Thursday, August 31, 2017

two bees or ...

Sunflower season has come and gone for this year and I realize I have not posted a single shot of one.  So if the statute of limitations has not expired, here is one that just had to be.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

reflections on the Island of Gold

Reflections of the light of the sunrise on the Island of Gold (l'Ile d'Or as it's known here).

Monday, August 28, 2017

the classic French air conditioning system

We are currently in our third day (of likely four days) of exceptional heat (known in France as a canicule).  Most of the homes here do not have air conditioning (although many restaurants and larger stores do) because it is generally not really needed most of the time.  (Although this may be changing as the climate changes.)

This photo shows how the heat is managed when you don't have air conditioning (this is not our house). If it's not too hot, I open the shutters and windows and let the air flow in.  Often there is a breeze that helps. Augmenting with room fans also helps.  If the sun shines directly into the window, I pull the white curtains to block it.

But on days like today, when it's really hot (note that would be around 30 C / 90 F), I start in the morning by watching the indoor vs outdoor temperatures.  When the outside temperature starts to exceed that of the indoor, I close the windows to hold the indoor temperature steady.  If the sun shines directly into a window, I close the shutters as well.  Our house like many here are made of very thick walls of stone and concrete; ours are 45 cm / 18 inches thick.  These help to keep the excessive heat out and stabilize the temperature inside to a more average one.

Fortunately, these canicules don't happen very often and we normally leave the windows and shutters open all day for much of the year.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

the light stuff

Here's another shot from my recent tour of the château here in Amboise.  This one was taken in Chapelle Saint-Hubert where the remains of Leonardo da Vinci are entombed*.  The low angle of the sun at this time made a nice projection from one stained glass window onto the wall of another.  Along with the stone ornamentation it made for quite the complex mixture of form and color.

*Although there is some controversy over this.

Here's a link to the post of the window doing the projecting.

Friday, August 25, 2017

an inside look

Last week I went on a guided tour of the "underground" of the château here in Amboise.  We got to see some very dark and deep places that one cannot see with the regular entry ticket.  This shot is the inner core of the tower Minimes (seen here from the outside).  It was constructed so that horse-drawn wagons and carriages could climb a spiral ramp from street level up to the château.  To me it has a cathedral-like look on the inside with all those arched openings.

Thursday, August 24, 2017

No we're not quite ready for takeoff

Inflating a hot air balloon begins by just blowing air into it with a big fan.  Once it's about like this, the pilot fires up the burners to finish.  It's a bit of a delicate maneuver to aim the burners at just the right angle to avoid burning the balloon itself.  Here, the hot air balloons are known as montgolfières in honor of the two French brothers who built and flew the first manned and untethered balloon in 1783.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

summer wisteria

Several years ago I posted a shot of this same wisteria in full bloom.  But even in summer without the blooms, this vine is still amazing.  Note the size of its twisted base.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

château dancing

During my weekend visit to the château, I discovered there was a Renaissance interpretive dance performance accompanied by concert harp.  This dancer's leaps were amazing... especially considering that the castle's stone terrace is uneven and very hard.

Monday, August 21, 2017

shadows to château

This family is climbing the long ramp from Place Debré to the entrance to the château.  Yesterday was the perfect day for being outside and touring the old castle.

Monday, August 14, 2017

les obsèques à Saint Denis

L'église Saint Denis has been conducting Sunday services since the twelfth century.  Today there were the funeral services for a much loved French celebrity Gonzague Saint Bris.  He was a celebrated historian, TV personality, author of many books, and founder of an annual book festival.  He grew up at Clos Lucé (former home of Leonardo da Vinci) here in Amboise.

Friday, August 11, 2017

into the forest

Riding along this path that cuts across the forest of Amboise is perfect on a hot summer's day.  It's mostly shaded and totally quiet.  It's just one part of a wide network of cycling routes and paths throughout the area.  And this has turned into a major tourist attraction for the Loire valley.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

life is good, and so are the tarts

Nothing like a homemade tomato and goat cheese tart especially when the tomatoes come from our neighbor's garden, the basil and rosemary from our terrace garden, and the goat cheese from a local supplier.  Throw in a nice glass of Loire Valley Sancerre, and it's what's for dinner*.  Tip of the hat to my wife for putting this all together.

*but no beef for those of you who remember those ads

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

it's August, let's go camping

I stumbled over this camper parked not far from our house, the likes of which I have never seen before.  There was no model identification other than the Mercedes Benz logos.  But with a little help from my son-in-law and Google, I was able to find online what I believe is this very same vehicle and it was identified as a "Mercedes Benz 319 Unimog Gelandewagon".  With more help from Google translate and Wikipedia, I find that Unimog is a brand of four wheel drive trucks sold by M-B and Gelandewagon is German for flat bed truck.  More than you ever needed to know to appreciate this immaculately maintained camper that was converted from a truck (but who knows when).

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

CDP Theme Day - Young at Heart

The first of every month is Theme Day for the worldwide bloggers of City Daily Photo and today's theme is "Young at Heart".  To see how the others interpreted this theme click here.

Every year there is a Carnival celebration in the streets of Amboise.  The school kids wear imaginative costumes Halloween style while there are adult groups of dancers and musicians.  But it's a day for everyone to abandon the routine and feel truly young at heart.