Join me on INSTAGRAM, my name is ecuadorchick.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Entrevaux, France - a Medieval Village

Dear Family and Friends,

After we visited Annot, we took the train to Entrevaux which is only 15km away.   

Located across the river Vas, this medieval walled village was a great experience for us.

Entrevaux was founded in the 11th century.  You enter through the draw bridge that crosses the river.  You have the feeling that you are on a movie set, but this is real.  Notice the citadel on the mountain behind the city.  We did not walk up.

Little public squares have shopping and restaurants.  This one even had a old water fountain.

The village is a maze of narrow alleways, and densely packed dwellings.

Another restaurant we wandered into.

The olive groves were so picturesque.  This picture looks like it could have been taken in Italy.

Chuck checking out one of the gun ports in the village wall.

People live there.  Imagine living in a 800 year old house.

Entrevaux cathedral from the 1600's

Notice the cute angel face with dimples over the door.

The interior was magnificent.

As we were making our way through the narrow streets, Chuck spotted a museum that was a must do.

Next I will share with you about this most unlikely museum in such an old venue.


Sunday, September 29, 2013

Annot.....why not???? Annot, France

Dear Family and Friends,

While in Nice, Chuck and I took a day trip on the train, Chemins de Fer de Provence.  This train runs into the mountains behind Nice to some small quaint towns.

 Here is a picture of our train.

We got off the train at the town of Annot which is about two hours from Nice.  This is the view of the town from the train station.

We walked into town.  The weather was fabulous. 

When we got into town we discovered their outdoor market.  Here is a cheese vendor.  The cheese looked sooooo good. We didn't buy any because we have no way to keep it until we return to Cuenca.

The city is small and has a special charm.  

The town folks were out greeting each other and shopping at the market.

We had coffee outside at this cafe and just soaked up the ambiance.

As we sat drinking our coffee, Chuck said "We gotta come back here."  I reminded him that he had said the same thing about three other places we visited.  He said only for a week, not a month.  He picked out the hotel we could stay in.  It is just a little 15 room hotel.  I told him I would photograph it so he could remember the name.  So here it is Chuck.  When do we come back? 

Here is the small train station.  

Love the old water tower for back in the days of steam trains.  Actually, I think one still runs here on Sundays.

We only spent a couple of hours in Annot because we had one other place to visit before returning to Nice.  I will tell you about that town later.

Here is Chuck waiting for the train.


Friday, September 27, 2013

FOTO FRIDAY - 9/27/13

Dear Family and Friends,

Today's Foto Friday is a photo I took at the State Botanical Garden of Georgia, located near Athens, Georgia.  It is operated and maintained by the University of Georgia. To learn more you can click on this link.

Chuck and I stopped in Athens on our way back to Washington state after visiting family in Columbus, Ga.  The times we made the trip by car (after retirement) were the most fun.


Thursday, September 26, 2013

Monte Carlo, Monaco

Dear Family and Friends,

We took a few hours out to bop to Monte Carlo, Monaco on the train.  It is only a 30 minute train ride from Nice.

We were only there for about an hour, we just had a quick look see and now we can tick it off the list.  It is a very expensive place to vacation but it is beautiful.

It is right on the side of a mountain.  The roads twist and turn. You can imagine in your minds eye the race cars on these roads.

Look at the yachts.  This is not a place for us but it is fun seeing how the other half lives.

 This road winds around and under itself. 

Here is Chuck checking out the road below.  He said it would be so much fun on a scooter.  I am not so sure.  I am afraid I would miss a curve and be gone.

We poked around some, had a cup of coffee and chose not to go to the casino.  It is a good thing because we didn't have our passports on us and we later found out that without the passport we would not be able to enter.

It was a fun..quick trip.  We had plenty of time back in Nice to enjoy a wonderful dinner.


Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nice, France

Dear Family and Friends,

I never really had the French Rivera on my bucket list, but since we were so close and since we had to get to Barcelona to fly back to Ecuador, Chuck worked us out a 10 day tour from Italy to Spain.  Our trip was all done by train.  In Europe the trains work very and efficient.

Our first stop was in Nice, France.  We spent three nights there.  Actually we used it as a base for taking day trips.

Below are pictures of Nice (pronounced niece).

Nice is located on the western Mediterranean.  It is a very popular spot for European tourists including, we found out, Russian tourists.

The climate is fabulous.   Many outdoor spots to enjoy refreshments, lunch or dinner.

Many tourist shops featuring herbs and lavender from Provence.

A lot of beautiful buildings.

