A week in Limoux and biking the countryside. April 16-23, 2017

French elections this week.  Almost as crazy as ours.

We rented bikes part of the past week so we could get out into the French countryside and explore a little.  If you’re into biking,  this is a great area.  It has hills, flats and mountains if you want them.  We met Chris, who lives down the block from us and has lived here 23 years because of his love of biking.  He spent 20+ years as a financial guru for the Canadian Government and then moved to Limoux for the biking terraine and weather.  He and his wife started a ‘painters’ retreat and he takes his clients to ‘painterly’ sites near here and has someone to instruct them.  The home they purchased was an old monastery that they have done extensive renovating to over the years and it is lovely! He also trains women competitive bikers on an interational level. I’m always amazed at what people do for a living.

Our bikes are rather clunky ‘comfort’ bikes.  The shifting leaves something to be desired but they can handle some panniers that hold food, camera gear and wine.  We put on only about 20 kilometes a ride but take on some pretty good hills so it is a good workout.

The images below are from some of our rides as well as others from Limoux taken since we’ve been her.

Next week we are in Limoux without a bike or a car.  The high point is the Limoux International Brass Jazz Festival beginning on Thursday.  We’re hoping to hear some good music.

The best way to view the images is to click on one and page through them.  For a larger version you can click on the lower right hand corner where it says view full size.

 

 

 

 

Avignon, Arles and Orange. April 10-15, 2017.

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View from across the Rhone of the Palace of the Popes

We took a 5 day trip to Avignon where we staying in an AirBnB.  From Avignon, we took 1/2 day trips to Arles and Orange.

Avignon is the largest of the 3 towns and was, at one time,  the home of the Catholic Papacy ( https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avignon_Papacy ).  The big draw is the Palace of the Popes and Saint Benezet Bridge.  Quaint and trendy shops and restaurants contribute to it’s popularity as a tourist destination.  It’s one of the main stops for tour boats up and down the Rhone River.  We walked it and biked it and did our best to avoid the congested touristy areas.  We stayed in an AirBnb close to the train station in the heart of the city.

We caught some music at a local Tapas bar and biked to Abbey St. Andre which had great views of Avignon and the Palace of the Popes.

There were some French soldiers with security dogs at the station on the way to Arles.  Arles is know for it Roman Coliseum that still holds bull fights.  Also, Van Gough spent some time in Arles and some of his most prolific work was done there.  He spent a little over an ‘ear’ there.

Orange has the finest preserved Roman Theatre in the world.  Very impressive structure that still hosts theatre and music events.

We had 5 busy days and the photos give you an idea of what we’re seeing.  We’ve also met some wonderful, friendly people along the way.  It felt good to get back to Limoux, where we could relax a little and spend some time reflecting and putting together the blog.  Over the next couple of weeks we’ll rent some bikes and further explore the immediate Limoux area.

The pace of life in Limoux and Apps. 4/3/17-4/9/17

_DSF1066We’ve been in Limoux a little more than a week.  Kaye has been going for some power walks and I’ve found the local pool.  We’ve also found that if you need something other than food between noon and 2 , you’re out of luck.   The French are fond of long lunch breaks.

We are also finding more Apps to make our stay easier.  Google Translate- with it you can scan something written in french and it will do a reasonable job of translating it to english.  Really helps with menus ( avoid surprises),  event posters and open/closed schedules.  The other is WhatsApp which allows you to make international phone calls for free.  We had a 45 minute conversation with Doug the other day.

Had a wonderful day (4/9) with Jane and Peter Midwinter whom we met earlier in the week.  They were kind enough to drive us to the Esperanza

 

market and to their lovely second home in Cailhau.  The snow capped mountains in the photo are of the Pyrenees and the small country of Andora and can be seen from their sitting room window.

Our first few days of travel and getting to know Limoux, France.3/29/17-4/2/17

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Limoux Church next to Aude River
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Limoux Carnival

After saying goodbye to  the kids at the airport we left on Icelandic air.  Made all connections and landed in Paris only 1 1/2 hours late.   Started figuring out train schedules to Carcassonne.  Caught the AM train and spent the night in Carcassone.  Brief visit to Cacassonne Castle.  We’ll go back on a day trip.  Checked into Hotel du Soleil Terminus, a 1914 built hotel with a view of the magnificent mideval castle.

Arrived in Limoux around 1 pm on Saturday, 3/1/17  and walked to our AirBnB.  A small 1 bedroom space a few blocks from the town center square.

Limoux has an annual Carnival de Limoux which begins in January and runs every weekend through March.  Same timing as Mardi Gras but not nearly as wild.  Caught the last 2 days of the parade and festivities.

Basically,  trying to get our feet on the ground.  Trying to figure out a routine that will keep up healthy even though,  for the next year, we will have no routine.