Barcelona in Black and White

Kentmere 100PAN

My film is finally processed and the results are in. Except for the roll that’s still in the camera. And I think I lost one somewhere. And some of them I shot with my phone and turned B&W later. Let’s get going.

Kentmere 100PAN

Yes, here we are in Barcelona at the entrance of the world-famous Sagrada Familia. Yes, I see a man murdering a baby, immortalised in stone and an underdressed chap about to enter this house of God. But that’s OK, it’s Tuesday so he needn’t need his Sunday best.

Kentmere 100PAN

As you can see, it’s ludicrously overdetailed. You’ve got to hand it to the Catholic Church for the predication for decoration in the teeth of taste but my personal theory is that the stonemasons must have been paid by the hour.

Kentmere 100PAN

See? This is on the other side and there’s a cubist motif. Clearly these masons were paid by the job.

To visit the big Gaudi church, the beating heart of Barcelona, one should book ahead. You need to book a slot on a particular time and date and not be late. I recommend paying the extra money to go up a tower as it’s the only place to escape the Instagram creators who are hogging the ground floor. We paid EUR36. Each.

Kentmere 100PAN

The view is pretty good though.

But, how did we get here? How do Sachie and I find ourselves overlooking the city of Barcelona, on a Tuesday? The thing is, we’d already got a good look at Barcelona’s premier tourist attraction.

Lomo Earl Gray 100

Kind of pretty, isn’t it? Here’s another look.

Lomo Earl Gray 100
Lomo Earl Gray 100

One can book a two-hour block at a hotel rooftop bar with this excellent view of the Sagrada Familiar. They’ll let you stay longer as long as you keep buying drinks. We had a wonderful sunny afternoon.

Lomo Earl Gray 100


Pixel 6 Phone

You have to book and I can’t tell you how as our friends did it for us but the hotel is the Sercotel Rosellón. Definitely worth a visit as the view is fabulous. We could have spent hours up there, in fact, we did.

Our first view of Gaudi’s magnificent erection was from our hotel room window, not to brag, but here’s a much better view.

Kodak 400 TMAX

If you’ve been there before you may know we are at Turó de la Rovira which Mr Google informs me translates from the Catalan for Rovira Hill. It’s otherwise known as Battery Hill because there was an anti-aircraft emplacement sited here during the civil war. A good spot as it gives commanding views of the whole city.

It’s typical for the locals to venture up with a bottle of wine to enjoy the sunset. That sounded like a terribly romantic way to enjoy our first evening in the city so we bought a bottle of cava, some plastic champagne flutes and got a taxi up the hill. First warning was a lady in a vest wouldn’t let the car go more than halfway up.

Kodak 400 TMAX

It was a long weekend and the first nice Saturday for a month and the peak was packed with hip young people, not entirely unlike ourselves. The trouble is the fuzz turned up before we could even pop the cork on our first bottle of cava for the trip. About five rozzers turned up to tell everyone the party was over and to “Vamoose!” I thought it was pretty cool that we’d only been in the country about five hours before getting in trouble with the jacks but the old man in me thought it was a good idea as it was very crowded and only a matter of time before somebody fell over and hurt themselves.

The next morning I was up at 6am for an excursion we had arranged with Mrs Sachie’s local friends. Turns out he slept in so we went to Parc del Laberint d’Horta instead, on the subway.

Pixel 6 Phone
Kodak 400 TMAX

The gardens, in the English style, used to be part of the estate for a rich fellow and there’s a big house on the site that was once grand and is now a shell. It’s being restored but the gardens are in much better nick.

Kodak 400 TMAX

The highlight was and honest-to-god hedge maze. I have never had a go at one myself and was eagerly anticipating freezing to death in it like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, even though I’m a Danny. I was crap at the maze and it looks like I wasn’t the first as there was evidence that some people had just pushed through the hedge at some points. The photograph above is at the end. Mrs Sachie was kind enough to lead us out.

