Look What They Did – Vandalism


Look what they did to the Bell Tower in Perth. Criminal, vandalism is what I say

When the tower was first constructed it was surrounded by park land and fountains. Was visible from all directions and from along the shore line.

This is what one travel blogger had to say …….

This is the hallmark of Australian tourism located at Barrack Square of Perth. Bell tower has high glass spires and it is the largest musical instrument in the world. Here, you can also try your hand at the art of ringing bells. The bells in this tower include original bells of St. Martin in the Fields Church, the Parish church of Buckingham Palace in London.

Read more at: https://travel.snydle.com/10-stunning-places-to-see-in-perth.html | The Gypsy’s Passport

Well not anymore. I guess developer money has spoken.

The poor old bell tower is now swamped by highrise buildings. Gone are the open spaces and fountains. Should you venture up the tower, the only real view is directly across the river. The bells are still ringing but are only audible when you are close by. The loud music from the nearby bars tends to drown out the lovely chimes.

This is nothing but commercial vandalism. Perth City should be embarrassed and ashamed.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Moulins to Troyes


Slept well in Le Clos de Bourgogne. Suitably refreshed we had a nice breakfast although it nearly became a disaster when Gerry went to crack open what she thought was a hard boiled egg. The eggs were in fact raw which is why they were sat in a basket by the egg cooker. Luckily a member of staff spotted what Gerry was about to do and interceded, just in time.

Straight after breakfast we set out for our next stop, the delightful town that is Troyes. We had stopped there before, in fact we were returning to the hotel we had stayed at previously.

The drive was event free and we soon arrived the Hotel Relais Saint Jean. Once again we checked in, had a cuppa before heading out for a walk around Troyes.

I wish I could say that everything about Troyes was as good as it had been on our previous visit. The town and our hotel were just as we remembered. Unfortunately, our evening meal was mediocre. We chose to eat in a restaurant that we had used before. Back then the meal was superb, not this time. I had opted for a burger which, according to the menu, was made from boar. It was actually pulled pork. The bun was soggy, caused by the excess liquid in the pulled pork. The menu said home made buns so I was expecting a rustic bread. What I got was a bloody brioche. So sad to say the meal was a sad end to what had been a great day.

Vacances en France – 2018 – La Calsade to Moulins


We awoke to yet another glorious, sunny morning. Needless to say, we were sad to be leaving the gite which had been our home for the last three weeks. Settled up with our host, had to pay an additional 11 euros for electricity. We had a couple of cold days during the first week and during the second week, one of the electric heaters was inadvertantly left on over night. Oh well, it could have been worse.

With our car fully loaded and one last check around the gite, we set off, leaving Badailhac and travelling up through Vic sur Cere to Le Lioran. Here we entered the tunnel. On exit the sun had gone and the temperature , according to the car, was 8 deg C. Everywhere just looked chilly and grey.

We had a trouble free journey to Moulins. The temperature slowly rose and with the sunshine reappearing the day carried on as it had started. We had made good time and checked into our hotel, Le Clos de Bourgogne, early. We had a refreshing cuppa before going for a stroll through the old town.

With the sun setting we made our way back to the hotel where we made a couple of FaceTime calls back to the UK and family. This was the first time we had any WiFi in three weeks. It was so nice to hear and see our daughters and grand-daughters.

We had opted to eat at the hotel but what wasn’t made clear at check-in, was the fact that there was to be no menu choice. Apparently, on Mondays the hotels restaurant only caters for residents. I have pretty broad tastes when it comes to food. However, Gerry is a little more selective. As it happens, we needn’t have worried. The food was very nice. To start there was Pate En-Croute, followed by a Duo of Fish (Salmon and Monkfish?) in a white buttery sauce with vegetables. The dessert was a fruit crumble (Figs, Raspberries and Apple). An unusual ingredient, for us, in the crumble was Mint. It did seem to work but for me the one thing that was missing was the custard.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Disappointment


Our last day at the gite, before heading up through France to visit family in Achiete-le-Grande. Time to tie up a few loose ends.

