Tag Archives: beach

A Wistful Farewell To Normandy

Quick photo for you today whilst I am editing another book. This is a shot of Mark by the seaside in St. Martin de Brehal — saying a wistful goodbye to Normandy in April before heading to Paris and Brussels the following day for a short holiday.

We lived for long periods of time in 2011 and 2012 in both Normandy and the Midi-Pyrenees and we continue to love both places for very different reasons.

There was always something heart-tugging about the energy of Normandy, by the seaside especially, and our last few months there were hard to document photographically. We both still miss it — in my case, every single day.

 

Saying goodbye to the Normandy seaside

Saying goodbye to the Normandy seaside


 

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Lovely By The Seaside at St. Kilda In Spring

The throngs are yet to arrive — it’s only Spring y’know — but several dozen people were sprinkled up and down the beach and boardwalk at St. Kilda Beach this week. We’re lucky to live in such a pretty place, but I’ve lived in seaside towns in the USA and the UK and there certainly was a familiar feel to our stroll along the boardwalk. In spite of the whipping wind, the smallest bit of sun appears and off come the shirts, out comes the lily-white skin, and up go the refreshed signs from the local council telling folks what they are and are not allowed to do on the beach.
 

The sparsely populated St. Kilda beach and boardwalk on a sunny Spring day in Melbourne, Australia

The sparsely populated St. Kilda beach and boardwalk on a sunny Spring day in Melbourne, Australia


 
Spring sunbathers at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia

Spring sunbathers at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia


 
Sand sculpture of a shark at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia

Sand sculpture of a shark at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia


 
Woman on a bike at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia with her Jack Russell dog sitting in the front basket

Woman on a bike at St. Kilda beach in Melbourne, Australia with her Jack Russell dog sitting in the front basket


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No dogs allowed on the beach at St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, during the 5 months of high tourist season

No dogs allowed on the beach at St. Kilda, Melbourne, Australia, during the 5 months of high tourist season


 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
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Sunny Shiny Sydney Beaches on Mother’s Day

It’s not the kind of Mother’s Day celebrations I would have ever thought about, but apparently one of the ‘things to do’ on Mother’s Day in Sydney, Australia is to take your mother to the beach to celebrate if it’s a nice day. And Coogee Beach was a perfect example of the packed-with-people spots. The ‘Pram Brigade’ of young parents pushing children in strollers was certainly out in force!

The skies were gorgeously blue, the winds were ever-so-slightly brisk, and the temperatures were warmer than the norm. So it was a perfect day for a walk along the boardwalks and footpaths at the seaside with a hearty cafe lunch as a reward.

 

Danger sign on the clifftop walk to Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Danger sign on the clifftop walk to Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 
Boardwalk along a section of Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Boardwalk along a section of Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 
Every single bench facing the ocean was filled on Mother's Day at Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia

Every single bench or seat facing the ocean was filled on Mother’s Day at Coogee Beach in Sydney, Australia


 

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Ever-Present Water & Volcano in Washington State

Two things are an ever-present part of life in places like Tacoma and Seattle and the surrounding communities — the many and varied coastline views and the looming but lovely Mt. Rainier.

Today’s photo is of Mark and my son Chris standing at water’s edge with Mt. Rainier over their right shoulder.

 

Mark and my son Chris standing at water's edge at Puget Sound with Mt. Rainier over their right shoulder.

Mark and my son Chris standing at water’s edge at Puget Sound with Mt. Rainier over their right shoulder.


 

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The French Atlantic Coast at Mimizan

Ten months? How can ten months have passed since our last trip to the Atlantic seacoast in Mimizan, France?

We detoured away from the logical and time saving straight-down-the-middle path from North to South as we drove from Normandy to the Midi-Pyrenees and veered off for a last look at the ocean for awhile. The peaks of the Pyrenees were soon to be a daily part of our view and we both loved the dramatic crashing waves of the Atlantic seaside.

Arriving mid-afternoon, we went straight to the beach which was a mere block and a half walk from our hotel. The sky was glorious, the beach was almost deserted, and the waves were crashing beautifully onto the beach.
 