Kodak 400 TMAX

While I thought I was pretty old school for capturing the scene on classic black and white celluloid this lass was using oils. Here’s a better view of the maze.

Kodak 400 TMAX
Kodak 400 TMAX
Kodak 400 TMAX
Kodak 400 TMAX
Kodak 400 TMAX

It’s after the park that we went to the rooftop bar. The next day, a Monday and Catalonian independence day we went on our excursion to Girona. Now, if there’s one way I could describe Girona it would be ‘Fucking Awesome!’, pardon my Spanish Catalan. The walk from the train station takes one through the newer parts of town.

Kentmere 100PAN
Kentmere 100PAN
Pixel 6 phone
Pixel 6 phone
Pixel 6 phone
Pixel 6 phone
Pixel 6 phone

Yep, pretty much all gross 20th-century consumerism. Tourist trash. Actually this part of town is quite charming and beloved of cyclists. Lance Armstrong used to live here and left a testicle, apparently. It has a river.

Kentmere 100PAN

The river has otters living in it, in town, where this photo was taken. It was very cool. Incidentally, this photograph was taken from a bridge.

Kentmere 100PAN

It’s just a little footbridge but it was designed by our old friend Gustave Eiffel, of Budapest railway station fame. However, the real gold is in the old part of town. And when I say old, I mean medieval, or even older.

Kentmere 100PAN

When I say old I mean Roman times. I expect there was a settlement before that but history starts with the Roman Empire for many people so that’s good for me. There is a church that used to be a Roman temple.

Kentmere 100PAN

A lot of people make a fuss about the stairs.

Kentmere 100PAN

They are impressive but apparently they played a leading role in a Game of Thrones episode. Later, walking about, I did get the feeling that I was in some kind of fantasy film of history flic. That’s because this is where they film them.

Kentmere 100PAN

Looks nice.

Kentmere 100PAN

The basilica was very impressive but its museum was the real winner, we invested heavily in gift-shop merch of the Creation Tapestry, but more on that another day. We notice that the ticket also got us entry to the town cathedral.

Kentmere 100PAN

It’s pretty nice too.

Kentmere 100PAN

This post is about shooting on B&W film and I have a bunch of other shots, mostly of stone stairs and walls but, by Christ, my camera is heavy. It’s made of magnesium but you could hammer nails with it because in the 60s they made things properly. But it’s time for a beer and a feed.

Kentmere 100PAN

Not Gothic vaults but they’ll have to do for lunch. At 4pm.

That’s it for this entry. There are more photos to come but I’ll have to get them processed. Stay tuned and I’ll link a gallery of my colour shots here once I get it done.

Bangkok from Above

Sachie and I recently spent a long weekend in Phuket. I got a window seat at the back of the plane and, being a daytime flight, a pretty good view.

We had stayed at Miss Sachie’s resort, Marriott Mai Khao Beach Club, and had a lovely time. You can’t quite see it in the photo below but you can see Marriott Phuket Beach Club if you know where to look.

Enough Phuket, we are now approaching Bangkok. This flight was to Don Mueang so we got a good look at the city.

Central Bangkok and the Chao Praya.
Koh Kret.
Another look at Koh Kret.

Here’s a look at the world’s largest ‘Buddhist’ temple, Wat Dhammakaya. It’s the home of a megachurch-style sect that apparently exists to solicit donations and build enormous monuments.

And as our wheels touch down that’s the end of another trip. Now it’s time to collect our bags and line up for a ride in a 20-year old, clapped out Corolla at the taxi queue. Back in Bangkok indeed.

Dan Went down to Georgia: Day II

Day two and we are checking out of the hotel and in the car to Telavi. A quick word about getting around in Georgia: Bolt. There’s taxis and busses and trains and so on, even a subway, but Bolt is cheap and good. We took one from Tbilisi to Telavi, a two-hour drive, for 133 Lari (or “Larrys” as I called them) or about 50 bucks. I guess there’s a bus that’s cheaper but we’re only around for a week so no time to lose and the ride was spectacular.

