Category Archives: France

Saint Malo, Brittany

Spent a couple of days at Saint Malo, a small walled coastal town in Brittany. Small but gorgeous. Pity it was way to cold for us to enjoy our time by the beach.

On a side note, I can’t wait to catch The Host this weekend! Been waiting for like forever!

So, gorgeous place, crazy weather with clear waters. We spent much of our time taking long (crazily cold) walks by the beach and hiding from the rain at the old town of Saint Malo.

Typical of the weather, dark clouds on one side, clear blue skies on the other. Alternating between rain and clear blue skies every 10 minutes or so.

20130319-210142.jpg

So that you’ll get a clearer picture of the crazy weather, which also turn out to be a great shot.

20130319-210148.jpg

Gorgeous view of the old town from the national fort.

20130319-210203.jpg

20130319-210155.jpg

The BF cranky (but still cute) from the cold and using his phone while I was happily picking sea shells by the sea shore.

20130319-210219.jpg

The path to and fro the fort which disappears during high tide causing tourists to frantically wade their way back to town. I have more pictures, somewhere.

20130319-210227.jpg

20130319-210239.jpg

Stairway to heaven?

20130319-210248.jpg

Loving old couple enjoying the view. 🙂

20130319-210257.jpg

And, the BEST STEAK ever! Seriously. So good we went back again just for the steak! Had some seafood skewer previously which was pretty damn good too. I need some steak now.

20130319-210308.jpg

And that’s that.

Still on Eze Village

Getting around France had proved to be relatively easy. From our apartment in Nice, we took a tram to Vauban and again, missed the bus which would then take us to Eze.

20120617-143703.jpg

We didn’t need help purchasing tram tickets but a young boy stepped in to help and we felt very much obligated to drop some coins in his cup. And so we wandered around the area and found cheap vending machines at a nearby university where we loitered around until it was time to make our way to the bus station.

Photos taken at Eze. One of the many shops selling colorful art.

20120617-144013.jpg

Very much vandalized plant

20120617-144143.jpg

Around the village

20120617-144410.jpg

20120617-144516.jpg

The view was amazing, this taken through the fence at the end of the cemetery.

20120617-145656.jpg

Paid 6 euros (or was it 12?) each to enter Jardin Botanique d’Eze at the highest point of the village. Completely worth it despite my lack of interest in plants, specifically catus.

Here’s why. The view on my left right after the entrance.

I would definitely love to stay at Eze if I had the time and money. Also noting that Walt Disney had spent a significant amount of time there (Wikipedia)

20120617-150348.jpg

20120617-150624.jpg

20120617-151042.jpg

The viaduct of Eze, the bridge of the devil.

20120617-151344.jpg

Eze is seriously so beautiful. I’ve too many shots I can’t resist sharing so I’m gonna break this post into 2.

Meanwhile ending with a shot of the merging sea and sky. I can hardly tell where one ends and where the other begins.

20120617-152016.jpg

Eze Village

It’s been while since I’ve returned from France and I’ve not blogged since then. It truly takes discipline (of which I’ve none) to maintain a blog while holding a full time job.

The initial plan was to quit my job, travel for a while and see where life takes me. But like all my past plans, it fell through. Throughout my 2 months notice, I had to fight my financial worries, the urge to find another job and keep myself convinced that everything was gonna work out just fine. All went well, till I heard of this awesome opportunity and scored an interview on my last day of work. And so, major changes were made, travel plans were brought forward and shortened. Till date, I’ve been with my current place for 7 weeks and I’m loving every minute of it.

Now that I’m settled, its time I continue my attempts to record my trips.

Eze village, one of the most beautiful place we had encountered on this trip.

My favorite photo taken at Eze.

20120617-042503.jpg

And it’s bedtime.

The need to stop and smell the roses

I am well aware that it is in my nature to be in a constant state of anxiousness (a more accurate description would be kanchiong) without really being able to relax. Be it when I’m traveling or my daily life in Singapore. I did, however, manage to experience 3 relaxing trips so far which made me fall in love with traveling and diving all over again.

