Monday 30 July 2018

Monday Mural - Heaven

On the bus on the way to my husband's granny flat in Middle Cove, on Sydney's northern shores,  I spotted this gigantic mural at the Stanton Library in 234 Miller Street, in the suburb of North Sydney
One day on the way home I got out at the nearby bus stop, photographed it and caught the next bus home.

Entitled "Heaven", it was painted in 1982 by artists Bronwen Bassett, Jenny Pitty and Kate O'Connor as part of the Women and Art Festival, it shows snippets of old Sydney with the Sydney bridge, heritage cottages, families enjoying a picnic, kids dancing...

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks 

Tuesday 24 July 2018

Paris in July - memories of Paris

The Meme Paris in July brought to mind my visits to Paris.
I first visited Paris with my husband in the July of 1984 shortly after we had moved to Braunschweig in northern Germany, where my husband worked on a railway project.

About three months after our move we booked a 6 day bus tour to Paris, and were surprised  to see that we were the only youngsters and also the only non-German speaking passengers on the bus.  Anyway that was actually to our advantage as everyone was quite curious about us and very helpful during our trip.
We stayed at the 3 star Hotel Ordener at 131 Ordener st, on the 17th arrondissement, now known as Hôtel Les Jardins de Montmartre.  The decor looks so much better now...
Our days were mostly free to roam around at our pleasure and we would get together for dinner with the other passengers, as dinner was included in the ticket.

In front of the Church of Sacre Coeur and Eiffel Tower

What I mostly remember about our first visit was that we were quite impressed with the fabulous and grandiose monuments, with the space around the monuments that left plenty of space to photograph them in full and with the very large avenues.
The other highlights were a visit to a show at the Moulin Rouge, a bit naughty to our young and naive minds and a visit to the beautiful gardens and Palace of Versailles.

My husband and I at Versailles

                                                                                 * * * * * * * * * * 

In November 2011, en route to Lisbon I returned to Paris, landing at Charles de Gaulle airport on a very cold  -5C  (23F) day, to meet up with my daughter Karina who was living and working in Paris at the time.
After finishing her Chemical engineering degree in Lisbon, Karina had gone to Nangis, about 80km south west of Paris to work for 6 months on a graduate program with Shell.
After those 6 months she went to Paris to do a specialty course and lived in a tiny 30sqm (322sqf) 6th floor apartment on Rue La Fayette, 10th arrondissement, not far from Gare du Nord. 

Because Karina went to college during the day I did most of the sightseeing on my own, catching the underground at either of the two stations near the apartment - Louis Blanc or Jaures - to the areas I wanted to visit.
I revisited a few of the monuments I already knew, and others that I didn't, such as the Musée Rodin  and the Musée D'Orsay.

The Musée D'Orsay, on the Seine's left bank is housed in the former Gare D'Orsay railway station that was built between 1898 and 1900.
It's an imposing building, no photos were allowed inside the museum, but I saw a lot of people taking photos of the big clock/window on one of the side towers of the building and also sneaked a photo.

The D'Orsay Museum with an elephant statue facing it
The famous window/clock also photographed from inside and other statue a

The Musée Rodin was housed in the former Hotel Biron, that was at some stage put up for sale, but several artists including Auguste Rodin took up residence there until the build was sold to the French Government in 1911.. 
Rodin negotiated to live in the building for the rest of his life and in exchange donated all his works - statues, drawings and antiquities to the State. He died in 1917 and as per his wishes the hotel was opened to the public as a Museum in 1919.
The manicured gardens with lots of rose bushes are also very special and a few of his well known works of art such as "The Thinker" are displayed in the gardens.

Les Invalides to the left and the Eiffel tower in the far end, with the Thinker in the middle of the cone bushes
The Thinker and I, The Kiss (white statue) and Rodin Museum and gardens

And here are the other monuments I visited during my 5 day stay in Paris:

The Louvre, where I was in awe of the talented artists that painted all those masterpieces, and the size of some of the paintings.

The Louvre and the glass Pyramid
Ceilings, paintings and sculptures at the Louvre

I visited the Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris, climbed over 300 steps to reach the Basilica du Sacre Coeur, stood under the Arc de Triomphe at the Place Charles de Gaulle from where 12 avenues radiate from, with a mind boggling amount of traffic flowing by...

Notre Dame Cathedral (top photos), Sacre Coeur Basilica and Arc de Triomphe

Crossing from the Louvre Museum to the other margin I walked across the pedestrian Pont des Arts and still saw the thousands of love locks that tourists would attach to its railings. Due to their weight that was unfortunately ruining the bridge structure, these were removed in 2015.