I’m afraid you can’t see the sign very well but it was raining and the car was going fast but that’s the sign for George Bush Boulevard. He was a popular chap in Georgia at one time, helping them get a bit closer to NATO membership or something. Didn’t do them much good when Russia invaded though.

The countryside reminded me of my native country Victoria, rolling green pastureland. The difference is that they don’t have paddocks or fences, I guess the sheep just go wherever. Our driver took the ‘windy’ route. That is, it’s a twisty road (and was windy too) and ascended over a pass, quite a high one. We did stop at the top, which was high enough for my ears to pop but I don’t have any photos as we were in the clouds.

Telavi is a nice regional centre in the wine country. We stayed at the Holiday Inn, here’s the view from our room:

The hotel came with a dog, which was nice. Note the ear tag to show this chap hasn’t got rabies.

Telavi comes with its own castle ruin. There’s a statue of the local lord on a horse and bunch of walls.

Georgia is in a part of the world where you need stout fortifications. According to Wikipedia, Telavi boasts fortifications from four distinct periods, we only saw this one.

Here’s the chap on his horse.
Here is his house.
Looks like the local youth have political stirrings, but I don’t think that’s the Banksy we know. Is it important that the graffiti is in English? Perhaps, but it doesn’t look like much fun doing graffiti in Georgian script.

The trouble is that, Telavi is a bit shit. We checked out the market and it puts me in the mind of Cambodia. Luckily there was a couple of fancy restaurants next door to the hotel. Cue Sachie’s introduction to Cha Cha.

Yep, Georgia may be the home of wine but they make ‘cha cha’ with the leftovers. It can be most closely related to grappa and is the firewater that’s made from the leavings from winemaking. Needless to say, we slept well.

Next day was sunny.

Telavi may have a great nightlife but I wouldn’t know because we had an early start the next day — winery tour. We hired a driver by the name of Mamuka a couple of years ago but the trip got postponed due to covid. Now we had him behind the wheel for the whole day, ferrying us from winery to winery. But first, culture.

Alexander Chavchavadze's house

Alexander Chavchavadze used to live here. He was an imperial official and an admired poet, so they gave him this nice house. Not sure why it’s out here in the middle of nowhere, many hours from the city but it is set in lovely grounds. Inside is well preserved but I can’t show you as you’re not allowed to take photographs.

Nothing to stop you peeking in the windows though.

The house is a fine example of Caucasian/Russian imperial architecture and they have a scriptorium that has stunning, very old manuscripts on display. But this isn’t a history tour and the only culture we were interested in is yeast in a wine vat.

No more fucking about.

Do you about traditional Georgian wine? No? Well listen carefully, pleb. The Georgians claim that they’ve been fermenting grapes for 8,000 years. They sold wine to the Romans and everyone else before and since. Their method is unique: they bury massive clay pots up to the neck in soil, crush up the grapes and toss it all in, seal it up and wait a few months. Then it’s tapping time and they use a big dipper to get the wine out. Wine may be moved to other pots above or below ground for maturation but the basic method is: hole + grapes + time = wine.

After you get the wine out you send your cousin into the pot to clean it out, and to make the afore-mentioned cha-cha. The chap in the pot is asked to sing while he works so you can tell when he passes out from the fumes. Maybe the tie a rope around his waist as well?

Snacks, no drinking on an empty stomach.

So the first winery sat us in the garden and started pulling corks. This winery, like most in Georgia, produce wine using traditional methods as well as what they call the ‘European method’. The traditional method retains skins, stems, dirt, old bottle tops and someone’s glasses that they’re probably looking for throughout the fermentation process, proper tough-guy wine. Whereas under the poofy ‘European method’ they take that stuff out at some point. The result is that traditional wines are heavy with tannins and rich, complex flavours (turpentine? paint stripper?) and the stainless-steel vat club are lighter and closer to what’s expected by the international palate. The good news is that Georgia takes an innovative approach to both, helped along by their massive menu of grape varieties. Have a look at the awards plastering the walls of this second winery.

