images

Summer is here

Outdoor furniture light shadow

I’m repeating myself, photo-wise (if there is such a term; light’s different though—chair, too—hah!).

And, in the time I was out getting this photo (and several discarded ones), a darned aggressive mosquito tried to invade my skin. Officially, summer is here, no?!

Just add water

Taxus drama

Apologies for yesterday’s Taxus (genus) shot. With today’s raindrops, I’ve upgraded the image. MUCH more interesting now.

Monadnock escapade

A Mtn monadnock

We took the Foot and Droney to a monadnock south of the big monadnock, that is, Stone Mountain. We picnicked just over the crest in this view, in the shade of a pine tree. Just lovely.

Foot climbs mtn

Here I am taking the Foot to the summit. We could see the tops of a few of the tallest downtown buildings, and several closer watertowers over the treetops from the high point.

Diamorpha AM

This is Diamorpha smallii.

Everything had a thin dusting of yellow pollen, and we could see a distinct pollen line above the current water levels in the puddles.

We have heard Dr. King talking about a mountain repeatedly over the last few days, so maybe that was part of the motivation. The particular destination was because of glowing reports from neighbors C and D, who visited separately during the last week…and the fact that Diamorpha is blooming.

Now we can say: we have been to the mountain.

Morning light

Light dark

I’ve been thinking about the daylight times…not so much the time change, but my inner sense of the rhythm of light, night, and the transition between.

Light wall

Certainly, the daylight arrival portion of the day is different than it was in Paris*. I notice that it’s dark later and burrow into the warm covers and drowse a bit before getting up to make coffee. I’m a slacker!

France’s seasonal time change isn’t until the end of the month, if I have it right.

Looooov(re) light

Louvre ceiling angular

Still discombobulated from the cross-Atlantic time-change. Managing to fall back asleep when I awaken at appropriate France-time, yet feeling rather listless, languid, and lethargic as evening rolls around. Like now…time for another episode of Counterpart anyway.

Louvre ceiling circular

These two images are both of light-above at the Louvre, in a gallery and in a stair? connecting? area. As we took escalators from this floor to that, I distinctly thought…this is a change? I may be wrong, but I felt that there had been a major architectural upgrade to the visitor experience since we last visited.

Tower tour aka tour tour

Twobirds onetour

Enjoying the sunshine from a bench with a stupendous view, the sounds were of a light wind, a mowing crew, and crows. Here’s a crow duo. Such photographic timing!

Blossom tour

Finally, we set off, keeping an eye on the tour. Tower is tour in French.

Backlit birds tour

Aha, tower, backlit, again with birds. The iPhone goes all drama with strong backlighting.

Bride tour

From this bridge, the tower is great background. We saw four bride–photographer groups here. Same time. One group had a Mercedes limo waiting for them, parked illegally.

Isle tour

There’s a narrow island down the Seine, I assume something to do with navigation and bridge engineering…engineering, anyway. Great view upstream of the tower.

Edge tour

We crossed back to “our side” of the river…one glance back at the tower before heading into the side streets back toward “our place.”

Glass bridge

The tower isn’t the only striking architecture here. Loved the tube-mesh surrounding this hobbit-trail.

1912arch

This tilework was in the arch over the main doorway of an elementary school built in 1912. I think the blue tiles (bottom) have faded and clouded with white in the intervening century.

Champs tour

Our home-bound route took us back through the Champs de Mars, so here’s one last look at THAT tower.

Beef tartare

Food pic of the day: beef tartare starter (entrée in French—yes, slightly confusing—also can be used for entrance, that is, place to enter). We had a fancy lunch out…. Total yum. Our tour helped us justify the chocolate-lava dessert, no?

In an amateur way, this post with many photos of the same subject honors Claude Monet’s Rouen Cathedral series….

We Looooov(r)ed

Louvre pyr entry

Back to the Louvre neighborhood to “do” the Louvre…that is, to browse a few galleries. There are three main sections, and we only hit parts of two. The Louvre is huge, and my poor brain can only take in so much.

Caryatids

Bam! First objects: caryatids. They are gigantic. And the ladies’ breasts are at armpit level and consequently look strange…from today’s display angles, maybe not when they high on a building.

Celtic guy

Called Wounded Gaul or Gauloise blessé, (the original of) this statue came from the Acropolis in Athens. It commemorated the victory of Attalus I, king of Pergamum, over Celtic warriors who threatened his territory in what is now Turkey in 200/199BC. This is a Roman copy of one figure from the lost bronze Greek statue group. Love the wild hair.

