Travel Journey of the Week – The Louvre

The Louvre and pyramid. No tourists. It's Tuesday and the Louvre is closed

The Louvre and pyramid. No tourists. It’s Tuesday and the Louvre is closed

Liberated Travel’s weekly Travel journey is the Louvre, one of the world’s largest museums, in Paris.

I’ve been to the Louvre museum in Paris twice. The first time was during a school trip to Paris in 1977. We had a bus tour around the city and one of the stops was the Louvre. I don’t think we had a guided tour around the museum highlights but we did have our entrance paid and had an hour or so to have a quick look round it. I remember finding the Mona Lisa, She was hung at the time on a wall in a large gallery and I was so surprised to see that it was not a very big painting at all and that it was painted on wood, not canvas. The size of it is only about 11×17 or thereabouts.  Now, of course, it’s in a special viewing area of its own and is behind bulletproof glass. I don’t think it was back then but I may be wrong.

The other piece of art I always remember from that visit was the Winged Victory of Samothrace. She is a masthead from a ship, carved in stone and though head and armless, you can see that she’s facing the winds of the seven seas which  is blowing her robes backwards.

30 years later, I finally returned to Paris with my parter. We decided to go to the Louvre on the Wednesday late opening but looking back, we really should have done it first. It was at the end of a very long day, during which we’d gone up to Montmartre, visted the Basilica, took in the Dali museum, had lunch and walked many narrow streets, and had a quick look at the exterior of the Moulin Rouge before taking a bus back to the Louvre. I was exhausted with very sore feet even before we got to one of the world’s largest museums.

But we went anyway. It was late November and the queue under the pyramid entrance was not all that long at all. We got our little map and headed in to find the Mona Lisa and whatever else we could find. We did find the little maps confusing. When looking for particular galleries or the toilets, they were never where the map said they were. I was getting frustrated and tired. But we found the enigmatic Mona and got a chance to get to the front of the viewing area for a look and a photo.

Then we wandered a bit, saw the Venus de Milo. She had almost nobody around her. We got up close and had a good look but my partner quipped, “Well, that’s not a very good statue. It’s got no arms!” Very funny. I really wanted to find the Victory again, too, so I could get some good photos of it. We finally came upon it from one side and I was as struck by it this time as I was the first.

“This one’s even more rubbish! It’s got no head AND no arms!”

I had to laugh, only because I was so tired, I think! By this time, even though we’d barely seen anything other than those three things and one or two galleries of paintings, I had had enough. I really needed to sit down and I really needed a cold drink. We finally found a cafe near the entrance but for some reason we weren’t allowed to sit at the tables, so we bought some bottles of pop and found a bench. I was nearly in tears by this time, between the sore feet, the thirst, the frustration trying to find our way around.

But you know what? Once I had a rest and a drink, I got a little puff of a second wind. We had talked about getting an after dark boat cruise on the Seine. G. was willing to forgo it if i wanted to go back to the hotel for the night but no, I thought I would be ok, and besides, a boat cruise means you can sit down, right? Right. So we made our way across Pont Neuf and down to the quay to get tickets. The cruise was great, if a bit chilly and we walked back to the hotel under the moonlight, stopping in a Chinese restaurant on the way for a late meal. It was our last day in Paris and we made more than the most of it!

Quandaries

Here’s the quandary I’ve been tossing about in my head. We are planning to go to Paris from Manchester next spring. There are two ways of getting there and each has advantages and disadvantages. Cost wise and time wise, I don’t think they will be all that far part and both have some messing around and schlepping a big suitcase. We’re planning to do this on the second of the two weeks that I will be overseas and I will be leaving from London to come home at the end, that’s why I’ll have my full size suitcase. I am not capable of living for two weeks out of a rolling carry on size bag. It just won’t happen.

Method 1: Fly from Manchester to Paris, (early arrival at the airport). Go through customs and wait for baggage. Get to the RER train and into Paris, Gare du Nord (there should be elevators from the train to the concourse, right? Or escalators at least?) Taxi to the hotel because lugging a heavy case up stairs from the underground/Metro isn’t going to happen either.

Method 2: Take the train from Manchester to London Euston. Taxi to St. Pancras (I know it’s not too far but we’ll have that luggage to contend with which also leaves out trying to get underground tickets, dragging around on that and up into the train station. Taxi it is.) Get the Eurostart to Paris Gare du Nord and a taxi to the hotel.

