Impressed by Versailles

Water babies at Versailles

Water babies at Versailles

As the sea of humanity surged past me up the platform, I had to wonder just how much I was going to enjoy the experience of Versailles .  The 7 million yearly visitors couldn’t all be wrong, but I’d had the impression that at least half of them had been on the train with me!

I had crisscrossed Paris to join the RER train to Versailles-Rive Gauche on line C5, at Javel Metro station.  Standing on the platform, with a twitch of anticipation, I could see the Eiffel Tower looming in the distance as I watched for the approach of my double decker train.  This was to have been a first- a ride upstairs on a train- but it was not to be!  When the train pulled in, it was already full to sufficiency, and I had to spend the journey leaning up against a swaying wall.  Just a little deflated, I had 30 minutes in which to wonder whether Versailles could possibly hold this volume of people.

Arriving at the palace gates, I felt hugely relieved that I ‘d had the foresight to book tickets for the gardens online.  The queues were immense, but following the signs to the right, I slipped peacefully past the ticket barrier and into the empty gardens.  No queue!  This might not be so bad, after all.  The day was rather overcast, but I had 20 minutes to explore before the fountains were turned on at 11.00am.

There wasn’t any question that this place was built to impress, and impress it did!  I felt a thrill of excitement as the fountains began to trickle.  In a few moments my cherubs were magically clothed in a veil of water.

Holding hands!

Holding hands!

A gentleman with a large ‘key’ made his way around the gardens, in an unhurried fashion, turning on the fountains in sequence.  The race was on to visit as many of the garden rooms as possible before the fountains stopped again at 12.00.

Here we go!

Here we go!

Laying down on the job!

Laying down on the job?

Note the hooves

Note the hooves

Taking aim!

Taking aim!

Fountain of Apollo's Chariot with the Grand Canal in the background

Fountain of Apollo’s Chariot with the Grand Canal in the background

You might have noticed the odd umbrella in the background.  A light drizzle had started to fall.  With just a few minutes till the fountains ceased playing, it was time to consider food and shelter.  As the skies suddenly opened, instant decision was required and ‘La Flotille’ was the nearest port in a storm.  With my back to the burners and the rain pouring off the awning, a Grand Marnier crepe and a pichet of Bordeaux helped to pass the time rather nicely.

Half an hour later, the sun made a welcome appearance.  A  couple of rowers were out on the Grand Canal, but a gentle stroll to the Grand Trianon seemed a better bet.  Dappled sunshine and puddles- such a nice combination!

There were still more garden rooms to visit and I had my favourites.  The Ballroom was landscaped by Le Notre in 1680 and is decorated with millstones and shells brought back from the Indian Ocean and the Red Sea by the French Navy of that time.

The Mirror Fountain was commissioned by Louis XIV in 1702.  It currently performs to music at 10 minute intervals all day long- the only fountain to do so.

And the Mirror Fountain twirled all day long

Dancing to the music of Rameau and Lully

Climbing the steps back up to the Water Parterres, I could look down on the Orangerie in all its magnificence.  The clouds came and went but the beauty was endless.

The Orangerie, beautifully laid out

The Orangerie, beautifully laid out

And seen from above

Seen from above

And with moody skies

And with moody skies

850 hectares of parks and gardens means little to me, but I can tell you that it was huge, and absorbed all those people from my train with ease.  And many more!  The fountains play again from 15.30 to 17.00 and at 17.20 the grand finale of the Neptune Fountain.

On Saturday evenings throughout the Summer there is a Fountains Night Show.  What a spectacle that must be!  The Versailles website is a wealth of information and I could recommend a visit to anyone.  Because of the scale of the place a little disruption from renovation is inevitable and on my visit the Latona Parterre and Water Theatre Grove were unavailable.

The incomparable chateau

The incomparable chateau

Are you wondering about the Chateau?  I had made a conscious decision to limit my visit to the grounds.  I did not want to share the Hall of Mirrors and in August there would have been little choice.  Another day, maybe!

Versailles is chalk and cheese with my lovely Giverny, but there’s room for both in this world.  Don’t you think?

Jo’s Monday walk : the village of Giverny

Isn't this perfection?

Isn’t this perfection?

I took so many lovely images on my visit to the Monet garden in Giverny.  It was quite hard to leave.  But I had little idea of the other treats that lay in store for me in the village.  I thought that this Monday you might like to join me in a gentle stroll in the Normandy sunshine?  You won’t even need hiking boots!  Sound promising?

