Posts Tagged cirque du soleil
I rather like the idea of my Tight Lipped Tuesday series so will take the opportunity of boring the pants off you with my recent trip across the border into Spain (aka Catalonia) with lots of photos and few words (relatively speaking!). Feel free to go and do something more interesting but my blog seems to have become my photo album lately and means I have an online record to refer to – so, a bit selfish really.
Mr. Tialys and I took a break of four days and drove down to the Costa Brava.
Only about 3 hours drive away.
We walked the coastal path to work off all the mussels and Sangria. The water was crystal clear.
So different from the usual perception of this coastline.
Did I mention the Sangria? The waiter raised an eyebrow when we ordered a litre jug between us but we were not deterred.
An interesting looking restaurant.
and an atmospheric interior.
The town of Begur is awash with bougainvillea.
As well as Moorish and Spanish architecture there are neoclassical examples dating from the late 19th century when merchants from here went over to Cuba to make their fortunes and returned to build houses. Lots of vaulted, decorated ceilings and beautiful tiled floors.
I love peeping in at courtyards.
We spotted this lovely view from the road and booked to have cocktails and tapas there in the evening to watch the sun go down.
On the way back home up the coast we stopped at Empuries which, according to Tripadvisor, is one of the finest historic settings in Catalonia.Two cities, one Greek and one Roman, set by the sea at L’Escala on the south of the Bay of Roses, named by Unesco as one of the most beautiful in the world.
The archaeological digs are still going on as I think they’ve only uncovered about 20% of what’s there.
Some of the mosaics they’ve found in the Roman city are almost intact which is amazing when you consider how long they’ve been there.
My quilters eye was drawn to them instantly.
We only stayed away four days as Mlle. Tialys the elder had come over for two weeks to house-sit with her sister for a bit and, as we don’t see enough of her these days, we wanted to spend some time with her too.
Back in France, we took her to our favourite restaurant to say ‘thank you’.
Then the girls and I went across another border to Andorra which is most famous for the skiing but, in Summer is very good for
shopping hiking, cycling, etc. Also, as we do every year now, we went to the free show that Cirque du Soleil put on here throughout July. This year was probably my favourite as the music was so good – usually, it’s a bit more like wailing for atmosphere if you get my drift – and the ‘surely not human’ bendy people put on their usual amazing spectacle.
Plus, it is tax free so it seemed a shame to go home without a bottle of gin or two.
Here’s a brief look at the Cirque du Soleil show – as usual with these shows I have very little idea what the story was about and the sound quality’s not great on this clip but you get the idea. I want those long stripey socks!
Not that tight lipped after all. Sorry.
We went on holiday – the first one on our own (longer than a weekend) since the girls were born. We pleased ourselves what we did and when we did it. The Mademoiselles (plus the boyfriend of one of them) were the guardians of home, dogs and cats and, astonishingly, the house was still standing and the animals still present and correct when we got back.
Remember the t-shirts, years ago, that said ‘My Parents Went On Holiday and All They Bought Me Was This T-Shirt’ ? Well, due to her father’s sense of humour, this is what Mlle T. the elder got for her trouble
She wasn’t amused when I texted her this photo from the apartment we were renting in Girona. It didn’t help that the weather in France hadn’t been very good while we’d been away and she’d been looking forward to sunning herself by the pool. She’s a sensitive soul – but we gave it to her anyway.
We started off by going across the border into Andorra where, every year the Cirque du Soleil give free performances throughout the month of July. No photos but I’m sure you’ve seen events on T.V. or been to one yourself so you know they are amazing spectacles peopled by incredibly bendy, muscular and (usually) tiny athletic types.
We then crossed over on to the Spanish side of the Pyrenees and proceeded on some very windy roads to a village called Bonansa and, yes, I kept humming the theme tune because I’m that old.
Around the village were several of these ermitages which are centuries old (those parts that haven’t been restored) and were used both defensively against invaders
and as places of sanctuary.
We then went further West into Aragon and to a magical medieval Moorish town called Alquezar which has labyrinthine old streets and is cut into a hillside surrounded by deep gorges.
Lots of people go canyoning but we contented ourselves with walking
of the slightly precarious kind
These walkways have been attached to the rock face so that, when the river below is in full ‘gush’, you can still walk through the gorge. I had no trouble but Mr. T is very tall and had to almost bend double to get under some of the overhanging rocks.
When we reached the end, we saw one of the paths that had been closed and, if you zoom in (click twice), you can see why.
I was glad we’d already done a circuit otherwise it might have put me off.
Oh, and we also did lots of sitting around tlaking and eating. I love it in Spain because they don’t even start dinner until around 8.30 whereas the French restaurants where I live are thinking about closing around about then.