Getting to London to Paris  will definitely be on the Eurostar.

The second way sounds like less messing but with both ways, there’s two legs of the journey, either plane to train or train to train, both ending in the same place. Time wise, probably the train to train will take longer, with each train journey a bit over 2 hours plus the time in between that you need to check in to the Eurostar terminal. Cost wise, hard to say. You can get fairly cheap advance tickets for the Manchester to London journey if you’re on top of things and the Eurostar can be fairly cheap too, with advance tickets.

Sometimes you can get good prices on the one way flights. But you have to be at the airport over an hour early, and then wait for your bags at the other end, hoping they arrive. Still, that way will probably take a little less time overall but then, the last time we flew to Paris, we were stuck waiting on the Manchester runway for over an hour and a half with a delay. Planes and trains both get cancelled but I think planes have more chance of delays. Can’t really use that as an excuse though.

Comfort wise, flying is cramped and crowded. The train in second class still has seats with not a lot of leg room but it’s perhaps a bit more comfortable. First class is nice if you can afford it! Perhaps lots of advance booking might get the Eurostar first class in an affordable range, not so sure about the British trains. I know I have signed up in the past for email notice for the cheap seats in second class when they are released but I can’t recall if they do the same for the first class seats.  I’m still kind of leaning to the train except that it will make the journey longer.

I get myself all in a tizzy over little details like this, long before I even need to think about it! My partner will just say he’s fine with whatever I decide.

The next tizzy will be choosing a hotel! That’s something for a whole other blog post!

Traveling through the movies: Midnight in Paris

I’m not a Woody Allen fan overall but I went to see this movie because of the Parisian setting and the unusual premise.  A couple from California, Gil and Inez, (Owen Wilson, Rachel MacAdam) are vacationing in Paris with her parents. He writes screenplays but really wants to be a proper writer. Gil loves Paris,even in the rain, and would love to live there and write. He admires all the writers that lived there in what he considers Paris’ golden age, the 1920s. Life was better then.

Late one night, after drinking too much at a wine tasting, he stumbles around a corner in old Montmartre. An classic car comes around the corner and he’s invited to a party. Gil finds himself in the company of his idols, Hemmingway, Stein, Fitzgerald and other notaries from the era including painters (Dali, Picasso) and singers. He meets Adriana (Marion Cotillard) who feels as he does though she thinks Paris’ golden age was the Belle Epoque. He spends several nights like this, getting to know all the “celebs” of the time and falling in love with Adriana and with the era. It inspires his writing but alienates him from Inez whose shallowness and pretentiousness is emphasized by comparison.

The movie is about making the most of life, not wishing for a different life that probably would be no better. It’s about what you make of it and about being true to yourself.

The movie was shot all around Paris, day and night, in sunshine and rain,  with an awesome opening sequence showing a day in the life of Paris.  In addition, there are views of Monet’s Giverney and of Versailles.  Restaurants, shops, markets, streets, the Seine, the boulevards, the streets, the views. This movie has it all and you’ll be tempted to pack your bags and book a flight! Here’s some screen shots from the opening and a few other shots from the film.

Travel Journey of the week: Paris

I discovered yet another weekly challenge that a blog called Liberated Travel has started. Each week they will mention a particular place and you can blog your thoughts, photos, experiences from that location. It probably won’t be somewhere I have been each week but the first one is Paris!

The first time I saw Paris was in 1977 on a school trip. We started in Rome, then took the overnight train to Paris for three days. I’m ashamed to say that the first place we students headed once installed in the hotel was out to find food. At McDonald’s! Eek! It might have been a Sunday but surely there were other, more French places available for a casual lunch than that! And, I recall, it wasn’t very good even though, at the time, we all normally loved McD’s. We had a tour of the city including an inside visit to Notre Dame and the Louvre and a trip up the Eiffel Tower though I didn’t go. I stayed on the ground as it was mid-March, and was chilly and windy even without going up in the air on an open tower. I don’t know really why else I didn’t want to go, as I certainly don’t mind heights but there you are. We had a day on our own and a group of us traveled the Metro up to Montmartre.