The Louvre and the Pont des Arts, love locks at the bridge, the Hôtel de Ville (Paris Municipality ofices), Arc du Triomph du Carrousel

On my first visit we didn't climb the Eiffel Tower, but this time I couldn't pass the opportunity, and my daughter and I went up and even though it was hazy, I enjoyed the experience.

A cold winter's day with the tower in the background

Located just a 30 min walk to my daughter's apartment, the 
Galeries Lafayette, an upmarket department store,  deserved an evening visit when we went in to buy macaroons.  I had never seen so many spices like they had at the spice bar, and the macaroon bar was a paradise for anyone with a sweet tooth, with macaroons in every colour.
The store was all set up for Christmas with a giant tree and all the levels decorated and the outside of the building was covered up in lights.

Galeries Lafayette ready for Christmas, the spice bar and the macaroon bar

And I still had time for a quick photo in front of the Moulin Rouge, no naughty visit this time .😇

The famous Moulin Rouge and my daughter's cat Cusca (a 3 legged cat who died in 2015) who used to sit inside the suitcase whenever she packed

The visit didn't end on a high note though...
On my last day in Paris, I was to meet my daughter at an underground station after her class in the late afternoon, where we would catch a bus to Orly Airport  for a flight to Lisbon.
Armed with my suitcase I caught the underground having to descend stairs with it as old stations don't have modern facilities.
Halfway there the train stops and stays there for a while and I can see everyone is wondering what is happening. A few minutes later something is announced over the speakers. At the best of times I don't even understand what they say over those loudspeakers in English, so you can imagine I didn't understand a single word that was said in French!!

The doors opened and everyone started rushing out and I'm there wondering what is going on.
I get out and stop a young man who I thought might speak English and ask what is happening. He tells me someone threw themselves on the line further down and the train can't carry on, so the other alternative is the bus. I tell him I have to get to - Denfert-Rochereau stationand he tells me to follow him across the road and onto the bus.
The bus is now crowded and he's inching forward and I stay at the back as my suitcase doesn't really allow me to move much. I keep on looking at him to see if he signals me where I should get off. Eventually he makes a sign I should get off the next stop.

Phew, I'm out the bus, but I can't see any station on that corner. I go inside a restaurant and ask where the station is, and they indicate that it's across the huge roundabout.
I reach the station, I'm late already and look all over, indoors and outdoors, but I can't find my daughter. I'm in a panic by now and I imagine she's too as we have no way of communicating.
After walking up and down for 10 minutes I approach a lady at the bus kiosk where I see buses departing to Orly. I must be in the right place I thought!!
I ask her if she could call my daughter on her French mobile, she's a bit reluctant at first, but I'm almost crying by now and I think she realizes it's important.

She rings Karina and when I speak to her she says she's at the station. I'm also at the station with the same name, so how come we haven't seen each other?
All of a sudden she figures she's at the Underground/subway station where I was supposed to come out of , while I'm at the RER (regional trains) station of the same name!!
Puzzle solved, she rushed to where I was which was just across the roundabout and we caught the bus to Orly.
Of course we arrived just a few minutes after check-in ended and had to pay a penalty to fly on the next flight 2 hours later.
Karina then contacted my brother in law who was meant to pick us up from the airport in Lisbon to tell him we would be arriving 2 hours later and to tell the family not to wait for us to have dinner either as we would be arriving at 11pm!

Of course I was unimpressed that neither at the restaurant nor at the station where I had asked a couple of people if that was the correct station, no one bothered to mention that there were 2 stations with the same name just 300mt from each other!!

Thanks for joining me for Paris in July. Visit Tamara from Thyme for Tea for more Paris and French-themed posts!

Hope you've enjoyed my memories of Paris and haven't had a similar misadventure like I had in Paris.
Enjoy the rest of the week.

Monday 23 July 2018

Monday Mural - The Fisherman

A mural of a "Fisherman at the Old Port" in the suburb of Le Panier, Marseille, France, taken when we visited in September 2017. 
Painted by Brazilian artist Fabio Cerqueira aka Nhobi. Try and spot the Brazilian flag in the mural...
At the top of the hill is the Basilica Notre Dame de la Garde.

If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.  Once you start looking you find murals everywhere.  
Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds posted this week.  Thanks.