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Shuttered windows peep from behind a Russian Vine covered hedge

Claude Monet lived in the village of Giverny from 1883 to 1926 and there is no doubt that it has prospered hugely as a result of this. Still it remains a very charming place and it’s not difficult to see what drew Monet and his artist friends here.  There were only 300 people living in the village when Monet first spotted it from the window of a passing train and decided he wanted to live there.  Today Rue Claude Monet is the principal street of the village.

A legend among the ivy

A legend among the ivy

Normally I save food for the end of my walks but you may remember that I’d already travelled from Paris and spent a couple of hours at the Monet garden.  The Musee des Impressionismes has a very pleasant restaurant and gardens and is just a few steps further along Rue Claude Monet. We had a combined ticket with Monet’s garden, saving a few euros, but you didn’t need to enter the museum to eat in their restaurant, or to see the garden.

Of course, we had to check out the paintings too, and then it was time to venture into the village. We wandered along, admiring the shuttered windows. They looked so French!

 

This artists gallery beckoned me inside

This artist’s gallery beckoned me inside

I stopped a little further along Rue de Claude Monet to peer inside a gallery.  “Come in, come in” beamed the proprietor (in French, of course), patting his head to indicate that I should keep mine low.  I would have loved to start snapping the sea of canvases in the tiny space, but it didn’t seem polite.  I had the impression that we could have become lifelong friends and that I’d take breakfast in the cafe next door.  Fortunately I was rescued by another customer descending the steps, and the ‘patting of head routine’.  A true show of French gallantry.

‘Le Coin des Artistes’ at no. 65 was first a grocery store, then a cafe-bar in Monet’s time, and is now a smart looking bed and breakfast. At no. 81, Hotel Baudy has been recently restored and was also a popular meeting place for artists . A few steps further, Eglise Sainte Radegonde dates from the Middle Ages and is the burial place of Monet and many of his family.

The village is long and slim and at the end you can turn down to Chemin du Roy to complete a circuit back to your beginnings.  I was much taken with the narrow interconnecting lanes, which reminded me a little of the Wynds in Yorkshire.  Following my nose led to Rue du Milieu (Middle St.) looking over garden walls as I go.  I do like to be nosy!

The prettiest of my 'Wynds'

The prettiest of my ‘Wynds’

Giverny lies on La Route Normandie Vexin, midway between Rouen and Paris, in the midst of chateau territory.  With the Seine on its doorstep, boat trips are also an option.  I took great delight in this village, which offered me far more than I had expected.  I hope you found it a lovely place to ramble, too.  Indulge me with a last few shots from the Monet garden?

What can you say?

What can you say?

 

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I enjoyed my time in France so much!  There may still be a post or two to come but I think that next week’s Monday walk will be back in the UK.  I try to keep them seasonal and the Yorkshire Moors are in full bloom at the moment.  I do hope that you’ll join me but I will have limited time to respond to you as I’ll be back in the Algarve by Monday evening.

There won’t be a Monday walk on 8th September, but I’ll remind you about that next week. Meanwhile, are you ready for a good read?

I think most of you will find Drake’s style much more relaxing than mine  :

Few steps, large atmosphere

While Paula shows us exquisite beauty in Istria  :

Macabre Fresco

I took the hint this week- no steps to  climb!  Here’s a lovely flat walk from Jude  :

A walk along the Dee

Does fun in the sun in Texas appeal?  It will if you join Amy!  :

Lake, river and trails in Austin

Or come and have a hug, and a little history, with Sue’s Mum  :

Canada’s Battle of Batoche-Louis Riel’s last stand

Finally a walk recommended to me by my dear friend Meg.  Have you been to Ethiopia?  :

Walkabout to the Blue Nile Falls

That’s it till next week.  Happy walking!

Six word Saturday

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Paris images that made me smile!

One of the delightful statues on Pont Alexandre III

One of the delightful statues on Pont Alexandre III

Doorknobs to die for!

Doorknobs to die for!

A shop window in Galerie Vivienne

A leaning Eiffel Tower or two in Galerie Vivienne

Rodin's wonderful sculpture garden

Rodin’s wonderful sculpture garden

Soupe a l'oignon

Soupe a l’oignon- to keep my strength up!

