Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Toulouse, La Ville Rose

We picked up a new Renault Clio in Paris
for a 2 month lease. It's small but peppy
and has a great GPS system - manual of course
The Basilique St. Sernin, Frances'  largest and best preserved
Romanesque Cathedral and really beautiful
A look inside - we were lucky enough
to hear the massive organ being played
This is a big University town and was bustling with
students and working people
The fast food options are a lot more attractive than in most
U.S. cities (but they do have a McDonald's - yeck)
Even the little details, here a door
knocker, are charming
Happily we opted for a beautiful restaurant on the main
Place de Capitol
Art here is serious or...
not serious
The Hotel d'Assezat, once a fabulous
private home and now a great art museum
Scott along the Garonne River
Toulouse's Pont Neuf's mighty supports
La Ville Rose is due to the local red brick
Violets are special here and used in everything!
The list of store topics speaks for itself here. This is a city of students.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Boat Life on the Seine

We enjoyed walking the banks of the river
We had only three nights in Paris - but we've naturally packed in a lot of activities. We walked, walked and walked. At our hotel one of the guests exclaimed in surprise that we had walked back from the Eiffel Tour. We had actually walked the equivalent of four times that, and it was only afternoon.
What I enjoy most is viewing the life here. Of course the architecture and art is amazing. We did visit the Louve etc. but walking the streets and watching the people and the way they live their lives is the most fun.

Couples and families are living on their houseboats
This was particularly interesting for us on the river. There is a lively community of people, cruisers like us, tied up along the banks. We were sorry we didn't get a chance to meet anyone. Unfortunately for my photos, we had a number of gray days in Paris - but no rain thank goodness.
We did take a boat cruise as well and enjoyed the views of life from the water. It was also nice to sit down for awhile.
The food was another highpoint as well. We had some fabulous meals in restaurants and some wonderful picnics as well. In general we're trying to eat out either for lunch or dinner - not both. We're here for two months and just can't afford it. Happily

They even have "garages"
given the choice of breads, cheeses, pates, fruit and veggies available everywhere (and wine of course), this isn't a sacrifice. We ate in our room or had a picnic.

The table is set for dinner - wish we were coming

Every bridge has it's own statuary

We decided to see the river by boat - here Notre Dame

Saturday, September 24, 2011

We love Paris in the Autumn...

With accordion accompaniment
Where else could you buy a tiara case to match your pocketbook

Gardens on the outside of buildings
Or built on the stairs...
 spend  hundreds on
canned gourmet products?
and little on a cup of Morrocan Mint Tea 
buy poulets in a huge variety of sizes

And the bread - ooh la la
All sealed with a kiss
Ah yes, we're having a good time...
We flew to Paris on September 18 and with bleary eyes made our way onto the subway system. Several kind residents assisted us with the directions and we emerged at Gare Nord around 9:30AM. After a restorative petit dejeuner (coffee, french bread, croissants, jam and butter) we got totally lost. We each had a large suitcase on wheels, Scott a backpack and myself, a pocketbook and cloth bag with essentials (in case of lost luggage), so it wasn't easy walking. Some police persons tried to give us directions but they were complicated (and our french is not) but eventually we found our hotel. Good news; we could leave our luggage there. Bad news; we couldn't check in until 2PM.
On our kind desk clerk's suggestion we walked up to Sacre Coeur Cathedral. It was the best day of our time in Paris; sunny and warm. The streets are endlessly fascinating and the views from the top of Montmartre really lovely. We sat in the sun for some time, so relaxed we were afraid to fall asleep right there. It was a relief to check in to our room later and nap. We had dinner nearby and a good night's sleep. Details of our hotel and restaurants are in a later posting - The Gory Details.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Solar Panel Array and Lean-To Update

Putting together the racks which will hold the solar panels

And here they are all finish. Each one can hold up to 4
solar panels

Two trucks arrived with the solar panels and additional
equipment. The one on the right went off the road where
our stream had flooded during the hurricane but was towed
back on.

Scott with his 27 solar panels

Scott and Greg Miller lifting the middle solar panel in place

The last panel was very difficult. To fasten in the brackets
at the top, they had to go to the very end step of the

Gail Smith inspecting the backs of the solar panels. Scott
is now wiring up each panel to the cable which runs
underground back to our house

Tyler working on the inverter
which is mounted on the outside
of the house

Poor Oscar, our master electrician running wiring under the
fuel storage area

Scott screwing in the standing seam metal roofing

The roofing material is slippery. Scott needed to have
his sneakers on the material, not his jeans so couldn't
kneel to fasten on the ridge piece.

Ted and Juanita Tumelaire from
Chattanoga, TN, came for a visit

Ted volunteered to help and nailed in the edge of the
front roofing while Scott held the ladder. The exterior of
the shelter is now complete. We just have to load all this
wood into the shelter for the winter. Next summer we'll
build the interior bunks and finish the table.