Aphrodite

Called Aphrodite of Milos and Venus de Milo, this statue of an unknown goddess compels the eye. The aesthetics of the features and pose seem to date it to the 5th C BC; however, the elongated body and the sinuous pose are later—3rd to 1st Cs BC. So says the Louvre‘s specialists.

6th7thC Coptic fabric

This bit of Coptic fabric dates to the 6th/7th C. Always amazed when organics are preserved, so against the odds! The fibers are linen and wool.

Pyxis Islamic date picking

This carved vessel type is a pyxis; a pyxis is cylindrical, with a separate piece as a lid. The earliest are of wood (hence the shape, I assume). This one is of ivory and dates to the late 700s. It is Islamic style, and came from Spain. The figures are picking dates, and this likely symbolized the dynasty of its owner, back in the Levant. So says the Louvre’s specialists.

Hammurabi stela basalt

This scene is atop the famous basalt stela that is carved with Hammurabi’s code and dates to the 18th C BC. It portrays Hammurabi being awarded his royal insignia (aka investiture) by the solar deity Shamash. Hammurabi is holding his hands over his mouth, signaling that he is praying or honoring the deity. Most of the stela is covered almost everywhere with small symbols that are cuneiform script in Akkadian, then the dominant language in Mesopotamia (e.g., Babylonia).

Scary cat

Switching gears: scary cat!

JeanII King France about 1350

This is King John II of France, aka Jean le Bon. He lived from 1319 to 1364. The Louvre’s people note that this is “believed to be the oldest conserved example of an independent portrait since antiquity.” I guess that means in the Western world. Since he isn’t wearing a crown it probably dates to before he ascended the throne in 1350.

Louvre shopping

Okay, enough of the energy-intensive art objects! On to…see the logo to the right? Yup, on to the Apple store in the shopping area underground west of the museum.

Stuffed morels

A time jump, and we entertained! Relatives! Such fun!

I had stuffed morels, very dainty and exceedingly tasty. Thankfully, my SIL had a huge platter of coq au vin that she shared, or I would have been…well, not hungry exactly, but definitely not as sated. Of course, the dessert souffle trio would have helped fill me!

Lovely meeting up for the evening!

In, below, and near streets

Boaring mouth

…trust I won’t be boaring boring today.

Dog painting

Flat dogs only?

Brass lion fountain

Fountain of the brass lions.

Bicycle parking typical

Typical bicycle parking.

Bicycle parking

Atypical bicycle parking.

Street activities

Street activities and overcast over clock tower.

Below street archaeology

Below street activities aka archaeologists in trenches.

Church dome

Church dome.

Bread of life

Bread of life pitch.

Salad simple

Simple salad side, came with my moussaka.

Aix routes

Many of our paths in old Aix. Wiggles and irregularities mostly due to narrowness of streets combined with height of buildings.

El eterno milagro

Fort mucem wheel sea

Having seen opening times listed as 9am (Google), 10am (city website), and nothing (official webpage), we gambled that the gate to the closed-Tuesday fort might be open at 10:45am. Not. And it was overcast and windy. We took sanctuary behind one wall of the church, where the wind was more indirect. Note: no sun, windy, cold. Our destinations for touristing became the fort (beige, left) and the Mucem/MuCEM (black, central).

Fort to fort view CAS

We didn’t spend long in the fort (windy, cold), but the view was terrific—harbor entrance is below me.

Picasso costumes

An exhibition area in the fort was touted as Picasso. Turned out Picasso kinda art-decorated some theater productions, including costumes and backdrops. Kinda like “George Washington slept here.”

Mucem platelets

On to the Mucem, which is covered with this platelet web made of concrete. We went down hallways of nothing, and found a gallery labeled Roman-photo.

Roman photo love

Me, not knowing French and thinking I can sort out obvious words thought some kind of Italian whatever-art. We were there ten minutes before I figured out it means “photo novel.” This is an everyday publication type somewhere between harlequin romance and comic book, which was popular everywhere, including France, Italy, and, here, Spain.

Roman photo panel

At some point, the production involved high-end cameras, and well-known actors, from Sophia Lauren to Brad Pitt (or maybe Pitt’s face was used, but he didn’t pose, kinda like People?)

Roman photo face

The stories seem to have been heavy on human-human interactions, and adult subjects. Some were scary.

