Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Dijon cuts the Mustard

Hello all,
Here we are in Dijon…


 ...  that’s the cathedral behind me…
  
..we started in Square Darcy,  a pretty park  with sculptures and ducks and people walking dogs.
Square Darcy, Dijon

And wandered down into the town where we had breakfast at the place on the left, the “Liberty Brasserie” and enjoyed a croissant and coffee before heading to the Archaeological museum. The Triumphal Arch seems to have been re-dedicated to Thomas Jefferson in 1989 as an acknowledgement of his assistance in defining Liberty, Equality and  Fraternity.  Through the arch is “the Hotel du Nord”, a really good dinner there and on the left with the red awning, the “L’Imprimerie” another good dinner in a place themed to books and printing with ½ of Dijon from 14 to 85 yo munching to rock music… 
Jefferson Arch
I had my photo taken with “The Owl” held by a Chinese student (from Britain) and his Rooster alter–ego…. He’s on a similar trip to me!
Architecturally, Dijon’s Medieval to Modern is a virtual history of styles and its understanding was assisted by enthusiastic and friendly Dijonnais. 


One particularly keen chap was the attendent in the Archaeological museum who attached himself to us like a limpet and proceeded to explain all in French ….we did manage to understand some but he was soooo keen, for 11/2 hours!  
You’ll notice a portrait of Rod …
from a C15th Nativity scene…. Good likeness.


Street Market on Friday was interesting; French junk has so much more ambience than Australian.

Market, Dijon


Romanesque tiled floor. crypt, St Benigne, Dijon
Had a nice little “rip-off” in Place de la Republic when on ordering “deux, the”, waiter (who would have made a good model for Honore Daumier, sloping head, ingratiating manner, slick smile) instead presented us with two Kir’s…. when paying bill, (E 9.80) I handed him 20.80 only to be returned 10.00 change and a sickly smile. I picked a 1E coin from his hand, “Merci !” He scowled and offered a wonderfully obsequious, “Merci, Ms”.     All good fun!
Lovely city, and the Dijonnais, terrific… would like to spend more time here… but on to Lyon and daughter.
Cheers petals,
Shane

Thursday, 21 April 2011

The Wombat has Landed


G’day, petals,

Well, we’ve flown the burrow and 24 cramped, foot-swollen and overfed hours later have landed in France.

Cabin crew were attentive, flight was without incident even from the passengers, although there was one group
(and a particular couple within that group) who needed to be noticed and given attention.
“Frequent Flyers” must be able to get an honoury degree in behavioural psychology from oft observing the antics of passengers.
Civilization as concept … there are no modes of consensus behaviour: “I’m first!” seemingly the prevailing orthodoxy.

Most interesting! 


Customs was interesting, too: every time I had to take off my belt, unpack the computer and dig out the wallet I felt like sonoursly intoning “This inconvenience has been brought to you by Osama Bin Laden and other faithful fruit-cakes.”
(repeat three times in measured Gregorian metre whilst slowly waving you arms back and forth above your head and two-stepping in a circle)
The French Customs looked very suspicious but  probably understanding what had happened in Melbourne, Doha and any other feeder-flight people had been on, and wanting to avoid riots, let us through without a hitch. Merci!
 After following official instruction, we had a lovely 3 km wander around CDG airport with all our baggage trying to decipher the signage for the location of the TGV and it was only after receiving assistance from Jacque
(a passenger we had seen a couple of times during the flight from Doha) and who coincidentally was also waiting for a TGV, that things were sorted.
Merci beaucoup, Jacque.

Validating the tickets for the TGV (purchased in Melbourne) proved fun… the little yellow machine on the platform didn’t want to do its job so back and forth a couple of times to the TGV office where finally the sweet-young-thing at the counter (after the problem was explained again) said blankly, “What do you want me to do”?  “Validation, s’il vous plait ?”, I said.  To wit; S-Y-T spreads tickets, grabs stamp and thump, thump “Voila !” And without even the hint of a smile, turns away to look somewhere else. 

 My first Ms.Hulot moment of funniness….. and I haven’t mentioned the conductor’s antics on subsequent smooth and quiet TGV ride to Dijon.
This is looking like it will be a lot of fun!
Cheers fellow troglodytes,
Shane.

pictures:

top: Melbourne depature lounge 21:00 hrs
middle: Airport CDG, Gare
Lower: CDG Gare, TGV platorm building 

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Shane cogitates on packing


G’day, 

Well, the bags are being packed and after a early flurry of excitement when final payments had been made with some accommodation and vehicle particulars we have settled into that vague space of………………… waiting.

As you wait, you start to observe things seen recently that you will not see for a time.

1/  An exponential increase in a proliferation of bogans-on-bikes-in-the-bush.

Wet weather seems to bring out a desire to dig needlessly bigger, useless trenches in the ground with noisy machines…after which destruction the bogans repair to the local pub in their muddy fake leathers, vainly feeling that they might be admired or even glorified for their (verbally related) tasks of synthetic daring and dress sense!         

 Primal?   Yep!  (Are they on a crusade I wonder?)     

2/  The rise & rise  of the real  Arturo Ui…….

Mr. Rabbit, aka federal opposition leader (atm)… whose modus operandi seems to be alarmingly similar to what I read in a history book today…
…..”If you lie, lie big, for a little of even the most outrageous lie will stick if you press it hard enough. Never hesitate, never qualify, never concede a shred of validity or even decency to the other side. Attack, attack, attack! “
Now, who said that in 1921? 
 (A print, as prize for the historically acute…..…and it wasn’t a Frenchman talking about the burqua .   (closing date Avril 21)
If you answer, George Pell, you’ll not only be excommunicated but also given a membership form to enter The Knights of the Southern Cross.  (how malignant is that?)

3/   The  massacre of the “Saints”…. (again, by Essendon). Geeeez,  what a reason for going away….. makes you want to forget  all that!

Forever !!!

But we're looking forward to meeting up with a couple of French "togs" and a German one... there   have been some interesting co-incidences with that .....good auguries!
And seeing expat... daughter wheeeeeee.....
Bye for now, Petals.