Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Floraisons, Part One

Just 'cause.  You know I have a weakness for flowers.  Or any reasonable facsimile.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Another Day in the Pays Basque - Another Walk

When we landed in the Pays Basque it was 

nearly 90 degrees fahrenheit.

That did not keep us indoors.

Even though our lovely Basque gite did not need air conditioning.

Because of its thick walls it was cool and comfortable throughout our stay.

But we felt we had to get out.

With only a week to share between the country

and the towns and the sea....it was imperative to discover what it is that makes

the Pays Basque the Pays Basque.  Have you ever seen a Basque fence post?  Now you have!

The walks were not dissimilar in topography and flora from many parts of the U.S., surprisingly.

Although shooting through my sunglasses to get a good filter on the sky and clouds made it all seem

quite magical.  Like something out of a storybook.  As coming upon this Mother Cow and her NEWBORN(!) calf was, too.  (Mama was not thrilled about Mr. Paradis, for some reason.)

The vast vistas seemed magical, with the volcanic peaks in the distance

And you know - those lights at the ends of tunnels - evoke out-of-body experiences.

The roadways were covered in prickly chestnuts, which we collected and pocketed.

And after just a little more traipsing.  We ended up in the pleasant village of Sare.  Where the Autumn 

"Fete" was going on.

We had to join in.  Of course.  Walking makes a person thirsty!

Saturday, October 22, 2016

The Extraordinary World of.....Mariko Kusumoto

Wearable art.

by Japanese born, America based

Mariko Kusumoto

How would you describe her work?

Like candy?  Like jelly fish?  Like flowers?

Like something from a dream or an other dimension?  Find more about her here.  And here.


Wednesday, October 12, 2016

L'Heure Bleue - That Time in Between Daylight and Sleeping

Taking a break from the travel posts, how about a collection

of blue-ey images to celebrate

the passing of the seasons and the transition from blue summer skies

and sea, to cool rooms

and chilly toes.

Gray days inside

and dozing dreams of summer past.

How many hours will you require to sketch out your future and fill in the outlines of a New Year......just two months away from us now?  Will you be ready for it?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

The Rain in Spain......Gives It a Somber Beauty

Even Ernest Hemingway in "The Sun Also Rises", describing events and places

of 90 years ago in precisely this area of the world

said that France seemed more "suburban" than Spain.  I've seen pictures of the Costa de Sol and I know that "suburban" definitely applies there.

But here in this part of Navarre widespread commercial development has still not hit.

There are a few extremely new shops on the border selling goods that the French

come to purchase at cheaper prices than in their own country.

But you will not find the big-box stores, the hyper-marches, billboards, music blaring

out of speakers everywhere, vast parking lots, CCTV cameras, generic Chinese-made goods.

Instead, life is lived closer to the earth, as it has been for centuries.

Things are still made by hand, or very nearly so.

Roads are not straight, but they meander - according to the contours of the mountains or following the turnings of a stream.

Everything is still mostly made "for the ages".

The structures seem to be deeply rooted in the earth and immoveable.

Indifferent to change's buffeting winds.

 This is a good thing for any visitor who craves tranquility, a sense of life lived in common

with others, and continuity....the sense of knowing where you've been - and the reassurance that 

where you're going might look quite similar to what you've left behind.

It's a place to move gently and quietly through.  Almost reverentially.

To sit often and look around oneself.

A place to seek comfort or simply, rest.

To be fed generously - as Hemingway describes, the Spanish dine copiously compared to

the French.

To breathe in lots of clean air.  And plan a long walk.  For when the rain stops.  There will be calories to walk off.