accompaniment to fish and seafood) and stronger red wines grown on the terraces inland. Thousands of people visit for the annual Fete du Vin in December.

First thing I saw was a Casino ! I thought I could play some roulette there, but it turned out to be a supermarket ! Of course that there were so many "Casinos" in this region !

People playing "Petanque" a typical game with metal balls in Southern France

There were also some quiet big yachts

and the first tourists enjoying the beach

On our way back we stopped at this beautiful bakery. The inside decoration was just gorgeous !

My first impressions of my first holiday day with Claudie is here on my blog Writer's Cramps

More participantshere

Monday, April 11, 2011

GUILLEMINS STATION LIEGE - Belgium

When I visited the Exposition SOS PLANET in Liège, we took the opportunity to also have a look on the new station which had been built by the architect Santiago Calatrava a Spanish architect and it was officially opened on September 18, 2009 with a show by Franco Dragone. It has 9 tracks and 5 platforms.

The new station is made of steel, glass and white concrete. It includes a monumental arch, 200 metres long and 35 metres high and is very futurist and very unpractical to my taste. People also call it the "Draft Palace" because it's open to all sides. It maybe nice when it's hot, but when it's freezing it is the ideal place to catch a cold. Maybe the Spanish Architect wanted to do the Belgians a favour and didn't think about the rainy and cold weather here.The building costs were around € 312 million (450.000.000 !!$) only !

There are not enough banks or other commodities for elderly or handicapped people or even for young mothers, which should be normal for such a modern station. You can read more about Guillemins station here

and here are some pictures of the "Draught Palace".

3 of my friends on the the escalator (without steps)

The building looking like a huge shell doesn't fit in the area at all.

The roof which protects you from the rain when the wind is not blowing

one outside wing

The view from the station to Liège

Even the taxis are quiet far away.

All in all I was really disappointed, but this is strictly my personal opinion because there are also lots of people who really like this new station.

More participants here

Translate

About Me

My photo
I love painting, writing, travelling and photography. My favorit models are my four cats which I observe with fun and humor. I am German, married to an Italian and we live in Waterloo (15 km from Brussels) / Belgium since many years. Waterloo is a famous place to many tourists, because Napoleon lost his battle here against Wellington and other European countries.

Follow by Email

Followers

Pageviews from the past week

Blog Archive