I didn’t see Paris again until November 2007 when my fiance and I flew over from Manchester for three days. We got there around noon on a Monday and went out from our Left Bank hotel and found somewhere for lunch. Steak Frites! We even sat outside under a heat lamp just because we could and it was Paris and that’s what you do! We walked to the Seine, then over to see Notre Dame which was every bit as beautiful as you would expect. We walked over to Ile St. Louis and wandered around there after a coffee and cake stop. Eventually, as we’d had an early start that morning, we gathered some take out sandwiches and trudged back to the hotel which seemed like a very long walk away though I think we were just a bit disoriented as to which direction we were going. We didn’t get lost but we thought we were. Looking at the map we thought we were coming from one direction when we were atually headed from the opposite one.

Tuesday was a bit rainy and a number of museums are closed but we managed to find things to keep ourselves occupied. We had breakfast breakfast outdoors in another cafe, one with the outdoor tables surrounded by a plastic “wall” to keep the heat in. We knew the Louvre would be closed but we walked over there anyway to look at the building. It was a good idea, actually as there were not a lot of tourists around. Not like there would be if it had been open, anyway. We walked through the Tuilleries  where we experienced  the “Peekpocket” incident” and from there we went to the Musee D’Orsay. The queue was fairly long but before we got to the desk to pay, we discovered that the part of the gallery we particularly wanted to see was closed. There had been a transportation strike that week and today, apparently, some other unions were joining in sympathy and the museum workers were part of that. They must have had enough non-union workers to keep the museum open in general but not enough to staff all the galleries. I’m not really sure but we didn’t want to pay the entrance if we weren’t going to be able to see what we wanted to see.

From there, over to Place de la Concorde where I took a somewhat rainy ride on the Grande Boule (wheel). Good views. A bit damp. We window shopped our way over to the posh Place Vendome and stopped for lunch between there and the Opera house. We browsed, later, in Galleries Lafayettes which is a beautiful early 20th century department store with a centre court and enormous Christmas tree reaching up to a Deco dome.

It’s getting darker now and we hopped on a bus, (all the transport was free when you managed to get one because of the strike. Strangest strike I’ve ever seen!). First, we got off the bus by the Arc de Triomphe and later the Eiffel tower so we could watch it sparkle at the top of the hour! Beautiful! We hung around there awhile and again, didn’t go up. It was cold and there were a lot of people in the line ups even then. There’s probably no time when it isn’t crowded! It took us quite a wait when we found a Metro station but a train did finally come and we got back to the hotel. We ate in the restaurant below the hotel that night and it was very good! Better than we expected.

Our last full day turned out sunny! Finally! This was our excursion to Montmartre. The bus ride was a bit long but it was free and we could see lots of the city as we went along.  We didn’t find it as quaint as we expected, not at first but then the streets got narrower and cobbled and it felt more like the Montmartre you always hear about. We took the cable car up to Sacre Coeur for the view and walked behind to Place du Tertre where, even in November, there are still artists set up in the square though not nearly as many as in summer. Artists kept stopping us along the way, too, offering to draw our portraits (for a fee, of course). We resisted.

We found a really quaint little restaurant nearby called Le Poulbot which had an amusing little sign on the door and a tempting sounding price fixe menu. Sorted! It was a lovely little place with friendly staff and lots of atmosphere. Once done there, we went back around the corner to a Dali exhibit which we enjoyed. We then just started walking. We really weren’t sure where we were going because we were just off the top of the map we had but figured as long as we headed downhill we’d come to somewhere that was on the map! We actually did have to ask a passer by at one point if we  were more or less in the right direction to eventually arrive near the Moulin Rouge. He pointed us to a little staircase down to Rue Lepic, one of the oldest streets there lined with shops and bakeries and cafes. That came out near the big red windmill of the Moulin Rouge and we were back in a more modern Paris.

We weren’t done yet! We found our way to another bus and got off at the Louvre for the evening opening. In retrospect we probably did try to do too much in one day. I had blister on blister and was pretty worn out by now but we wanted to go in and in we went. It was about 5:00 or so by now and the queues weren’t that long. We did find the leaflet map of the museum confusing but found the famed Mona. That was a bit of a zoo but it’s a must see really. My favourite is actually the Winged Victory of Samothrace, a tall arm and headless statue that was probably a ship’s masthead. We saw a couple of galleries of paintings and the Venus as well but I had reached the end of my rope and needed a sit down and a drink. Even finding a cafe was a chore but we did manage. The Louvre really is somewhere you should tackle in the morning when you’re fresh, I think!

