Irregular Posts; Chaudiere-Appalaches, Quebec

Monday, Sept 2, 2013 Bonjour, “Hunting.” “Again?  Where now?” “South bank of the St Lawrence near Quebec City.  My Chouinard roots are in St Jean Port Joli. ” Above Greenville, Maine the sky really got dark.  The wind whipped whitecaps on Moosehead Lake in Rockwood.  Rain came in torrents, making the road slick.  Off and on, to the border above Jackman, the rains came.  In Quebec, the clouds began to lift, but it didn’t get sunny again.   I had thought of driving country roads down to the St Lawrence looking for rural Canadian scenes.  But with the poor light, it was a straight shot to Lévis across the river from Quebec City. Lévis is a bedroom community for QC.  Near the expressway Rt 20, it is ugly with strip malls and businesses of every type. The drive down to the river goes from ugly to charming.   Down beside the river is Old Lévis where a ferry frequently crosses the river between there and QC. We found a cul-de-sac terrace above the ferry port and watched a gorgeous sunset behind the lights of Frontenac and QC. The scenic “Route des Navigateurs”, Rt 132, follows the south banks of the St Lawrence east beyond Rimouski to the Gaspé.  Originally the land was sectioned off with narrow frontage on the river and farm land or woodland extending far uphill and back towards the south.  This region now has large farms that grow a lot of feed corn, grass/hay, sunflower, alfalfa, and some potatoes and wheat.   Rt 132 is pleasant, with diversions off the route into villages along the river.  The architecture is French...

Irregular Post; Gone Hunting

August 22, 2013; Rockport, ME. “What are you hunting for? It could be the Place or the Elements in the place.” “Hhmmn.  I’ll know when I see it, perhaps when I feel it.”   Sometimes, I will have a sense of what I am looking for.  I have a subject or setting in mind, but never know if I will find it or what else I’ll find. This year has been more of a hunting year than the last few.  January in New Mexico, I knew that there were Sand Hill Cranes and Snow Geese in Bosque Del Apache.  I did not know of the beauty to be found at White Sands or snow in the wind in Santa Fe.  Vermont in May was Spring and wet, that means waterfalls and lush landscape but no Autumn leaves. In July, there was some urban hunting in Paris, Luxembourg, Brugge, and Brussels.  That was “hit and run” shooting with too little time to savor the urban scenery.  August in Connecticut; what would there be in the Litchfield Hills?  Rurals and Covered Bridges.  Next week, if the weather is OK, hunting in northern Maine and Quebec along the St Lawrence.  Might there be a touch of early color in the swamp maples?  Will I find my French ancestor’s grave stone in St Jean Port Joli? What am I really hunting for?    Elements, Elements that converse, Shapes and Textures of elements.  These elements are living there, living somewhere.   Pieces, Pieces taken out of the context, Resonants of the place. I bring them home, inside me, because the elements resonate with me. The camera records...

Irregular Posts; Brussels

Saturday, July 13 Bonjour, The city has a reputation of being boring, at least compared to many other European cities.  Well. If you are not spending time in the EuroUnion section of the city, the reputation is not earned.  We trained from Brugge to Brussels on Wednesday for two days in the city before our flight home. I realized that I didn’t have the proper directions to Ibis “Off Grand Place” as we exited the Central Gare in early afternoon.  I recall that it should have been just across from the exit but there was a tall Marriott hotel there.  Finally after being confused tourists with a map, we found the Ibis hotel just down the hill and around the corner from the Marriott.  It is on a small plaza, Grasmarkt, and one block from the Grand Place.  Our nice room faced another small plaza behind the Ibis, Place d Espagne with a statue of Don Quixote and Sancho Panza in it!!?  No one had an explanation of why it was there.  Tour groups would exit their tour buses parked outside this Place, assemble here, look at the statue, and then follow their guide into Grasmarkt and on the Grand Place. Meg found the tourist bureau on Grand Place, got a map and information .  We decided to concentrate on the several blocks around Grand Place for the day and a half we had.  Interestingly, we had seen another scallop shell embedded in the sidewalk.  Meg had seen one in Brugge as well.  They are symbols of the pilgrims’ route to Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain.  She...

Irregular Posts; Brugge or is it Bruges??

