Photo of the Week: When In Doubt? Travel To Paris…

It’s not often that I reblog but Tahira’s post today spoke to me, it seemed so relevant for me right now. Paris …. hmmm….

tahira's shenanigans

From now on, each Friday (or there about), I will share a photo with you from my little adventures.


You know the famous saying “When in doubt? Travel to Paris.” ?


Me either. I just made it up. But it’s an awesome saying, isn’t it?


Eiffel Tower in the morning

I feel a major recalibration coming on.  And where better to recalibrate than in Paris or better yet The South of France?

I don’t know what is coming, but what I do know is….

A bird sitting on a tree is never afraid of the branch breaking, because her trust is not on the branch but on it’s wings. Always believe in yourself.”  ~Anonymous

View original post

Paris in July: Circa 52BC

Did you ever consider that Parisians could be speaking Italian and be called Lutetians? No, I guess not. Doesn’t have quite the same allure, does it? But it could have happened, if the Roman Empire hadn’t collapsed in a heap.

Amongst the many books relating to Paris– novels set in Paris, French cookbooks, French tourist tomes, memoirs of famous French residents and those from other countries who have chosen to make France their home – one ancient literary endeavour may have been overlooked. Julius Caesar was probably the first author to use France (or to be precise, Gaul, which includes a few other modern countries) as the backdrop for his de Bello Gallico, a series of commentaries on the Gallic Wars. Now I’m sure you don’t need me boring you with a history lesson, suffice to say that, like any author, Caesar had an agenda. His commentaries were pure political propaganda aimed at establishing his military reputation. Worth a read if you like history.

But, back to the Lutetians. The name Paris stems from the Parisii, a Celtic tribe that inhabited the area around the Ȋle de la Cité from the first to the third century BC. However, in 52BC, when the Parisii broke their agreement with the Romans in order to support the Gallic war leader Vercingetorix, the city was captured and burned by the Romans and a new town Lutetia established on the Left Bank of the Seine It was not until the decline of the Roman Empire in the third century AD that the name Paris was resurrected. So, as I said there was a possibility that we could have been celebrating Lutetia in July!

The Louvre is home to a wonderful array of Roman artefacts and the busts of several Roman Emperors. Not half as attractive as the current Parisians though 🙂

Emperor Hadrian

Marcus Aurelius

Septimius Severus

Paris in July

Browsing through the blogosphere this week I came upon this wonderful initiative. Karen at BookBath and Tamara at Thyme for Tea are hosting Paris in July 2012. They’ve done it in previous years and have lots of loyal followers so I am throwing my support behind it because, after all, who can resist Paris in July, or Paris at any time of the year for that matter?

As the girls explain, the idea is that we’celebrate our French experiences through reading, watching, listening to, observing, cooking and eating all things French.’ I’m thinking drinking French Champagne might count.

My intentions during July are to write a Paris themed post at least once a week, to buy the book on Paris that I have been wanting for ages (regardless of the fact that it is not cheap), to read The Paris Wife and to generally revisit memories of my times there. Who knows what may pop up and inspire me during the month, I’ll keep you posted.

To begin, I thought I’d share a couple of delectable shop windows with you. Now, although the rest of the world is trying to catch up nobody really does pastries like the French, do they?

How can you not walk inside?

Savouries – would you believe it?

Got your attention? Why not drop in on BookBath or Thyme for Tea and sign up to help us celebrate all things French. In the meantime tell me, what do you love best about Paris?

Go Solo: should I, shouldn’t I, should I ….

I am prevaricating, I know that. As I mentioned in a previous post, I can’t decide what to do in the way of travel this year. In reality, I know exactly what I want to do but, as I say, I’m prevaricating.

You may ask why, or you may not really care, but I’m gonna tell you anyway. For a number of years I’ve known where I am going on my next trip. It’s usually been organised in conjunction with a friend or family member and it’s just sort of …. happened. I’ve been to Broome with a friend, Tasmania and Europe with my cousin, Kuching with my daughter and Crete with my daughter and a friend. That’s taken care of the last five years.

