Pere Lachaise cemetery in Paris; graves of Jim Morrison and Oscar Wilde

We had an afternoon to spend in the famous Pere Lachaise cemetery here in Paris.  It is a remarkable city of the dead.  We will be going back before we leave because 2 hours was not enough time to take some of the photographs that I wanted to take.  This cemetery was founded in 1804 when the city of Paris needed more room to bury the dead. Pere Lachaise is the largest cemetery in the city of Paris.  Père Lachaise Cemetery has more than 3.5 million visitors, making it the most visited cemetery in the world.

 

Many famous people who died in Paris are buried here.   The most famous and the most visited  is the tomb of Jim Morrison of the Doors.

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Jim Morrison’s grave, died 1997 in Paris

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Edit Piaf, famous Parisian singer

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Oscar Wilde’s grave  

There were many French Jewish families that were sent to German concentration camps when Germany occupied France during WWII.  There are several memorials to these innocent French citizens in the graveyard.  Here are a couple of them;

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Memorial to the children killed by the Nazis

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memorial to the people killed in concentration camps

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And on a much lighter note; here is the grave of Victor Noir.   He was a French journalist who is famous for the manner of his death and the sculpture that lies on top of his grave.   I could not think of a good way to word this description so I will let Wikipedia do it for me.

“A life-sized bronze statue was sculpted by Jules Dalou to mark his grave, portrayed in a realistic style as though he had just fallen on the street, dropping his hat which is depicted beside him.

The sculpture has a very noticeable protuberance in Noir’s trousers. This has made it one of the most popular memorials for women to visit in the famous cemetery. Myth says that placing a flower in the upturned top hat after kissing the statue on the lips and rubbing its genital area will enhance fertility, bring a blissful sex life.”  As you can see from the wearing away of the crotch area, many women have taken up the idea since he died in 1870.Pere chaise Victor Noir 5x7net

Over one million people have been buried here and there are many famous French politicans, inventors and artists who are scattered among many family mausoleums.  It is a cemetery that has many monuments and statues to commemorate the dead.   Here are some of the more interesting photographs that I took.

Pere Lachaise child writing 5x7 net

Pere Lachaise angel 5x7 net

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Pere Lachaise statue 5x7 netPere Lachaise mother and child 5x7 net

And we found one live woman practicing her clarinet in the middle of the monuments.  The music was enchanting.Pere Lachaise girl clarinet 5x7netMore views of Paris to follow.

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We go to Greys Court and Waddesdon Manor

It has been raining a lot here in Oxford shire during the last week so we mainly have been staying home with the dogs.  I have been cooking and working on my art travel journal.

But we did get some time to go to a couple of National Trust homes that are near the house we are sitting .  The first one is called Greys Court.  This is a Tudor house and gardens near Henley on Thames. It is quite beautiful.  They do not allow photographs inside the house but the outside had many lovely places to photograph. Greys court house 5x7 netThis is the house.  Here are some photos of the gardens.Greys court brick 5x7 net David is standing in one of the garden’s arches out of the rain.David Grey netAnd the garden flowers are exquisite. sweetpea lavendar 5x7 netsoft pink rose 5x7 netGreys court tower 5x7 netThat tower you see in the background is a fortified tower built circa 1347 and is the only remaining part of the medieval castle that stood here.  This estate has an intact donkey water wheel and well.  It is a huge wooden wheel that a donkey walked in to bring up heavy buckets of water from a well that is 200 feet deep.  Here is a photo of the bucket being drawn up.well bucket 5x7 netThis provided water for the house and the animals.

The second National Trust home was Waddesdon Manor.  It was built in the 19th century in the Neo Renaissance style for the very wealthy Baron Ferdinand Rothschild.  This was to be his weekend residence for elaborate entertaining and a place to show off his amazing collection of Dutch and English paintings.  Many of the items that the baron had collected would be seen only in a museum.   It was totally amazing inside.  If you are in this part of England you should try to see it.  Here are some photographs for you to enjoy.

