Tag Archives: entertainment

Time For The Tour de France

It’s that time again — the 3 weeks of each year when my husband’s concentration is fixed on the Tour de France. Unfortunately we aren’t in France this year — we’re back in Melbourne, Australia.

Mark saw the Tour live in Normandy in 2011 when we were living there — and then he saw the Tour live again last year in the South of France when we lived in the Midi-Pyrenees. Ah well — television coverage will have to do for this year.

But you DO know that your sweetie is a ‘cycling tragic’ (fanatic) when he decorates his hard hat from work with Polka Dot Jersey red dots!
 

An homage to the Polka Dot Jersey in the Tour de France on Mark's hardhat

An homage to the Polka Dot Jersey in the Tour de France on Mark’s hardhat


 

Back soon!

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4 Things To Do On A Sunday in Melbourne, Australia

We’ve been back in Melbourne, Australia for a week now, so it was definitely time for one of our favourite pursuits — a day out and about in the city for a few hours of food and culture. Seriously, Melbourne is such a vibrant city that even if it is a gray-sky and gloomy day, if you are bored — you just need to get up and get OUT of the house!

 

Glistening even on a gloomy autumn day, a partial skyline view of Melbourne, Australia across the Yarra River from Southgate.

Glistening even on a gloomy autumn day, a partial skyline view of Melbourne, Australia across the Yarra River from Southgate.


 

Here are 4 things to do on a Sunday in Melbourne.

1. Arrive at your destination without the hassle of finding an overpriced parking place if you travel by train for an easy way around the city. The comprehensive train network makes Melbourne such a joy to travel throughout!

 

Turnstiles inside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia

Turnstiles inside the Flinders Street Station in Melbourne, Australia


 

2. Eat a reasonably priced lunch in an eclectic food court inside a beautiful building at Southgate. There are also some wonderful luxury stores and full service restaurants in this multi-level building complex.

 

One of the multi-level entries to the Southgate shopping & dining complex alongside the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia

One of the multi-level entries to the Southgate shopping & dining complex alongside the Yarra River in Melbourne, Australia


 
Diners at the food court on the lower level of the Southgate shopping and dining complex in Melbourne, Australia

Diners at the food court on the lower level of the Southgate shopping and dining complex in Melbourne, Australia


 

3. Go to the Sunday Market at the Melbourne Arts Centre to see quality handcrafted art, craft, and food items. The row of glass-overhang-covered artists has an enthusiastic audience each weekend.

 

Sunday Market flag indicating the weekend event outside the Melbourne Arts Centre in Australia

Sunday Market flag indicating the weekend event outside the Melbourne Arts Centre in Australia


 
Artists and craft vendors lined up alongside the Melbourne Arts Centre each Sunday

Artists and craft vendors lined up alongside the Melbourne Arts Centre each Sunday


 

4. Spend an inspiring afternoon at a world class museum — the NGV on St. Kilda Road. There were hundreds of people milling around inside this large art museum, but there was a very happy and relaxed vibe. Autumn leaves were swirling around outside of the beautiful bluestone facade and the people strolling by were dressed appropriately for the cooler temperatures.

 

Autumn leaves falling outside the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia

Autumn leaves falling outside the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia


 
The current winter blockbuster show at the NGB is Monet’s Garden, a travelling exhibit from France. But since we have seen so many of these works at various venues worldwide, we chose to visit several of the permanent exhibit galleries as well as one special exhibit — Dior and Yamamoto: The New Look

 

Dior sketches from the 1940s post-World War II "New Look" collection

Dior sketches from the 1940s post-World War II “New Look” collection


 
Dior black wasp-waisted dress and black hat from the 1940s post-World War II "New Look" collection

Dior black wasp-waisted dress and black hat from the 1940s post-World War II “New Look” collection


 

The other enjoyable exhibit, in part as an observer of the effect of it on the audience as they either walked by or interacted with it, was Clinamen by Céleste Boursier-Mougenot, a sound and motion exhibit with round white ceramic bowls floating in a round pool of deep blue water. The gentle clink as bowl contacted bowl tinkled pleasantly in the atrium space.

 

Floating ceramic bowls in a pool of water at the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia create a ringing sound as each one gently bumps into an adjoining bowl

Floating ceramic bowls in a pool of water at the NGV art museum in Melbourne, Australia create a ringing sound as each bowl gently bumps into an adjoining bowl.


 

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Photo Of The Day: Jazz Mural-Poster in Normandy, France

Today’s lovely photo of the day is a change from the paper posters that I discover in our travels and frequently feature on this site. This is actually a mural made to look like a poster. It is painted on the wall of a building in Coutances in Normandy, France to inform people passing by of an annual jazz festival held under the trees in an apple orchard.

Enjoy!
 

Jazz Under The Apple Trees mural on the wall of a building in Coutances, Normandy, France


 

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Farewell To The Festival

The 4 day summer music festival in St. Girons, France has just come to an end and I shall certainly miss the level of activity in town.