From this vantage point we looked down into an olive grove where an old man tended his little herd of goats until late at night and the local feral cat population begged for food from the diners above.
This one nearly came home with us.
A face only a mother could love?
Then we continued on to Girona – very much back in Catalan country, with the flag of Catalonia hanging from many balconies – and spent the rest of the week there in an apartment in the old town and right on the riverside.
You know how I love to say ‘you can see our house from here’ – well, for three days I could say it every time we crossed the bridge.
We walked the old city walls for the views and to work off some of the excess eating (and drinking)
Quite a few scenes of ‘Game of Thrones’ were filmed here and (spoiler alert) one of the ice cream parlours make an ice cream in the shape of Jamie Lannister’s severed hand.
Here he is on the steps of the cathedral – I had a very nice Mojito at a café just at the foot of these steps although the people milling about on the steps looked a bit different when I was there.
I hope the cast didn’t need to use the loo too often though as this one is very high up on the old city wall and just empties directly on to the street below
So, that’s the holiday snaps over with – sorry about that but it’s nice for me to have a record of our visit and my blog’s the best place for me to put it. Back to normal i.e. sewing, crochet, knitting, patchwork, dogs and cats, next time.
On a side note, as it was my holiday reading so therefore a little bit pertinent, I read ‘Daughters of the Dragon‘ by William Andrews. Not your usual escapist holiday read but a very good fictional account (though based on historical facts) of the so called ‘comfort women’ taken from Korea as young as thirteen and used as sex slaves by the Japanese army in World War II. Tortured and abused some of the survivors – women now in their seventies and eighties – are still asking for acknowledgement and some sort of repentance from the Japanese government who were aware of the provision of these ‘comfort stations’. Shocking but also an interesting look into Korean history, the author was inspired to write the story by his Korean daughter and asks that readers spread the word by leaving reviews and mentioning it on social media in order to increase the awareness of the fate of these, often forgotten, women. I’m happy to oblige.
I haven’t blogged for a while not because I haven’t had anything to say exactly but, in the end, there was too much to say and I couldn’t filter it down into a blog post and also I haven’t had the time.
So, in a nutshell (a big nutshell – something like a coconut)
We went across the border into Andorra for a free show by the Cirque du Soleil. The heavens opened, a storm raged, we bought plastic ponchos and the rain stopped 5 minutes before the show started. The show was magnificent and we were damp but happy. The story behind the show was supposed to be something about the history of Andorra but, as with all the Cirque du Soleil shows, I don’t actually know what was supposed to be going on. I only know that I am in constant amazement at what the human body is capable of if possessed of bendy limbs, muscles like steel, a body weight no heavier than a gnat and an apparent fearlessness of small spaces/high places/empty air between waiting arms.
Having recently had a travelling circus in this part of France boasting tigers, a lion and ‘the largest hippopotamus in Europe’ – and this in a ‘civilized country’ – I wonder why anybody would need to gawp at caged wild animals exhibiting unnatural behaviour when they can see fully consenting human beings in beautiful costumes doing amazing things with their super fit bodies. That sounds wrong somehow but you get my drift.
Being a tax free independent principality, it is the done thing in Andorra to go and marvel at the enormous bottles of alcohol for sale at silly prices – or is that just us?
The next morning we drove down into Spain, forgetting that the first Saturday in August is the day that all of France decides is the start of their annual holidays, jump in their cars and pack the roads – this despite the fact that the kids have been on school holiday since the end of June. We queued for an hour to pay for the privilege of using a toll road as did the rest of France apparently.
When we finally arrived at our destination – a port called Cadaqués – it was beautiful and we pondered buying something there for holidays, rental and eventual retirement.
Then we looked in a couple of Estate Agents’ windows, saw the prices and changed our minds not having upwards of two or three million euros to play with just at the moment.
Anyway, what they did have in Cadaques, apart from beautiful scenery, charming back streets and good restaurants, was their very own cat rescue called ‘Cats de Cadaqués’. This is an association that raises funds to feed and, most importantly, sterilize the local cat population. A lot of the shops and restaurants are supportive, display posters and sell cat themed items.
This restaurant has embraced the theme in a very picturesque manner.
Despite being a ‘dog person’ I do also have a soft spot for cats (I have 4) and agreed to be ‘admin’ on a new Facebook page set up by the feline equivalent of Dog Rescue Carcassonne which I sometimes blog about. I don’t really ‘do’ Facebook at the best of times – I usually have problems just uploading photos – and now I am suddenly faced with the myriad opportunities presented behind the scenes when you are an ‘admin’. I’m still working it out. There are other ‘admins’ so I leave most of the dealings on FB to them and I am writing ‘the blog’. If you want to see how I am now the crazy cat lady as well as a dog botherer, you can see my new blog here. Some comments, likes and followers would be nice as I’m finding it hard to get it off the ground.