The beach was a little of a disappointment.  It is not a sandy beach but covered in round river rock.

The large hotels and casino are located across the wide boulevard from the beach.

We didn't see many swimmers because the weather was getting milder.  However there were a lot of people sitting out on the malacon enjoying the view.

This is a car?  Four wheeler?  Not sure.  It has a steering wheel like a car.  We were told that the driver does not need a license to drive it.  For this reason, we were told, they are dangerous because the driver may be someone who has lost their license or never had one.

It is cute and probably great to drive in town...parking and all.

Nice has beautiful plazas that come alive at night.

This is one of the oldest and finest hotels in Nice.  It is said that Queen Victoria stayed there. 

I will leave you with a statue of Charles de Gaulle.


Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Cadiz, Spain

Dear Family and Friends,

After leaving Lisbon our ship went south and we stopped in Cadiz, Spain.  Cadiz is located in the south of Spain on the Atlantic coast....just before you enter the Mediterranean through Gibraltar.  It is part of the Andalusian region.

It can get quite hot there but luckily we were not there in the hottest time.

 We were greeted with this nice view as we came from the port to the city.

You can tell it gets sunny and hot.  The man made shade is appreciated.

 Below is, sitting on a nice plaza, is the city hall of Cadiz.

This is the Cadiz Cathedral.  The reason that it is built with two different colors of stone is because they ran out of money for about a hundred years.  When they were able to complete it they used different stone.

 Cadiz has beautiful beaches we were told, but we didn't go to see them.  We just wandered around town, had a delicious lunch and shopped in the tourist stores.

Here is another view of the city.

I know I have not done this city justice.  It was nice but we were tired and wanted to take it easy that day.

After our ship left we went through the Straits of  Gibraltar.  Of course when we did this it was in the middle of the night.

The next morning we were in Malaga for only three or four hours.  I used this opportunity to go to the internet site just off ship to check email and have coffee.   Chuck went into the city but did not stay long.  Like I mentioned, we were getting travel weary.

We spent the following day at sea.  On Sunday, September 15th we finished our trip in Senova, Italy. The second phase of our trip was over and the third phase was just beginning.


Monday, September 23, 2013

Lisbon, Portugal....Great City

Dear Family and Friends,

I have way to many pictures in this post.  Sorry, but I couldn't eliminate even one.  Lisbon was a fantastic city and we had a wonderful day there, exploring it on our own.

This first picture is of a ferry docked at the port.  The light of the rising sun made a beautiful view.

I took this picture of Lisbon before we got off the ship.  We were docked in a perfect location, just outside the old part of the city.

The first think we did after getting off the ship was to get on a double deck tour bus for an overview of Lisbon.

After we had done the circuit, we got off and walked the city.  Wonderful wide streets and on one a long park running down the center.  Here is a picture of the famous Lisbon tiled sidewalks.

Here is Chuck posing by Simon Bolivar.  Did you know that Simon Bolivar was from Portugal originally, I didn't I thought he was from Spain.

Lisbon reminded us very much of San Francisco.  It has lots of hills and is over looking the ocean.  They have cable cars, funicular and a huge elevator to help you get up and down. They even have a bridge that was built by the same company that built the Golden Gate bridge in SF.  I will show it to you in a later picture.

Here is a funicular....we didn't use it.

We decided to ride the elevator up the hill.  This elevator was designed and built by a student of Effiel who built the famous tower in Paris.  You can see his influence when you look at it.

We had a nice lunch at the upper level.  The weather was fabulous.

I chuckled when I saw this guard outside, of all places, the police station.

The views from above were fantastic.  You can see more of the black and white tile on the plaza below.

We had a wonderful day walking the city.  It is just beautiful.  It is definitely a "come back to" place.

Here is Chuck on our balcony enjoying the view as we pulled away from Lisbon.

Although we saw them while in the city, the best photos were taken from the ship as we sailed by Lisbon on our way out.

This photo is Cidade Baixa.  A beautiful plaza with a huge archway that opens up on a main pedestrian shopping street.

The bridge I mentioned above.  It spans the Tagus river. We sailed under the bridge on our way to the Atlantic Ocean.

This is the Discovery Monument pictured below pays homage to those who took part in the Golden Age of Discovery.  It was erected in 1940 for the Lisbon World Exhibition.

The last photo is of the Belem tower.  This 16th century tower is what remains of the Tagus river defense system, commissioned by King John II.  It is an icon of Lisbon.

We hated to leave....but we know we want to return.  Such a beautiful city.

Our next stop is Cadiz, Spain.