Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA
Manomet, Plymouth, Massachusetts, USA

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Pont Julien (Julien Bridge), Bonnieux, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

The Pont Julien, (Julien Bridge), was built by the Romans in about 3 B.C. and provided uninterrupted use until 2005 when it was finally closed to automobile traffic thanks to a new bridge construction nearby.  Today, only pedestrians and bicyclists can traverse its span.

It was quite a treat to walk across here knowing that for more than 2000 years, folks have walked or ridden over this bridge.

From downriver, the new bridge is visible in the distance through the arch.

Imagine cutting and fitting these stones 2000 years ago - and I don't think they had diamond tipped saw blades back then.

Panorama - click on image to view in full width.

A nearby vineyard adjacent to the bridge's parking lot.

Part of the bicycle "Véloroute du Calavon" passes by here as it traverses much of the Provence area.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Fontaine-de-Vaucluse is the town at the source of the Sorgue River, located only 6km/3.6 mi from L'isle-sur-la-Sorgue. Its freshwater spring is one of the most prolific in all of France. The river flows fast, cold, and clear.

The town is ringed by tall cliffs hundreds of feet high but on this gray, rainy day, only low clouds were visible.

There was a local kayak slalom competition going on at the time of our visit.

They were wet anyway and didn't care about the rain.

Going over the falls after the third gate on the course.

Yes, I know it's  a blurry point-and-shoot image but, you get the idea. If you want to see more artistic and sharper photos, check out Amy's blog at this link, she uses a "real" camera and knows how to use it well.

Cold and wet -  two of my least favorite conditions.

This town deserves another visit when it isn't pouring rain. And remember, when you travel, always carry a bright colorful umbrella like this one - random photographers (like me) will appreciate your choice.

(Note: this is one of two posts I published today - keep on scrolling down).

Random Sights, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

 L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a great town to wander about.  It's full of narrow twisty lanes, the terrain is flat, and since it's surrounded by water, you can only get a little bit lost and never be far from home. Some have called it the Venice of Provence.

This stone garden table looks like a great place for lunch or dinner if you have a party of 14 people. I just wandered in - not sure if it's part of a restaurant when in season or free public access.

Fading paint and a small piccolo boy on the windowsill.

An antiques shop closed today. Google translate says it means, "My Dear Master."

Love this multi-tasker - speed walking, reading her smartphone, and reaching in her bag for something else. Furniture store is in the background and the town main square in the reflection, Whew! Way too much happening.

Once again, there's that front door color that I like. I shall call it, "Provence Blue," soon to be my front door color back home.

I think it might be odd living over a street like the blue house above - but a great vantage point to see the comings and goings of townsfolk and visitors.

Inside the town's 12th century church.

And as we've seen typically in both the Paris area and here in Provence, flowers are for sale every day, not just on market day.

I can't tell if the stucco fell off or has been chipped off but, I sure like the stone look underneath.

Yep, I think it's time for a new front door color when I get home - "Provence Blue." This house has a backyard on and steps down to the Sorgue River.

And speaking of the Sorgue, as darkness falls, the restaurants get ready to open at or after 7pm to start the dinner hours. No 5pm early bird specials here.

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Avignon, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Not many tourists on this day at the Palais des Papes (Papal Palace) in Avignon. Construction began in the 13th century and, during the 14th century, seven Popes called this home before returning the papacy to Rome.

I'm not sure why this mime/actor/statue chose to put down his hat right here for tips but, he sure could stand very still for a long time.  Not many tourists to fill his cup, though.

A street musician (accordionist) takes a smoke break alongside the stone foundation of the Palace. It's a timeless experience to hear the soulful sound of French tunes on the accordion echoing off these stone walls and narrow lanes.

Market Day, L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Sometimes I sit and watch the River Sorgue flow by, crystal clear all the way to the bottom, ducks swimming upstream against the stiff current, frothing white over the falls, flowing out of one of the most prolific springs in France, the source just a few miles upstream from here.  L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is a varied city - rivers, gardens, markets, shops, restaurants, homes, hustle, bustle, calm, flat, walkable - all encircled with crystal clear flowing water.

Thursday and Sunday are market days when vendors erect their stands in the streets. It is such a pleasure to shop for fresh produce outside in a local market, buying from a real person who usually made it or grew it or knows who did, rather than the plastic wrapped, prepackaged environments of the modern U.S. supermarket. I think that life was meant to be lived this way, buying small amounts often instead of pre-packaged stuff with a long shelf life. Sometimes a local dog wanders by calmly, hoping for something to drop on the ground but, otherwise well-behaved.

We bought some nougat from this vendor, a friendly baker originally from Tunisia.

He had many sweets to tempt a sweet tooth........but we resisted - except for the nougat.

Lots of dried fruits and nuts including the best tasting and biggest figs I've ever eaten.

A wonderfully talented acoustic guitarist played for tips among the vendors.

As did this sax man who played a beautiful rendition of the "Basin Street Blues" - made me feel like I was in New Orleans.

And always in France, fresh flowers.

But here's the stereotype made truth, a bicycle leaning against a wall with a fresh baguette in the basket ready to go home. Not a prop - a real person's bicycle on a trip to the market - all that's missing is a small dog peering over the edge of the basket.

I have noticed the skies here to be remarkably quiet and devoid of aircraft.  That quiet was briefly broken today with this overflight of a tight formation of French fighter jets. (I added some texture to hide the fact the image was of such poor quality - nice tight formation though).

All that walking around the market meant it was time for a delicious vegan meal which included a fruit and veggie salad, roasted eggplant, fresh bread, and fresh wine. Life is good in Provence!

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Bonnieux, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France

Flowing down a hillside in the Luberon, today's destination is the village of Bonnieux. Much of it faces north and provides commanding views across the valley to the snow covered Mont Ventoux, 40km/24 miles straight-line distance.

It seemed to be a popular bicycle destination, too. In fact, encountering bicyclists on these narrow roads and steep hills is common. ( Bill R. - your next destination?)

The tree covered top of the town is also the location of a local church.

And from on top, the world spreads out dramatically below. In this panorama, Mont Ventoux is mostly obscured by clouds along the horizon right of center. (Click on image to view full width).

View to the north.

Yes, that is a satellite dish at center - and where I'm sitting making this image is a restaurant patio with free wifi. The past of these old villages and the present blend well.

View to the northeast.

To the west (3km/1.8 miles) is a view of the neighboring town of Lacoste. The castle atop the hill was the home of the Marquis de Sade in the 18th century before fleeing in notoriety.  The castle is now owned by designer Pierre Cardin who has partially restored it and occasionally holds cultural events there. Much of the town is also influenced by the Savannah College of Art and Design which has had a campus there since 1970.

And here, with a spectacular view of the Luberon valley, we had a great lingering lunch at cliff-edge at the Brasserie les Terrasses. We were the only outside customers - the locals were inside drinking and eating at the bar wondering why those crazy Americans from Massachusetts were eating outside. It's because it felt like a summer day in Massachusetts!

The town was very quiet - it is still the off-season here - but this four-legged local walked the streets and sidewalks like he owns the place - I guess he does. By the way, mild-mannered dogs walking alone along the narrow streets is not an uncommon sight throughout this area based on my observation. They are neither aggressive nor unfriendly - just going about their lives.