On the creative front, things have come to a shuddering halt because it was time to clear out my workroom again and, despite many black sacks and boxes of items being removed and deposited at the charity shop, the Dog & Cat Shelter’s vide grenier (boot/yard sale) stash or the bins, there still doesn’t seem to be any way for me to get to my sewing machine very easily. No before and after pics of that, I promise, because even when I’ve finished it will not look like a magazine photo shoot workshop and, if it did, I’d never be able to do any work in it for fear of messing it up.
Also, I’ve lost my sewing mojo at the moment having made ‘the dress that nearly broke the camel’s back’ which is headed for the bin and had me heading off to Zara and other RTW outlets for a couple of items for my holiday wardrobe. However, I might blog about that when I have more time so, for now, I’m saying ‘tchau’ which is how you say goodbye in Portugal apparently and that’s where I’m heading for some time away from the computer, the phone, the messy workroom and the dogs and cats and chickens.
I’m off across the border to Spain for a few days so I’ve been trying to get a few projects finished. We’re going to a theme park – I feel the nausea rising already and that’s only thinking about the winding roads we will take to get there – then we are going to see a performance by the Cirque du Soleil featuring lots of very bendy people and then, on the way back, we will visit Salvador Dali’s house now a museum. Plus, we will go food shopping before we re-cross the border which sounds bizarre but Spain is much cheaper than France for lots of things and quite a few French people regularly drive down there to stock up on olive oil, washing powder and other groceries. I have heard a rumour (thanks Jan F.) that cottage cheese is available and, even though I was never a particular fan, the fact that I can no longer get it makes me want some. I am hoping (in vain I suppose) for real, fresh cream.
Anyway, here is the finished quilt that I made for the nicest and best yoga teacher in the world – you may quibble but I don’t know yours – and, although she looks vaguely bemused in this photo, I think she likes it.
She seemed even more chuffed, however, with the quilt label I put on. I found an image with some yoga-type words and added her name and mine plus the date. I printed it out on transfer paper and put it on some plain fabric then attached it to the corner of the quilt. (note: My surname isn’t really blurred but I did it in editing in case anybody felt like stalking me and sending me hate mail, especially after my anti-cyclist rant the other week!)
After I forgot to add a couple of inches to the length of my colour block Coco dress, I decided to spare the world too much of my knees and Mlle. Tialys the elder wore it back to the U.K. after her visit here a few weeks ago. I do not expect to see it again. However, I had already bought some more knit fabric to make another version and, this time, I did remember to lengthen it but, being disorganised as I can sometimes be, I hadn’t made a note of the measurements I used from my last pattern hack so, this time, the colour block at the top comes down lower. I think I prefer the first version but at least this one is a keeper for me.
When I saw the Bronte top pattern from indie designer Jennifer Lauren, I quite fancied having a go because anything that makes t-shirts a bit more exciting has got to be worth a try. This pattern is supposed to have a slightly vintage look in that the back actually overlaps the front forming an attractive and original neckline and having no shoulder seams. It can be done all in one colour but I think the detail is worth emphasizing so used some coordinating knit fabric I happened to have.
I really like it and, if you don’t look too closely, it turned out well although I have a little more of the trim showing on one side of the neck than the other. Tant pis! Must try harder next time. Anyway, it’s another thing I might have to give away, because it is a little tighter than I would normally wear my t-shirts. I wasn’t sure which size to do and, the designer does warn it is a tight fitting style, but the waist and hips corresponding to my bust size were too big for me so I figured, it’s jersey, it’ll stretch and normally, I think it would, but this grey knit is quite a heavy one and the stretch is limited. Next time, I’ll make it in a lighter, softer knit because I’ve now cut the pattern out for the smaller size and I don’t fancy printing it out all over again!
Definitely one I’ll make again – paying more attention to the trim next time. The pattern has a long sleeved option too and I’m wondering about the possibility of doing a pattern hack and making it into a dress with fitted bodice and slightly swirly skirt. Get me and my fancy ideas!
Just to prove I do venture outside sometimes, this gorgeous hydrangea with dinner plate sized heads flowers away in a neglected corner of our garden.
What I especially like about it is you only have to cut one head to fill a vase which is all apropos of nothing in particular but does remind me that tomorrow is the anniversary of the day when the French cut their King’s head off and duffed up all the posh people. So, yet another public holiday with some fireworks in the evening to celebrate the fact they now have a president instead despite the fact they all seem to hate the present holder of the title so, if I were him, I’d keep one eye open at night.
Hasta la vista!