As for this year, still don’t know. My sister in law emailed a few days ago and asked me if I had given any thought to a holiday. My reply – I’m always thinking about a holiday! But the question did set me to giving serious thought to the matter, so I made a list. Where do I want to go:

  •  Machu Pichu.
  • A few weeks inParis in October – writing!
  • Bali in early October for their Reader’s & Writer’s festival.
  • Kota Kinabalu.
  • A long weekend inMelbourne.
  • Would love to go toSydney.
  • Cinque Terre walk – next year.

Some how, having the options laid out in front of me made life easier. Well, sort of. Machu Pichu – far too expensive at the moment to do the tour that I want to do, so we’ll put that one on hold. Bali– I was there last year and, although a cheap option, I can’t quite convince myself. Same with Kota Kinabalu – would be nice, but …..  A long weekend in Melbourne– not a problem, I have my daughter I can stay with. Sydney– hmmmm, not sure. Cinque Terre walk – on the books for next year, possibly with my brother.

Now, the observant among you may have noticed that I skipped over one option in that list. Maybe we should ask ourselves why. The answer – because I know that that is what I really want to do. I want to rent an apartment in Paris for a few weeks and spend my time wandering around during the day and writing in the evening. A romantic idea maybe, but one that could happen. So what’s holding me back? Just possibly the fact that I want to do it by myself. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve travelled by myself before quite happily, and if I was to decide to go to England (where I feel comfortable), I wouldn’t have a problem, so why has Paris by myself become such a hurdle?

I’ll think this one through and let you know when I’ve convinced myself to do it. In the meantime, any convincing arguments would be welcome.




I love a view

In real estate circles the catch cry is ‘Location, Location’, my priority when travelling is not much different. Wherever I choose to stay I really need a view, preferably with a balcony overlooking it, so that I can sit and reflect and write. A crisp Semillon Sauvignon goes down quite nicely (and very often so quickly) with a view to drink by. A view of the ocean is preferable but, as there isn’t always an ocean available,  beautiful scenery of any description is perfectly acceptable.

View of the Arc de Triomphe from the balcony of my hotel.

View across from the hotel.

Beauty, as they say, is in the eye of the beholder and it’s not always scenery that attracts me to the view. In Paris it was the fact that I could see the Arc de Triomphe from my (admittedly small) balcony. The buildings opposite also had that Parisien charm that photographs so well (

A Roman rooftop - view from my bedroom window!

Trevi Fountain 7.00am

In Rome, I gave up the view, and the balcony, in favour of the perfect location. The Trevi Fountain was twenty steps from the front door of our apartment and, being so close, gave us the advantage of being able to visit the fountain bright and early in a morning, before the tourists descended.

Trevi Fountain crowd 10.00pm

My balcony

When we talk views from a balcony I think this one wins hands down. This balcony led out from my bedroom in this villa in Crete. The sun sparkling off the ocean, dinner on the balcony as the rays from the dying sun lit up the coastline. I really don’t think I can do it justice with mere words.

View from that balcony

As the sun sets

Looking across to the North East coast of Tasmania

Australia in a snapshot. From the balcony of the log cabins at Rainbow Retreat, a nature based eco retreat, on the north east coast of Tasmania, the spectacular view lures the eye over the treetops to the coastline beyond. As an added bonus you can feed the wallabies from the balcony and interact with the local wildlife on this Private Nature Reserve (

The street in Florence

Another streetscape, this time in Florence. A narrow street – five minute walk one way to the Santa Maria Novella train station, two minute walk the other way to the Piazza Santa Maria Novella and less than ten minutes to the Duomo and the Ponte Vecchio. Perfect spot and a really great hotel (