Gluttons for punishment as we were, though, we left there and I was determined to go on a night boat tour of the Seine, justifying it by reason that we would be sitting down and resting the whole way! The dock isn’t far from the Louvre so we trudged across Pont Neuf and down to the dock. Tickets were cash only at the gate so that used up our ready money and we had a 40 minute wait for the next boat but once on it, we spent a lovely hour looking at all the illuminated buildings along the river right around to the Eiffel Tower and back.

Whew! That was a long day. We passed a Chinese restaurant on the way back to the hotel and decided that would suit us very well. We were leaving the next morning via Eurostar to London. I’d like to go back to Paris again and at this point, a short visit is in the planning stage for next spring before also visiting Rouen.

More random photos posted on this blog post.

A Word a Week Challenge – Square

This week’s challenge is “Square” but not in the geometric sense, or, well, it could be if you wanted I suppose but it’s meant in the sense of a public space. A Square, a Plaza, a Piazza. Most cities and towns have squares. They are usually in the centre, often in the older section of the city (town/village etc) where people would gather. They often have public buildings such as the Town Hall and churches or Cathedrals and many have war or other memorials or tributes to someone from the town’s past, a monarch or prominent citizen.  Some have a market set up once a week or at Christmas. Some, probably most these days, allow vehicle traffic but some are pedestrian only with traffic around the edges. They are used for public celebrations, markets, or just a place to sit and enjoy the sunshine.

Some squares aren’t really squares at all, just a major intersection. Times Square in New York actually encompasses about 10 city blocks around the main “square” which is a huge intersection but it’s still the heart of Manhattan these days. Lots of cities that I’ve been to have more than one large square, but also have lots and lots of little ones, both landscaped and green  or paved or cobbled and ringed with shops and cafes and they are lovely to discover when you’re wandering around exploring.

For this challenge, I’ve picked some famous squares and public spaces from the larger cities I’ve been to.

London is full of squares, large and small but probably the best known is Trafalgar Square in the heart of the West End of London. The fountains and massive lions guard Nelson’s Monument. The National Gallery lines the north side of the square, with the Canadian High Commission on the west side. The Mall leads off under a wide stone “gate” up to Buckingham Palace.

trafalgarlions

Trafalgar Square, London, Lions at the foot of Nelson’s Monument

Trafalgar Square, London, St. Patrick’s Day concert

Montmartre is the more artsy section of old Paris and this square, Place du Tertre has long been associated with artists who set up here to try to make a living.

Place du Tertre, Montmartre, Paris

While the new Georgian part of  Edinburgh has several lovely leafy squares, this one, the Grassmarket, is in old Edinburg and is seated beneath the cliff on top of which looms Edinburgh Castle.

Grassmarket, Edinburgh

Kongens Nytorv (“King’s New Square”) is one of the main squares in Copenhagen. It’s at the end of the long pedestrian shopping “mile”, the Strøget, and has the Danish Royal Theatre along one side and several buildings used to be palaces. One is now an embassy. Another part of it fronts the famous Nyhaven harbour with the brightly coloured buildings and restaurants. In the center is the statue of King Christiain V on a horse. This is the monarch that laid out the square in 1670. Students celebrate around the square when they get their exam results.

Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen

Relaxing in Kongens Nytorv, Copenhagen

Amsterdam’s main square is Dam Square, with the Royal Palace, a cathedral and other large state buildings surrounding it. It’s also got the National Monument in the centre and is used for holding public concerts, memorials, and celebrations.

Dam Square, Amsterdam. The National Monument

Rome… Impossible to pick just one. It’s filled with “squares” and piazzas, many of them very well known. The largest is probably St. Peter’s Square in Vatican City of course. Piazza Navona, a long, narrow square built on top of an old “circus” or race track, with the three large fountains, the most famed being the Four Rivers by Bernini. The Trevi Fountian square is very small and is basically just the fountain and surrounding are for the crowds. There are lots of other squares that are large intersections but always with a fountain or statue in the centre, such as Barbarini, Monte Citorio, Piazza Venezia in front of the Vittorio Emmanuelle II memorial monstrosity, and Piazza Repubblica. Then there’s the busy square in front of the Pantheon, the Piazza Rotunda. That’s probably my favourite even though it’s usually wall to wall with tourists. The square is not that big, and is closed in by buildings housing hotels and restaurants. There’s a fountain in the middle with the dome and pillars of the Pantheon on one end. There are narrow alleys leading into it and the square is cobbled.