The clock at Musee d'Orsay

The clock at Musee d’Orsay

More door knobs!

More delicious door knobs!

More wedding album shots, while the world looks on

Wedding album shots, while the world looks on

Worshipping at the Louvre

Worshipping at the Louvre

The sparkling Seine by night

The sparkling Seine by night

A concert at Saint Chapelle

In concert at Saint Chapelle

A parting shot at Charles de Gaulle airport

My parting shot, at Charles de Gaulle airport

Sigh!  It’s wonderful to look back on.  I hope you enjoyed it too.  It’s a long Bank Holiday weekend here in England, so plenty to see and do.  I’ll still be walking on Monday so I’ll see you then.  Have fun, whatever you do, even if that’s nothing at all!

Cate at Show My Face would love you to play Six word Saturday, if you can find the time.

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Giverny- not a walk, more of a linger!

What could be more lovely than a pond full of water lilies?

What could be more lovely than a pond full of water lilies?

It was a very special day, for three reasons:

1.  I got to ride upstairs on a ‘double decker’ train (twice!)

2.  It was our Silver Wedding anniversary

3.  We visited Monet’s fabulous Giverny!

Just a couple of weeks before we had watched Monty Don browsing the borders in splendid isolation (except for the camera crew).  We joked that we might not find quite so much space on the iconic bridge, and so it proved.  But I couldn’t honestly say that it detracted one bit from the occasion for us.  It was, quite simply, fabulous!

Here's just one example!

Here’s just one example!

Based in central Paris, I had pre-booked train tickets from Gare St. Lazare to Vernon, the nearest railway station to Giverny.  Apart from a few moments of anxiety when the ticket machine wouldn’t cooperate, all went smoothly.  Soon I was safely ensconced upstairs on my SNCF super smart train, strong coffee and pain au chocolat et noisettes stickily in hand.

The train glided out of the station and I spent the first few minutes replying to all the messages of goodwill and trying not to get my phone sticky.  51 minutes later I was disembarking at Vernon and boarding a ‘navette’ or shuttle coach for the 15 minute ride to Giverny.

Bathed in gentle sunshine, I was pleased to discover that the queue outside Monet’s house was quite short (miniscule by Versailles standards!)  I listened to different accents from around the world as I edged forward, with rising excitement.  I almost had to pinch myself!  Just a murmur of doubt- would it live up to expectations?- before I was at the ticket office.

You probably know how it looks from TV and books?

You probably know how it looks from TV and books?

Everywhere I looked, I fell in love!  Wouldn’t you?

Just a world full of loveliness!

Just a world full of loveliness!

And then we meandered by the stream

Then we meandered by the stream

And found another kind of beauty!

And found another kind of beauty!

I had been enchanted by these two little girls since I saw them skipping across the road from the railway station, in pink wellies on a sunny day.  I had tried to take a photo of them sitting, heads together, on a bench, but when I asked if I might, they took flight. Mother’s warning not to talk to strange ladies!  So how could I resist when I found them with Mum, on Monet’s bridge?

You know what's coming next, don't you

You know what’s coming next, don’t you?

The water lilies, of course!

The water lilies, of course!

 

Then, a threat of rain.  We headed back towards the house, still marveling at the beautiful borders.

And plants such as these

Full of plants such as these

And this burgeoning beauty

And this burgeoning beauty

Of course, everyone had the same idea.  While the gardens had been easy to admire, with a little patience and good timing, the house was the only shelter from the sudden downpour.  Despite this, I was delighted with it and the light-heartedness of the gaily coloured rooms.  Pretty pastel walls were adorned with the oriental pieces that Monet had loved.  I snapped with enthusiasm until I was advised that photography within the house was not allowed.  I don’t suppose I should but I’m going to share just one image.  It might encourage you to make the journey, mightn’t it?

Don't tell, will you?

Don’t tell anyone, will you?

And after the rain?  Glorious sunshine, causing the plants to lift their heads and smile.

A rain-kissed blossom

A rain-kissed blossom

Among a sea of beauty

Among a sea of beauty

Such as this!

Such as this!

I hope you’ve enjoyed sharing our special day.  Whenever anyone mentions Giverny from now on I will be able to return to this little bubble in time.

There’s still a little more to come but nothing can top Giverny for me.  I’ll let you decide for yourself.  Many thanks for reading and for your continuing support.  My world would be a much emptier place without you.