On numerous occasions, when heading out to visit places of interest, we had passed a sign with the name “Calmejane”. We always referred to it as Call Me Jane. Never having been down that lane we decided to explore. Turns out that the sign post indicated the name of the family that lived at the end of the lane, a dead end or should I perhaps use the French cul-de-sac ?

Similarly, we had passed this field with donkeys. On this occasion we stopped to say hello. They were very friendly and curious. Sad to say they were expecting treats and we had none. They were quick to snort their disgust and soon lost interest in us. They were very cute.

Having disappointed the donkeys, by turning up without any treats, we decided to follow road past the donkey field. Just to see where it led. After a couple of kilometers, we found that it led to a small group of private houses. Another dead end, a cul-de-sac. There were some great views en-route though. Disappointed, we enjoyed the same views on the way back to the donkeys.

The Road To Nowhere

We then drove down to Vic-sur-Cere to get fuel and cash in preparation for our journey north, this being our last day at the gite.

We had cleaned and packed earlier, so we were basically killing time until we could go to a restaurant for an evening meal. Big mistake….

We should have found somewhere to eat at lunch time. Waiting until 19:00 before approaching our restaurant of choice was a huge fail. No only was the restaurant closed but the hotel, Hôtel Restaurant Beauséjour, seemed to be too !!! Our second choice, Casino de Vic Sur Cère, was open but there was a private function in full flow complete with live band. The restaurant itself was shut. Similarly, several other local restaurants were closed. The only viable choice seemed to be to travel into Aurillac, a thirty plus minute drive. Not far but neither of us really wanted to do that. So it was back to the gite.

In anticipation of our departure, we had run our food stocks down. We had bacon, eggs and cheese and bread. So our Sunday meal consisted of eggs and bacon on toasted french baguette. It was actually very good, but was the cheapest sunday meal and I didn’t even get a tip.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Jou sous Monjou and More


At some point, it occurred to us, that we hadn’t explored the local area surrounding La Calsade. So we decided to go off on a bit of a mystery tour, take a look at where the myriad narrow lanes would take us.

Before we set out we were treated to a pretty display of localised mists in the valleys south of the gite.

We chose to follow a road which took off at right angles to the main road through the village. This road was signposted Jou sous Monjou.

Jou sous Monjou turned out to be quite a pretty little village although the church, L’Eglise Notre Dame de L’Assomption, being built like a brick outhouse was very robust. More akin to a wartime blockhouse.


The church in Jou-sous-Monjou is a fine example of Romanesque architecture and offers an exceptional array of sculptural work that has survived the centuries. Typical of the area, the church is built in volcanic stone and has a stone slab roof and a comb bell tower.

http://www.cantal-destination.com/site/cultural-heritage/jou-sous-monjou/l-eglise-notre-dame-de-l-assomption/tourisme-PCUAUV0150000008-2.html

While walking around Jou-sous-Monjou we had become aware of a loud buzzing, especially behind the church. The reason soon became apparent. Outside one of the houses, someone had placed two boxes of something sweet. There were hundreds, if not thousands, of bees. The noise was quite substantial.

The numbers of bees attracted to these two boxes was large enough to create quite a hazard to anyone wanting access to the house.

Continuing on our mystery tour, we stumbled across Chateau Cropieres


From the 13th to the 16th century, the castle was lived in by the Cropières and Montjou families. Today the castle looks very different from how it did when originally built, that is more military and feudal in design. The original fortress was completely transformed to make a main reception room. King Louis XIV had a very beautiful staircase at the front built for his loved one and this can still be admired today.

http://www.auvergne-tourism.com/cultural-heritage/raulhac/chateau-de-cropieres/tourisme-PCUAUV0150000007-2.html

Our further perambulations brought us to the village of Saint-Martin-sous-Vigouroux. Here we explored the village and visited the church.

We had a pleasant, leisurely, lunch at the Hotel Restaurant de la Poste before heading out to further explore the region.

We arrived at Pierrefort but didn’t fancy walking around what appeared to be a fairly large town. So we decided to head back towards the gite, but not before taking a couple of photographs on the outskirts of town.