They use the minor ones as toilet paper in the bathrooms, now that’s class!

We did buy bottles at each winery, in this one we picked up one of ‘orange’ wine. Yep, there’s white, red and orange in Georgia and it really does have an orange hue. I really wanted the orange one we tasted as it is an excellent example of stony or flinty flavours in a wine that we so rarely see in our new-world wines.

See? Orange.

They also have a fine cha-cha, 99% guaranteed not to make you blind or spontaneously combust. I believe these are bohemian glasses but I don’t really care.

I assume that by this time we were due lunch but for the life of me I can’t remember eating anything or where it was. Miss Sachie informs me that we did in fact dine at a winery at which we were the only guests and was mostly under construction. Oh well.

Our next stop was the party house, also known as the Numisi Cellar Museum. Here’s the cellar:

Let’s get this out of the way.

The museum part refers to the sizable collection of soviet-era appliances, like radios, TVs and so on. Some fantastic typewriters.

People born after 1970 won’t know what this is. But back in the day you would be the most popular family in the neighbourhood.
This is where you get the horn.

It was at this place that we first got a good look at the Qvevris, the earthenware pots in which the wine is made:

The fun is inside.

I’m not sure of these were in use at the time but I don’t think so. After a look around we were invited to a vaulted and semi-sunken hall with a fine fireplace at one end. On the table we found a jug of wine, plenty of cha-cha and some salty bread and cheese.

Miss Sachie and I are big drinkers and lovers of cheese. Perfect! The Georgian cheese is salty and full of bubbles so with salty bread they demand a whistle-wetter. Oh dear, the red is a bit sweet, better try the cha-cha.

Well, that was enough for me. The kerosine cha-cha sat in my stomach like an old truck-tyre and put me off the idea of putting anything else in there. The museum would be magnificent with a tour bus full of people, all necking sweet wine and cheap moonshine next to a roaring fire, they even have a duck pond outside to vomit into. Sadly, it was just the two of us, but we did our best to get into the spirit.

Get hammered and play dressups.

This rather finished us for the day and we were unable to enjoy drinks at the next stop, which was a shame because this was the place where you can drink right out of the Qvevri, with a dipper of course.

You can drink out of this too, if you are insane.

It was a shame as this was a very nice, small winery that looked great in the late-afternoon sunlight. They were even making some of Georgia’s favourite treat:

No, it’s not poo on a string, that’s churchkela, nuts covered in grape juice thickened with flour. The string is dipped in the mix, left to dry and dipped again like you’re making a candle. The result is delicious and cheap. We didn’t get any at this stop but stocked up back in Tbilisi.

By now Mamuka was warming to us a bit. He normally drives around tourists and his English is pretty good but Covid had done its work on the Georgian tourism market and he was topping up his business by taking on some side work by collecting coins from charitable donation boxes around the countryside. He is concerned that he’s carrying around a lot of money and the company won’t give him a gun to protect himself from bandits. I worked out that he’d be carrying at most around $500 so if he needs a gun to stop people hijacking him on the road things must be a bit grim in country Georgia. Not sure how that compares to US-Georgia but I expect someone may shoot you for $500 in change there too.

Now the sun was getting low and we couldn’t drink any more. But no! There was the mountain village of Sighaghi, a charming hamlet of hills and steep driveways. It has a wall.

There’s a wonderful view of the snow-capped Caucus mountains there and it really is a beautiful part of the world. Really lets you know that you’re in Europe. Being a lad from country Victoria we don’t have old castles or interesting ruins, although to be fair I’ve seen cave paintings tens of thousands of years old there, but it’s not the same.

Being Covid-times the place was very quiet but there are signs that this was once a bustling backpacker-colony.

