The holiday season starts when I receive my first Christmas card. Most years it’s one from a couple who almost bought our house in Chiswick back in 1983. Their lovely cards typically showcase one of the photographs they’ve taken on their travels. I always think: “That’s such a good idea, I’ll do something similar next year.”
Well, this year I (finally) have! Of course, I couldn’t pick just one photograph, so I went for a montage to sum up our year.
1. Albi, a UNESCO World Heritage site
I took this picture of the rose-coloured town of Albi, on the river Tarn, on my iPhone from the ramparts of the cathedral. It was taken during a magical week-end, returning to a place I’d only driven through during the 2013 Tour de France. My beloved had to visit a potential client in nearby Castres and, as we are wont to do, we turned a business trip into something special.
2. The view from our bedroom window
This view is the main reason we bought our apartment and it’s one of which I never tire. I take a photograph most mornings but some, like this one taken last winter, are more spectacular than others.
3. Alassio, the Italian Riviera
My beloved took this photograph, with his newly acquired Cannon camera, while we were waiting for the peloton to pass us by on stage two of this year’s Giro d’Italia. We spent the week-end in nearby Alassio and, not long after the peloton passed, I was greeted like a long-lost friend by the owner of the small family hotel I’d stayed in for the Trofeo Laigueglia in February. That’s just one of the things I love about cycling – you make friends everywhere.
4. Getaria, the Basque country
Our card wouldn’t be complete without a photograph from the Basque country but which one to choose? We have so many. I love seascapes and I took this photograph on my iPhone from the promontory in Getaria looking back towards the coastline. The past couple of years, we’ve stayed in the same five-bedroomed, family-run hotel for both the Clasica and the Vuelta al Pais Vasco. Getaria is a lovely spot, famed for its Txakoli wine, with plenty of bars and restaurants just a short walk from the hotel.
This shows the crowds waiting for the start of stage three of the Tour de France with the magnificent Het Steen Castle – the city’s oldest building – and the Cathedral of our Lady in the background. After the riders had set off, we had a delightful lunch in one of the many restaurants in the old town.
6. Sag Harbor, The Hamptons
I adore US colonial style housing with gingerbread trims and this is a particularly fine example of the genre. I also loved that this business in Sag Harbor’s main street was selling French antiques. We witnessed many fine properties on our September trip to US.
7. Costa del Sol
This was taken by my beloved from the road outside the restaurant where we’d stopped for a long, convivial and typically Spanish lunch. It was on the finishing circuit, not too far from the finish line, on stage two of the Vuelta which played out in the hills of Gualdahorce on the Costa del Sol. This year we were very fortunate to be able to visit the starts of all three Grand Tours, a feat we’re unlikely to repeat.
Wishing you all a very Merry Christmas
much happiness, good health, and every success in 2016