Waddesdon Rothschild 5x7 net

The house

Inside the house were many paintings by famous painters.  Here is a Thomas Gainsborough portrait of a lady in the guest reception room.Gainsborough painting 5x7 netThis is the formal dining room set up for a large party. Waddesdon dinner table 5x7 netThe place settings have priceless china and gold monogrammed wine glasses. Waddesdon table 5x7 netThere were desks used by French Kings scattered throughout the drawing rooms so that guests could write letters from the mansion.  Waddesdon Manor desk 5x7 netAnd a lovely robin who was in the courtyard where people were eating and continued to sing as if no one was there. Robin sings 5x7 net

Southampton England for nine days

We left sweet Pablo to his wonderful mom yesterday and took the train to Southampton.  This is a seaport where the Titanic left for its fateful final trip.  We are on a 9 day break between sits and David chose a lovely apartment for us near the marina.  I love the ocean and it is wonderful to just walk 5 minutes to the sea.

Here is a photo of the marina. Southampton marina 5x7 netThey were parking this racing boat as we were walking by.  It is a stunning boat and I bet it goes fast.racing boat 5x7 netThey are building lots of high rise apartment ( we would say they are condos) buildings all around the marina.  This one is the tallest.  I can hardly image what the view is from the top stories. Southampton apts 5x7 netThere were also a pair of swans that came up looking for food.  I did not know that they lived in sea water but the harbor manager said they did.swan neck 5x7 net More photographs and stories to follow soon.

Clandon Park and Watts Memorial Chapel in Surrey , England

We have mainly been staying at home and taking care of the guinea pigs and cooking because it has been raining almost every day.

olaf and Elsa net

Waiting for their home to be cleaned

 

But we have found some good weather during part of the day to do a little exploring.  We went to Clandon Park, a home owned by the National Trust.  It is an early 18th-century Palladian  mansion.  It caught fire in 2015 and the entire inside was destroyed.  The Trust has decided to restore this mansion to its former glory.  But right now you can only go in to see it with hard hats and a tour guide.  Dave hard hat net  They have photographs of what the inside looked like before the fire, and you can see what a precious historical house looks like now.

Clandon Park Marble hall before 5x7 net

Marble hall before the fire

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After the fire

Here are some other photographs of the damage that the house sustained.

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Some wall paper made it through and will be copied for the restored room

 

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A marble fireplace that is still there

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A bedroom window

This statue must have fallen into the ashes (notice her broken knee) and was put back up into her niche with wooden safety bars.Clandon Park Venus 5x7 net

You have to applaud the grit of the National Trust to tackle this extensive restoration.  It is also  important for people to see what happens to historical buildings when fire rips through them.

We also had time to go the the Watts Memorial chapel in Compton.  This is an extraordinary example of  Art Nouveau version of  Celtic Revival  style in the village cemetery.  It was designed by Mary Fraser-Tytler,

the wife of the artist George Fredric Watts.  Watts memorial chapel back 5x7 net

Watts chapel outside 5x7 net

Outside panel of terracotta reliefs

Amazingly, “A group of local amateurs and enthusiasts, many of whom later went on with Mary Fraser-Tytler to found the Compton’s Potter Guild, constructed the chapel from 1896 to 1898; virtually every village resident was involved. ” ( Wikipedia ).  I think it is an incredible example of the Victorian sensibilities around a craft movement to inspire social improvement by using creative craft arts.  Here are some of the angels that line the inside of the chapel.watts chapel orange angel 5x7 net

watts chapel fire angel 5x7 net

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watts chapel wind angel 5x5 net

These are all made from clay that was found on the Watts estate and hand crafted by Mary and the villagers.   They painted and gilded the work in gold leaf.  It is a truly stunning example of what ordinary people can do when their creative artistry is unleashed.

Dublin’s cemeteries: Mount Jerome and Glasnevin

I am fascinated by old cemeteries.  Some of the monuments that people choose to memorialize their loved ones tell a story about who those people were when they were living.  In Dublin we have visited two cemeteries,  Mount Jerome and Glasnevin. They both have different but fascinating stories that helped me to understand the sometimes sad and valiant  stories of the Irish nation.