Jo’s Monday walk : Discovering Montmartre

Where else but the Moulin Rouge?

Where else but the Moulin Rouge?

Whenever I visit a new city I like to take a guided walk with a local.  You might remember that in Barcelona I accompanied Aleksandra on an eye-opening tour of the old side.  Paris was no exception.

A couple of my blogging friends are Paris experts and Lucy at On the Luce has a great post on which I spotted Discover Walks.  I was tempted by several of the choices, and so it was that, last Monday, I met Olivier.  A personable and very charming 20 year old, I knew at the outset that I was going to enjoy my walk.  And it was free, apart from a tip!

We met outside Blanche Metro station, at Place Pigalle, looking directly at that Paris icon, the Moulin Rouge.  There was quite a big group of us.  Why don’t you tag along?  I promise not to give away the best stories.  You’ll have to join Olivier for those.  I should warn you that this area is very steep, but we’ll take it slowly and pause to admire the views.

With all of Paris at your feet!

With all of Paris at our feet!

We started off up Rue Lepic- a street full of shops and locals.  It was tempting to linger over some of the pastries on display, but I hoped there would be time for them later.  For now, I wanted to absorb all that Montmartre has to offer.  Originally a village, outside of the city walls, the name Montmartre derives from martyrs who once were tortured and died on this hill.  Despite being incorporated into the city of Paris in 1860, Montmartre retains a strong identity and almost a village feeling.  It’s a community to which you would love to belong.

Olivier carried with him a satchel full of goodies and it wasn’t long before he was delving in. Outside Bateau-Lavoir, on tiny Place Emile-Goudeau, he produced a copy of a painting.  In this former piano factory, in 1907, Picasso painted his Cubist ‘Les Demoiselles d’Avignon'; a portrayal of 5 naked prostitutes, outrageous for its time.  No longer is there evidence of the squalid conditions he and his compatriots lived in, as the building has since burned down.  A replica currently marks the spot.

The facade of Le Bateau-Lavoir (laundry boat)

The facade of Le Bateau-Lavoir (laundry boat)

Artists and their haunts abound in Montmartre.  Dalida was unlucky in love.  After the suicides of three of her lovers she finally committed suicide herself.  A beautiful home isn’t everything, is it?

Around the corner another copy of a painting emerged from Olivier’s satchel.  Enthralled I looked at the windmills Van Gogh had painted, in their surrounding fields.  His countryside setting was nothing like that before me.  Once Montmartre had more than 30 windmills, used for grinding wheat and pressing grapes.  Now just two remain.  At the junction of rues Lepic and Tholoze, Moulin de la Galette is one of them.  A Michelin starred restaurant, it’s definitely a sign of the times.

Later, in the Musee d’Orsay, I was to stare wide-eyed at Renoir’s immortalisation of the windmill in ‘Le Bal du Moulin de la Galette’, so beautiful in closeup.  I can only manage a photograph.

A seat on the terrace should give you the nicest views

A seat on the terrace should give you the nicest views

Our next introduction was to a gentleman by the name of Marcel Aymé.  Have you heard of ‘The Man who walked through walls’?  No, neither had I, but there he was, protruding from the wall!  I gather that he haunts Rue Norvins by night- a good reason not to loiter.

Olivier with Dutilleul, the 'hero' of the book

Olivier with Dutilleul, the ‘hero’ of the book

A look at the Montmartre vineyard was to follow, but with strict instructions not to buy the product.  Pollution levels in Paris are apparently not conducive to producing fine wine.

The Montmartre vineyard

The Montmartre vineyard- it’s green enough, isn’t it?

And down the hill, Lapin Agile

And down the hill,  ‘Au Lapin Agile’- the nimble rabbit- a cabaret spot

It’s a green and leafy space where you can hear the birds sing.  It’s not until you start to approach the monumental church that things begin to get busy.  I could happily wander these quiet back streets but inevitably you are drawn to Place du Tertre, where all of life spills over.

Not for us the crush of the main square.  We pass through peaceful gardens and emerge behind Sacre Coeur, where Olivier shares a final few tips and bids us ‘adieu’.  A job well done!  Merci!

Gazing on the Sacre Couer

Sacre Coeur from the gardens at the rear

You know where I’m going next, don’t you?  But first let’s have a quick peek at Place du Tertre.

Too many people for me!  I’m heading right for the top.  I figure with all that practise up four flights of stairs to our apartment, 300 steps will be a piece of cake?

