Sunday, 19 January 2014

Back in the saddle.

It has been an exciting Christmas/New Year season for AGA and I.  Time passes swiftly when one is having fun.  
A few days before Christmas Day, we hired a car and motored down to Burgundy.  We rented a self-catering cottage in a small village called 'Change'.  This is in the midst of the vineyards and caves of Burgundy but of course, being winter, there were no luscious fields of bright green grapevines to be seen - just brownish sticks.  
The cottage was beautiful:

And contained a lovely old fireplace which we made full use of:

We ate plenty of nice food while we were on hols:
 (If one is in Burgundy (Bourgogne) then one must have at least one meal of Boeuf Bourguignon)

We bought the food for our Christmas Day meal at the local market but I had made the cake in advance to take with us:

There was no snow, but plenty of rain:

But when the grey clouds drifted away and the sun made its brief appearances, Change proved to be a lovely place, even in winter:

With lovely countryside:

Change, is just down the road (and around the corner) from the market town of Beaune.  A lovely town, home to the famous Hotel Dieu:

In the opposite direction is Autun with its atmospheric cathedral:
Medieval houses:

And various Roman ruins, including the so-called Temple of Janus:

 and the largest still existing Roman Theatre in western Europe:

Although it was the Christmas Season and most places were closed, we were able to visit at least one chateau.  In this case it was the Chateau de Sully:
(No photographs were allowed inside but I can you that it was lovely to walk around)

We also went to one of the most beautiful Romanesque Churches I have had the pleasure to visit:  The Abbaye de St Philibert, at Tournus (the weather was starting to pick up a bit):

Inside are some amazing mosaics from the 11th Century, hidden for centuries under the flooring, and only relatively recently recovered:

We also visited Cluny, with its wonderful monastic ruins:

* * * * * *
After a wonderful time in Burgundy, we slowly wended our way home, stopping en route in the Alsace region for a few days:

The main object of this part of our holiday was going to Colmar:

But I must admit that the village of Kaysersbourg pleased us more: 

Kaysersbourg has a delightful castle ruin, set among the vineyards and overlooking the town:

We also visited the Castle of Haut-Koenigsbourg.  This is no longer a ruin, having been restored by Kaiser Wilhelm II while the region was under German rule:
(This is the view from the top)

 Winter in this part of the world was (and remains) quite mild this year.  We did however find some snow:

And we were most fortunate to find and photograph a white stork.  I had never seen one before:

A few days in the Alsace with blue skies and sunny days, and then we were heading back home.  Coming with us were a couple of French late nineteenth century bedside tables, and a mid 18th Century clock case which was so long that it just fitted in to the car.  Even with the hood removed the case had to be pressed up against the rear vision mirror so that we could close the hatch.  This made for an interesting ride I can tell you!

These holidays have given me some nice ideas for future posts.

And now we are back at home, and back at work, and bracing ourselves for an eventful 2014, as we prepare for our journey back to Melbourne.  The current adventure is slowly coming to a close and the new adventure is champing at the bit to begin!