Peru Day 1 – What a day!!

So much to tell!

Tim didn’t like the lack of hot water at the hotel and when he complained they moved us to a bigger room – a much bigger room (4 beds and a huge bathroom) with tons of hot water.  Tim is very happy with the new room and we are going to spend 2 more nights here (more on that later).

After breakfast Tim and I had planned on doing the local museums but we ran across an entry on a local Incan ruin right near where we are staying called Huaca Pucclana.  We got a taxi and he said he would wait for us while we visited and then take us downtown to Central Lima for the museums.

The ruin is a place of games, by which they mean human sacrifices, arts and banquets.  The pyramid is built from little rooms made of mud bricks and concrete that get built and sealed over the centuries.  They are still going through it now.  They had some amazing pottery that was also ‘sacrificed’ where they would built a pot and then break it and bury it.  Tim liked the idea a lot and I expect a round of Raku students will be destroying pots next year.

We also met a very strange looking Peruvian hairless dog also known as a hot dog.  Gino (our driver) kept saw that I was trying to photograph it so he went and held it for me so all my photos are of Gino holding the dog.  Its an Incan dog and all Incan sites are required to have one on site.  The guide was very informative and told us about the old fish gods and then pointed to the new gods – McDonald’s and Starbucks (which are plentiful).

There was no charge for the site because of some cultural days thing going on all week – though they almost wouldn’t let me in because my camera looked to professional – which I talked my way out of – ‘this old thing?’

Speaking of cameras – I decided that I’m probably not going to shoot much video this trip.  Video is really a solo activity for me to shoot and talk to the camera and the rhythm isn’t right with everything else I want to shoot.

We met this English guy named John and he told us about another ruin that was free this week but outside of town.  He told us about the bus but we ended up negotiating with our taxi driver (who took the taxi light off his car) and he agreed to drive us the rest of the day.  Our next stop was the gas station – which at $16 US a gallon has finally convinced Tim that we will not be renting – where we got some munchies sandwiches, water, candy, and for me some Gatorade.

We then drove about 30km south of Lima to Pachacamac.  The site was huge (and again free) and really had 5 distinct ancient complexes, a museum, a snack bar, a bookstore, some local artisans, and several Incan dogs.

I loved watching the decorative weavers mixing colored yarns by hand and painting scenes with yarn on the loom.  It was pretty cheap to get one but we didn’t want to pick much up this early in the trip.  I got a real kick out of the Chess set that has the Incans face off against the Spanish.  One craftsman Sixto Seguil Dorregaray was doing some amazing carved gourds and jewelry and I picked up a couple of small items for Jenny (but don’t tell her).

The site was vast and really a barren wasteland of sand and stone.  If you tried to go where you shouldn’t a guard would whistle from out of nowhere and tell you to get back on the path.  We drove from site to site and were really glad to have the car and driver.

The largest of the sites was the Temple of the Sun that you could climb all the way to the top of.  When you got here you found yourself overlooking the pacific – it was wonderful.

I at this point was a little ahead of Tim who I saw talking to four ladies who looked like American hippies.  He later told me that they were smoking pot and blowing on their ocarinas.  Our driver who didn’t speak English asked if they were Bruja – which he explained were like women on Halloween ie witches and we all had a big laugh.

Tim loved seeing some of the original polychromed wall (though its hard sometimes cause he touches everything!)

The sun sets here around 6pm so by 5 we started to head back.  I noticed some ads and it appears both Whitesnake and Megadeath are visiting Lima soon.  Tim saw an ad that had Brad Pitt selling something and I found a poster for Indiana Jones openings on Thursday!

On the way back to Lima we passed this big white mansion that we recognized from the tour-book as we stopped and with 30 min left visited the Museo Pedro de Osma this huge Mansion with Cusco school paintings and a museum of religious silver (that was really well done – all glass and lights and just a sleek display).

Our last stop with the driver was to a Pharmacy where Tim purchased a new diabetic testing kit and supplies since it fell out of his bag at customs (don’t worry Michelle his blood is perfect!).  At the hotel the driver tried to get some more money from us and we gave in since he was such a great guy all day.

We then walked to the local tourist area where they had a Marriott and a mall, a movie theater, bowling alley, Starbucks, food court etc.. it was really nice over the ocean and Tim and I reflected on why our downtown wasn’t as nice.