The Pantheon, Rome

Tourists in the Piazza Rotunda at the Pantheon, Rome

Just to add a little Canadian Content..Toronto’s Dundas Square is the city’s attempt at a mini-Times Square I think. It’s ringed with large shopping malls and stores and close to the theatre district as well.

Dundas Square, Toronto, across from the Eaton Centre shopping mall

Dundas Square, a mini-Times Square wannabe?

Probably the grandest and most elaborate of squares I’ve ever been to so far is the Grand Place in Brussels. Narrow lanes lead to it from some of the more well-travelled streets. You come around a corner and see this  jaw dropping site, a cobbled central square lined with tall, thin guildhouses and several  palace type buildings. One is now the Town Hall and the tourist information office is in the ground floor of another. It’s all lit up at night, too. There are restaurants around the square, a chocolate museum (I think) and they use the square for exhibitions and markets and festivals as well.

GrandPlace guild corner houses

Grand Place, Brussels, some of the guildhouses in one corner of the square

GrandPlace 382 Duc MontTabor Rose ArbredOr Cygne

Grand Place, Brussels, more guildhouses and a palace.

GrandPlace gilded flag

Grand Place, Brussels. With details like this on every building, you’ll get a sore neck looking up everywhere!

 

A Word a Week Challenge – Ornate

This week, Susie’s word challenge is Ornate. You don’t see as many ornate details these days. I guess it costs too much to really put the flourish into things. But go back, even less than a hundred years to the Art Deco period and you see wonderful detail. Go back even further and you will see ornamentation everywhere. The Victorians and Georgians were over the top. Baroque’s middle name is “Ornate”. The rich details in the Renaissance era are astounding.

One place you can always find lots of ornate details is in a cathedral when more was better, and all to the glory of God. The architecture, the decoration, the stained glass, the altar. Statues and tapestries. Everywhere you look you’ll find intricacy. Architecture is a great place to spot it, even just a little swirl on a window frame or door.  The Vatican Museums are lined with intensely detailed paintings and moldings along the walls and ceilings of the hallways. Whole rooms have every inch of wall space covered in murals and frescos.

Palaces and old manor houses, the owners all seemed to want to out-do each other but not many can match places like Versailles but there are a lot who gave it the old college try including Rosenborg Castle in Copenhagen.

Below are a few photos I’ve taken of ornate bits of architecture, decorative items and interiors, including a door from Georgian Dublin, details from both Wells and Canterbury Cathedral exterior, Galleries Lafayette (a Parisian department store), some Belgian lace examples, and a few shots from Rosenborg Castle.

 

Peekpockets in Paris

Tuilleriesgardens, Paris

Tuilleriesgardens, Paris

A random photo from the archives finds us in Paris in the Jardins Tuilleries, between the Louvre and Place de la Concorde. There used to be a palace here but it’s long gone. Shortly after this photo was taken, we encountered a tourist scam.

We were walking just off to the left of this photo towards the Seine when a woman stopped us and held out what appeared to be a heavy wide gold ring. She spoke French but from what I understood, she seemed to think we had dropped it. No, I told her, not ours. Ah but she then seemed to be saying that by finding it and giving it to us, it would bring us good luck. Now, I’m only catching every fourth or fifth word, so I’m making an uneducated guess. She wouldn’t go away until we took it so we did. She walked away.

Then she turned around and came back and seemed to be asking for more good luck, for herself, in the form of cold, hard cash. Oh, I see. Well, to get rid of her, I reached into my pocket and handed her a handful of change, probably less than a euro in total. She wasn’t too happy with that and asked for more. Nope, Sorry, and we walked away firmly and that was the end of that.

I wasn’t sure what that was all about, frankly. Later, we were in a cafe and I pulled out this ring and could tell then that it wasn’t real gold. The waiter spotted it and though I didn’t understand most of what he said, I did pick out the word “Pickpocket” or… “peekpocket”. We looked at each other and it dawned on us. She was probably watching to see where we took out wallets from. There was nobody else around so she wasn’t trying a distraction for someone else to slip in and rob us, but she must have been hoping to spot an opportunity. She didn’t get one, thankfully.