Also joining Paris in July. Visit Tamara for links to more Paris and French-themed posts! 

Friday 20 July 2018

Paris in July - The 3 French Films I loved

In 1989 Alliance Francaise started the French Film Festival in Sydney. Not sure when it started in Perth, but I only became aware of it in the last 5 or 6 years...
The French Film Festival movies are presented over 3 weeks in March/April every year and films are always shown at the Palace chain of cinemas known for their small rooms and international film shows.
In March this year I managed to catch one of the French movies showing at the Luna Leederville, and apparently it was been considered this year's most popular movie.
It happens to also be my favourite of the ones I've seen this year too!

Demain tout commence - with the English title "Two is a family", with the actor Omar Sy playing a reluctant father to a little girl he didn't know he had until his English ex-girlfriend shows up and leaves him with the baby.
He was living a carefree life in the French Riviera and it all changes at that point. He then embarks on a trip to London to find the baby's mother and with the help of a French speaking man he meets at the train station takes on a job as a film stuntman.
After spending a lot of time with the little girl, he learns how to be a father and everything changes for him...
The little girl played by Gloria Colston, born in 2007 to a French mother and American father, DJ Lord Jazz, who is also a hip-hop artist known as DJ Glo, plays a fantastic role in her first movie. 
Omar Sy who I first saw in the film "The Intouchables" and who impressed me then, plays the role to perfection in this movie.

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.


The Intouchables that I also saw during one of the French Festivals a few years ago, went on to win first time actor Omar Sy the "Cesar" - for best actor in 2012, the first time a black actor won that award in France.  He was previously known as a comedian.
The film's global success have also made him an international star with roles in X-Men, Days of Future Past and Jurassic World.

In this movie, based on a true story of a friendship between Philippe, a Parisian millionaire who is quadriplegic since a paragliding accident and Driss, the young street smart ex-con he hires to be his live in carer.
Although from two very different backgrounds the two men bond and form a close relationship through humour and honesty.  A very uplifting film!
            Image result for the intouchables                                      

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.

Not as significant or touching as the two films above I've seen another movie with Omar Sy called Samba, a comedy-drama from 2014.
Here he plays an immigrant from Senegal, Samba Cissé who works as a dish-washer in a Paris hotel and has managed to stay under the radar for a decade. After a bureaucratic slip-up he is detained and ordered to leave France. But he finds an ally in Alice (Charlotte Gainsbourg) an emotionally fragile woman who volunteers at an immigration advocacy center, who fights for him to stay in France.

Image result for samba film

You can watch the trailer here, with English subtitles.


Thanks for joining me for Paris in July. Visit Tamara for links to more Paris and French-themed posts!   Linking with Paris in July.

(film posters and film clips from the net)

Thursday 19 July 2018

Sydney - Food and Friends and last day - Day 5 and 6

My husband had booked a table for 10 at Casa do Benfica Portuguese Restaurant in the suburb of Marrickville (Sydney), an unassuming restaurant in the hall of the  Marrickville tennis club. It seems to be a meeting spot for the Portuguese community, sports people and the local residents who know where to get good food 😋😋. 
So on Sunday 17th June we left home early under the watchful eyes of the neighbour's cat to catch a bus into the city and then a train to Petersham.
Sydney trains are double-decker unlike the Perth ones and their seats are interesting in that they can be turned to face either way depending which way the train is going.

The neighbour's cat watches us, the double decker train and the Marrickville tennis club

We arrived earlier than we needed to, so we had time to stop for a coffee and a Berliner with custard for Jose and a hot chocolate and Portuguese custard tart for myself at the Sweet Belem bakery. Before we left we bought 3 Broas (corn and rye bread loaves) which I love and which I brought to Perth, I already had clients for 2 of them...

Sweet Belem cake shop/cafe, our coffee and hot chocolate and cakes, the Broa (bread) on top of counter

After our pit-stop we caught another bus just around the corner to Marrickville.
As we alighted I saw an interesting market on the side - the Marrickville Organic market at Addison Road.
We meandered through the very interesting market where you could find old books, funky clothing, plants, organic fruit and vegetables, honey, fresh seafood, and there were lots of food stands, tarot reading tent and even mini ponies for kids to ride.

Marrickville organic market
Marrickville organic market. An automated recycling station for bottles and cans which I had never seen before

After leaving the market, with the help of GPS on Jose's mobile, we walked for about 10 minutes until we arrived at the Tennis Club where the restaurant was. On the way were some good looking cute Victorian cottages. 