 

The church first, but I wasn't allowed to take photos

The church doorway, but I wasn’t allowed to take photos inside

Are you worn out now?  You didn’t have to climb all those steps with me!  My legs are a bit jelly, too.  I hope you enjoyed my Paris walk.  Back down is simple.  Just meander!  Many thanks to Olivier for his delightful assistance.

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I turned my back for 5 minutes this week and you walkers took off at a pace!  Please make some time to read these.  There are some superb walks here.  Put your feet up and enjoy! (and then start walking)  Click on my Monday walks logo to find out more.

Drake?  Well, he was at a quarry  :

Secluded works of art

And Jude was in her beloved Cornwall  :

Capturing Cornwall

Madhu made me sad with her wistful haveli photos  :

Lucknow- a walk in the Chowk

And Pauline introduced me to a pretty section of Canberra  :

Canberra Lakeside walk

While Amy was out chasing beautiful butterflies  :

Trail walking

The definitive London walk- you won’t want to miss it!  :

A glorious Summer’s day in London

And by way of complete contrast, Sue has us dangling in wide open spaces  :

Grassi Lakes- the Canmore jewels

Not quite so reckless but another lover of the great outdoors, join Suzan on a bear adventure  :

Close encounters of the Bear kind

Right back to London, Laura shows us a side that tourists seldom see  :

Walkabout 3- the Branch Line

I thought I was eating choux pastry with Jude.  It must have been those steps!

New Abbey Buildings

And finally my lovely Viveka in Vienna.  You will never have taken a finer tour!  :

Felt like a local

Happy walking all!  See you next week.

Six word Saturday

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A red Eiffel Tower? How strange!

Look closely- you'll see it's made of chairs!

I have to admit, I was surprised!

If you look closely you can see it's made up of chairs

If you look closely, you can see it’s made up of stacked chairs.  So clever!

It was built to celebrate the Eiffel Tower’s 125th birthday and is made up of 324 garden chairs. Our 25 years seemed almost insignificant by comparison.

It's currently down on Paris Plage

The red tower is currently down on Paris Plage

While the 'real' tower sparkles distantly

While the ‘real’ tower sparkles in the distance

It can still look quite small, depending where you stand

It can still look quite small, depending on where you stand

But my favourite images are watery ones

But my favourite images are watery ones

The fountains playing bring out the child in me

The fountains playing bring out the child in me

And I want to play in all that water

And I want to play with all that water!

Thank you for all the kind and wonderful wishes we received last weekend.  As you can see from the dramatic skies, we had a mix of weather, but Paris sparkled for us.  And on our return home, a huge bouquet arrived from my lovely lady friends.

I hope this weekend brings a little sparkle into your lives.  Please don’t forget to share it with Cate at Show My Face.

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Six word Saturday

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The cards are opened.  Enfin, Paris!

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Apologies for the terrible photographs, but I’m excited, you see!  I haven’t opened the top card, from ‘the girls’- it’s boxed and going with us.  Our anniversary is on Tuesday, when we hope to be at Monet’s Giverny.  Thank you so much for all your support and good wishes.  These are just a sample of the cards.  People have been so very kind.

This is where I shall be staying- in miniature.  No, not me- the photo!

My artist's garret

My artist’s garret

As usual, my six words aren’t!  There I’ll be, in the garret, scribbling away in my diary.  Happy Saturday to you!  Don’t forget to join Cate at Show My Face.  I’ll leave you with a few flowers.

Roses for romance!

Roses for romance!

I won’t be around to answer you till late Thursday.  Take care!

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Thursday’s Special : St. Mary’s Lighthouse

Looking down at the reception area

Looking down into reception

You might have thought I’d gone to Paris, but I couldn’t resist one more Thursday’s Special before I go.  Much earlier in the year I paid an evening visit to St. Mary’s Lighthouse and I’ve been itching to go back ever since.  Saturday afternoon, warm and sunny at home, seemed to present the perfect opportunity.  I could have lingered in the garden, but that lighthouse was beckoning.

All too often my north east coast fools me.  As we turned down the coast road to Whitley Bay, the skies darkened.  The beach was shrouded in mist, and none too warm.  The planned saunter became a scurry up the lighthouse steps, to keep warm!  As I approached the causeway I was rather surprised to see a wedding car coming towards me.  What a spot for wedding photos!  Alas, I was a little late for the photo shoot, but I did get to see the bride.

