31 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Créole Beauty

This gorgeous lady was working in the Guadaloupe tent at the Créole Festival. Note her face piercings - even a stud on a tooth. And how about that smile? Isn't that just fabulous.

373 year ago, the French landed in the West Indies. Since then, the history of the Caribbean and the Mediterranean has been intertwined. Christopher Columbus came from Genoa, Napoleon from Corsica - Josephine was a Créole. Menton paid hommage to this history recently - over three glorious days - when the town came alive to Créole rhythms, traditions, food and drink.

You can read more on the Créole peoples by clicking on the link.

30 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - Festival Créole!

Summertime in Menton means Fêtes galore - in Menton itself or in the surrounding hilltop villages. The Tango festival is over and, suddenly, we are into Créole - and how wonderful it is. Dance, music, clothes, food, wondrous drinks - great people - everyone having the best time.

Here you see some of the dancers crossing the road and walking back to their digs in the Old Town.

29 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Tattoo

A waitress at one of the cafés in the centre of Menton.

The Colours of Passion
By Andrea Weist

The song of the needle
Is the song of my heart,
And my love of the pain
Meets my love of the art.

The liquid, fresh ink
Tells of my thirst,
And I drink of my passion
Until my heart bursts...

And the colours of joy
Can be seen on my skin;
Brilliant as sunrise,
Delicious as sin.

Nathalie at Avignon Daily Photo mentions non-permanent tattoos (and a white rat!) in her post today. It now occurs to me that perhaps what we see here is a non-permanent tattoo? It could easily be henna, couldn't it?

28 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Dog Beach

There are two beaches that allow dogs in Menton - so both are great places for me to take photographs for Riviera Dogs. Dogs are very much part of Summertime in Menton though, so here's a happy dog today.

He's a four year old Labrador on holiday with his family from Milan. His name is Giorgio and he'd spent the day playing, swimming, having the greatest fun with a dog he'd met on the beach - a Golden/Pyrenean Mountain Dog mix called Astuss. You see them swimming together on the left. You'll find another photograph of Astuss on Riviera Dogs today. Click on the link - probably a better, sharper photo than Giorgio's but I wanted you to see Giorgio jumping for a stone.

The energy, such joy in life - living in the moment. Dogs teach us so much.

27 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Microlight

Competition result!

What you saw was a plastic barrel filled with water to prevent the aircraft lifting in the event of strong winds. The one you saw is on the tail (see it again in the smaller photo). There are two larger barrels attached to the wings and you can see one in the main photo, below the water.

The aeroplane is a Murphy Renegade Spirit. Bought in Belgium as a land plane and converted, with the help of some good friends of the owner, to a seaplane in Biscarrosse in the Landes department of France. It's classed as a ULM (microlight) in France. It is unique.

The plane is moored near to the phare (lighthouse) in the port of Garavan in summer but in winter is moved to a jetty in the centre of Garavan, away from any bad weather. And guess what, I'm invited to fly in her one day?

Thank you so much to everyone who tried to guess the answer. On reflection I realise this was a difficult competition. Perhaps I should have given 'Jonathan Livingstone Seagull' as a clue but then it might have been too easy. Although no one got its actual use, Steve from New Orleans Daily Photo was the first to use the word 'weight' - so a postcard of Menton goes to Steve. And another to Uselaine of Willits Daily Photo who suggestion that it was an egg sack incubating hundreds of these wins a postcard for originality and making me fall about with laughter.

26 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Tango Lesson

Each year Menton hosts four days of 'Ma Ville est Tango' - with Argentinian Tango demonstrations in the Palais des l'Europe. At various times of the day and evening, you'll find dancing in the streets of the Old Town. (The second link shows this last year.)

And here - along the sea - and in a large tent with a dance floor, you can take tango lessons.

Tomorrow: the results of yesterday's competition. Still time to enter - no one (so far) has guessed it correctly.

25 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - Competition Time!

The boat trip is over, so how about a competition to get our sun-soaked brain cells going...

We're in the port of Garavan at Menton. What is this and, specifically, what is it being used for?

First correct answer gets a postcard of Menton. Results - Sunday!

