Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Back Home.

Just a short post to end the trip by saying we are back home in Raleigh. The pic below is the view out the window as we took off from Lisbon on our way to JFK. At the time we did not know that one of our checked-in bags was NOT on the plane. After Languishing in Lisbon for 4 days, it was found and reunited with us. Yay! Thanks very much for reading and commenting and emailing! See you on our next trip! -john and sun-ling

Above Lisboa, Portugal

Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Toulouse is different

Home of Airbus, Toulouse, is also a university town. Unlike everywhere else we visited in France on this trip, Toulouse is at its best self. In fact, they must be doing really well, because they have a thing going on with Occitanie, not unlike the Basques or Catalans.

At the end of our travels, a little worn out, we took it easy and took our time walking around the historical center. On our wedding anniversary, May 18, International Museum Day, there was nothing going on. Instead, the first Saturday evening after May 18, it is EU's Museum Night. All the public museums were having open houses and special events, some until 1am. The event was very popular. It was really good to see people of all ages going about town late at night and standing in line.

Our 5th floor apartment in Toulouse overlooked the National Theater which naturally was built with local brick.
Toulouse, France

The Garonne River runs through Toulouse. Here you see the New Bridge (16th century) and the spires of Église Notre-Dame la Dalbade.
Toulouse, France

Looking across the Garonne to the old hydroelectric plant, still in use and also a museum.
Toulouse, France

Place du Capitole is the main square and heart of the city. Our apartment was a 5 minute walk to the east.
Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

The Town Hall has some beautiful murals by local artist Henri Martin.
Town Hall - Toulouse, France

by Henri Martin - Toulouse, France

The hallways of our apartment were strangely dark. Hmmmm.
Toulouse, France

The left transept of Cathedral of Saint-Etienne was enlarged to be a huge ornate choir giving the building interior an unbalanced look.
Cathedral of Saint-Etienne - Toulouse, France

Cathedrale St-Etienne - Toulouse, France

Toulouse has loads of green space. This is one of the wide boulevards leading to the Grand Rond (below) and Jaridin des Plantes.
Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

We celebrated our 27th wedding anniversary tucking into the buffet at Le Faim Harricot Vert (The Hungry Bean) Vegetarian Restaurant.
Anniversary Lunch at Le Faim Harricot Vert (The Hungry Bean) Vegetarian Restaurant - Toulouse, France

Like Montpellier, Toulouse had tons of bicycle delivery. Here some Uber Eats guys have a chat.
Uber Eats - Toulouse, France

There are at least two Art Deco Post Offices in Toulouse. Brick of course.
Art Deco Architecture - Toulouse, France

Art Deco Post Office - Toulouse, France

Fav Art Deco facade.
Art Deco Facade - Toulouse, France

Art Deco Library - La Bibliothèque d'Étude et du Patrimoine.
Art Deco Architecture - Toulouse, France

Art Deco Architecture - Toulouse, France

Art Deco Architecture - Toulouse, France

The Basilica of Saint-Sernin. Said to be the largest Romanesque church in Europe.
Basilica of Saint-Sernin - Toulouse, France

Basilica of Saint-Sernin - Toulouse, France

Basilica of Saint-Sernin - Toulouse, France

The spires of Notre-Dame du Taur show Toulousian brick work at its finest. We later attended an organ concert there.
Notre-Dame du Taur - Toulouse, France

The interior of the deconsecrated Church of the Jacobins was beautiful with its line of slender central pillars.
Church of the Jacobins - Toulouse, France

Church of the Jacobins - Toulouse, France

Evening street scenes.
Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

The church Notre-Dame de la Daurade, built on the site of a pagan temple, was very atmospheric with its Black Madonna.
Notre-Dame de la Daurade - Toulouse, France

Black Madonna - Notre-Dame de la Daurade - Toulouse, France

Random cyclists on bridges.
Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques, once the largest hospital in Toulouse.
Hôtel-Dieu Saint-Jacques - Toulouse, France

The evening of May 19th was free museum night; most of the public museums were open and free from 7pm to 1pm with special programs. We first headed to the very impressive Musée des Augustins (formerly a convent).
Musée des Augustins - Toulouse, France

Musée des Augustins - Toulouse, France

The story of Salome and John the Baptist.
Musée des Augustins - Toulouse, France

Musée des Augustins - Toulouse, France

Musée des Augustins - Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

Here's some video of the Romanesque column capitals.


And if the video does not play, click here.

Then to the City Museum where there was a group singing in the Occitan dialect.
Musee du Vieux-Toulouse - Toulouse, France

Then through the darkening but busy streets to Musée Saint-Raymond, the Archaeology Museum.
Toulouse, France

Toulouse, France

Musée Saint-Raymond - Toulouse, France

Musée Saint-Raymond - Toulouse, France

On our final full day we walked along the Garonne River to the old power plant. Then followed the Canal de Brienne to the Port de l'Embouchure, where the Canal du Midi starts towards the Mediterranean Sea and the Canal to Garonne heads towards the Atlantic Ocean. Cool! Here you can see the fish ladder at the power plant (The Bazacle).
The Bazacle - Toulouse, France

The brick power plant.
The Bazacle - Toulouse, France

Canal de Brienne - Toulouse, France

Canal de Brienne - Toulouse, France

Canal de Brienne - Toulouse, France

Canal de Brienne - Toulouse, France

Canal de Brienne - Toulouse, France

After 1.25 kms of shady greenness on the Canal de Brienne foot path, we arrived at the Port de l'Embouchure, the basin where the Canal du Midi and Canal de Garrone start.
Port de l'Embouchure - Canal du Midi - Toulouse, France

Port de l'Embouchure - Canal du Midi - Toulouse, France

This is the start of the Canal du Midi at its western end.
Port de l'Embouchure - Canal du Midi - Toulouse, France

We walked the CdM for a few kilometers, generating the spark of an idea to return and bike the canal path ourselves, before heading to the city center.
Canal du Midi - Toulouse, France

On our final night we headed out to the Garonne riverbank to watch the sunset and the lights come on.
Garonne River - Toulouse, France

Garonne River - Toulouse, France

Garonne River - Toulouse, France

Garonne River - Toulouse, France

Garonne River - Toulouse, France

See all the Toulouse photos on flickr here.