Annie Bananie en Europe

A blog about travel, life, and everyday tidbits

Tag Archives: flowers

Parc Bordelais

I went to Parc Bordelais for the first time before the end of the fall season, just to see the colour of the leaves one last time before they all disappeared from the branches. It was a short afternoon visit, because the sun went down relatively early, but I certainly got some nice Bordeaux autumn photos. There won’t be many words, but hopefully a picture is worth a thousand words. Enjoy 😉

A swan swims so leisurely in the lake.

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Saturday morning at Capucins

There’s a little place in Bordeaux not too far from Place de la Victoire, called Marché des Capucins. Locals like to come here as an alternative to the supermarket, because it offers a variety of fresh goodies at a cheaper price. Produce, meat, seafood, dairy products, pastry, flowers, wine…you name it!

I don’t come here as often as I should, but when I still had Mr.Nikon last year, I took him to Capucins for a visit. It wasn’t so much the prospect of buying anything as the sheer number of vendors row after row, the variety of goods on sale, and the vivid spectrum of (almost kaleidoscopic) colours that could be seen from end to end that attracted me to drop by.

Oh, and if I remember correctly, I had Mr.LS-san as my company. What better place to take a friend going to Bordeaux for the first time than its characteristic morning market?

We start out in the Saint-Michel district (which I had partly written about here) where another big outdoor market is taking place. Here you can find lots of vendors selling clothing and random accessories of all sorts.

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Couldn’t get enough of Saint-Émilion

I just realized that I’ve been to St. Émilion 4 times within the past year, and I’ve only written about it once! Well the 4th time happened last Sunday, right after Sarlat. It is interesting to note that each time I went to St. Emilion, it was with different people (except MM, who was there the second and third time). Also, last year I went in the months of April, June, and July, and this year, it was May. A fifth time will probably happen when my sister comes to France later this year in August. I should keep this a record and try to visit a full 12 times, once in every month!

Named after a monk who was once a resident of the town, St. Émilion is one of the most famous wine-making regions in France and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. From the monolithic church to the numerous châteaux in the surrounding area, it offers the best of architecture, history, and nature, all in one bundle. No visit to Bordeaux is complete without dropping by St. Émilion!

So, for this most recent trip, I went with my two Canadian ladies, Sharon and Cindy. A bit hesitant at first because I’ve already been there 3 times, I decided to go again for the experience with a whole different group of friends. I discover something new about St. Émilion with every visit, and the varying companionship definitely adds amusement each time 😉

“THIS IS SAINT-ÉMILION!” says Sharon. After a 40-minute train ride from Bordeaux, we arrived at our destination. There can be no mistake; there was only one path from the train station to the town and with a gigantic sign marking its entrance, it couldn’t be missed!

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At the end of the river the sundown beams…

♬…all the relics of a life long lived…♫ Can anyone guess the song lyrics in the title? 😉

19 months since first stepping into Europe. Let me do a quick count. 10 months in Bordeaux, 8 months in Louvain-la-Neuve, and a month last year back in Canada for vacation. Although Bordeaux is supposed to be my “home” city and I’m supposed to spend way more time here compared to Louvain-la-Neuve, it seems like the way things worked out, the ratio is almost one-to-one so far. It hasn’t even been one full year in total in Bordeaux, if we look at it that way! Then June is China and Belgium, then Canada again in September and Belgium in October. It seems like I’m not gonna hit the one-year mark in Bordeaux till…November this year? What a whole lot of movement…and excitement coming up!

At least I’m here till the end of May. Spring in Bordeaux means rain…loads of it! It has been raining intermittently pretty much every single day for the past two or three weeks, and it seems like it will persist for at least another week. Goodness gracious. And it’s cold. Not so much the temperature is low, but the wind really adds quite a chill to the exterior…AND interior. My room is so cold at night that sometimes I have to turn on the heat. Is it really almost the end of April?

It wasn’t always like this, though. I was told that there were a few days in March – most likely the days when I was attending the training school – when the weather was so nice that you could go out in shorts and a T-shirt. We’re talking about 20+ degrees Celsius, the kind of spring (even summer) weather that we really enjoy. Then I came back to Bordeaux and the overcast skies chased away the sunshine. It’s not the first time that the weather turned gloomy upon my return to Bordeaux from Belgium. I think typical Belgium weather, consisting of dark clouds and rain, likes me enough to follow me back to France. I don’t think it’s very welcomed.

Before the attack of the rain, though, I caught a few days of relatively good sunshine, meaning warm enough that I wasn’t going to freeze from the wind by the river. That was about two weeks ago, when one night I decided to bike to the riverside after dinner to have a leisurely walk. It’s been too long since I’ve last been here. Way too long.

The walk started after I parked my bike at a nearby VCub station. As usual there were runners and bikers around, sharing the wide pedestrian area with people like me who prefer to walk slowly down the river. St.Michel cathedral stood tall and proud in a distance, always a prominent landmark visible from the waterfront and usually the first thing I notice when I arrive in Bordeaux by train.

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Basque Country part 2: San Sebastián

This series on the Basque Country is not in chronological order. I wanted to write the San Sebastián post before La Rhune and Biarritz, while it is still relatively fresh in my mind, since it was such an interesting trip.

So, San Sebastián. It is a city on the Spanish side of the Basque Country known for its lovely beaches. I am truly willing to say that I liked it more than Barcelona, the only other big city in Spain that I have visited so far. Before going to San Sebastián, I got the impression that it was a small, touristy city that would require no more than one day to experience. In fact, I was going to stay only one night and head back to Bordeaux the next day before Mariel suggested staying two nights. I’m glad I took her advice, as San Sebastián had much more to offer than I had anticipated!

From Biarritz, Mariel and I hopped onto the PESA bus that took us directly to San Sebastián. The ride itself wasn’t particularly pleasant – it was the first time after a very long time that I got carsick (or…bus-sick, if there is such a term?) I believe it must have been due to the rough roads from Biarritz to San Sebastián, though I couldn’t be sure because I was half asleep during most of the trip.

We arrived at night, found our hostel, dropped off our belongings, and headed out to dinner right away. The real exploration started the next morning, when we decided to stroll along the riverside and head up Monte Urgull, a hill right in the midst of the city between the two beaches, Zurriola and La Concha.

We climbed up Monte Urgull at a very leisurely pace, occasionally stopping to enjoy the view of San Sebastián. From Monte Urgull, the entire crescent of the Bay of La Concha could be viewed, and all of San Sebastián was laid out right in front of your eyes.

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