Since its foundation in 1836, Mount Jerome has witnessed over 300,000 burials. Originally an exclusively Protestant cemetery, Roman Catholics  have also been buried there since the 1920s.  It is an older monument type of cemetery.  There are many angels pointing the deceased to heaven,mt jerome angel 5x7 netmt jerome pointing angel 5x7 bw netin case the loved one might have lost their way to their heavenly reward.  There are many praying angels (perhaps for those who the living are afraid they have lost their way). mt jerome praying angel closer 5x7_netBut the one I liked the most was this giant dog on top of a monumental grave howling to the sky.  Whether he is missing his master or protecting him it is hard to tell.mt jerome dog full 5x7 bw net

The Glasnevin Cemetery has a more national pride vibe.  This is a description from Wikipedia of the desperate circumstances that the Roman Catholics (who were the majority of the people living in Ireland) were reduced to when trying to bury their dead. “Prior to the establishment of Glasnevin Cemetery, Irish Catholics had no cemeteries of their own in which to bury their dead and, as the repressive Penal Laws of the eighteenth century placed heavy restrictions on the public performance of Catholic services, it had become normal practice for Catholics to conduct a limited version of their own funeral services in Protestant churchyards or graveyards. This situation continued until an incident at a funeral held at St. Kevin’s Churchyard in 1823 provoked public outcry when a Protestant sexton reprimanded a Catholic priest for proceeding to perform a limited version of a funeral mass.[2] The outcry prompted Daniel O’Connell, champion of Catholic rights, to launch a campaign and prepare a legal opinion proving that there was actually no law passed forbidding praying for a dead Catholic in a graveyard. O’Connell pushed for the opening of a burial ground in which both Irish Catholics and Protestants could give their dead dignified burial.”  This was not that long ago.  Daniel O’Connell is buried in this graveyard underneath a very tall round tower.O Connells grave 5x7 net We paid for a tour (€10 each) and got to go into his crypt under the tower.  We had an excellent tour guide Niall who told us all the stories of the National heroes who are buried in this cemetery.Glasnevin cemetary guide Niall net  This photo was taken in the O’Connell crypt.  One of the creepier things was that in a room adjacent to O’Connell’s tomb, there is a pile of caskets stacked up.Glasnevin cemetery Oconnell coffins netThese caskets belong to direct decedents of the great man who want to be buried with him.  There is only one caveat,  only their bodies can be stored here.  No wife, child, husband or auntie allowed to be with them.  I believe there are only 9 decedents who have decided to take the cemetery up on their offer. So far. And there is not much room left.

The most famous Irish hero buried here is Michael Collins ( yes, that man in the movie Michael Collins).Michael Collins grave 5x7 netThere are always fresh flowers on his grave and there is a mysterious French woman who comes every year to say a prayer and put flowers on his grave.  This is what the site IrishCentral has to say about her.” A mysterious French lady will visit Michael Collins’ grave once again this year (2016) , continuing a 15-year tradition since she fell in love with the Irish revolutionary after watching the movie “Michael Collins”. She is known as the “Mysterious French Lady” and she appears like clockwork at his grave and lays them down gently before saying a prayer. The woman has been identified as Veronique Crombie, a lecturer at the French National Museum who admits to a passionate love for the Irish revolutionary.”

Here are some other photographs of the graves in this giant cemetery.Glasnevin cemetery celtic cross 5x7 netgrave angel old 5x7 netThe Irish are very good at honoring their recent political heroes who fought so hard to secure their rights and to make their homeland a free Republic.

Goodbye Galway

So we bid a sad goodbye to Galway a couple of days ago. galway sunset 5c7 net It is a wonderful city to visit, and we enjoyed our week there very much.  This was our apartment in the student section of the city. Galway our apt 5x7 netWe remember what it was like to be a young university student with all of those stairs.  This is the city where the Claddagh ring was first made. Galway Claddagh 5x5 netDavid bought me one 17 years ago when we first came to Galway, and I am wearing it today.  If the heart on the ring points to your body that means you are taken, if it faces away that means you are available.  claddagh ring netI am definitely taken.

It is a city of trees, rivers and churches.Galway church 5x7 netThis is the Corrib River that runs through the city and where people can fish for salmon.  Most of the oldest parts of the city have been destroyed, but the Spanish arch from  the 16th century that was part of the city walls is still standing.  Galway Spanish arch 5x7 netThe people are very hardy here.  We walked down to the Galway bay promenade which is in a part of the city called Salthill.  There we watched some brave young people jump off the Blackrock Tower into the freezing (well, darn cold) ocean (54 degrees).  salthill flying 5x7 netsalthill girl flying 5x7 net But the young ones are not the only people to brave the cold ocean.  We met Aidan and his dog Ross as he was getting ready to go out and swim in the bay.  He says he does this every day, all year long, and that the water temperature does get as low as 39 degrees.  He was telling us about the group of older people who do the same thing, mentioning another hardy swimmer who had halted his daily swim only a year before his death at the age of 93. I think this is how they live so long.  Adrain and ross net