The first time was aboard a live-on-board around Similans Island when there was absolutely nothing to do in between dives but to relax. The second, when I was backpacking Laos and the third, diving at Sipadan. All of which, I returned home feeling well rested and relaxed despite not achieving much (what the hell was I expecting to achieve?). If you realized, mainly due to the lack of possible activities.

Yet now in France, I once again find myself anxious and over eager to cover as much ground as I possibly can. And now as I lie in bed feeling unwell from an earlier drink of horrible cider, I realized that all these long hours of walking in the cold and early mornings are actually wearing me (and my Toms) out and LF doesn’t seem to be enjoying this trip as much as I would like him too. Surprise surprise, the highlights of my trip thus far weren’t derived from any major sights we visited.

Instead, this morning at Dinan, I found myself very much excited having randomly walked into a local cafe where even the policemen were having coffee there. It was a tiny place without a menu and the owner seemed to know almost all her patrons. While LF sulked over coffee about having to wake up at 6.30am, I took in the surroundings observing the older men having a cup of coffee/wine as they read their papers. Eavesdropped a little on the women gathered beside my table gossiping. Watched the owner greet patrons who had just stepped in with their cute wooden baskets filled with bread and vegetables. All while trying to figure out the cost of each item I had ordered (still no idea).

After which I had a great time walking around the market stalking people with wooden marketing baskets trying to see what they had bought, enjoying the awesome smell of various food, being amazed at the items sold and feeling nauseous seeing an entire roasted pig (rather huge, head, TEETH and all intact) being mutilated based on the parts demanded by patrons.

It was then, actually about 30 minutes ago, that I realized these are the experiences that I’m looking for. Not the major sights nor any museums. My favorite experiences from this trip thus far weren’t about the sights. Though I do enjoy long walks, especially by the sea.

My point being, despite having only one more week in France, I WILL make a conscious effort to slow my pace down and attempt to relax. Meanwhile, I will continue to dream about the day when I can finally travel with time/leave constraints.

Ending with a photo of a typical wooden basket I came across (while stalking random strangers) this morning.

20120419-232941.jpg

Saint Émilion

Some shots taken at Saint Émilion. I truly enjoyed the walk to and through town. I only wish we had more time to wander amidst the many vineyards which LF said we could be shot for trespassing. Being ‘kiasee’, I didn’t want to risk being shot as I wasn’t sure if it was a private property and so I didn’t persist.

Vineyards we came across on the way to town.
20120417-211506.jpg

20120417-211614.jpg

20120417-213202.jpg

One of the historic monuments.
20120417-211800.jpg

Another historic monument.
20120417-212419.jpg

And another historic monument.
20120417-212735.jpg

I like natural light effects at the doorway. Entrance to heaven.
20120417-212340.jpg

View of the town.
20120417-212814.jpg

My first time hearing a sheep go mehhhhhh.
20120417-212856.jpg

Looks like a cherry blossom tree from afar.

20120417-213036.jpg

Random lanes. After living on flat ground for the past many years, it’s refreshing to walk on cobbled stone paths and uneven terrain going uphill and downhill at every turn.

20120417-213242.jpg

As we walked towards the last historic monument on the map, LF started to feel strongly about what we’ve seen and decided to make a declaration.

20120417-213328.jpg

I think this is the closest we’ve ever gotten to vandalism being rules abiding citizens from the land of oppression.

That aside, I’m with LF on this. Most of the monuments were just a part of a wall, an archway or a tiny pond(?) with no explanation given.

Photo of tiny pond just to prove my point.

20120417-214212.jpg

Perhaps I hadn’t done sufficient research before going. That said, I did enjoy wandering around Saint Émilion very much.

Saint Paul de Vence

Day trip to Saint Paul de Vence, one of the oldest medieval towns (really? I thought I was at village) on the French Riviera filled with art galleries and side walk cafes. In all honesty, much too commercialized.