We found a restaurant – La Dama Juana that had a buffet of Peruvian dishes (and desserts).  They was a show during dinner and for an extra $20 they put you next to the stage – we didn’t and so instead they sat us 10 feet away from it – a perfect view.

The buffet was great – stews of every meat – and I ate so much flan.  They asked where we were from and then put an American flag on the table – when you looked around the room you could see where everyone was from.  The floor show was amazing – one traditional dance after the other – the scissor dance looked like modern hip hop acrobatics and during once dance they kept lighting their backsides on fire!  At one point Tim turned to me and said that the show was going on longer than his capacity to eat!

Afterwards we went back to the hotel to plan Tuesday (it was an amazing first day).  Today we will do the local museums and then catch a luxury bus fist thing Wed morning to Nazca and then perhaps another luxury bus Wed night to Cusco.  We will see how long we stay in Nazca.  We still want to be in Cusco on Thursday for the Corpus Christi celebration.

I got up and showered and stuff and came down to write this entry.  I think I didn’t pack enough Q-tips!  Funnily enough its very cold here and we haven’t seen any bugs.

Thats it for day one.  2 Incan ruins, 1 museum, 1 floor show (and 7 rolls of film).

See you all soon – the luxury bus is supposed to have WiFi! so that would be from my iPhone.


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

Peru Day 1 – On lost wedding rings and violations of customs rules!

Monday – May 19

Whoo boy what a trip it has been so far.

So the flight was ok – I slept most of the time until Tim spilled his water glass (on my lap).

So late into the flight I’m getting ready to get off the plane and I can’t find my wedding ring.  I had it after I ate, I had it after the bathroom, but when my hands swell I put it on my pinky and I think it fell off while I was sleeping.  When we landed we looked everywhere for it and the flight attendant was actually rude to me for not telling her earlier that I had lost something – which I would have if I had known I had lost it.

Getting though the passport area was fine but it took forever to get out luggage and the whole time I am looking for a Delta agent to tell them about my ring to at least alert the lost and found.  When the luggage arrived we went to clear customs and were randomly selected for ‘searches’.

While they did not x-ray my bag (which is something I try to avoid because of the film) it turns out I was required to declare the extra cameras as a tourist is only allowed to carry 1 still and 1 video camera and I have something like 4 and way too many accessories for his comfort.

He let me off with a warning.

I didn’t see them tearing apart Tim’s bag but at least one toiletry item didn’t make it back and we have to head to a store this morning.


So we head out of the airport and its 1am, the Delta offices are closed, the Delta counter is closed and nobody wants to help me.

Finally I find the locked Delta office and bang on the door until someone comes out and laughingly hands me my wedding ring! Yeah!

Back home I found the name of a nice hostel in Lima and we asked a cab driver to take us there.  It was going to cost 45S.  An S is like 2.7S per Dollar so we are rounding to 3.  He told us that the hostel would be full but handed us a bunch of brochures and took us up the pacific coast highway to the Miraflores area.  We visited several full hostels and pricey hotels till we found a decent one for $45 US which included a free continental breakfast and Internet!! Woo hoo.

We will stay here another night so we can leave our bags and visit some museums even though most of them are closed cause… its Monday and all museums are close on Monday.  Still we have enough to do and the hotel has HBO. There is a huge church the San Fransisco with catacombs and a library and a ruins to explore around the corner.

Tim got eggs and I got ham.  His eggs look good my ham was well – lunchmeat, but very tasty.

So heading up to get loaded up with camera and have a slow get our bearings kinda day.

For those keeping track when we landed in Lima we were at 75 feet – here in Miraflores at the El Ejecutivo its 175 feet.

I should be able to write again tonight or in the AM as we are staying here so until then….

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

Peru Day 0 – Cleveland to Atlanta

I am writing from my iphone so this will be brief (and have typos).

1 – made it through security without any troubles, they hand checked all 110 rolls of film

2 – they made me gate check my camera bag, but it all looks ok

3 – the plane was tiny and bumpy but we made it and are waiting for the plane

See you next in the southern hemisphere


[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

Peru Day 0 – Before the trip….

Ok, so here it goes.  Blogging for the trip to Peru.  Its 3:30am, we leave at about 12:30 and I am still catching up on my last minute to do list.

Tim and I have a very open agenda, we know roughly where we want to go and roughly how one gets there.