Hand in hand!  No- this isn't the bride and groom

Hand in hand on the rocks- no, this isn’t the bride and groom!

It looks a little bleak today

It looks a little bleak today

But it's a good-looking lighthouse

But it’s a good-looking lighthouse

With some interesting outbuildings

With some interesting outbuildings

The last time I had been inside was with a school party when my son was about 6 years old.  I was curious to see what, if anything, had changed in those 18 years.

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From the peeling condition of the walls, not a lot has changed!

From the peeling condition of the walls, not a lot has changed!

I wondered for a moment about the safety of climbing the stairs

I wondered for a moment about the safety of climbing those stairs

But there was only one way to find out!

But there was only one way to find out!

And I made it!

And I made it!

 

Got to go! Someone's waiting for me on the stairs

But I’ve got to go.  Someone’s waiting for me on the stairs

There’s something about a lighthouse, isn’t there?  Even though it’s not in the very best condition, I love that it still sits there in its incredible position.  The opening times necessarily vary, according to the tide, but in general it is open every day from May to September, and at weekends and school holidays in the winter.

Various events take place throughout the year.  The Ghost Stories Halloween Special on 31st October sounds like it will be a lot of fun. In addition to weddings, you can have a birthday party at St. Mary’s or even a Stranding Party at high tide!  I don’t know anybody who’s done that.  This link to their Facebook page will keep you up to date.

Let's share a bit of poetry, shall we?

Let’s share a bit of poetry, shall we?

And one last image

And one last warm image!

I hope your Thursday is special, too!  Many thanks to Paula, our lovely hostess.  Come with me and see what she’s been up to this week.  A bientôt!

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Jo’s Monday walk : to Infinity and beyond!

Just a hint of blue sky through the Infinity Bridge

Just a hint of blue sky through the Infinity Bridge

One of the hardest things about my Monday walks is deciding where to take you next.  I have easy access to both coast and countryside where I live in the north east of England.  Add in a healthy dose of curiosity and restlessness and the sky’s the limit!

Last week’s visit to the Glass Centre is a hard act to follow, but I’m going to take you a little way south of me today, to the River Tees. The lovely curves of the Infinity Bridge have added grace and beauty to another quite industrial part of my world.  This weekend the Stockton Riverside Festival was taking place.  I hope a deluge or two didn’t dampen the enthusiasm for the music.

Our start point will be the parking lot behind the White Water Centre.  We’ve walked around the Tees Barrage before but this time we’ll be heading towards Stockton-on-Tees.

The White Water Centre and cafe

The White Water Centre, and cafe

There are usually canoes taking to the water

There are usually canoes taking to the water.  Tees Barrage is in the distance

Walk towards the Infinity Bridge

Walk towards the Infinity Bridge

And underneath!  Don't worry- we'll come back to it.

And underneath! Don’t worry- we’ll come back to it.

It’s a popular cycle track too, so you’ll need to be alert.  Some cyclists sound their bell in warning, but more often they just loom up.  You don’t want to drop your camera!

Stockton is an Anglo-Saxon name, the ending ‘ton’ meaning farm or homestead.  There is little in the way of agriculture to be seen on this stretch of the River Tees.  The town used to have a thriving outdoor market where fresh produce was readily and cheaply available.   The life and character that this brought has sadly vanished.

Stockton’s main claim to fame is tied to the advent of steam travel in 1822.  The first rail of George Stephenson’s Stockton and Darlington Railway was laid locally, on Bridge Rd.  Stephenson drove Locomotion no.1 himself on its first journey, on 27th September 1825.  In recent years the riverside has been developed to make a focal point for the town.

George Stephenson's Locomotion

A tribute to George Stephenson’s Locomotion no.1

The riverside and Teesside Millenium Bridge

The riverside and Teesquay Millenium Footbridge

Have you spotted something beyond the bridge?  Something with tall masts?  My main reason for walking this way, and one of my favourite things.  Wait just a moment.

First we need to pass beneath the bridge

First we need to pass beneath the bridge

And here we have it!

And here we have it!

Isn't she a beauty?

Isn’t she a beauty?

Here's a small clue

Here’s a small clue

I love these tall masted beauties!

I love these tall masted beauties!