24 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 11

Goodbye to Italy. We've had a great day. Lie back, feet off the end of the boat - enjoy those last few minutes before we reach the port of Garavan in Menton, tie up the boat and go on our way.

Thanks to everyone who came on this boat trip. Didn't we have fun? Perhaps we'll do it again someday.

Tomorrow - a competition. We'll be in the port of Garavan and there is 'something' in the water - what is it and more importantly, what is it used for? - come back tomorrow and take a look - a postcard of Menton to the first person who gets it right.

23 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 10

We're on our way home. Menton is ahead. I'm shooting into the lowering sun - the light dances on the water, the mountains are in silhouette.

22 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 9

Time to go home. We wave goodbye to Carlo and Susan and my friend, Donald, who lives in Beaulieu.

Donald was one of the first people I met when, 17 years ago, I came to live in the south of France. He 'knows everyone' and everyone loves Donald. He gives great parties - and through Donald, you meet great people. But, most of all, he's a really good and valued friend to his friends - he works at friendship. Barely a week will go by without a call, 'Just calling to see how you are.' How lucky I am.

"My friends are my estate" - Emily Dickinson

21 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 8

Oh Lordy, that's the Coastguard boat and it's making straight for us.

Shouts of, 'Carlo, Carlo,' went up. Being Italian, he would be needed to talk to them - although I'm sure they spoke French too. Nearly everyone working in these border towns (Menton in France and Ventimiglia in Italy) speak both languages. It seems we had dropped anchor too close to the beach. The law says no nearer than 300 metres - hard to judge I'm sure you'll agree. We haul up the anchors, untie our boats and move further away from the shore.

In any case, it's nearly 6 p.m. and time for us to think about getting home. Tomorrow, we wave goodbye to our friends and start the journey back to Menton.

20 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 7

Hold your nose and jump!

That's the railway line you see in the background. Anyone who takes a train along the French and Italian Rivieras knows you get a mighty good view.

Tomorrow, the Coastguard boat makes straight for us. What have we done wrong?

19 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 6

This lovely building is almost on the beach. We are in Latte which is a village between Menton and Ventimiglia. (I often come here to shop - there's a really good supermarket with great pasta and well-priced good wines).

I don't know what this building is, what it's used for but I love its proportions and, in particular, the colours. Carlo explained to me that you find these particular colours in a village further along the Ligurian coast - after Genoa and before La Spézia. I've forgotten the name for sure, but think he said Sestri Levante and certainly if you click on the link, you'll find lots of houses similar in colours to this one. In fact, doesn't Sestri Levante look a place worth visiting? Seemingly Hans Christian Andersen lived there for a short time.

18 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 5

We are stretched out on deck - it's time to people-watch.

Like us, these two boats have just tied up together. The photo below shows them just before they did so - and the small photo (click either photo to enlarge) shows what they did next - swim!

17 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 4

We've arrived in the bay - and as you see, we dropped anchor and are tied up alongside our friends. Carlo and Susan own a super restaurant in Monaco called Pulchinella - great atmosphere, great welcome, fabulous Italian food.

Not sure whose feet those are... maybe they are yours - now don't get burnt, the sun is hot. Slather on that suncream.

We've sipped champagne on our boat. Lunch was in our respective boats. A rather good fruit tart was passed back and forth. Now it's time to take a little sun and then a swim - and then another swim...

Tomorrow, we look around and see what's happening in the other boats - all part of the fun to people-watch with a zoom lens.

16 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 3

We're almost there. In fact the trip from Menton to Latte, which is where we will drop anchor, is only about 10 minutes from Menton. Here we are passing La Mortola and the Hanbury Gardens, one of the most beautiful gardens in an area famous for its gardens. We'll visit it one day, I promise. Click on the smaller photo for a better view of this beautiful house.

The Via Aurelia, an old Roman road, runs through the gardens which were created in 1867 by the Englishman, Sir Thomas Hanbury and has a collection of 6,000 plants. It's now managed by the University of Genoa.