See that shop through the gate? They sell tourist nick-nacks and socks. Wonderful socks displayed up and down the wall. I bought some off the old lady knitting in the doorway next to the shop and she sold me the scratchiest, itchiest, hardest woollen socks have have ever worn in my life. Turns out she lives next to the shop and has nothing to do with it. Down the road is carpet-mart.

Those ones at the top don’t look local.

It’s a beautiful and ancient town and I’m so glad that we could visit, I’d like to go and stay there one day.

Fucking awesome.

Time to go home. It was proper dark now and the roads were windy and long. It was about now that Mamuka regaled us with tales of countryside living, of drinking Cha-Cha in winter but mostly about his recent divorce and how much he misses his daughter. The newly divorced man is prone to explaining, in excruciating detail, the circumstances of his breakup. I know this because I have been that man. Can’t blame the chap, we’re all prone to it but as I have my current main squeeze in the back passenger seat with me so I can’t top his story or tell him to take a teaspoon of cement and harden the fuck up.

We’d brought some gifts from Thailand for him, being decent folk (well Sachie is). Somehow we gave them to him before getting dropped off and he stopped where his daughter lives so he could give them to her. He’s a very decent bloke and a generous one as well. I wish him all the best and hope to see him next time we visit.

Mamuka dropped us off at the Holiday Inn and we were completely rooted and went to bed. Thus ends part II.

Dan Went down to Georgia: Day I

Back in May, the lady and I went to Georgia. No, not the Peach State, in the US of A. The one in the Caucasus, next to Russia. Of course, May being close to February, the war in Ukraine was fresh in most minds and my mother was very concerned that we would be in danger. So it was easy to assure her that we’d be quite safe from the Russian army as they had already invaded Georgia, back in 2008, and they were now busy further north.

Georgia is a small country, there are only about four million Georgians, but they have a long history. They have their own wacky language and even wackier alphabet, a strong literary tradition, a fierce sense of independence and an 8,000-year long wine tradition. We, of course, went for the wine.

They have a zillion varieties of grape that nobody has ever heard of as well.

The flight is done and we have been picked up by the hotel. Let’s check in.

Class hey? This flophouse started as the Hotel Majestic, back in 1915, and has played host to the famous and infamous over its life, also serving as WWI hospital, union hall and a cinema. There is a parade of notables who have stayed here but the only one I remember is Margret Thatcher who must have come for a dirty weekend or something. Speaking of which…

The room was very nice, a classic. I love old apartments, hotels and so on, but what’s with the big, hemispherical mirror on the bedhead? I puzzled over this for many minutes before concluding that it’s so the people operating the camera behind it can get a better angle. Nice. Let’s go get breakfast.

Ahhh, nothing like a champagne breakfast. Sorry it’s a bit blurry but we’re never our best first thing in the morning. Luckily there’s a healthy alternative.

Yes, that’s one’s blurry too. They do actually serve food and it was good. Not good enough to photograph but good. One welcome surprise was a big bowl of fresh strawberries. In Bangkok they’re big and tasteless but these were small, sweet and plentiful everywhere we went.

Most of day #1 was taken up with the walking tour. It’s free, leaves from Freedom Square at 10am and is conducted by a young Georgian lady. She gave us a quick rundown on Georgian history, which is basically that it keeps getting invaded by the Russians, who are a pack of shitbags.

Our Guide
Our Guide

The tour takes in the old part of town, which is narrow streets and old houses. Much of it is in poor repair as the place is prone to earthquakes although some neighbourhoods have been renovated and done up nicely.

This one isn’t renovated. It’s an old Armenian merchant’s place (the house is old, 140 years or so, not the merchant, although I guess he would be pretty old if he was still about) that was seized and chopped up into apartments by the Bolsheviks.

For a tourist the city is very walkable with a park/museum street, shopping area, the old town and then the hot springs all topped off by the fortress on the hill. These all join up so one need not negotiate the subway system or taxis. There’s this funky footbridge that joins up some of the tourist zones.

