Saturday, February 27, 2016

A Mini-Getaway - Ile de Re - Perfect place for reflection

 A quiet getaway for a couple of days
Do you ever have the feeling that you need to get away from it all?  That you need a change of scenery? Some fresh air? Some quiet time?  That's how I felt earlier last week - personal events (which I can't detail too much now-but they were and continue to be stressful) of the last few months had fatigued me and it was time to find a bit of sanctuary. So when a French friend of mine offered a few days on Ile de Re where she and I could relax, rejuvenate and take in the Ocean breezes, it was a tempting offer and one that I felt would be good for me.  Since the girls were spending this second week of vacation with their father, I had some free time.  So off I went.
I share this post as Ile de Re is fast becoming a very special place for me and it's only a mere 2 hours from Bordeaux. If you are a regular reader of the blog, you will remember I spent a week on this stunning island last summer where we biked and enjoyed many of the islands natural offerings. This time, we were staying closer to the bridge side of the island in Sainte Marie, a village I didn't explore during my last trip.   We arrived at the end of the day on Wednesday and took our first walk to the ocean as it was almost dark.  Just breathing the crisp salt air relaxed my soul and I knew I had come to the perfect place to just get away from it all for a few days.

The next day we took a two hour walk along the beach near Sainte Maire - on the Southwestern side of the island - the beach goes on for miles and one can just walk, relax and breath.  It was great exercise and at the same time relaxing for the soul.  I could feel my shoulders soften back into my body - and the stress of the last few months blow away with the wind.
 After our walk and late lunch on the beach, we returned to the house where we just rested for a bit, before jumping on bikes to explore the village of Sainte Mairie.  Due to it being rather chilly on this February day, we returned back and then headed out by car to Le Bois Plage to see the sunset and then take an evening stroll in one of the most beautiful quaint villages, I've ever seen - Saint Martin en Re.  I have to say the beauty of this island - takes my breath away.  Having visited it last summer and returning in the Winter - I marveled at how different the island was but still so charming and natural.
The nice thing about doing a getaway was that we had no agenda, we returned to the house, ate dinner and then relaxed before turning in.  It was nice to be able to sleep in and just wake up when my body awoke.  A real vacation!!  A great way to catch up on needed rest - no plans - no appointments just doing whatever so moved us.
The path from LaFlotte toward St. Martin
 On our final day there, Friday - we drove to La Flotte, another beautiful village and then walked along the Northern coastline toward Saint Martin.  Again, these walks are beautiful, refreshing and serve as great inspiration for the soul.  I hope you can see from the photos that there is a certain peace, tranquility, beauty that is part of this island. Especially this time of year where there are only a few tourists but as there are year round people on the island, some stores, shops and restaurants are still open.

Our walk brought us back to the port village of La Flotte where we enjoyed a delicious lunch at a creperie along the sea.  
I marveled at the fact that at the end of February there were daffodils in bloom.  The first signs of Spring-signs of the rebirth of a new year, new life and new growth.  Just thinking about that refreshed my mind and gave me new found energy.  (Yes, I'm sure there are daffodils in Bordeaux blooming also - but seeing them there on the island in my state of rejuvenating my soul just spoke to me).

Our final journey before leaving for the day and driving back to our respective cities was to visit the Abbey Notre Dame - founded in the 12th Century by a group of monks.  This building has suffered much damage throughout history and has been rebuilt several times - the Gothic remains stand today as testimonial to how important religion was on this island during history. Ruins of this building were also used to build defensive forts on this island during 17th century. 
I am not a religious person but more a spiritual one and find peace and solace in places of worship.  For me those sanctuaries provide places of reflection, calm and refuge, so to see these ruins magnificently dominate the countryside was a beautiful sight allowing more reflection upon history and how past events shape the future.
So Ile de Re is a beautiful island with charming villages, sandy beaches and never-ending pathways just offering up it's natural beauty for all to behold and enjoy. There is definitely something about the air, the ocean breezes and the wild untamed coastline which make it for a perfect getaway - if by yourself, with friends or even as a family!  It's just that kind of place!

If you haven't already read my previous posts about Ile de Re - They are found through the following links:
More-ile-de-re-biking-quaint-village-of Ars en Re
Ile-de-re-exploring-town-of-saint Martin en Re
Lou Messugo

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Winter update - & a little view of Rome

Saint Peter's Square

Wow - It's almost the end of February already!!  So this blog has been a bit quiet lately - not to worry - life just takes over sometimes and like certain animals - I did a little hibernating as far as blog writing was concerned.  But if you follow me on instagram, twitter or facebook you will see that we have as usual been quite busy.  The holidays ended and school restarted, I'm on a bit of a Winter break from touring/working, so using the time to focus on other things...but we still enjoy our jaunts into Bordeaux and the surrounding area.  I have several blog posts in the works about - Chateau d'Yquem, the Eco-System of Darwin and the musee du Vin both in Bordeaux and of course, our fabulous trip to Rome in early January!!

 The photos here are just a preview of a wonderful getaway for a few days that my mother, middle daughter and I took in early January.  My mother and I have started a mini-tradition since I have moved to France - since she comes for a month - and we both like to travel - we choose a city to visit for a few days.  It's become a fun mother/daughter tradition and last year, we added bringing along one of my daughters.  This year it was 4 days in Rome, Italy and Wow - I was impressed!  What a beautiful city.  I will be sharing some more about our trip and our various adventures around the city. but here are few shots from St. Peter's Square - in Vatican City.  

 Here's my mother and my middle daughter.  We entered the square on a Sunday early evening and the lighting was just perfect!!  I have to say it made our first ever glimpse of St Peter's Square very special and memorable.  Yes, there were lots of people, even at this time of year.

Again, this is just a short update and wanted to share a bit about our first glimpses of Rome - it was the first time for all of us to be in this wonderful city - which I found so warm, welcoming and very interesting.

So as I sit at my dining room table in Bordeaux in the middle of February, I find myself dreaming of someday returning to this beautiful city.  I hope after I share a few more posts about our experience, you will feel the same way...or if you have already visited - maybe your already do.

It's Winter here - but one of the best things about Bordeaux is that the sun does shine and even though we have our fair share of Winter rain - we still get glimpse of the sun - so Happy mid-Winter everyone.  

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