Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Looks like Somebody Lost their Cannonball...

Ready for some more Impressions de France in-real-life stories??  When I last left off, we had just finished a lovely little pot of chocolate mousse and were ready to have a look at those famous seaside towers of La Rochelle.
 
 
Unlike the movie at Epcot, we could actually STEP INTO the scene and explore the towers up close!!
 
 
OOOOooooooooooooooooooooOOOOOOOOOooo....
 
 
Fun fact: the harbormasters of La Rochelle used to string a chain between those two towers at night to guard the entrance to the harbor.  The masts of enemy ships couldn't get through!
 
And here's another fun fact: we discovered that there are actually not two but THREE epic towers in La Rochelle...
 
 
This is the Tour de la Lanterne - it's the oldest medieval lighthouse in Europe!  Isn't that a gorgeous spire??  If you look off to the right you can see the two towers guarding the entrance to the harbor!  You can go inside all three towers - they're museums now.  Unfortunately it was too late in the day for us to explore fully, but we were able to look around the first floor and gift shop.
 
The museum might not have been so great anyway...the signs were ONLY in French...
 
 
I know a little French, but not that much!  We did really enjoy looking at the old maps though.  See the three towers there at the top?
 
 
Back outside, along the walls...today the seafront has had to make way for a modern parking lot, but some things haven't changed...
 
 
The young citizens of La Rochelle can still be seen chasing each other on the ramparts...
 
 
 
...and philosophical souls still gaze out wonderingly at the sea! What do you think that guy was thinking about?  Possibly something very prosaic, but then again, I think those crashing grey waves must throw a little poetry into one's mental meanderings. :)
 
 
I was imagining all the men and women through all the years who must have gazed out from those ramparts and beaches and bridges - all the scenes that played out here!  People watching loved ones go off to sea, people watching anxiously for loved ones to come back, battles, storms, celebrations.
 
 
There's my brother up there, surveying the land.  I could imagine the sea battles in La Rochelle especially easily - this place is really well fortified!  And get this...
 
 
There was a cannonball.  Just, you know, lying in the street.
 
Like somebody left it there and forgot for a few...oh...HUNDRED years.
 
(OK, so we don't KNOW that it was a cannonball, but C'MON.  Doesn't it look just like one??)
 
 
I think it would be SO fun to live in one of the houses facing the wall and the sea.  They all seemed to have such character...
 
 
 Look at that tree winding around the steps and almost making a little porch for the cute blue door!


The overcast sky was getting greyer and greyer as we headed back towards the harbor and the main part of the Old Town....

 
One last view of the towers!  It was very cold, so we decided a warm snack was in order...
 
 
 How about a freshly-made gaufre (waffle) covered in nuttella and powdered sugar??  YUM.

Most of the shops were closed, but there was still light in the sky so we wandered around, looking in the windows...

 

Doesn't that drawing on the left look more like art than graffiti?  And somehow it looks very French!  On the other hand, some of the "retro" style items in the shops looked like those silly retro designs with snarky captions that you'll see over here...only the language was different!


There was one store that sold chocolate BY THE SLAB.  Awesome.  I also liked the pink crates, although the modern décor couldn't compare with the old...


This store had an AMAZING old beam ceiling.  LOVE IT.


Soon we reached our hotel, which was shining cozily in the growing dusk.  Before we turned in for the night though, we had to have a look in the garden - especially after seeing and hearing about it on the website.

The video on the website said the garden was the perfect place for discussing and reflecting, so my brother and I, naturally, discussed and reflected matters of great importance...

 
This is one of my favorite pictures from THE ENTIRE TRIP.  La Rochelle was WONDERFUL. ;)
 

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