Wednesday, July 17, 2013

My Bucket list is a little lighter...and a couple things I forgot to mention.

First, the part I forgot.... After checking into our hotel in Brugges, we decided to take a little walk to acquaint ourselves with the area. When we walked out of the hotel, this is what I discovered almost directly across the street...

This photo was taken from our hotel doorway... Now at this distance you may not be able to make out what this shop is, but I took a few more photos.

Can you see a little better now? Yup! You got it...a quilt shop! Totally seems quilt shops the world over send out special magnetic vibes that can only be detected by other quilters (and their husbands) because I had absolutely nothing to do with booking the room! That didn't stop me from taking a peek inside though...the owner spoke little English, but there was a lot of fabric and I speak fabric fluently! Now I have to tell you this shop was a bit chaotic...boxes half unpacked sat on floors and shelves, fabric stacked in front of other fabric, books stacked on fabric stacked on scrapbooking supplies, toppling onto the yarn. All in a very small area, probably smaller than my studio area. Difficult to take photos and not photographically inspiring, but I snapped a couple later in the evening after closing. 

This photo is quite flattering and makes things look tidier than it really was...and yes I bought a couple half meter cuts to add to my civil war repro stash, but seriously friends a total of one meter. I did well. I just couldn't come home and say I was in a quilt shop in Belgium and came out empty handed...could you?

The other fun thing I saw when we were leaving the memorial ceremonies at the Mennin Gate at
Ypres was this...

Some local knitters had yarn bombed a tree along our route! I have read about these fun occurrences and have seen many, many photos of yarn bombing on line, but had never seen one in real life, so of course it warranted a photo or two, or three. I really must get some of my knitting chums together to try it at home somewhere.

After dropping the kids at the airport, and taking a forty minute taxi ride to our hotel, I was ready for a nap in our cool air conditioned room to escape the relentless Paris heat, but of course time was slipping away from us and we were on foot, so it was going to take a while to see all we wanted, so we set of to explore Montmartre, in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris. We walked up, up, up through throngs of tourists to make a visit to Sacre Coer Cathedral and all it had to offer atop a very high hill overlooking the city of Paris.

Mr. O climbed up to the top of the tower of the Cathedral to snap some shots while I admired the view from below.

There we many street entertainers, playing typical french music of all kinds.

I am a real people watcher and I loved trying to pick out the locals.

Some were easier to spot than others.

We walked to the famed Moulin Rouge...just to see from the outside. We are not much on burlesque shows...famous or otherwise.<grin>
This area was the inspiration for many of Talouse Latrech paintings.

I'm not really sure how a red windmill ended up in the middle of Paris and became so famous for burlesque, but I will take a minute to Google it later.
A few souvenir shops and supper at a local cafe away from the crowds rounded out the day and we made our way back to the hotel for an early night(by Paris standards) 
Day two we tackled the underground metro system (not my favourite way to travel,  I always feel like I want to come home and shower off the dust and grime and smell of urine) I am such a country bumpkin! 
Today Mr. O was taking me to a flea market...not just any flea market either...we were heading to the famous Paris Flea Market area that boasts upwards of 2000 vendors selling just about anything you may be looking for...for a price, of course! I have dreamed of shopping Paris flea markets for many many years, and now I can cross one more thing off my bucket list!

We are talking very confined streets and shops with thousands of items for sale!

I made a few purchases that had to be small enough to fit into my already over crowded luggage, but I was happy. I spent more than I ever imagined I would on buttons, but I have a plan for them...

Two cards of buttons, 2.5 meters of lace, and a packet of letters and postcards, circa 1912.
A few other purchases of new items from other street vendors rounded out the shopping trip until we decided  that we really needed another suitcase to get all our(my) other purchases home. A stop at a luggage shop and the we found ourselves on the over crowded subway with a suitcase heading back to our room. A bit of a rest, a walk around the corner to what happened to be France's largest fabric shopping district (remember what I said about the vibes?) that was totally unplanned. Thankfully, they had closed about 30 minutes before our arrival so no need for another suitcase. 
Supper at a different cafe and we sauntered back to our room to rest up for our last full day in Paris. 

Day 3 we braved the metro again, and visited the Musee d'Orsay. I loved it! I have always admired the paintings of Jean Francois Millet and to see the in personal was pretty special. 

We saw paintings by Van Gogh, Renoir, Monet and many more. My feet were killing me but I was a happy camper. After the museum, we had lunch in a street cafe (quiche Lorraine mmmm) and the another lengthy walk to a Paris quilt shop raved about by many bloggers. Le Rouvray. The have a website, a small line of patterns, their own collection of fabric (Romance of Paris) and they carry some of the few fabrics made and designed in France.
Yes I shopped, yes, I bought fabric, and yes the suitcases were full, but I managed to squeeze a bit more in. They gifted me with one of their patterns too!

Another street cafe supper and back to the room to finish packing.
I snapped a quick shot of the Paris rooftops at sunset from our room as a parting shot.

As I write this we are somewhere over the Atlantic Ocean, next stop Montreal. Back on Canadian soil and then hopefully home by 11 p.m. We should be in our beds by midnight,which will be 6:00 a.m. France time. I am thinking I may just sleep in tomorrow.


JoAnne said...

I'm crossing a big thing off my bucket list this weekend. We are going to be in your country--to Niagara Falls. Do you feel like jumping in the car and driving like almost 1000 miles to meet us there? (Grin) That's nothing for you two, right? Safe travels!

gail.elizabeth said...

Thank you for the journey... Welcome home....

Barb Gibney said...

Welcome home dear sister.loved that I could sort of feel like I took the journey with you guys..... im quite sure my European tours will always be through you and Georges. I just cant seem to get rocky interested. Now get some rest. U may need it...

Sarah said...

Again I have loved reading your travel diary. You make me feel like I'm there, and that I have to go there! Do you speak French? I'm wondering if it would be difficult to visit all those out of the way places with English my only language? My parents have a print of that second painting in their house. My Dads a wheat farmer here in Australia.

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