We fly into Lima tomorrow via Atlanta.  We expect to spend a few days in Lima seeing some museums and soaking up the culture and then taking a bus to Cusco.  Tim wanted to fly but the risk of altitude sickness and bedrest once you get there is high and the long bus ride would be eventful and gradual.

Assuming my info is correct we can bus from Lima to Nasca and see some stuff about the lines (but not the lines themselves without getting a charter flight).  From Nasca we take a treacherous but fun journey to Cusco.  Spend a few days in Cusco.

Then we head to Machu Picchu for a few days and take a bus down to Puno and visit Lake Titicaca.  We then head to Juliaca and fly back to Lima to fly back home.

That’s the rough plan.

Now what am I bringing?  Lots of camera, no pda, no computers, and one iPhone.

My Pentax film camera with a 17-35mm, 50mm, and 70-300mm lens.
My StereoRealist 3D film camera.
My new Nikon 12 Megapixel spherical panoramic rig.
My Sony HD camcorder with a wide angle lens and microphone (set to SD)

15 miniDV tapes, 110 rolls of film, 8GB flash card for the digital camera, 3 rechargeable lithium camera batteries for the digital camera, and 2 rechargeable camera batteries for the video camera.

And assorted gadgets.

Hopefully I will get to an Internet Cafe every 2 to 3 days to post more.

For your amusement a picture of the technology pre-packing….

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 20 : The Airport and The Final Tally

I got up on Sat to head to the Airport and on the way I actually got pulled over. The cops were very angry with me for something (probably not seeing them) but I talked them out of the ticket because I was on my way to the Airport.

I got through most of the Airport without incident until I came to the x-ray machine. Since all of my belongings were stolen and I since wasn’t going to be on video after all I had not shaved in 3 weeks and I was looking pretty scruffy. I let them x-ray my film (in the lead lined bags I finally found) and the man at the x-ray monitor looked at the bag then at me and said something in French.

I shrugged that I didn’t understand
and he said “I Liked Lord of the Rings”.
I said “So did I”
And he said “Are you Peter Jackson?”
I told him “No”
He says “Are you sure?”
“Yes” I said “I’m wearing shoes”

I arrived home without any troubles and the final tallies are as follows:

95 Castles
20 Religious Spots
19 Other Places of Interest

In the end I drove 6554 km which is 4008 miles

1-m Paris
1 Chateau Chantily
2 Chateau Pontarme
3 Chateau Raray
4 Chateau d’Aramont
2-t Michel
5 Chateau de Bernicourt
6 Amiens Cathedral
7 Mairie Trie Chateau
8 Old Walls Trie Chateau

3-w Gisors
9 Chateau Gisors
10 Ruin on D14
11 Chateau Gaillard
12 Monet’s Gardens
13 Chateau La Roche-Guyon
14 Chateau de Bizy
15 Ruins of Chateau Robert le Diable
16 Chateau de Guillaume le Conquerant
17 Chateau Ducal

4-r Aunay-Sur-Odon
18 Chateau Fougeres
19 Chateau du Trecesson
20 Dolmen de la Maison-Trouvee
21 Chateau du Crevy
22 Chateau de Josselin (de rohan)
23 Chateau de Chateaubriant

5-f Angers
24 Chateau de Montgeoffroy
25 Chateau de Saumur
26 Chateau de Montsoreau
27 Abbaye Royale de Fontevraud
28 Eglise Saint-Michel
29 Chateau de Chinon
30 Chateau Usse
31 Chateau de Villandry
32 Chateau de la Bourdaisiere

6-s Amboise
33 Chateau du Clos Luce
34 Chateau Royal d’Amboise
35 Chateau de Chaumont-sur-Loire
36 Chateau de Chambord
37 Cesar Tower in Beaugenco
38 Chateau Dunois
39 Tower of St-Firmin
40 Chartres Cathedral
41 Chateau de Sully-sur-Loire

7-su Lassay-sur-Croishe
42 Chateau du Moulin
43 Chateau de Fougeres-sur-Bievre
44 Montrichard Donjon
45 Chateau de Montresor
46 La Corroierie du Liget
47 La Chartreuse du Liget
48 Chateau Logis Royale de Locheg
49 Donjon de Loches
50 Port Royale de Loches
51 Chateau de Preuilly-sur-Claise
52 Chateau Baronnial de Angles-sur-l’Anglin