Trivia: about a television series called Rosemary & Thyme, which stars Felicity Kendal and Pam Ferris. Caroline Hanbury, who still lives in Villa Hanbury, allowed the house and gardens to be used for this detective series about two lady gardeners. Her terrace was dug up and a restaurant created for the filming - afterwards, it was restored as before. Along with other friends, I spent one evening as an 'extra' in the 'restaurant.' If you saw that instalment of the series, and knew what I looked like, you'd see me calling for the waitress! I seem to remember getting paid 100 francs for it too. (well, I still have my Equity card!)

The perched village you see high up to the left of the photograph is Grimaldi Superiore.

Tomorrow we drop anchor just around the bay.

15 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 2

We're off! We've left Menton behind - you see the Old Town on the left and the Port of Garavan, where we boarded, towards the right (you can see the red and white lighthouse, which is also in the smaller photo to the left). We are already in Italy.

We fly the Red Ensign. It is apparently etiquette to also fly the flag of the country you are in, so the small French flag, normally on the other side of the boat, has been taken down to be replaced by the Italian flag for the day.

Buongiorno Italia! Hold tight - we're going quite fast...

14 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Boat Trip - 1

Messing about in boats - one of the joys of summertime in Menton. Great if you own a boat and perhaps even better if you've a friend with one. I'm one of those very lucky people to have a good friend with a boat - but hey, you are invited too - so let's go...

You've brought the swimmers, a towel, the suntan lotion. Everyone contributes something towards lunch. I've just picked up a fruit tart from that good pâtisserie in Carnoles and there's a chilled bottle of Pinot Grigio in the 'cold' bag. What will you bring?

We've boarded, stowed our gear - the food is in the refrigerator -shortly we'll leave our berth in the harbour. We are looking the length of the Port of Garavan - you can see the steeples of the beautiful Old Town of Menton on the left.

Tomorrow - the open sea - en route to a bay in Italy, where we'll meet up with another boat - friends from Monaco. We'll tie up together for a relaxing day out.

13 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Jesus ladies

There I was this morning, walking along near to the Bastion, photographing dogs, when a lady said 'Bonjour' to me and then asked if I spoke English. 'I am English,' I said.

So meet Joan and Michaele from Oregon, USA. They told me they travel with only what you see - a bedroll and one change of clothes. I asked if I could photograph them for the blog. They were more than happy to pose and asked me specifically to say they are 'the daughters of God, and they travel in the life of Christ.' They are for peace, no killing of people or animals. I'll go along with the peace and no killing, for sure, but personally I don't want anyone telling me what I should or should not believe, and I told them this. So once they talked to me -they called me 'Sister' - and stopped telling me what Jesus said, we had a nice conversation. I really liked the two ladies.

I asked them how they manage for money and they said something always turns up. Now here's the thing - I gave them 20 euros - no big deal. An hour later I bought two antique postcards of Gorbio (for this blog) - they cost 18 euros - and what happened, I left the postcards behind in a bar. Now that's not fair, is it?

And I called the bar - no cartes postales anciennes had been found. Grrrrrrrr

The ladies told me they've been sleeping in a little corner at the foot of the Old Town, near some bins - and that no one bothers them there. I wished I'd asked them how, as travellers, they keep their clothes so white.

12 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - Love on the beach

Remember that scene on the beach in From Here to Eternity? Burt Lancaster and Deborah Kerr. It was made in 1953 and won 8 Oscars and yes, you'd need to be of 'un certain age' to remember. In the film, the beach was sand and the lovers had the sea lapping over them. The scene was considered somewhat risqué at the time. Click on the link to see what I'm talking about.

Nowadays, cast your eye over any Menton beach and you'll soon find a pair of young lovers - oblivious to those around them. This was taken the same day as the two previous photographs - as dusk started to fall.

11 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - Friendship

A rock - the sea - a boat on the horizon ... and three friends taking advantage of what sun is left. It's 6.30 p.m. and the light is fading.

You see a pebble beach - typical of this part of the Côte d'Azur - but often sand is imported so Menton, like Monte Carlo, has some other beaches just a little easier on the feet.

10 July 2008

Summertime in Menton - the Lifeguards

Summertime in Menton - visitors galore, crowded beaches, nowhere to park - and good-looking lifeguards. Taken at 6.30 yesterday evening - you can see the Old Town through the bars of the lifeguards' lookout. In the distance - Italy.