Plage Cormorans (Cormorans Beach) Entrance to the Atlantic seacoast at Mimizan, France


 
The weather was equally beautiful the following morning as Mark headed to the windy beachfront to have a quick Tai Chi session on the beach and say goodbye to the seaside for awhile.
 
***NOTE*** I have re-edited this article, removed the link to YouTube, and have reloaded all of the photos in a new slideshow that is larger, cleaner, and much more crisp! The quality of the digital images in the YouTube slideshow was very disappointing, so I think that I shall limit my usage of that site to the occasional video upload. I would rather not present work to the world that is almost right instead of genuinely good. So in that vein of maintaining quality control, I have spent the last 2 full days researching and testing various programs before I was happy with this one. Thanks for bearing with me during the fine-tuning process.
 


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Saying Goodbye To Northern France

We chose our time for departure beautifully. It was the last few days of winter and the following week would see the arrival of the tourist season in full bloom. As we walked through the sleepy streets of St. Martin de Brehal one last time, we enjoyed the almost silent aspect of walking along a crowd-free pavement.
 

Sleepy St. Martin de Brehal in Normandy, France on the last days of winter


 
I won’t downplay the emotions involved — it was wrenching to leave northern France. We fell in love with Normandy and made so many lovely friends there over the last year. But it was time to drive south so that Mark could start his new job in the Midi-Pyrenees.
 

Walking the ramp down to the sea in Brehal, Normandy, France


 

Mark left a chunk of his heart by the seaside in Normandy


 
One of the hardest things for Mark to leave behind was the seaside. He felt so alive there. So on that last day, we packed the car, drove to the beach at Brehal, and we had one last look at the seacoast there.
 

Deserted wintery beach at Brehal, Normandy, France before the influx of spring tourists


 
The beach was deserted — completely devoid of other people. But next week is the beginning of April and the start of the Easter holiday period. From that point on, we would have been looking at a packed beach full of people and pets. So this traquil view was one more special moment before we moved on.

One quick stop at the local supermarket for a few bottles of sparkling pear cider (yum!) and a full tank of diesel, then away we went for three days of driving from the very top to the very bottom of France — almost all the way to Spain. We certainly don’t take the ‘middle path’ and move a mere few hours (or countries!) away, do we!

Over the next few days I will be uploading photos from that wonderful trip. So come back soon for more beautiful views of a beautiful country.

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Normandy North and Cap de Hague

Rambling up to the northwest of Normandy a few days ago — another area with World War II bunkers still embedded into the hillsides — we drove to the historic Cap de Hague and could see some of the Channel Islands (British territory) off on the left through the haze. This particular part of Normandy has seen battles and shipwrecks over the centuries that included the 1689 Battle of Barfleur and the more recent Battle of Cherbourg during World War II.
 

Point of the Cap de Hague in far Northwest Normandy, France


 
Leaving the car with an apple in one one hand and two cameras slung over my shoulders, I walked out to the furthest point where a small lighthouse sat guard in the choppy waters beyond and a war memorial from World War I faced the sea with its inscription on the waterfront side.
 

 
But to see an equally beautiful view, I simply had to swing around and look behind me. The tiny-tiny town of Goury with its gray stone buildings and stone-bordered fields rose behind me.

We walked the short distance into the wee village and discovered a small and lovely harbour with bright coloured boats bobbing in the dark blue water.
 

Deep blue Goury harbour in far northwestern Normandy at the Cap de Hague


 
I simply had to include the photo below of the ‘Bored Parisienne’ because she made me laugh so much. They arrived in a black Audi that bore a tiny Paris dealer sticker and a license plate ending in 75 indicating that they had driven north from Paris and they parked a few spots away from us in the parking lot for ‘les visiteurs.’ As she swished out of the car with her coat swirling around her legs and flounced down to the water’s edge at the harbour, her husband darted about with his camera taking photo after photo of the pretty boats. The woman who had emerged from the black car was impatiently stomping back and forth in her leather pumps and could not have looked more bored if she had tried. She finally stood on the boat ramp with one hand on her hip, gazing back and forth, but her face was totally devoid of any signs of interest — a stark contrast to her eager-beaver photo-snapping husband.
 

The bored Parisienne woman on the launch ramp in Goury


 

Just love those little slices of life!
 

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©Deborah Harmes and ©A Wanderful Life
Please respect the words and images on this page.
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