8-m Niort
53 Donjon de Niort
54 Tour Saint-Nicolas
55 Tour de la Chaine
56 Tour de la Lanterne
57 Porte de Blaye de Bourg-sur-Gironde
58 Chateau du Bouilh
59 The Chair
60 Bridge in Orthez
61 Chateau Moncade
62 The Pyrenees

9-t Sauveterre de Bearn
63 Chateau de Nays
64 Ramparts of Navarrenx
65 La Bastion Des Contre-Mines
66 Chateau de Pau
67 Pyrenees from car
68 Chateau de Foix
69 Ruin on Leychert – Chateau de Roquefixade?

10-w Lavelanet
70 Chateau de Montsegur
71 Fontaine de Fontestorbes
72 Chateau de Puivert
73 Gorges de Galamus
74 Chateau de Peyrepertuse a Duilhac
75 Chateau de Queribus a Cucugnan
76 Fortresse de Salses de Chateau
77 Chateau de Fitou

11-r Outside Beziers
78 Maison Carree
79 Les Arnes de Nimes
80 Fort de Iles du Frioul
81 Chateau d’If

12-f Carpentras
82 La Synagogue de Carpentras
83 La Porte d’Orange
84 Le Pont Saint-Benezet
85 Le Palais des Papes
86 Stone Quarry at Glanum
87 Le Mausolee de Glanum
88 L’Arc Municipal de Glanum
89 Chateau des Baux
90 Les Arnes de Arles
91 Roman Theatre in Arles

13-s Uzes
92 Pont du Gard
93 Caves of Roquefort
94 Bridge
95 Chateau de Severac-le-Chateau
96 Chateau de Calmont d’Olt

14-su Limogne-en-Querco
97 Pont Valentre
98 Ramparts du Chateau de Roc-Amadour
99 Notre Dame de Rocamadour
100 Gouffre de Padirac
101 Chateau de Castlenau-Bretenoux
102 Tour de Cesar de Turenne
103 Tour d’horlorge de Turenne
104 Chateau de Val

15-m Orcines
105 Puy de Dome
106 Ruins of the Temple of Mercury
107 Chateau de Volvic
108 Chateau in Vienne
109 Temple d’Auguste et de Livie
110 Theatre Romain de Vienne
111 Centre Ancien de Romain
112 Grand Theatre Romaine de Lyon
113 Odeon Theatre Romain de Lyon

16-t Outside Macon
114 Theatre Romain de Autun
115 Porte d’Arroux
116 Temple de Janus
117 Porte Saint-Andre
118 Les Telots
119 Chateau de Couches

17-w Ribeauville
120 Ruini of the 3 Chateau
121 Chateau du Haut-Koenigsbourg
122 Chateau de Montmedy
123 Chateau-Fort de Sedan

18-r Riems
124 Notre Dame de Reims
125 Porte Mars
126 Institut de France
127 Hotel National des Invalides
128 Napoleon’s Tomb
129 Eglise du Dome

19-f Paris
130 Sacre Cour
131 Arc de Triomphe de Carrousec
132 Saint Michel Fountain

20-s Paris
133 CDG Airport

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 18-19 : The Last Few Days

It is amazing how much faster the trip went without all the equipment. I did get to see Notre Dame de Reims and the ruined Porte Mars. It was a challenge almost in the middle of a busy intersection on a median strip.

I drove into Paris and found a public parking place near Notre Dame. From previous trips I knew that this was generally the area I wanted to stay in.

I went from hotel to hotel trying to find something reasonable and did manage to find a nice and AIR CONDITIONED room for about 90e a night.

I have been to Paris previously and there are not many things that I had on my list to photography. However, I went on my way to the Hotel National des Invalides I passed the very lovely Institut de France.

The golden Eglise du Dome and Napoleon’s Tombs are really quite amazing to see. And my far are views of them on previous trips really didn’t do them justice.

I got lucky in front of the Hotel de Ville as it flash rained and people scattered from view. For about 1 minute there was no one to be seen and I was able to take a great picture of it.

I had a great night’s sleep (thank you air conditioning) and the next day I went to Sacre Cour (which I had seen before) but decided to climb it (which I had not done before).