Roman photo movie

Others used character-types we’d recognize from other forms of theater.

Movie car

The exhibit included this half-car used for two-shots. Love the receding palm trees. No turns if you want to sustain the driving effect.

DeGaulle documentary

Down another hallway, we found a bunch of de Gaulle documentaries. That’s the big guy speaking. And he was tall, and had a world-class schnozz. The Guru says when he was a kid he got de Gaulle and Jimmy Durante confused.

Bull pottery Crete Greece

On a lower level, we found what seems to have been the permanent display on general Mediterranean history…accent on the people of wine, olives, and cereal agriculture. And bulls…well, more cows, I’d bet.

Jug saddle

Love this wine-jug saddle. Gotta move that product to market, no?

Ottoman Genoa something

Another gallery got into Ottoman-Genoese history. Love all the little scenarios in this painting.

Kheir ed Din Barberousse

In the museum, this guy was nicknamed Barberousse (he died in 1546). The label named him formally Kheir ed-Din. WikiPee in French calls him Khizir Khayr ad-Dîn and Khayr ad-Din. English WikiPee calls him Hayreddin Barbarossa and Barbarossa Hayreddin Pasha, and says his Turkish name was Hızır Hayreddin (Hayrettin) Paşa (among others). Easier to stick to Barberousse/Barbarossa. He was a famous pirate, navy-man, and, along with his brothers, took control of Algiers, then opted to ally with Turkey/the Ottoman empire against the threat of Spain. Confused? Yeah, it’s one of those mixed, complex stories typical of Mediterranean folk for millennia.

As we left the museum, we could feel fine precip. Wet, though, not the snow that nearby areas got today. We walked back to our neighborhood and I sampled a family restaurant’s version of marmite, the fish stew I had two days ago. No garlic-mustard or cheese, so simpler flavors. Except for the two langoustines, no shells. Same dried baguette slices. In this case the soup/broth was served separate from the bowl of mixed seafood species, except for a bit in the seafood bowl; this meant the soup stayed hotter, perfect for ladling at will into the seafood. The flavor of the soup was along the same lines, and I still don’t know exactly what it was/is.

Precip was a bit more intense as we skedaddled down to the bakery to get a quiche snack for later and pain au chocolat for tomorrow with our coffee. Tomorrow is a travel day, and we understand that today’s snow flurries/wintery mix in Aix will become rain for our visit. Oh, yay.

Closed Tuesday

N fort walkway harbor mouth

That’s the headline. As we got to the gate to the bridge to the “north fort” and also the MuCEM (pronounced museum), we saw it was closed and locked. Plan B time.

Plan B was walk down to the harbor front, then go right or north around the base of the fort on this narrow walkway, then work our way north. We started at the place we began to harbor-walk yesterday, but went the opposite direction.

Harbor entrance

We had a good view of the mouth of the harbor and a pedestrian ferry entering, along with a sailboat motoring out.

Ferry exiting

Further along, we could see a large shipping/people/vehicle ferry leaving the port headed across the Mediterranean; crossing is about 20 hours.

Wheel church mucem

We looped around the MuCEM building to a big terrace suitable for water-views; below it is a parking garage. MuCEM is short for Musée des Civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée. Yup, closed. That brought us around to a land-view through the Ferris Wheel. The MuCEM is the black building, far right.

Corsica ferry leaving

Another ferry leaving. The Corsica route also crosses to Algiers, but takes 23 hours.

Ferris wheel up

Walked under the wheel. Did not feel compelled to take a ride. Nor did many other people, although we did see two young girls dragging probably grandma and grandpa toward the ticket office. Let’s get high!

Mall old facade

Working our way north past a ferry dock and passenger and car entrance/exit, looking inland the buildings are not new, and it seems preservationists are making developers preserve the façades. This orange-ish building with the white outlined windows is one end of a large, busy mall in the gutted interior. Can’t tell that from here.

Apple store w view

We did go in a mall on the water side. Also busy, and not just people off the ferries. Went up two levels and presto, an Apple store! With a fantastic view of the Mediterranean!

Terrace view

Little cool for sitting today….

Corsica being loaded

We walked through the store and onto the terrace. The north end was near a Corsica ferry being loaded. We saw semis rolling on.

Cathedral viewSW

Headed inland and passed on the land side of the cathedral. This is the route “home.”

We’re taking it easier today, probably just fine that we didn’t make it a museum day and need to apply our brain cells to thoughtfulness. Teehee!