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St. Malo and Montmarin Through a Tattered Lens

St. Malo is the port you go to to see Mont St. Michel, but since we’d been there just a few weeks before, we opted to explore St. Malo itself, and the historic Chateau Du Montmarin.

First up was the Chateau, the perfect example of the crisis many old properties in France are going through. Maintaining them is grotesquely expensive, and the old families are struggling to hold onto their estates. There HAS to be an income stream, and they are hard to come by. Opening them up to the public is one way to add income.

This Chateau, although beautiful, was showing the beginning signs of decay which is characteristic of a struggling property. We met the grandson who was technically “in charge,” but having trouble getting buy in from the older generations on the changes that were going to be necessary for their survival. One of his ideas was to open the house up as a “bed and breakfast,” a move his parents and grandparents were resisting. We had a very interesting conversation with him, then were turned loose to explore the property.

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From the Chateau we headed for St. Malo. After a brief tour, we were cut loose to explore on our own.

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I had such a lovely afternoon. After walking all around town, I decided to stop at a creperie for a little snack before returning to the ship. I sat outside on the patio, sipping a glass of wine, filling out post cards and eating my crepe. It was heavenly!

La Maison des Megaliths de Carnac and St. Guston Through a Tattered Lens

Our next stop was the “Stonehenge” of France, an area where there are Stonehenge-like rocks that appear to be ceremonial in nature. It was so odd, because, unlike in England where they are in the middle of a vast field, in France, cottages were built right up to them. It was an amazing sight!

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From there we took the coach to St. Guston, the historic village where Benjamin Franklin stayed when he went to France to attempt to get their aid for the Revolutionary War. Cute place!

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This shop is available. Hmmm. My Favorite Things in France, and we’ll live in the Chateau at La Tour?

 

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On to our next stop!

La Tour Carnet Chateau, Bordeaux – Through a Tattered Lens

Drove through Bordeaux enroute to La Tour Carnet Chateau/Winery. What’s not to love about a city that has so many red doors!?

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As we’ve driven through the countryside in France, I’ve been trying to decide which Chateau I’d like to purchase. This one will do the trick. Moving soon.

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After we left the vineyard, we headed back to town.

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This shot was taken from the coach, and is a little blurry, as you can see. But I LOVE it anyway, so included it.

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Thanks for visiting Bordeaux with me!

 

St. Emilion Through a Tattered Lens

St. Emilion Through a Tattered Lens

Back in France again, this time docked in Bordeaux, a fabulous area for wineries. We had an overnight stay here, with a day trip each day, each with wine tasting at a different winery.

Our first day was spent in St. Emilion, a World Heritage site (we love those!) My camera was so very happy.

Because we were staying overnight, after dinner we went back on shore to wander through Bordeaux, where I fell in love with the Monument aux Girondins Fountain. Be still my heart!

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Notice anything different about this photo? For the very first time, 2 red wines, instead of a red and a white. I told you the trip to Porto was life-changing!

 

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Monument aux Girondins – lots of different views

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I’m pretty much infatuated.

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A gorgeous end to an amazing day.

La Coruna and Bilbao Through a Tattered Lens

We were back in Spain for two more stops, La Coruna and Bilbao, and I’m going to combine the two for this post.

La Coruna had the most darling public square – lots of picture taking happening there!

Bilbao was not one of my favorite stops on the trip, and we had a lot of rain, but we  made the best of it.

Apparently the Guggenheim Museum is the top draw to the city. The architecture was really different but not really my favorite style. None the less, some interesting shots.

In spite of the challenges, I ended up with a feast for the eyes (at least for mine!) I hope you’ll agree!

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Portugal Through a Tattered Lens

As we get down toward the end of the year, and considering my desire to get caught up on posting my travel photos from the year, I’m going to combine our three stops in Portugal, Portimao (Sagros and Lagos,) Lisbon, and Porto – where there was a life-changing event. (More on that in a minute!)

In 1755 Portugal was hit with an enormous earthquake that destroyed much of the architectural history in Lisbon and the surrounding area. There are structures that survived and/or have been restored, but it’s not like most countries in Europe that have lots of buildings pre-dating that time.

Nonetheless, I WAS able to find some things that intrigued me.

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So ya ready for the life-changing part? I’ve always despised red wine. I’m a white wine girl. Always have been. Thought I always would be. The whole rest of the family drinks red wine, but not me. I’d rather drink NyQuil. Seriously. It’s that bad. But I try. Every time we go to a wine tasting, I try. And it’s always the same. Yuck.

So, when we went to the Port Distillery, I expected it to be the same. I’d take the perfunctory sip, and pass the rest off to Mr. Tattered.

Well, guess what? I actually LIKED the port. It was incredibly smooth. Every sip of each of the samples, and I even snuck a couple of extra that no one else was drinking. Heeheehee!

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So, tonight, back on board ship, I ordered some to have with my dessert. And it was sooooo good. It took a few nights to work up the courage to try a straight red wine, but I ultimately did it. And guess what? I don’t LOVE it. But I didn’t hate it. It’s a start.

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And then there were custard natas. I tried them every time I had the chance, and they were incredible. I didn’t have a bad one any where. I’ve even looked up recipes to see if I can make them myself. But I’m thinking maybe that’s not such a good idea. Maybe it’s best they be a lovely travel memory.

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Seville, Spain – Through a Tattered Lens

I’m feeling a little like I’m going a little overboard with vacation photos, but what’s a girl to do? I love my photos and enjoy sharing them. But I’m trying not to be ridiculous, so when I can skip a stop, I do.

We were really looking forward to our visit to Gibraltar, but it was underwhelming. And even with my eye for finding interesting things, I came up dry on this one. We didn’t take the right tour for us. Should we get back there again, we’ll wander on our own. It’s not that there was nothing cool to look at, but the bus just whizzed by too quickly to even get shots.

So next up on our cruise was the port of Cadiz, where we took a coach to Seville. I hadn’t done my homework on this one, and almost blew going to a fabulous place, “Plaza De España.” We stumbled on it as we walked the streets of Seville. It provided hours of photographic yumminess for me!

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After a day of architectural yumminess, it was nice to get back on board, eat dinner, and chill on the balcony, watching another gorgeous sunset as we sailed off to our next destination. I do love cruising.

 

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