Later in the day as I was walking by the Seine I saw a girl crying. When I talked to her she told me it was her last day in Paris from her year abroad and was heading back to Ohio. When I mentioned how I was only gone 3 weeks and missed the states and being able to go the movies she laughed and explained how I could go to see Harry Potter in VO (Version Original) i.e. English verses VF (Version Francia) and I thanked her and ran off to the movies.

I also stopped by the Louvre gift shop and saw the Arc de Triomphe de Carrousel (I wasn’t happy with my previous photo of it) and on the way back to my hotel the Fountain in Saint Michel.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 16-17 : Damn

I had this whole thing typed and my time ran out – it’s the damn euro keyboard.

Anyways – when I left the last Internet Cafe to get my film they where closed for lunch – so I stopped at the crepery next store and got a lovely crepe – creme de marron and chantilly – sweet chestnut paste and whipped cream – anyways – the lady doesn’t speak English and asks where I am from – she then pulls out a map an English tour guide booklet and shows me all the sights in town – the roman theatre – The Port d’Arroux, The ruins of the temple of Janus, The Porte Saint Andre and these twin hills Les Telots – by the time I was done visiting everything my film was ready.

This was the roll of 1600 speed film I shot in the underground gorge and river and several of my 4 second exposures did come out – like 3 – so that was good news.

On the way north I saw the Chateau de Couches and after a hearty dinner and q very long drive I slept in the car in Ribeuville – in the town square with all the Caravans – don’t worry it’s the last night I sleep in the car.

Ribeauville is in France but I think it used to be Germany and it certainly felt like that part of Epcot. On the hill by the city is 3 ruined castles and while I got lost in the forest on a dirt road for several hours – I never got very close.

My next stop was the Chateau de Haut Koenigsbourg – rebuild by Willhelm II which was funny because in the pamphlet next to it they put “The Kaiser”. It was very nice and very rebuilt worth the long drive.

The next long drive was to Sedan and along the way I saw the Chateau de Montmedy.

The Chateau-Fort de Sedan is the largest fortified castles in all of Europe – so it boasts – The inner courtyard was a construction site – I snuck in – and the outside was nice – it rained for 5 minutes and I headed off to Reins.

I found a hotel with a huge deep bathtub for 30e and I’m thrilled.

So here is the thing. Tomorrow morning I see the Cathedral and the roman ruins. That is my entire list.

SO far 6268km – 94 Castles – 16 church like things – 15 interesting things

So…. I’m going to sneak into Paris tomorrow find myself a cheap room for 2 nights and relax – I am on vacation y’know??

I so need to watch TV other than the BBC and listen to people talk English other than the BBC – I want to see Harry Potter!!!

OK I’m done – I might write from Paris…

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 15-16 : Last for a bit….

I got up and went to the Volcano Puy de Dome which has a steep but well paved road to the top. What was insane where the SWARMS of bugs that impaled the car all the way up and persisted to impale everyone as we walked around – it was alike a wall of insects. I survived and saw all the volcanoes in the region as well as the Ruins of the Roman Temple of Mercury.

On the road in Volvic I saw a Chateau which I am calling the Chateau de Volvic until I learn otherwise.

Vienne was a great town – a Chateau on the way In I am told my have been the Archbishops Chateau but I will learn more when I get home. The Temple d’August et de Livie was very amazing – these 2000 year old building that just stand there are kind of neat.

They also had a Theatre Romaine and I walked around there at my leisure. They also had a Centre Ancien a sort of park and gateway in the middle of the city.

After Vienne I went to Lyon and finally found what I was looking for – a parking space. That and the 2 Roman Theatres the small Odean and the large Grand Theatre. Starting the next day they would have events but for now it was open to the public – but not for close inspection because they were ‘setting up’.

Well their security isn’t very good because I managed to photograph the smaller one from above and I walked around the large one and even got on the stage.

Slept in the car at a rest stop in Macon and then visited another very ruined but lovely Roman Theatre in Autun where I am right now waiting for my film.

I then drive to Strasbourg and the French Alps.

See ya soon.

Total so far 5414km- 85 castles – 15 temples/religious things – 15 places of interests.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 11-14 : More…

After my night in the car I went and saw the Maison Carree in Nimes – truly amazing the building is over 2000 years old and has been in continuous use – THE ENTIRE TIME.

Talk about an ROI.

Nimes was a great town. I saw the Roman Arena – Les Arnes in French I also was able to get to a Bank, a Post Office and get lead lined film bags!! My film is safe.