The city seems to be pretty safe, there’s a few pushy touts about but you get them everywhere. However, there are these enormous hunting dogs all over.

These are strays but that doesn’t mean they’re not looked after. The city vaccinates them and puts a plastic tag through their ear. They’re friendly and like to follow you about. We had a lovely one for our walking tour.

Another other tourist notable is the clocktower.

Tbilisi Clocktower

In an afternoon of the tourguide quizzing us on the age of various buildings and artifacts around the old town (why do they do that? Isn’t it their job to know?) I was relived to find that the clocktower is a recent addition, going up in 2011 and has a puppet theatre in its base. It also has figures that come out and ring the bell upon the hour.

The old town is great for wandering about and trying out little bars and restaurants. All tight streets and old buildings.

Face on stone wall

Another big tourist draw is the chance to see the city from the air. You could take the gas balloon:

Tbilisi gas balloon

It’s on a tether and apparently gives a fine view of the town. We didn’t try it out as there’s a superior, cheaper option.

Yeah, you can take a cablecar to the top of the mountain. It’s amazing. Not just from the gondola but walking around town there would be the occasional shadow of the car moving overhead. Oh, the view from the car is great too. Best thing is, it’s part of the public transport system so you just need a local PT card. Very cheap and worth many rides.

View of Tbilisi

That’s the view from the top and it is not bad. At the top of the hill is the fortress, which is my first in-person encounter with medieval fortifications that have seen actual assaults. Looking at the walls and slope, I’d prefer to be on defence.

Tbilisi citadel
Try climbing up there under arrow-fire.

Here it is in photosphere.

You’ll find this lady up there too:

Mother of Georgia

That’s the sword-wielding Mother of Georgia, a big silver statue on a hill that’s hard to photograph from up close. There’s a sharp drop in front of her, as you can see here:

One can get a photo of her from the front but not close up.

Mother of Georgia
That’s on film, by the way. That’s why it’s grainy, the colours aren’t right and the exposure is off.
Tbilisi cable car
There’s one of those cable cars again.

Here’s another view from the top, some chap’s critique on religion I expect, but to be honest, there’s so much graffiti in Georgia that I want to invest in spraypaint imports.

Tbilisi does seem to be caked in grafitti, but some of it is pretty cool.

These chaps are all over the city at construction sites and other handy surfaces. It gives the city a vibrancy to see these ultimately public artworks on an ultimately banal hoarding. Here’s some more:

I mean, it’s pretty cool.
You can see this fucker’s stickers all over Asia as well.

It seems that we’re looking at colour digital photos now so let’s look at some of the more interesting ones, like this one:

So, nice old building? Bit boring, but it is in this former seminary one Ioseb Besarionis dze Jughashvili, Georgia’s most famous son who once studied for the priesthood within these very walls. Did I say famous? Perhaps infamous is a better word, he’d later go by Joseph Stalin. It was in this building that the young ‘Kuba’ was radicalised by a forbidden book club. The rest, as they say, is history. Horrible, blood-soaked, paranoid history. Let’s look a the Bridge of Peace instead.

Bridge of Peace
Cable car gondola
There’s that cable car again.
View from cable car
And here’s the view from the same.

Georgia is all about wine, they’re very proud of it. Here in the old town there are grape vines on the houses.

Arty old town.

One of the other main tourist bits is the hot springs. These are very old, like, from Ottoman times and before. Indeed, the city gets its name, ‘warm place’, from the springs.

See that one that looks like a mosque?

This one.

That’s the one Miss Sachie went to. It certainly looks fancy but it’s cheaper than the other ones we looked at. They’re the more traditional domed structures.

Like this.
Or this.

I confess that I didn’t partake of steam baths or massage as I need to be very drunk indeed to take off my clothes in public.

Speaking of which, it was a nice sunny day in a charming old city — far too nice to spend walking about doing tourist stuff, let’s get a nice cold beer.

Even the view from the little café is of old houses stuffed with charm.

