I often take friends to the Pere Lachaise Cemetery, the largest private one in Paris. It is always worth the trip.

Many tombs are covered with moss.

This is a popular tomb, that of Victor Noir, which has become a place to visit for those wanting to become pregnant. There are always flowers here and sometimes photos of new born babies.

A lot of these family grave sites have open doors which probably means the family no longer visits or is no longer living.

When there aren’t any leaves, you can see the Eiffel Tower from the cemetery which is on a hill.

This tomb got painted some years ago.

And, of course, there is the tomb of Jim Morrisson, singer for the Doors who died in Paris. There are always flowers, candles, graffiti and the scent of marijuana in the air. He lives on in his music and his well known wild life style.

Friends are in town and of course when they are, you walk around Paris, shop a lot and eat out a lot.

As with most women, I am often drawn by the interior of a restaurant. I liked this floor.

I liked this little holder for the salt, pepper and mustard too.

It’s always great when you get a fun, friendly waiter like this one.

The original hand painted ceiling of the book store in the Hotel de Sully, a wonderful ancient mansion.

A cute display for pens for sale in the store.

Of course, everyone has heard of the tragedy here in Paris where two terrorists, brothers again, killed twelve people in the offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that made fun of every religion there is. Among those killed was a policeman who happened to be a Muslim. This isn’t about being Muslim, it about being full of hatred, fear and enemies of free speech. I am not political and am not able to speak of any of this, really. I do know the gunmen were connected to Al Qaeda. I was here in Paris when the attacks of September 11th occurred and now here I am still in Paris when this attack occurs. Maurice didn’t want me to leave the apartment yesterday as the gunmen were said to be headed back to Paris for a final suicidal finish which didn’t occur, by the way. So it’s scary but I think the best thing is to continue living our lives, unlike so many in the world are unable to do, such as those in Syria. We aren’t being bombed, innocent bystanders. The night of the attack we went out to eat at a couscous place in our neighborhood with friends, a normal activity, lucky to be alive and living a good life.

I had tagine with beef, prunes, almonds and potatoes. It was really good.

The pretty interior.

At the end we had a glass of mint tea which was poured into our glasses from a high height. They did this in Morocco too so it must be a custom.

Our tea pot and tea glass. I don’t understand why they don’t serve the tea in cups with handles because the glasses are too hot to pick up at first-ancient tradition.

A very dear friend of mine is here in Paris. We set out to Montmartre the other day and I wore my light winter jacket which turned out to be a mistake and I just about froze to death before I got home. It barely got above freezing all day. I survived however and we had an interesting walk through the Montmartre cemetery as we headed toward the metro.

A grandiose tomb devoted to the Polish who died in war.

A very unusual family tomb. Note the leaden gray skies.

I took her to see this tomb of Dalida, a famous French pop singer who lived in Montmartre. She was actually from Egypt.

This is the tomb of the famous cancan dancer painted by Toulouse Lautrec.

I took this one because the flower looked so yellow against the gray statue. It’s a bit out of focus. I think I will have to get a new IPhone soon.

By the time we got to the metro it was dark and it was nice to see the Moulin Rouge lit up at night.

I am back in cold, gray Paris but am still thinking about some food, namely Paella, when we were in Spain sitting outside in the sunshine (although the French I was with still kept their coats and scarves on).

Isn’t this lovely? This was at a birthday lunch the day before we left. I feel like all I did while there was eat.

A plate of paella there.

A Spanish door knocker.

On the last day we went to a place in a part of Nerja that Maurice and I hadn’t seen before. There was a rather rustic restaurant on the beach called Ajo’s and we ate there and I had my last sangria.

They cooked their paella over fire so it had a smokey taste in these enormous pans, about three feet across. It wasn’t as good as the first one pictured here because it only had chicken and shrimp with a few little clams in it but I loved it.

We are still in Spain mainly for the birthday of Maurice’s son which is January 2nd. Because of this, we were at a New Year’s Eve party, just family, but it was nice.

One custom here that I didn’t know about was eating a grape for each chime of the clock at midnight as the new year rolls in. We each had a little bowl of twelve grapes at our plate. I discovered that the seeds had grapes which seems to be true all over Europe. Maurice, and most French that I know, eat the seeds with the grapes. I guess because I was raised on seedless grapes, I just don’t like the taste of the seeds so I took the time to remove them before midnight. You have to do a lot of chewing to get twelve grapes down in twelve gongs.

A pretty sunset on the beach in Nerja. As you can see, there isn’t white sand. It is gray, sort of rocky sand, not fine at all but, hey, it’s got the ocean coming in and I liked walking on it.

The sunset didn’t amount to much but it gave the clouds in the east a lovely glow.

Out of order, but a photo of the fireworks we could see at the Balcony of Europe. We set off some of our own. They were bought in a little house with no signs, in an ordinary neighborhood. I guess the Spanish authorities don’t want fireworks sold to amateurs either.

You can get excellent, thick hot chocolate in Spain, as you can see here.

The oranges were ripe in the trees around Nerja. Christmas decorations by Mother Nature.

Here’s to a Happy and Healthy New Year to all of you. Thanks for the good year.

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