What a fantastic day of discovery
21.04.2012 - 25.05.2012 9 °C
The "hop on hop off" open top bus was a great idea .... for an extra 5€ the ticket lasts 24 hours and provides complimentary entry to lots of museums and tourist venues. I hopped off once and did not hop back on. It was way too fascinating to walk the streets of this magnificent old medieval part of the city. The photos do not do it justice. At every turn, there are breath-taking architectural marvels ..... and not just at street level. Look up, and there are old wooden buildings from the middle ages, some even leaning inwards to shadow the narrow cobblestone rue below. I used a portable audioguide headset loaned to me by the Tourist Office which provided a brief description and historical background into the sights we were taken to. Think of a bus negotiating the narrow streets of Glebe or Balmain and you have a good idea of the drive. From the research I did, I was pleased to visit on foot several of the rues and buildings on my list.
Saturdays in Nantes means markets. All types .... Fresh fish, vegetables, clothing, shoes, cheeses, fresh meat and French bread sticks. This is where I "hopped off the bus" to wander and discover for myself the delights of this beautiful and surprising city. The Passage de Pomeraye is a three-stores 19th century arcade .... think The Strand in Sydney ..... Crepe again for lunch .... the dictionary revealed epinard is spinach. The two guys at the next table offered to help me translate the menu, which was so nice of them to offer, but by then I had sorted out a crepe with mushrooms, egg and ham ...the safe bet ..... plus the most generous dollop of cream on top of my coffee I have ever been served.
Today the wind was chilling again and it rained then hailed then the sun shone ... This sequence was repeated three times. I've since read that this is quite a common occurrence ..... Interesting that it was not discovered earlier in my research. The light was quite difficult for photographs with shadows at times. Set the camera to manual when I could but still difficult. I've had to supplement my clothes with an additional warm skivvy from a shop like Witchery and a microfiber hooded coat that is showerproof and stops the chilly wind. Scarves are an absolute necessity ... hence the one my sister gave me the day I left has been used daily as has been my mauve beret.
Random facts from today ....
The plants in the pots are chained down
The middle ages Jewish quarter has passageways only 5 meters wide
The majority of the old buildings are now shops, cafes, bars and restaurants .... The advertisements in some cases are not sympathetic to their history.
In the middle of the old city is a fair dinkum castle .... think round towers, moats and princesses and you've got the image. I'm going back there tomorrow as there was insufficient time to view the inside of the castle which is now a museum of the historical development of Nantes.
The pigeons are outside my window again this evening. There is a little perch of pipe opposite my window they sit on to look at me through the window them come and sit on the window sill.
This is a most beautiful, quaint and totally surprising city, some was destroyed and significantly affected by wars and The Resistance .... the Resistance Museum would be on my list if I was staying longer and brave enough to drive, but that is not possible. Currently there is much development and redevelopment in both the old and new districts. The beautiful cathedral 5 minutes from my hotel was bombed in WWII and much of what is now the new district. Such a shame and waste but no doubt I will encounter this again in the next days of my travels.
A poignant fact I learned today is the naming of the Cours des Cinquarte Otages (Route of Fifty Hostages). Named after WWII, the story can be found on Wikipedia and contains a sad yet ironic tale.
Can't wait until tomorrow's adventure into a real life castle!
Hope all are having as much fun too.
Love Lyn x