Monday, July 15, 2013

Let's backtrack...

14th July, 2013

Bastille Day, I think, is synonymous to August 15th, 1947. Except that the common French kicked royalty and the church in their respective butts when they decided to revolt about 2 centuries ago. The essence of the revolt is probably lost, as is the case with most countries whose forefathers fought colonialism to gain independence. That does not deter the French from celebrating their national day with pomp and fanfare!

We are so lucky to living bang in the middle of the city where ALL the action takes place. In the evening, we got a glimpse of the airshow they were conducting near the beach. We were told to watch out for fireworks later that night. I thought we'll get a good look from the window in our living room. D thought we ought to go out and see them. So around 9:00 last night we headed out with the camera and walked around to get a good place to sit and that offered a good view.

As is the case with celebrations in Vieux Port, restaurants were loaded with people, terraces were filled with people enjoying their private BBQ parties, roads were blocked to vehicular traffic and everybody was literally pouring onto the streets.

Once we found a place to sit, we settled and waited patiently for the 2- minute fireworks display to start. At the exact moment it was about to start, they shut the street lights and the show began. I cannot begin to explain the magnanimity of the event nor the scale at which it was being conducted. Huge lights, lasers, synchronized music and fireworks...that's what we saw for the next 25 minutes. It was enthralling, to say the least!

Videos and pictures do not do justice. But go here and here for a glimpse.

Calling it a night...
6th July, 2013

Lavender blooms around this time of the year. Fields of purple hue are left to fully bloom till they are harvested by the end of July. From the time they start appearing till they are harvested, there is a window of opportunity of about 2-3 weeks to go see these beautiful flowers, take pictures and trample around the French country side. 

After twice being told to delay the visit by a week because they hadn't bloom as fully, we finally went the week before last to check what the whole deal is. There are conducted day tours and since we do not own a car, we thought this the best option.

With 20 other tourists of American and Chinese origin and a very knowledgeable guide, we spent the day viewing lavender fields in Plateau of Valensole, understanding the history of the area, visiting Moustiers-Ste-Marie, a medieval village where ceramic ware is made and sold. The surprise was the Sainte Croix Lake, created by a dam. You are not allowed to use motorized boats, thus keep the water pollution-free. It's the peak of summer and the lake was full of people swimming, boating, jumping off the cliffs. It was lovely and made me yearn for such places back home where the community comes together to enjoy and appreciate nature.

This region, Provence, is marvelous!

Lavender and olive trees

The darker in lavendine, the lighter lavender. Both have different purposes.
Wheat and lavender side-by-side

Moustiers-Ste-Marie perched up those cliffs

Church in M-S-M

Alps ka THANDA pani

Lake St. Croix

The combination of the sun and the minerals the water brings out this colour
3rd July, 2013

The finish line of the 5th Stage of Tour de France was in Marseille and I was able to go see them. The main event was preluded by a lot of fanfare and companies giving out freebies. It was a fantastic moment to see them as they swooshed past you.

I was able to take a video and this picture just as they took that turn!

As you can see, it's been a good summer so far!

No comments: