Sacre Coeur Street Performer

Sacre Coeur Street Performer

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Kaizen and Attie in Libourne Market

This is a test to see if blogthis from Picaso works. I'll edit later as I add more info and pictures.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Au Revoir Chateau L'Ecuyer - Video

After two weeks it's time for us to bid our Chateau life "adieux". We've laughed, we've cried, we've lounged, read, swam, played monopoly and werewolf, visited the local towns, made films, lost children and found them again. Oh, we also did some eating and wine-tasting! It's been a dramatic whirlwind of fun and friendship and I wouldn't have changed anything about it. Chateau L'Ecuyer and its caretakers, M. and Mdm. C, have treated us all well.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

The Chateaux

HISTORY: The chateau was built around 1880 by the Lecuyer family. Originally the house was part of a much larger estate, called Chateaux de Bourg et de Meaume. The properties were split into two on the death of the owner with one part given to his son, and the other to his daughter (which is the part we are in).

During WW2 Maransin, the town (pop. was occupied by the Nazis and the chateau was used for the senior command of the region. A girl who lived in the chateau with her mother during the occupation (according to the current owner) who is now an incredibly vivacious woman in her 80's, tells of being confined to one room. She also tells of her mother leaving popular magazines at the bedside of the Nazi officers in the hope that they would repay the hospitality with respect for the property. They did.

Maransin became a moderately important centre for wine commerce after the war, but narrowly missed out on its own Appellation d'Origine Controlle. It is surrounded not just by the Cotes de Bourg and Cotes de Blaye appellations, but also by the world renowned Pomerol and St. Emilion names.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


We just woke up in Barcelona after a 12-hour sleep. In spite of sleeping for 20 of the past 22 hours, her body still seems to be winning over the melatonin; it’s certain that it's the middle of the night on the west coast. Kaizen and I are in fine shape and ready to supplement that with some hot chocolate.

Our hotel in Barcelona is a very nice, clean, well-appointed little place near Eixample. It may be the nicest placed I've stayed in Europe thanks to Expedia, since in the past I've stayed in very budget pensions. This was even has good water-pressure.

Figuring that we are more tourists than travelers in this town, since we have less than 48 hours here, we took the Hop-on-hop-off bus around town. Live-and-learn! While it was good for getting our bearings, which was my main goal, I wouldn’t do it again but instead would spend half the cost hiring a taxi to give us a brief general tour. Of course, if I were on my own, or with children who weren’t as tired as Soleil is, then I might just have wandered by foot and skipped the vehicular approach altogether. Now the kids are swimming in the tiny pool on the roof of the hotel after which we’ll walk to the Rambla district, wander some more and have our dinner.

Today I gave Kaizen the chance to be the navigator of the walking portions of our wanderings. That type of real-life experience doesn’t come up very often in our day-to-day life driving around cities which I know like the back of my hand.

We decided today that we should have 3-word themes each day.

Kaizen: “It Felt Urban”
Soleil: “Bikes And Motorcycles”
Lisa: “Sticky, Stylish, Cleavage”

Friday, September 3, 2010

Good-bye Toronto; Hello Bruxelles

Off we go to Europe! Mom and Dad dropped us to the airport for the evening and we got ready to get on the plane, hoping for the kids to sleep in order to aid the transition.

We spent our first day in Brussels after taking a train into the city from the airport between flights. It was a pretty low key day as we were tired after having had only 5 hours sleep on the plane (less for me because my butt shared the chair with Soleil's head and Kaizen slept on the floor so my feet didn't have a spot either). We did eat Belgium chocolate (given to us gratis from the shopkeeper for a reason I couldn't figure out --unless it was because the kids are so cute) and see a little of the Belgium day-time city life. Cute streets, tourist seafood restaurants and prep for this weekend's Belgium beer festival.