This visit to Blackrock had been late on Friday afternoon. We returned Sunday about noon, and there was no water whatever below the tower. In fact, there was a pile of jagged, moss-covered rocks. The range of the tide here is typically 12 feet, and as much as 17 feet. We were amazed that there was no monitoring of access to the tower, from which a low-tide jump would be one’s last.

We finished off the visit with a rousing show called TRAD ON THE PROM.  It was a splendid night of Irish music, dancing and song.  If you visit Galway this show should be on your list to see.

Now we are in Belfast for a week…more adventures to come.  Thanks for taking the time to read our adventures.

Adventures to Connemara and Inishmore

We have two weeks between pet sitting assignments here in Ireland, so we are spending one in the Galway area.  We have rented an apartment here near the center of the city of Galway.  The weather has overall been overcast, cold and rainy but with some careful planning we were able to catch two sunny days to tour the lovely area of Connemara and the largest of the Aran islands, Inishmore.

We took a bus tour of Connemara so that David could see the countryside (you don’t get to see much when you’re driving).  We rode the bus looking at the green countryside, the tall hills and the scattered lakes of the part of northwest Ireland.  It was stunningly beautiful.Connemara tree lake 5x7 net The bus driver Mike told us about the landscapes and the history of this part of Ireland.  We stopped for a quick break at the village of Leenane to see the start of the Killary fjord. Leenane village fiord 5x7 netThen we went on to the Kylemore Abbey.  This is a lovely castle that was built on an isolated lake by a merchant named Mitchell Henry for his wife. Kylemore abbey 5x7 net She died just four years later at 45; he was heartbroken and built this Gothic mini church in her memory.Kylemore Abbey church 5x7 net  Around the 1920s, a group of Benedictine nuns who had been bombed out of Ypres, Belgium, in World War I bought the property and made it into a girls school, which they ran until declines in numbers of both teachers and students forced its closure in 2010. Now it is a romantic tourist attraction.

The next day we took a bus to Rossaveal harbor.  While we were waiting for the bus, we had a hot chocolate made correctly with real milk and ground up chocolate at a small French restaurant named Le Petit Pois by a very friendly lady.  Le Petite Pois server netWe hopped on the bus to catch a ferry to the Aran Islands off the west coast of Ireland. inishmore ferry 5x7 net We went to Inishmore,  the largest of the 3 Aran islands, and it is like stepping back in time.  When we got off the ferry we found Tomas ( he is featured in Rick Steves’s 2004 video about the island) and his red van.  There were four couples that he piled into his mini van for a 3-hour tour of the island.   He took us to the end of the island to see the ruins of the seven churches.  There are actually only the remains of two 8 – 13th century churches and a graveyard.  seven churches cross 5x7 net  Then he drove us to the main tourist site, Dun Aonghasa, which is a iron age ring fort at the edge of a 300 foot cliff.  We had 2 hours on our own here at the fort.  Tomas told us that it was a 15 minute walk up to the fort.  Well, it turned out to be a 30 minute hike up hill.

Dun Aonghasa long wayup 5x7 net

See those little people?  See that long trail of gravel and eventually big rocks? 

Here is a photograph of the last bit of the up hill trail.  David says that a little old lady was making it up to the fort , so he would too.Dun Aonghasa final way up 5x7 netWhen we made it through the rock doorway this is what we saw.

Dun Aonghasa walls 5x7 net

The trail to the inside walls.  These people were not taking any chances. This was a triple wall defense.

The walls formed a “C” shape around the cliff edge.  The cliff edge was a sheer drop down about 300 feet to the ocean.  There are no safety rails along the edge if you are stupid enough to slip and fall it is Irish natural selection. Dun Aonghasa cliffs 5x7 net Or tourist natural selection, as you can see here; that is a straight drop to the ocean.Dun Aonghasa tourists edge net

We made it back to the ferry landing with plenty of time to shop and have a drink.  When we got home , we were exhausted but happy.  We were on the Aran Islands and we love Ireland !