Friday, 22 July 2016

July so far - it's been a good 'un!

Well here we are just over the half way point of this lovely summer month.....It's been a lovely month so far, Mr PJP and myself celebrated our 25th Wedding Anniversary on the 6th we chose to go out to lunch with our gorgeous daughters who presented us with a fabulous memorable gift, a book of greetings from family and friends along with photos that have been taken over the years! My eyes started leaking at one point so touching were the words from our loved ones!

We decided after spending a little time choosing my silver gift to go and explore another town that we have wanted to go to for sometime now, Dissay...we were surprised to find a beautiful château with a moat and many turrets, sadly said Chateau was shutto! So I had to make do with many exterior photographs instead!

fyi The Chateau sits on the Clain River. Built in the 15th century by Pierre d'Amboise, bishop of Poitiers, the château was then enlarged in the 18th century. The water-filled moat reflects the château with its high pure white towers. During your visit you will see the inner courtyard with its polygonal angle turret and the chapel with its wonderful Fountain of Mercy 16th century murals. A walk through the garden designed by Le Nôtre takes you along the paths walked by Kings Francis I and Louis XIV who both stayed here

l'eglise de Dissay was also built in the 15th century by Pierre d'Amboise

It was a scorchio day so we decided to pop to the river as highly recommended by our eldest daughter (another water lover!) We didn't really get chance to wander but I did get chance to try out the zoom on that there new camera - it really has a very powerful zoom! I could actually spend more hours than time allows just watching the dashing beautiful blue beauties - these Damsel flies were pretty much non-stop the whole time we were watching - there is something about nature and water! 

Our anniversary however wasn't over we ended up having "high tea" how posh does that sound? Actually read as chocolate muffins and a glass of water because by then the time was flashing by!
We also managed a lovely lunch out the following day with Ma and Pa S who have put up with me as their daughter in law for the last 25 years and they presented us with a gift of a night away in La Rochelle - we had chosen that weekend to go as it seemed the best all round but by now it was all very real - I do tend to get excited and forget that a night away is just that - and not a week like my "overnight" bag suggested!!

Saturday morning dawned - damp and grey - this wasn't expected it was supposed to be sunny, blue skies and a light breeze!! You will be pleased to know dear readers that by the time we arrived at our destination - a hotel on the port - the sun was very out and the skies were very blue!
our picture window!
As it was actually just past lunch time we headed straight into town and found a lovely little resto where you can buy an omlette for under a fiver, or have a salad for around five euro, in fact the drinks bill was higher than our food bill we were on holiday though so we just smiled and enjoyed the food we have never been round this part of La Rochelle before and you can find a few restos just by the Town Hall that is being restored after an electrical fault started a fire back in 2013...

After a light lunch we decided that we would explore a little more we spotted a church spire in the distance and headed off in that general direction - have to say le Chapelle Notre-Dame d'Esperance was a little unusual on the outside - the amazing spire was just the start - the church is also attached to surrounding houses, the inside however was pretty stunning! The colours of the painted alters and stained glass windows were so pretty and as always the cool, calm feeling a church gives gave us the opportunity to enjoy a moment or two of admiring!

On the way back to the port we hit the market - which was just in the process of packing up but we really couldn't resist a punnet of Cherries and a couple of nectarines....
 We had decided that we would be taking a boat trip out to Fort Boyard we have been wanting to do this since living here but it was always a little pricey for a family ticket so it was always a no-no, however my parents had given us some "treat money" as well soo.....well I am sure you can guess where we went that afternoon....the weather was glorious the breeze was just right (for burning an English rose!) but we loved the trip! View to the Clock Tower from the boat...

There's so much to see on the way to Fort Boyard, firstly the huge amount of boats from the little sailing school ones to the yachts with their billowing sails....a great view of La Rochelle and the set up for the forthcoming "FrancoFolies" and then out to can see how small Ilê de Ré actually is and in the distance we could see the Lighthouse at the end of Ilê d'Oleron plus I managed to zoom into the old lighthouse at sea!!

Fort Boyard arrived into our view and I swear the boat moved as everyone stood up - fortunately the Pilot did an around about turn so that both sides could see it without tipping over!

We then made our way across to Ilê d'Aix on of the smaller islands - where very few cars get to drive as it's mostly feet that do the work, either by pedal power or by walking! It looked lovely and I have to say we are very tempted to go back and spend the day there with the bikes! 

Then it was back to La Rochelle but not without me getting a proper view of the Old Wooden Lighthouse - another structure that has intrigued me each time we visit! I would love to have got that much closer but to do that - might have to go under sail ;)

SO there our boat ride ended - we'd had a fab two hours enjoying ourselves!

Of course it doesn't end there - we had a fab meal out that evening, a night time ride on the Ferris Wheel and a nightcap by the harbour then a walk around the long way back to our hotel room!

SUNDAY 10th...
Woke bright and early to the sound of...well nothing really the double glazing was pretty effective! However did spot all the yachts leaving the harbour as their weekend of racing was over as well! We had a very enjoyable breakfast on the balcony watching the world go by and then it was off to cram in a few more sights - this time by bicycle not our but the hire ones...and boy are they interesting!!

You can hire these Yello bikes for a couple of hours or for the day - so we split it and went for 7 hours knowing we could then take our time and it didn't matter if we got lost ('cos as you know - we do get lost quite a bit!) SO with a map and directions to the coastal path - we were off...well sort of, boy was it wobbly to start....I put it down to a very low saddle and handlebars - which we rectified promptly but still it was very strange not like my lovely bike at all!! Saddles were comfy, one gear to worry about and thin tyres!! Still we managed to clock up 17 kms whilst out and had a lovely coastal ride - something you don't often get!

