Page 4 of Aubrey B Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France » Alsace » Colmar February 28th 2012

Annecy and its mountainous surroundings, though so like home, could not hold me stationary for long and indeed I began to feel "antsy". (To get the joke, think on pronunciation.) And so off to... Well that answer was rather difficult to decide. I wanted very badly to head towards Beaune and its nearby pilgrimage sight but somehow it seems pilgrims these days are expected to be rich and able to afford the fanciest of accommodations. Not falling beneath either category, it seems my steps were fated to take another direction. And so I found myself in Colmar, a German jewel of a city, craftily covered in a French varnish in the Alsace region. I am an hour south of Strasbourg, an important EU center and close enough to pole-jump over into Germany. (Ok, not REALLY.) With ... read more
Petite Venise, Colmar
Quai de la Poissonnerie
St. Martin Cathedral

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Annecy February 24th 2012

I have moved further into the Rhône-Alps region and planted myself in what I assume would be considered the foothills of those enormous and somewhat daunting peaks. My village of choice, Annecy has the best of both worlds: slow flowing rivers crisscross the old town leaving old buildings to open right on the water and after losing yourself in the very medieval-feeling alleyways you exit back out into the sunlight right smackdab on the edge of a lake. You're at the head of a valley and further on to either side mountains rise, their tops covered in pure, untouched snow. I chose to take advantage of the fine, sunny weather we've been having (currently no freakish storms) and took myself on a little hike up around the hills on the lake. Yes, me, the self-proclaimed city ... read more
Le Lac
Le Lac, encore
Le Lac, encore...encore

Europe » France » Rhône-Alpes » Lyon February 20th 2012

Ten hours on a train is brutal I must say, especially when your faithful Kindle recently decided to break down, taking all of your reading material with it. Who knew that self-entertainment would be so hard? So I left Biarritz in the small hours of the morning, no sun in sight. Walking up the hill towards the train station even the three dogs, who normally came sniffing and begging for a treat each time I walked by, preferred instead to snore lazily away while I trudged along. It's a desolate feeling, stealing away at night but truth be told the city barely notes your leaving. With a stop over in Bordeaux it was a grand total of 10 hours on the train. I don't know ... read more
Lady of the Republic
Lyon at night
Cathedral St. Jean, Lyon

Europe » France » Aquitaine » Biarritz February 16th 2012

Note to self: Look at train ticket after purchase to determine if indeed it isa train ticket. Sheesh! Left the Toulouse hostel (the one way in the bum-stink, to use my previous words) right when the sun, a bright, blood red-orange, peeked over the rooftops. Ah, that makes it all worth it. :) Took a train to Bordeaux where I got to witness myself, circa ten years ago. A mother set her young daughter on the train, waving at her through the window until the cars started to move and even then chasing them a little way down the platform. The girl blushed in classic embarrassment as the train pulled out and us fellow travelers smiled knowingly and perhaps just a bit patronizingly since we've all been in her position. Then she proceeded to explore the ... read more

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse February 15th 2012

Ok people, as I promised in the last posting, we are back to sailing the blue, happy waters of France and will be avoiding the dark abyss of my self-analysis. So, grab a friend, grab yourself, or grab whatever, because here we go... From windy Narbonne I jumped on a rickety old train and landed myself smack-dab in the middle of snowy Toulouse. There's no taste of home like the sharp, icy prick of winter air that burns your lungs and freezes your lips so that you can't feel the snot dripping out of your nose. My hostel happened to be out in the bum-stink part of town, about seven metro stops away from the station. My least favorite part of traveling is the time spent on the metro with the great big pack on your ... read more
Basilique St-Sernin
Basilique St-Sernin, Interior
Couvent des Jacobins; Interior

Europe » France » Midi-Pyrénées » Toulouse February 15th 2012

"There are years that ask questions and there are years that answer." -Zora Neal Hurston I had thought this would be the latter kind, but I'm discovering that clarity is elusive and doubt sets in like a fungus: always beneath the surface, ready with new tendrils. I can't say what exactly has me locked in this self-reflection mode but it's a difficult trap to spring. Maybe it's the fact that what my trip is and what I had expected it to be do not coincide; that change comes so unexpectedly that any reaction feels dreadfully belated; or that what I had hoped to find here, knowing in my heart I wouldn't, is indeed absent or fleeting. This is not a post about a place I've been to see. This is catharsis. I recently met someone on ... read more

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Narbonne February 8th 2012

Have you ever had your exhaled breath pushed back into your lungs and up your nose? No? Well let me tell you, it's no treat. And why, you might ask, do I pose this question to all you faithful readers? Well here in Narbonne the views won't take your breath away, but the wind will slap your face with it and then proceed to ram it back down your throat, almost as if Mother Nature is giving us a taste of our own medicine, and sans the spoonul of sugar. Even locals are bundled up so that only their eyes peek out and café owners grudgingly serve you with fingerless gloves then scramble back in front of their personal heaters after the money has been passed over. Streets are nearly empty and those brave enough to ... read more
Cathedral Interior
Cathedral Exterior
Archbishop's Palace

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » La Rambla February 5th 2012

Adios to Barcelona and Bonjour encore to France! I am leaving the Catalans behind and I think we will both be content with ourselves and I can only hope my French hasn´t completely disappeared. Keep all your fingers crossed!! Barcelona is definitely an interesting city. I can´t quite decide what I think about it: it´s charms are hidden but once you make the effort to find them, you´re blown away. Not by the sheer "amazingness" of it all, but just because it was nothing like you expected and still you can´t help appeciating it for what it is. Like I mentioned before, it´s mostly architecture that makes you whip out your camera here rather than fantastic views or famous works of art. The city got a facelift in recent years (recent being the last 100) and ... read more
Hospital, Barcelona
Park Guell

Europe » Spain » Catalonia » Barcelona » La Rambla February 4th 2012

Perhaps your path will lead to the sea, Or perhaps follow deeper shores of the forest And perhaps you´ll meet those who understand along the way, Those behind and those before us. Whichever way you go, whether by blue or by green, And whoever you may meet, spirits from the dullest to the brightest sheen, I can only hope, dear one, that your path be straight and true. But if it falters, twists, or turns, I hope you leave it with more than you knew.... read more

Europe » France » Languedoc-Roussillon » Beziers February 1st 2012

Ladies and Gentlemen, we are now ushering in the second month of the new year and all that it holds in ways of travelling. I haven´t quite hit the two month exactly but it´s coming around the corner and I feel a resurgence of energetic spirit and can I just say it? I´m hella excited!!! Thus far my February has been cold and grey but fun nonetheless. I spent a day at the coldest beach I´ve ever seen, nearly drove myself off a mountain, navigated through a snowstorm on back country roads in the dark, and crossed the border into the much-more-foreign land of Spain. All in a week´s work! But I suppose that is getting a little ahead of myself. I will backtrack. After my disappointing, or rather anticlimactic experience in Provence, I chose to ... read more
Narbonne Gate, Carcassonne

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