Coast

Mary, my friend, took us to the coast near Sonoma mostly that around Bodega. It was stunning.

You can’t see it in this photo but there were seals in the water mostly lying in the shallow water next to the big stone. There were also some whales. I couldn’t really see them until a nice local couple pointed them out. The whales were pretty far out but you could see the little water spouts if you were lucky. The couple even let me use their binoculars.

A bird on a pole with a pretty great background.

Bodega Bay.

Most of  the movie, The Birds was filmed in this area, with the church here being in some scenes.

The couple we talked to told us to eat lunch here. We had some very good clam chowder. It wasn’t fancy at all-as you can see, they sell bate there too.

As were heading back to Sonoma we went through the city of Sebastopol and Mary showed us some metal sculptures all over town made out of mostly  junk. There were a lot on one street where the artist lived which were really fun to look at. They were made by a husband and wife team.

Northern California

We are in California visiting friends and family. We started in the beautiful Monterey Pennisula area in Pebble Beach where a friend and her husband live. I met her through my blog of all things and we even did a home exchange. It’s always interesting how friends can be made.

A view of the country side as we drove there from the airport. I just love the rolling golden hills. We didn’t see any signs of smoke from that horrible fire. It was north of here.

A look at the fantastic coastline there.

Just gorgeous.

The cypress there grows into supernatural shapes.

Succulents abound although they weren’t here originally.

One of the hole of the famous Pebble Beach Golf course is right by the ocean. I bet you could find a bunch of golf balls under the water if you looked.

The Neighborhood of Notre Dame

The area around Notre Dame is called the Latin Quarter and it is interesting to walk around and look.

Notre Dame from behind where you can see the famous flying buttresses. No blue skies on this day.

A bouquiniste selling mostly things for tourists but magazines and books too. The sellers have an interesting life being outside all of the time.

A nearby hotel as you can tell by the name. I’m just a fan of the door.

Further down the Seine, another view of Notre Dame with a statue of Saint Genevieve, the patron Saint of Paris who saved Paris from an invasion of Atilla and his huns with her prayers.

This rather uninteresting building is along the Seine with the view in the photo above. It is made to look like a police station in a French TV show called Profilage. I just wanted to have a look at it since I watch the show about a rather crazy, emotionally fragile woman who helps the police solve crimes. I’ve seen it in a movie or two as well.

In the Louvre

After I saw the current Vermeer exhibit in the Louvre Museum, I walked around a bit in areas I usually don’t visit (Mona Lisa for instance). The Louvre is vast and full of only some of its treasures.

Joan of Arc hearing the voices that lead her to don armor and lead men into battle.

Next I wandered into the Napoleon III apartments. It was very luxurious. This light fixture was at the top of some stairs.

There was gilding on just about every ceiling and many chandeliers.

More gilding, lots of royal red.

Dining room. Not very intimate. I’m sure they had a smaller one for just family.

There are many great views as you walk around the Louvre. This was from the second floor. In the summer you can eat out on that terrace.

Views and Paintings

It’s hard to beat a stroll through the Orsay Museum, once a train station that they had to foresight to preserve and use.

A look down at the main gallery from up above. You can see that it was once a train station.

You can see Sacre Coeur on top of Montmartre from various windows.

I love the color of the dresses on these dancer by Degas.

Lots of sculptures to see.

That beautiful clock.

 

White Sands

In southern New Mexico is the White Sands Monument. I remember going there as a child as I was raised in New Mexico and it is a special place. It’s known by some for the site of the first atom bomb detonation in its northern section. The sand is made of gypsum which normally dissolves in water but due to several factors remains.  It doesn’t retain heat like those sun soaked beaches that you have to race across but is cool to the feel even on the hottest summer day. We were there on a cool day and our feet got cold actually as we walked around with bare feet

We started seeing the yucca plants as we got near White Sands. These were in front of the visator center.

That is the white sands in the background. Notice all of the footprints and the trails left by people sliding down the hills on metal saucers. I had hoped to get some photos of pristine sand dunes but it would have required more of a hike than we were up to.

The light wasn’t the best but we got some great skies.

I found a bit of sand that hadn’t been walked on.

A closeup.

Looks like snow.