Victorian terrace houses in Marrickville
We were the first to arrive at the restaurant close to midday, and it was packed with a crowd of elder Spaniards having some kind of celebration, eating to the sound of danceable Spanish music.
Glad our table had been booked as there weren't many tables available, not for 10 people anyway.
I ate baked codfish with potatoes and ended the meal with the sweet Molotoff pudding made with egg whites and caramel sauce.
At the end of our meal, my friend and I still joined some Spanish couples and danced a couple of dances. And believe or not we only left the restaurant at 5,30!! 
One of the guys offered to drive us home which was nice.

Codfish with potatoes, Molotoff pudding, bread, butter and olives, our table and the Spanish crowd

My flight back to Perth was at 5,30pm on Monday 18th June, so I had plenty of time to still do something in Sydney during the day.
In the morning I packed my carry-on suitcase and caught the bus into the city centre.
At the Circular Quay station I asked if they had a storage facility so I could leave my suitcase and walk around unhindered. The lady at the Opal Travel kiosk indicated one across the Passenger Terminal not too far away. For the sum of $9 I left my bag at the Smarte Carte baggage storage, and was asked to pick it up by 4pm.

I walked around the Rocks area - the touristic and historic area established shortly after the colony's formation in 1788 and one of Sydney's most interesting areas in my opinion.
I walked through the Argyle Cut tunnel that gives access to Darling Harbour and Millers Point to climb Observation Hill on the other side of the tunnel and visit Sydney's Observatory. On the other side of the tunnel was Garrison Church, the first military church built in colonial Australia, with the first service in 1844.
A film crew with their big vans parked around the corner was all over the Church's entrance, so I didn't go in.

I climbed Observatory Hill and was surprised at the 180 degree million dollar views from the park over Sydney Harbour and Sydney bridge and Luna Park in Milson's Point. There's also a bandstand and a lot of public art.

Around the corner is the Sydney Observatory built in 1858, serving as a public observatory and a museum with free entry.The central tower features a time ball which signalled the time to ships and to the General Post office in Martin Place, and it's still raised to the top of its post and dropped at 1pm every day. 
There was an exhibition with old photos of some of Sydney's areas and another about the ravages that the weather can wreck with heavy rains that can cause floods, or heat waves that can melt candles like a surrealist painting. 
Sydney Observatory. The time ball is at the bottom of the tower
Before and after photos of Sydney and the Ravages of the weather

When I left the Observatory it had started to rain and I had to rush back to the luggage storage depot.
Under the Argyle Cut bridge there was a bridal couple taking cover from the rain with their photographer.
I picked my bag, walked to Circular Quay station and caught the train to the Domestic Airport, arriving about one a half hours before my flight time, so I sat down and read a book I had taken to read and hadn't read.

Sydney Bridge, The Argyle cut and the bridal couple taking cover from the rain
On the 4,30 hour flight I watched "The Post" a film with Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep, which I enjoyed and then a few episodes of a TV series "The Bold type", light, funny and could be addictive watching.
And so ended my 5 day stay in Sydney.

Casa do Benfica1 Centennial Street, Marrickville, Ph: (02) 9569 8058

Hours: Wed to Sat 11am–3pm, 6pm–9pm, Sun to Tue 12am–3pm
Baggage Storage by Smarte Carte, Shop 43, 1/3 Hickson Rd, The Rocks NSW 2000, Ph: (02) 9247 1709.

Monday 16 July 2018

Monday Mural - The Greengrocer

Another fabulous mural I found by chance in District VII (Jewish quarters) when we were walking to dinner one of the evenings.
The grocery shop, roof repairer, window cleaner - scenes from daily life are portrayed in this gigantic wall that can be found oKlauzál Square (near Dob Street).

From information I read online the lady at the entrance of the grocery shop is actually Zsuzsa néni (Auntie Zsuzsa) from the grocery store Lumen located just a few doors down, and some of the other characters are also based on locals.  
First painted in 2012 by Neopaint Works, the wall later suffered water damage and the artists repainted the mural in 2016 and added new characters to the very popular mural.

Aunty Zsuzsa at the shop's door and an elderly couple on the balcony above
The roof repairer and the window cleaner
The cat on the ledge and the window cleaner

Aunty Zsuzsa and some shoppers

 If you like murals or have a mural you'd like to post, this meme is for you; just follow the Linky steps below.   Be sure to link back to this blog and visit your fellow posters.  Looking forward to your mural finds this week.  Thanks