We headed back into town, found another lovely resto for our lunch and then walked it off along the new sea wall that has been built recently! Had we thought about it - we would have done that by bike!! Still it was lovely watching the yachts go in and out and there were some rather lovely ones that passed us!

So there's our mini break - and we fitted in so much - but there's so much more to still see and do hopefully we will manage before our 30th anniversary ;) 

Thank you for reading and if you wish to see more photographs please do head over to my Facebook Page Life through the Lens

Thursday, 30 June 2016

When Work leads you to Temptation - le Boute du Monde and beyond!

The chance to go out whilst Mr PJP meets with a new client - yes please, says I...haven't done that for could I not go - a chance to explore, take photographs, use new camera, and spend time with my wonderful husband! A few hours later, lots of talking (Me) and not much exploring around the lovely little town in the middle of nowhere but somewhere in dept. 17 (Me) he did lots and left a very happy client. Realising we weren't as near to our first choice Rochefort to visit we had a decision to make - where to eat our picnic - place found and after a bite to eat of a very lovely cauliflower tabbouleh at a very chilly aire - it was late in the day by now - so what did he do? He took the turning to the Ilê d' was nearer to us at that time than going home, honestly...
Soon to be Sunflower field - we spotted ONE starting to bloom!

We started at Château d'oleron (wrong turning taken) so we decided to park up and have a quick look around anyway but then the word Ice-cream popped out of my mouth and there's only one place for that the other end of the Island - we did however see some Artisinale cabanes which we should go back and peruse one day!
such a pretty had carriages as well as these lovely horses! 

Portside at Chateau d'Oleron you can see the Boats laden with the empty nets ready for Moules and Oysters

I actually need this in my garden :)

We flew around and after a few photographs off we went 22kms up the road to le Boute du Monde not only does it have the best (in our opinion) choices for Ice Cream it is peaceful but busy with people exploring, it's always windy so you get the most amazing waves to watch in winter and sometimes in Summer if it's a very stormy day... the wind was a tad blowy, the skies weren't as blue as they could have been but it was lovely!!

Here we are - our place - feels so right being here!
finally giving my birthday present the chance to show me what it could do - and I am impressed, I have never had a zoom that could show this much detail on the old Lighthouse!

looking up to the top of the Phare (light house) 

Looking to the sea from the lighthouse - full zoom!

a path we have not walked along before - but glad we found it!


Lots of talking and lots of picture taking and I admit lots of selfies but some days  you just have to - that's the memories right there or just that I am really very fussy and it has to be just right! Good job I don't worry about what the hair does though, beyond windblown.....!

Onwards ever onwards, well not quite but another stop before we hit the road for home we enjoy the sea for a bit longer I just love this beach - we have seen it calm and tranquil on a hot summers day, wild, wet and windy on a cold Winters day and obviously windy and chilly on a mildly warm Summers day (not exaggerating it was 16 degrees!) and yet we can't come here without another stop.......

another reason I love it here - the seagulls, I miss them!

We can never come to the Ilê d'Oleron and not go to our other most favourite place - that of Port Cotinière here is where Mr PJP has to sit and sup his Grimbergen he says there is only one place to enjoy it properly and as it's only a couple of times a year, simply put - has to be done! So, we hit Le Gaité for refreshments! 

Grimbergen and Badoit at the port that we favour most on the Island

I cannot resist a posing seagull and this one was very good - several poses later and I am a happy lady not sure the seagull was - I am sure he expected some sort of payment in food!!

By now it was getting late and we were a tad peckish a fish supper at a little resto we found by accident (read we never have looked down that lane before now!) We have very rarely eaten before leaving - not sure why timings normally -get home for the dog etc.....I think we were feeling a tad rebellious though - it's been a long time since we have had the chance to eat out call it a date night if you want or hunger and not wanting to eat at very silly o'clock by the time we got home!

SO we did the very considered menu perusal thing that everyone seems to do....what to eat, what to eat...was the question, Rob thought he had nearly got me in one of the restos until my hawk eyes spotted a little shop but no it wasn't it was another little side lane and there were off we went down to the board to see if there was anything we fancied on there! La Sardiniere is lovely outside eating on a lovely warm evening would have been perfect - clearly we are not so hardened to this chilliness so opted for indoors!
In the end I decided on "Bar" (Sea Bass) served with vegetables (could have had rice as it was part o the plat but that's not for me) It was delish - served with lemons and cooked to perfection on the griddle, the vegetables were courgette and carrot ribbons with tomato - I couldn't have been happier! Rob went for Fish and Chips, the chips were divine (yes I had a couple - how could I not taste tests are obligatory) and the batter was very light and crispy! I even had a very fresh cup of mint tea made for me..... The young waitress was lovely, very attentive and got our English humour - thankfully!! We chose the right place totally to finish off our much deserved few hours off!
PJ's Bar et Legumes

Fish et Chips
Back to the car and another au revoir to the port...with a few Seagull photos to keep me going...

I am looking forward to our next coastal outing - lots of photographs will be taken it's going to be a good one ;)

Thank you for reading I hope you have enjoyed my "Life through the Lens" photographs - mostly they were taken using the Canon Powershot SX710 HS which I am still finding my way around - I am superly impressed by the 30x zoom and even in the wind it kept a steady photograph which I was happy about!

For more photographs of the Ilê d'Oleron please go to my "Life through the Lens" facebook page where there are a few more to view :)