Thursday, July 11 Bonjour, The train brought us from Luxembourg to Brugge via Brussels.  The ticketing in Luxembourg produced an inexpensive hassle-free deal; round trip Luxembourg – Brugge.  We just would not do the final leg of Brussels to Luxembourg; “No problem”.   Many students with camping gear were passengers.  It seems that school had just ended and they celebrating summer break start with camping at rock concerts. Brugge is a UNESCO World Heritage city.  It is a 2 or 3 or 4 PhotogDay city.  We stayed for two nights off Jan Van Eck Square in a small three star Hotel Biskajer run by a couple of young men.  This is a very old part of the town.  The Toll House for the canals is here, as are some VERY OLD houses and trade buildings and one of the oldest wooden ones in the city.  The nearby public square, The Markt, is famous … and loaded with tourists walking in tour groups, walking in small groups and couples, sitting in sidewalk cafes, all surrounded by very old and colorful guild-houses.  For four centuries The Markt in Brugge has been a trade and tourist attraction.  The massive Bell Tower chimes on the quarter hour and tolls the hour from its 47 bell carillon.  Some evenings there is a one hour carillon concert.   The Markt is always busy with buskers and farmers’ markets and tour groups and horse drawn carriages and sidewalk dining and… Nearby narrow streets and alleys are cobbled and crowded with people and zipping bicycles.   Busses and cars can be heard, but the bikes zip and sneak unheard until...

Irregular Posts; Luxembourg

Wednesday July 8, 2013 Bonjour, “PhotogDay”; as in, we spent a photogday in Luxembourg.  This is a period of time where the photographer is there for the two best light periods on either side of night. We arrived by train from Paris via Brussels in early afternoon and checked into Hotel Francois on the plaza.  Lovely as it was surrounded by sidewalk cafes and divided by tall green leafed trees.  In the plaza gazebo, a band was playing traditional Lux band music.  A big tuba glinted and sent sun rays into the trees.  Our room overlooked the plaza and gazebo….but the leaves were in the way for the view. Being that we had not had lunch we settled ourselves at a table across from the gazebo; local beer and LUNCH.  I had a plate of five kinds of pork things (two slices of different textured cooked ham and two kinds of sausages and one meatball that tasted nicely of pork liver) accompanied by a heaping mound of sauerkraut.  This IS NOT French cooking.  Meg’s dish was layered; good thick bread and slice of ham and slice of cheese and two fried eggs sunny-side-up.  And the band played on, then marched around the plaza a couple of times as they exited to the applause from the cafes.  The light was almost beginning to change from the hot “contrasty-white” to the warmer yellow. The city is small.  The Palace of the Grand Duchy is across the street from the shop that sells spoons made of chocolate that you melt into hot water or milk.  Cobbled streets are narrow and hilly.  The...

Irregular Posts; Ile d’Oleron 3

Monday July 8, 2013 on the way to Brugge from Luxembourg. Bonjour, OhYeah! TheJuly4th Wedding Celebration.   I guess you could say this was another French culture and wine and food opportunity.  It WAS the main reason for everyone to be traveling to Ile d’Oleron.  This was the fourth in the Celebration Series; Marriage in the Holmes living room on Thanksgiving Friday evening, Guangzhou Celebration in March for business associates, Andover in April for American friends and family, and France July for the French family and other world travelers (Japan, China, Morocco, Nigeria, Germany, Spain, and France). The ceremony recreation was in Le Chataue d’Oleron, on the Citadel terrace and was done in French by Alice’s brother David wearing a priest’s cassock.  Francoise, Alice’s mother and Meg read poems.  A bee unceremoniously and inappropriately inspected Alice’s wedding dress during the ceremony causing a bit of tension and then laughter. After hor d’oerves and drinks on the terrace, all adjourned to the armory of the Citadel for the evening.   Great food made and catered by L’Albatross.   About six dozen were in attendance.  I would say that all did dress as instructed “Sexy and Sassy”; I had a lively blue shirt and ties under my NEW suit.  Yes I carried it in my backpack with HEAVY dress shoes!   Meg wore a lovely red-black creation with a plunging neck line…in the back. (She had tried it on with the plunge in front…that was way too Sexy and Sassy for her!  The dress is a front to back convertible!!) Music and games and fine food and wine and other beverages of choice.  Music was...