20120413-182734.jpg

I had initially expected all buses to start from Gare de Nice and thus did not do further research on traveling to St Paul. Stopped the tourism office and realized how wrong I was. The bus stop, Congress/Promenade, for bus 400 to Vence was actually along Promenade des Anglais. Waited at the wrong side of the road and thus, missed the bus.

Entrance to the town.
20120413-184205.jpg

20120413-184212.jpg

View along the ramparts.
20120413-184442.jpg

20120413-184516.jpg

20120413-184522.jpg

The highlight of the trip? The best macaroons I’ve ever had!

20120413-184659.jpg

Art pieces displayed around town
20120413-184715.jpg

20120413-184721.jpg

As we were leaving, we saw 2 groups of adults playing “petang”, as known in Laos. Not sure what it is called in France. Kinda cool.
20120413-184925.jpg20120413-184934.jpg

Found a tiny road which leads to Vence near the bus stop.
20120413-185026.jpg

Cité de Carcassone

Both photos edited using Snapseed. It’s an awesome app, really easy to use. I actually prefer Snapseed to iPhoto :X

20120410-224234.jpg

20120410-224243.jpg

And this is the original shot, completely unedited, taken yesterday when the weather was great.

20120410-224343.jpg

Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t on our side today. Woke up to grey skies, got an amazing windblown hairstyle within a minute of walking on the streets (this I don’t mind) and it started to rain shortly after we had arrived at the cité. Twice today, we made our way to the cité. Twice it rained.

Hoping for a sunny day tomorrow so that we can complete our wall walk just outside the fortress which looked amazing today despite the grey skies. Before it started to rain.

20120410-225025.jpg

For now, bon nuit!

Cathédrale Russe

Our current accommodation only allows one device to be connected to the wifi at one time and since LF has to work, he has dibs on it. So here I am doing a short post from my phone. So glad we had gotten prepaid cards with data. I’m paying 5 euros for a week of unlimited data without email access and LF is paying 15 euros for a month of unlimited data with email access. Though he did pay more for the card itself somehow. We both agree that getting scammed is part and parcel of the traveling experience and we definitely prefer small scale scams. Hurhur.

Visited the Russian cathedral at Nice yesterday and the highlight for me was having found Easter eggs! It was fun watching the kids running around gathering eggs.

20120409-225035.jpg

20120409-225051.jpg

20120409-225106.jpg

In all my years of growing up, I’ve never experience nor organize an Easter egg hunt. Should probably do one after majority of my friends start having kids.

And so we’ve left Nice and have arrived in Carcassone this afternoon. Looking forward to exploring the cite tomorrow! 😀

Until the day the ocean doesn’t touch the sand

With no sightseeing/day trips planned for the day, we headed for the beach this morning and decided to splurge a little on brunch by the sea at Le Galíon.

20120408-222001.jpg

20120408-210231.jpg

Being relatively small eaters, we usually order for one to share but since this was brunch and we didn’t get breakfast, we decided to order a main each. Big mistake. Insanely huge portions, which LF managed to finish his and a third of mine. Impressed. Hahahahaha.

20120408-222319.jpg

20120408-222334.jpg

Hung out by the beach for awhile enjoying the cold wind, warm rays and the sound of the crashing waves.

20120408-211643.jpg

20120408-211957.jpg

20120408-211938.jpg

20120408-211928.jpg

Spent some time trying to photograph the waves rather unsuccessfully. Mainly due to the lack of patience.

20120408-212640.jpg

Left the beach and took a long walk to check out Cathédrale Russe and returned in less than 3 hours to hang out and people watch.

20120408-220335.jpg

20120408-220327.jpg

The tofus sun bathing. Hurhur.
20120408-220344.jpg

Mesmerized by the blue waters 🙂

Sunshine

It’s amazing how the presence of the sun can bring out beauty in world. Photos below, with and without sunshine on two separate days.

Taken on a cloudy morning after a rainy night.

20120408-205411.jpg

Taken on a bright and sunny morning.

20120408-205455.jpg