An hour or so later, as we walked across Place de la Concorde, I heard Graham chuckle behind me. He said someone just came up to him with a gold ring, trying to give it to him. He said he’d laughed at the guy and said “No, thanks, mate, we’ve already got one of those!”

 

Fab Photo Friday – Paris

My nephew and his partner are in Paris as I write this. It’s his first visit anywhere in Europe and he was hugely excited to go. His partner has been there at least once before and his partner has a friend there that is going to show them around as well. I am excited to hear all about his travels when he returns so in honour of Justin’s first foray to the city of Light, here’s a few photos from Paris, things I hope he and Zach do and see. I hope their experience is every bit as great as mine was.

Watch the sun set over Notre Dame

Watch the sun set over Notre Dame

Yummy pastries and cakes!

Yummy pastries and cakes!

Paris is for lovers.

Paris is for lovers.

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

A detail on the Arc de Triomphe

A detail on the Arc de Triomphe

The Grande Roule in Place de la Concorde. There's a great view over the city from top, even on a rainy day, in my experience

The Grande Roule in Place de la Concorde. There’s a great view over the city from top, even on a rainy day, in my experience

He said they were going to kiss while up the Eiffel Tower.

He said they were going to kiss while up the Eiffel Tower.

Check out some fun souvenirs in Galleries Lafayette

Check out some fun souvenirs in Galleries Lafayette

Institute de France is one of the grand buildings along the Seine

Institute de France is one of the grand buildings along the Seine

Check out the Louvre.

Check out the Louvre.

Sit in a sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by for a bit

Sit in a sidewalk cafe and watch the world go by for a bit

Cobbled streets of Montmartre can lead you anywhere.

Cobbled streets of Montmartre can lead you anywhere.

A Word a Week Challenge – Zoom

Sue’s Word a Week Challenge for this week is Zoom.  Zoom for photography is to use a long lens to bring an object in closer. Zoom in, that’s what we say. Focus in closer. Zoom also means fast. “Zoom Zoom!” is the tag line for a well known car manufacturer.  I’ve got a few photos here that illustrate both meanings of the word.

Pont des Arts, Paris, and Notre Dame. Zoom factor 20x

And this is the same view from where I was standing. No zoom involved.

This is photoshopped but imitates a technique where you can take a photo at the same time as employing the zoom lens to give a feel of motion.

Watching an underground train zoom by. London.

Zooming in on Westminster tower on the London Houses of Parliament. I was in the London Eye at the time

Debbie Harry on stage. Obviously I was not standing right in front of her. Zoom Zoom!

A Word a Week Challenge – Island

This week’s Word  challenge from “skinnywench” is Island.

I’m not the type of person that goes to island resorts with wide sandy beaches and palm trees, pools and fancy drinks with little umbrellas in them. The islands I visit aren’t destinations just because they’re an island. I’m in the  UK every year. That’s an island. The province I live in, Nova Scotia, is almost an island, only connected to Canada by a narrow strip of land. Nova Scotia does have an island off the end of it, Cape Breton Island, which is fairly well known. Canada’s smallest province, Prince Edward Island, is not too far from us either. In the east, we just refer to it as The Island and everyone knows what you mean.

Vancouver Island is off the west coast of Canada, belonging to British Columbia and I have family and friends there. Newfoundland is also an island and is on the east side of Canada. It’s a wild, mostly remote, and utterly beautiful place with wonderful people that live there.

I think my most memorable island is the tiny island of Iona, accessible by a foot ferry off the Isle of Mull, Scotland. We drove there from Glasgow through some spectacular mountains and ferried to Mull from the city of Oban. The Island of Mull has some mountains and lots of the roads are single track. The countryside is quite barren. At the end, at Fionport, is the little ferry. The only vehicles allowed are those belonging to the residents, or service vehicles but really, you don’t need a vehicle on the tiny island. The village is a few roads and houses with the old Abbey at the end and the ruins of a Nunnery in the middle. It’s peaceful and almost spiritual.

Here then are a few of the islands I’ve been to visit:

The beach on Iona, Scotland. Looking towards the Abbey.

Stanhope Beach, Prince Edward Island, Canada. The sand and earth of the Island really is that red, with high iron content.

Looking towards Isle St. Louis, Paris, an urban island

George’s Island and lighthouse, Halifax, Nova Scotia. One from my harbour home town. There used to be a military fortification on this little island to help guard the harbour.