I took a deviation from my plan my skipping Arles (for now) and going to Marseilles which was gorgeous the water of the Mediterranean is SOOO blue. I took a boat trip to the Fort de Iles du Frioul which was really just an excuse to photograph the Chateau d’If which we were not able to stop at due to the rough weather. This was a rough boat trip and we all got wet. Yes this is where the Count of Monte Cristo was imprisoned and they have a special cell I am told inside which is funny since it is s a work of fiction.

I headed north and spent the night in Carpentras – the next day I went to find the 14th century Synagogue there. Not easy since there was a huge open air market. I had a great talk with an Olive vendor who insisted that I not buy Greek olives but the olive de Provence that he made himself. They were good – I told him I wanted something salty and he gave me some garlic olives. I also met a meat vendor selling dry sausages – huge dry beef sticks- he insisted that try every type he had – I even tasted the Donkey one. he wanted 3.5 for 1, 7.50 for 3 or 15.50 for 7 – well I bought 7 (he gave me 8) and I figured I would eat one and send the rest home – till the guy reminded me as I was in line at the post office you can’t mail meat through customs – oops 🙂 well they have provided quite the feast here 🙂 and I am on my last one.

The Synagogue was amazing – they buzzed me in at this fairly plain wood door – this lady handed me a yarmulke and let me walk around – I was the only one there – it was lovely.

On the way out of town I saw La Port D’Orange the old city gates. I love the old city gates.

I headed sounds to Avignon and saw the famous half bridge La Pont Saint Benezet and also Le Palais des Papes – It was a really nice they give everyone these audio guide things and it really helps – people were spending hours pressing buttons and viewing things and I even found myself listening to more of it than expected – its a great place and it was really well put together – they even managed to keep me on the bridge longer than expected with its history and legends and such.

I stopped at Glanum and was going to see the Roman ruins but it was a 45 min to take a 45 min tour in French – instead O saw the Stone Quarry, La Mausolee, and L’Arc Municipal and left.

The Chateau des Baux turned out to be almost nothing – but the multimedia tour and the extreme wind turned it into a long stop – plus they have a great village there where I was able to pick up a fleece cardigan and a knife, spoon, fork thing like the one I had stolen.

I did finally stop in Arles where I saw the Roman Theatre and les Arnes (the big Arena) I was invited to share Spanish Topas with an Australian Couple I met and had a really nice time – then I went off to see the Pont du Gard – which needs to be open to see and visit so I stayed the night in Uzes.

The Pont du Gard is a funny place – they try to sell you this whole ticket package for movies and activities and everything but if you just want to see this amazing architectural wonder – it’s free.

Afterwards I went to the real Roquefort expecting to just buy some cheese and leave but no… it’s a whole experience. You see in the 1800s all of the cheese manufacturers merged into one and there is only 1 Roquefort (with 3 varieties) and they have a whole tour of the caves. Well clearly these people have too much money because they have animated models, and a movie (in multiple languages via headsets) and a slide show and light and sounds and caves filled with cheeses and in the end a gift shop where you buy…cheese.

Well the funny part of this is the English couple in front of me – the guy sound just like Wallace from Wallace and Gromit and kept talking about Stilton and Wensdlydale. Then when I saw he had the English guide he said – well I don’t speak Frog now do I? OY – well during the huge light show that showed how the caves were formed this voice cried out – ‘and the lord said – let there be cheese’ it was my voice and only the English heard me and they laugh and told me that Stilton was the true king of cheeses. A very fun time. He told me about an underground river cruise that I should try and go on.

I did shoot the mountains that form the caves and they are lovely.

As I drove to my next location I saw this enormous bridge that look a mile or so long that bridge a mountain – its the new highway that isn’t opened yet but it was intense looking.

I saw the Chateau de Severac-le-Chateau and the Chateau de Calmont d’Olt which was closed and not in the city I though it was in. They actually fire their catapults and such and daily demonstrations. But alas another trip… I slept the night in Limogne-en-Querco.

I saw the lovely Pont Valentre the bridge that they say is the most photographed thing in France – which is crazy since I have been to the Eiffel tower. It was nice though.

I have to thank my friend Tom for telling me to see Rocamadour – it was this great mountain village with Ramparts and a Nortre Dame Cathedral. It also had an elevator going through the mountain (one up down and one diagonally) so I didn’t have to walk too much.