James Cook was a local lad and is widely feted in this part of the world.  HM Bark Endeavour took him on the first of three voyages of discovery in the Pacific Ocean.  He sailed thousands of miles of largely uncharted waters, mapping New Zealand, Australia and Hawaii for the British Navy.  He died in Hawaii in 1779, leaving behind a huge legacy of scientific and geographical knowledge.

HMS Bark Endeavour has the company of some smaller craft

HMS Bark Endeavour has the company of some smaller craft

And a whole load of swans!

And a whole load of swans!

So hard to resist boat shots!

So hard to resist boat shots!

Not so sure about the mural

There’s a mural disguising the multi-storey car park

But now it's time to cross over the bridge

But now it’s time to cross over the Millenium bridge

Looking back at the boats and Thornaby railway bridge

Looking back- the Princess river cruiser and Thornaby railway bridge

Those clouds are still lurking!

While the clouds lurk overhead!

We’re heading back towards the Infinity Bridge.  On the far shore of the Tees there are numerous office complexes and we thread our way through them, passing poorly maintained canals.

Under bridges and over bridges

Under bridges and over bridges

And here we are again

Till we burst into the light again!

You could play with the angles all day

You could play with the angles all day

But look behind you.  A storm's a-brewing!

But look behind you. A storm’s a-brewing!

One last look to the heavens

One last look to the heavens

And it's time to quickly cross!

And it’s time to quickly cross!

You know your way back from here, don’t you, and it’s not far.  Maybe a coffee in the White Water Centre, or there’s a pub along at the Tees Barrage.  The easiest access is undoubtedly by car, but you could do the walk from Stockton, which is well served by buses and trains.

I’m not going to be walking with you next week.  I hope to be on a different riverbank- the Seine. I could schedule a walk but I prefer not to.  The joy in my Monday feature comes from sharing, and responding to your lovely comments, and I won’t have time to do that in Paris.  Feel free to explore a little without me, but report back, won’t you?

Two more things before I go.  I noticed that my friend Marianne, from East of Malaga, is featuring Bridges in her CBBH challenge this month.  We’ve been friends for the longest time but I seldom have time to visit.  I’m hoping she won’t mind if I include a link to my walk this week.  It certainly features bridges, doesn’t it?  A condition of the CBBH challenge is to introduce 2 of your friends to Marianne.  I will certainly do that with my links below.

Speaking of friends, and I’ve made so many of you on here, I know that I will be walking in the footsteps of Christine at least some of the time next week.  I couldn’t go without one last tribute.

 

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I hope you’ll find some time to visit my lovely walking friends now.  Put that kettle on!

Jude has found me a mill and a lovely public garden in Gatehouse of Fleet   :

The Gatehouse of Fleet

The Travel Bunny, Suzanne, has gelato on her mind.  It must be the weather!  :

Pisa- Much more than a Leaning Tower

Drake found some long haired cattle to walk with us this week.  He always has fun!  :

On the West  (not the Wild West!)

It will be very tempting to sit down on Amy’s walk this week, but you might need a cushion  :

Spanish tiles

That’s it for now!  See you in two weeks time.  Happy walking!

Six word Saturday

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‘Seaton celebrates’ was a big success!

The sand pies were quite big too (and happy!)

The sand pies were quite big too (and happy!)

A certain lady was hard at work

A certain lady was hard at work on the sand sculpture

And there were a few other crowd pleasers too!

And there were a few other crowd pleasers too!

I loved these ladies so much!  Maybe a new Gravatar?

I loved these ladies so much! Maybe a new Gravatar?

Meanwhile my t'ai chi group 'worked the beach'

Meanwhile my t’ai chi group ‘worked the beach’

And there was all the usual 'fun of the fair'

And there was all the usual ‘fun of the fair’

These were my daughter's favourites when she was small

These were my daughter’s favourites when she was small

There were 'goodies'

There were ‘goodies’

And craft stalls galore!

And craft stalls galore!

And it was great weather for kites!

And it was great weather for kites!

And look what this little girl got to take home on the bus!

Just look what this little girl got to take home on the bus!

All in all, a good day!  The sun shone gently down.  Mike led the t’ai chi group into the water and my ‘crops’ got soaked!  A good time was had by all.  Just one omission!  I forgot to go back for a ‘finished’ photo of the sand sculpture.  It must have been the lure of the icecream.

Have a happy weekend, won’t you, and don’t forget to visit Cate at Show My Face.  You only need six words!

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