These are public beaches. The private beaches are at Garavan (beyond the Old Town and nearer to the Italian border) - you can see one by clicking on the link.

09 July 2008

A good place to read

A corner in the beautiful Old Town of Menton. As good a place as any to read a newspaper, so long as there's no water coming out of the spout.

08 July 2008

Woolite - a sheep in Menton

You don't often bump into a sheep in the walking street of Menton. This one, with its Nike symbol (see lower photo) is apparently used for publicity. It's called Woolite. The name surprised me because I know Woolite as a British product for washing wool. I looked in my cupboard and what is my French product called? Yes, the same - Woolite. It just sounds different said with a French accent!

As you can see in the photograph to the right, this sheep (or rather lamb) is fixed on its owner, running through the streets behind him. I've seen this before when I featured a sheep in Gorbio, who slept in the owner's bedroom.

You can click on the smaller photographs to enlarge.

No one may mention roast lamb or mint sauce...

Stop Press: Since publishing today's post, I see Woolite's owner has left a message with a link. Thankyou! So please click on THIS LINK to read more about this lovely sheep. You can even see Woolite in the sea!

07 July 2008

Time for a roll-up

Here's one of the characters of Roquebrune-cap-Martin. Taken near to the beach. His little dog is called Yappa. I'd noticed her earlier and taken her photograph for Riviera Dogs, but she was very nervous. Much happier here alongside her owner.

06 July 2008

The Yellow Pages

The wedding is over. Life goes on. The telephone directories were delivered a few weeks ago - not an easy task for Crystelle - Gorbio's pretty young post lady. The village is steep, little roads branch off in all directions. Hard work lugging a load of annuaires, I'd think.

Here you see an old door to a cellar - one that looks as if it wouldn't be easy to open. Come to think of it, some of the services offered in the Yellow Pages might just be rather useful...but I hope not. I love this old door. Notice the door step - simply a tree trunk.

The small photo shows telephone directories outside a house, located higher in this perched medieval village.

05 July 2008

The Village Wedding - 28 - memories

The day after. Rose petals outside the church ... memories of a perfect day.

Thankyou so much to everyone who has followed this series and to those who have commented.

Postscript: about a week ago I received an email from Patricia and Walter, the bride and groom, saying how much they enjoyed the photographs and that they'd sent the blog link to friends and family. Lisa's father and the parents of Laura also wrote kind emails.

LONG LIFE AND HAPPINESS TO PATRICIA AND WALTER - your wonderful day has been enjoyed by many people around the world. And I will never forget it - a beautiful wedding, an unforgettable day.

04 July 2008

The Village Wedding - 27 - love

The order of service was displayed in the village square - beautifully displayed amongst wheat, an old wedding dress, even a teddy bear - you can see the bear's foot on the left of the photo.

'Love is not looking at each other, but looking together in the same direction. '

03 July 2008

The Village Wedding - 26 - the pretty guest

A pretty girl is like a melody...tra la la. With thanks to Irving Berlin.

02 July 2008

The Village Wedding - 25 - the pose

Not long now and the wedding party will take off for Cap d'Ail where the main reception will take place. This lady leans against the wedding car. I wonder what she's thinking? It's not 'maybe it'll be my turn next' as she is already married.

01 July 2008

Theme Day: a 'NO' sign

It had to be dog related, didn't it? The signs says 'Forbidden to dogs, even on lead.' This was taken on a grass verge near to the swimming pool in Roquebrune-Cap-Martin - RCM adjoins Menton.

Monte Carlo Daily Photo has two NO signs today - one taken in Monte Carlo, of course, but one taken in America (where I'm visiting at the moment) - outside Otterbein College, in Westerville, Ohio. It horrified me. Do take a look.

There are 171 cities throughout the world taking part in today's Theme. Do click here to view thumbnails and see how others have interpreted the theme.

I'm flying from Columbus, Ohio to St. George, Utah (three flights) today so am really sorry but commenting will not be possible. I'll catch up over the next day or so and meanwhile thank everyone who has left a comment.

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