The underground river and gorge the Gouffre de Padirac was breathtaking. Gets a little scary to take 3 elevators down into a little boat and then walk around this underground gorge and river. I used my 1600 speed film (though no photography was allowed) and I am developing it as I write this.

The Chateau de Castenau-Bretenoux was nice from the outside so I had lunch there and went on to Turenne where I saw the Tour de Cesar a very nice tower that they let me climb to the top of and the Tour d’Holorge which I do believe is currently being lived in.

My Last stop for the day was the Chateadu de Val which was closed. As luck would have it a guy drove up to the gate – opened it – pulled his car through and then came back about 5 minutes later to lock up. You can imagine what I was going during those 5 minutes.

I then spent the night in Ochines.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]

France 2004 – Day 8-10 : A week without the Internet – OY

Well this will be long 🙂 I have been without the Internet for 1 week and it has been driving me Crazy.

When last I wrote I was in La Rochelle heading next to eat cheese to Rochefort. This would have been true had I 1) Spelled it correctly and 2) Had the correct one. More on that later.

I went south from La Rochelle to see a Chateau that didn’t exist instead there was a park commemorating where the castle was and where the put a nice little very non castle building. I did however see the very old Porte dr Blave de Bourge-sur-Gironge.

I did get to see the Chateau du Boulin and then in the middle of a rotary (traffic circle to the Americans) there was a giant wood Chair. HUGE.

I then photographed the bridge in Orthez and the Chateau Moncade on my way into the Pyrenees – and yes I survived driving the Pyrenees in a Twingo – it’s a type of car – look it up.

At the start of the Pyrenees I stayed in Suveterre de Bearn (in the car) where I saw the Chateau de Nays. I saw a really neat town called Navarrenx that had some great Ramparts and La Bastion des Contre-Mines that were very fun to explore.

I then went to Pau which was a crazy city and saw the Chateau de Pau from MANY angles but it was an Australian who gave me a great spot to shoot from.

The Pyrenees are big and the driving was very rough – up in the mountains I saw the Chateau de Foix and I should have stayed in that tourist town for the night but it was early and I went on.

I saw a sign for a hotel and went up this VERY steep mountain side on a road smaller than the car – when I got to the top I saw the outline of what I think is the ruins of the Chateau de Roquefixade I was in Laychert so it might have been – thankfully there was a much nicer road going down.

I did find a hotel in Lavelanet – though I’m told that room 4 is haunted – I was in 14 but still. Had some fun with some English guys – it was funny instead of ragging on me for being American they ended up harassing the inn-keeper for the French NOT getting in the war. I didn’t stick around.

I did get to the Chateau de Montesgur which was on top of a mountain and though it looked fun I was told it was at least an hours hike to the top – and I was tired. So I headed through the mountains till I found the Fountaine de Fontestorbes – a large spring coming out of the mountain leading to an underground river.

At the snack bar – everything has a snack bar- I picked up a butter and cheese sandwich and a postcard showing the roads and castles of the Cathar Pass region of the mountains. It was the Cathars – an offshoot of the Catholicism that had been chased into the mountains (by the Catholics) and there are a lot of their castles here.

I saw the Chatease de Puivert which wasn’t to hard to get to and was very nice – the wind in your face made you realize just how strong the winds get when you get that high up.

I later found out after I drove around this tiny little road with an edge straight down and the other solid mountain that I drove around the Gorges de Galamus (and that most people don’t take that road). Lovely though.

At the Chateau de Peryepertuse de Duilhac I twisted my knee – and I blame the church for it – kidding. I did twist my knee bad and I only saw half the castle which is really on the TIP of a mountain. The wind is what stopped me though not my knee – it really would have been unsafe to climb much higher and I really didn’t want to fall off.

At the Chateau de Queribus a Cucugnan I didn’t even try to go up – the winds were stronger and I was told it was even more perilous – don’t get me wrong I have great photos I just didn’t go inside.

Back on my list I stopped at the Fortresse de Sales de Chateau and I feel horribly guilty – see I found this access road that took me all around the fortress – and from this dirt road I saw the whole thing – yes I shot the entire fortress and never left the car 🙂

A little down the road I saw the Chateau de Fitou and slept in the car outside Beziers.

[Re-posted from my University Blog & Edited 07/01/2011]