As we travelled towards the gite, I notice a sign indicating a view point. WE had to go and see what was worth a sign. And, after all, it was only a couple of kilometers …… up a very narrow road. So we made the detour to the viewpoint at Videche. Or should I say, BELVEDÈRE DE VIDÈCHE – SITE PANORAMIQUE


Panoramic view on the Valley of Brezons A bird’s eye view of the Valley of Brezons and the Monts du Cantal. 15 min. film about the fario trout swimming up to the head of the river in the Cirque of Grandval. Open from spring to autumn, depending on weather conditions. A 15 minutes video on the life of trouts in the Brezons river (english version).

http://www.cantal-destination.com/site/countryside-heritage/brezons/belvedere-de-videche/tourisme-PNAAUV015V5031F6-2.html

This was a very “posh” viewpoint. At the end of the path sits a small cabin, with windows, curtains, air-con and a TV showing movies about the valley displayed below.

Stunning views. I can’t help feeling that such a beautiful viewpoint, if installed back in the UK, would have been trashed or even burnt to the ground.

And so it was back down and on to the bottom of the valley via some typically winding mountain roads. Thru Brezons, where we crossed the river and continued home to our gite.

Vacances en France – 2018 – Carlat, Cros Ronesque and Ronesque


During our stay at La Calsade, our voyages out into the French countryside would often take us through the village of Carlat. Each time we would say “We really must visit”. So the decision was made to stop and explore this little village.


Carlat is a commune in the Cantal department in south-central France.
The “Rocher de Carlat” or rock of Carlat situated above the picturesque commune was once the site of one of the most powerful and impenetrable chateaux in all of France. It was the seat of Jacques d’Armagnac, Duke of Nemours and often the center of intrigue, resistance and rebellion against the kings of France. Completely razed by order of the king in 1604 to alleviate the inconvenience of rebellious and ambitious southern relatives, hardly a trace of the chateau remains. The site is now a park, open to visitors and commanding sweeping views of the Carlades.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carlat

Carlat is another of those places where you cannot drive in, unless you are a resident. A car park is provided on the outskirts, and visitors are invited to make the short walk in. There isn’t much to see but it is pretty. There is a school and the children were playing happily in the sunshine. There appeared to be only the one shop and that was closed. So our stay was quite short.

From the gite, part of its fabulous panoramic view, we had discovered that there was a church on top of a flat topped hill (plateau).

Ronesque – Viewed from La Calsade with the aid of a 75-300mm lens

Curiosity decree’d that we had to go search it out. So off we set from Carlat. Cutting across country, driving down narrow, single lane roads and tracks that dropped down into, then climbed back out of the tree covered gorges. Directional decision making was dictated by any sighting we made, as we crested the various hills. Eventually we reached a village, Cros Ronesque, and as we passed through noted the folks sat having lunch outside a local hostlery. That set the juices going. Coming out of the other side of the village we found that we were within spitting distance of the church. Soon we were following a winding lane which took us up to the church. Actually, I think we were supposed to park up about 500 metres below. However, I decided to play the dumb Brit and drive right up to the church. We were the only ones up there so I guess nobody really cared where we parked.


Formed on the site of an old peneplain, then covered as a result of volcanic activity and deeply sculpted by vast valleys, this rock is one of two basalt plateaux in the Carladès (part of the Vic-sur-Cère region). You can drive to a tiny chapel from where the magnificent panoramic view takes in the huge plateau, with the monts de Cantal to the north and the Aubrac mountains to the southeast. Below, to the right, stands the Château de Messilhac, overlooking the Vallée du Goul.

https://travelguide.michelin.com/europe/france/auvergne/cantal/cros-de-ronesque/rocher-de-ronesque

What a great decision it was to search out this place. Fabulous views, 360 degree. Little church, graveyard, cross, as well as North and South orientation tables. We tried to see our gite but should have had the binoculars to hand.

After absorbing the fabulous views it was time for a beer. That bar/restaurant, the Auberge de la Sapiniere, that we had spotted earlier in Cros Ronesque was calling, so we set off back down to the village where we satisfied that craving.

After the beer we headed back to the gite. Amazingly it only took about 10 minutes to get back, whereas it took over an hour to get to the church. It makes a big difference when you know the name of the place you are trying to get to.