Oh wait — ANOTHER TWO multi-day festivals begin this coming weekend!

I’m not quite sure what the next event had to do with this past weekend’s music festival, but it was certainly listed on the official schedule. The petanque tournament was on a very hot and sunny Monday afternoon and when I arrived, I was quite surprised to see about 100 men of all ages participating in what was clearly a multi-generational event.
 

Men of all ages playing petanque in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
A tired-looking referee paced up and down the gravel trying to keep an attentive eye on the multiple competition teams that were all playing at the same time.
 

The referee in a striped shirt tried to manage the multiple petanque games which were all played at the same time in St. Girons, France.


 
And there were the occasional ‘debates’ about the just-completed toss.
 

A friendly discussion about a just completed game of petanque in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France


 
As I passed the old riverside chateau, the Palais des Viscomtes, I could see that the scaffolding crew were busy disassembling the large framework that had supported the lights, speakers, and cameras during the weekend music festival.
 

Workers removing the scaffolding used for lights, speakers, & cameras at a music festival in St. Girons, France


 
The concluding event was a fireworks display to be set off from the gardens of the old chateau which are just a few blocks from our apartment here in St. Girons. We had been rather disappointed at the level of fireworks on Bastille Day, so we didn’t walk down to the park for the fireworks which were meant to start at 10:30 PM. But at 11:00 PM, the sky erupted and the fireworks went on for at least 20-30 minutes. It was immediately clear that the festival committee had splashed out with the fireworks budget because what we were seeing was nothing like the subdued pop-pop-pop of the Bastille Day fireworks.
 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 
They were splendid! And we had a wonderful view from the balcony of our apartment. I probably got much clearer photographs from that elevated position than I would have from a standing position under the trees of the chateau’s garden.
 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

Fireworks in St. Girons, France


 

 

 

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Music Wafting Into The Night in France

You don’t normally associate living in a French town with Pre-Roman origins, a town that is still laid out along its medieval footprint, with the sounds of loud rock music echoing up the stone alleyways and streets.

The groups on the stage for the All Rock Festival in St. Girons were set up a mere few blocks from here in the gardens of the old chateau of the Palais des Vicomtes and they played until after 2 AM on Friday night, after 4 AM on Saturday night, and they stopped on the dot at 2 AM on Sunday night. We came home with aching legs and sore feet on Saturday — but we clapped and stomped and sang along — and we danced.

The musicians on Saturday night included Mick Taylor, formerly a guitarist for the Rolling Stones from the late 1960s into the 1970s. For a cluster of men ‘of a certain age,’ they gave a VERY lively and well-received performance.
 

Former Rolling Stone Mick Taylor in concert in St. Girons, France


 
When the break came between sets and the ‘roadies’ (Ooops! The stage technicians!) came out to set up the instruments and lighting for the next act, I walked over the bridge to the other part of St. Girons. In yesterday’s post you saw it in its sleepy daytime version, but here is what the night-time version looked like when the carnival came alive!
 

Lining up for food at a night carnival in St. Girons, France


 

Carnival stall in St. Girons, France


 

Children enjoying candy floss (cotton candy) at a night carnival in St. Girons, France


 

A line of carnival booths in St. Girons, France


 
The bumper cars ride at a night carnival in St. Girons, Midi-Pyrenees, France
 
At midnight, the next featured act came out and we loved every minute of the following two hours. It was music and lyrics that we knew by heart from a film that we had both loved 20 years ago — The Commitments. The wonderfully raspy-voiced Irish singer Andrew Strong stood on the stage in front of us and had the crowd enthralled as he sang song after song from the soundtrack of The Commitments.
 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 
Having just flown into France three days earlier and working with a band of French jazz-rock musicians from Paris that he had just met, Strong had a happy audience who cheered and clapped and remembered their youth as they danced in a variety of styles all around us.
 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 

Andrew Strong of the Commitments on stage in St. Girons, France


 
We knew when we moved here a month ago that there was a festival season in St. Girons during the summer and autumn months, but I don’t think we fully realised just how much fun it would be to walk down the stairs, out the front door, down the street, and find such fun and entertainment on our doorstep!

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Photo Of The Day: Former Russian Soldiers Making A Living

Peruvian pan pipe music wafting through an open air mall in Australia or Europe? Classical music being played by soloists in the subways, tubes, and metros worldwide? Flamenco guitarists or Celtic musicians at weekend markets? Jazz musicians in New Orleans or Chicago? We’ve seen them all in various places around the globe.

But we had not expected to see former soldiers from the USSR making a living by busking — singing for donations — and selling their self-recorded music cds of Russian military and folk music. That truly was a first!

The picture below is of those singers in the huge plaza in front of the Frauenkirche Cathedral in Dresden, Germany. It was interesting and yes, I tossed a few euro into their hat since I was taking photos. But I don’t think it was a set of music I would have wanted to take home.
 

Former Russian Military Singers Busking in Dresden, Germany


 

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