So Day One was a lot of walking and seeing new stuff. In the evening we went out with our friend Will, who lives in Tbilisi, to a fancy wine bar but it was a bit naff as it was the sommelier’s night off. We’ll catch up with Will later in the trip though, so look out for Day II!

Photospheres and Panoramas from France

As I couldn’t take my children with me on my first visit to the continent, I took a lot of immersive photospheres and panorama shots so that I could show them what it was like via the miracle of Google Cardboard. It starts at the palace of Versailles.

Here’s what the photospheres look like:

I apologise in advance. You’ll notice that the this photosphere contains many chops and changes and many people in bits. That’s because these images are made by stitching together many flat photos that are mapped onto a sphere. Neat hey? Unfortunately it takes many photos, camera movement causes poor stitching and it takes a while, which is why that tour guide looks pissed off with me.

Here’s the gift shop, I knew you’d like that. Here’s another view with the panorama plugin. Sadly, you need a mouse so you phone and touch users are out of luck.

Here’s a nice one, have a look at the roof

Speaking of ceilings, they’re all pretty good at Versailles. I was inspired to use the panorama function of my phone to take a photo of a few. Should look pretty good? You decide.


While we’re in the field of experimentation, let’s see how my terrible, terrible hosting handles video.

Had enough? Let’s try another.

That’s a nice seal, but what’s happening to the right?

Time for another panorama, a little one. Any good manse has a red room and in this palace it’s the king’s bedroom, and I’m not talking about Elvis.

It’s a bit crowded, but nothing like when the place was in use by its occupant. When this guy was in charge he had an audience and venal positions for folks to hand him a shirt and hold his bedpan for his morning movement.

Chances are, the room was changed since Lou 14 was farting up the place.

Now for the big one, the Hall of Mirrors.

The Hall of Mirrors is large, crowded and not that spectacular. We are used to mirrors now, in fact some of us are scared of them. In it’s day it was a marvel of precision engineering and used to impress savages honoured visitors. Let’s have a look at the roof.

Nice, now let’s have a look at my feet.


Here’s the full expereince.

What’s that? You want to see more bedrooms? OK, here’s one fit for a queen, I think. No en-suite but back then people just crapped in pots or wherever.

Time for a rest. When you visit the museum you’re on a one-way route through the structure, rather that being left to wander about opening doors and peeking under the beds. It’s crowded and tiring so it’s nice to have a seat in this gallery and view the enormous paintings.

These paintings depict battles and major military actions from France’s and are arranged chronologically.

Now let’s head outside, here’s a look at the Petit Trianon, Marie Antoinette’s weekend retreat from the splendour and scheming of Versailles.

Versailles is more than a palace, it contains extensive and elegant gardens, and wide spaces and fields. It’s nice.

Finally, here’s a look at the palace in all its glory on a sunny day in France.

Now, let’s move along. After Versailles we moved to Chessy, right next to Euro Disneyland. Sachie went to Disneyland, I went back to Paris. Here’s a look at the Seine.

And here’s an old lady singing on the bridge.

Here’s a look from outside the Louvre at the little Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel, just outside the Louvre.

This it what it looks like outside the Louvre.

My goal that day was to visit the army museum, or the Musée de l’Armée, which is an old military hospital, nice one too.

The first room I walked into was full. Full! of miniatures and as an old wargaming hand I was in heaven.

Wait until you see the landscapes upstairs.

The museum is pretty great and probably deserves its own post. At the back there is a domed chapel.

Who’s down there? Let’s take a peek.

It’s Napoleon.

Here’s a look out the front of the museum. Nice on a hot day.

Here’s another look at the river. Now off to the Louvre.

Now off to Reims to see the other Notre Dame. This one is in better shape, having had its roof on fire more than 500 years ago. Of course it got a bashing during WWI and again in WWII, the revolution too, for that matter.

Here’s a look inside.

And that’s it for France. I really miss the place and want to go back soon.