Boab tree at Emma Gorge Resort in the Kimberley

From the steps of the tented cabins at Emma Gorge Resort in the El Questro Wilderness Park, the ancient Boab becomes a silhouette against the fiery sunset in this stark yet magnificent landscape (

Reflections off the Cockburn Ranges

And finally, my own private B & B (aka my brother’s place). Cowaramup doesn’t necessarily spring to mind when you think of the South West of the state, but maybe if I say Margaret River you’ll know where I’m talking about. Cowaramup (abbreviated by some to Cowtown, although the name has nothing to do with cows), is only a few minutes from Margaret River and I am lucky enough to have a more or less open invitation (thanks guys :-))

Who's watching who/


In a region renowned for its beauty and its wineries, what else are we supposed to do on a summer’s evening but sit on the patio, watch the wildlife and taste test the local produce.




Thank you all for reading and, while you’re here, if I could be so bold as to ask you to cast your eyes over to the right hand side of this page. You may notice a flagrant request for you to vote for me in the Sydney Writer’s Centre Best Australian Blogs competition. Go on, do it – you know you want to.

Reminders of travels past

Something that fellow blogger Remarkably Unremarkable said in a recent post got me thinking, he decided that he needed to focus on the positive aspects of his job rather then the negatives, and this struck a chord with me. I’ve been in a bit of a fug lately. I have no plans at the moment for a holiday and this is not like me. Planning my next trip is what tends to keep me going, and when I have nothing to work towards I tend to wallow. That post sparked a period of thought, not always a good thing, but in this instance it has resulted in this post, so it can’t be all bad. My somewhat convoluted thought processes took me initially through my own inability at times to see the positives, but landed me in the realisation that I have such wonderful memories of the trips I have taken and the places I have seen.

We just need to remind ourselves sometimes that we have led amazing lives and are privileged to have seen and done all that we have. So, please stay with me and allow me this moment of self indulgence as I take you on a journey through my own travel memories.

Tintern Abbey,Wye Valley

The shafts of light speared through these high, ancient portals long since fallen to ruin. They seemed to ceremoniously connect with the remains of those walls still standing to create a surreal atmosphere. The lack of any form of roof meant that the interior was flooded with light and the shadows cast by the stone pillars created a ladder like effect on the grass. This is a place of beauty, serenity and spirituality.


The caldera, Santorini






Very high on my list of travel musts for many years it was a thrill for me to finally be visiting this famously blue and white island. Sailing across the Caldera, a huge lagoon created around 1600BC by a major volcanic eruption, was the highlight of my trip to Greece. Knowing that there is a still active volcano below the surface that, so many years ago, distorted the landscape and resculpted it into what we see today, was an emotional experience.


Rooftops of Paris

Paris – what more can I say!!

Let me have cake

Hawkeshead in theLake District

Summer's evening in Hawkeshead

It was an evening of pure calm, twilight as only England can do it.  From the graveyard above the church the view took in the surrounding valley and distant mountains. The final rays of the sun picked out the whitewashed walls of the cottages, surrounded by an array of lush greens. It was one of those moments you simply need to share in silence.

Trajan’s Column, Rome

Trajan's Column, Rome

Detail on Trajan's Column





Amongst the ruins of this ancient city Trajan’s Column, at one end of Trajan’s Market, stands out for me. The skill and patience of the stonemasons who created this masterpiece, depicting the emperor’s military exploits against the Dacians in the first century A.D., holds up against the backdrop of the impatient and always in a hurry 21stcentury.

The New Forest

The New Forest under snow

Our back garden

Memories of our five year stay in this beautiful area in the south of England.

New Forest ponies


Kalbarri gorges




Revisiting this coastal resort in Western Australia, that I had holidayed in as a teenager, made me realise that, in the short span of time allotted to us, nothing really changes. These gorges were created over millions of years and in our four score and ten only a few pebbles will have moved.


Sunset off the coast of Broome

A great holiday with a really good friend.


My first solo trip to Bali

Smoke not mist but effective all the same

Makes your day easy by comparison