12 days of Christmas: day 12

I obviously had to choose a wintery scene from last year’s Christmas spent in Seefeld, Austria. This picture shows cross-county skiers swooping down from the golf course and across the Attersee, on the other side from Wildmoos Alm. Sun, snow and a set of skis what more could you want?

Sadly, on this occasion, we were on foot having (wisely) decided not to overdo it as my beloved was still recovering from surgery to mend his broken leg. We had walked the 3km up to one of the many mountainside restaurants for a hearty lunch in the sunshine after a morning’s cross-country skiing on the relative flat in Seefeld.

This year we’re spending a few days over Christmas in Italy – a first for us. Our favourite hotel in Alassio contacted us with details of a special over Xmas which we were more than happy to accept. The Thalassotherapy will help with my beloved’s recuperation and, providing the weather’s fine, we can walk along the sandy shoreline.

Season’s Greetings

Decorated by my beloved

I’m going to be taking a bit of a break from blogging until the New Year. Consequently, I’d like to take this opportunity to wish you, and your nearest and dearest, every happiness, good health and much success for 2019 and beyond………………………

 

12 days of Christmas: day 11

Yet another photograph from last winter’s vacation in Seefeld. Located at the western entrance to the town, and visible from afar, the Seekirchl is probably its most famous and iconic landmark. Not consecrated until 1666, work began on the octagonal, centralised Baroque structure in 1628.

Starting our mornings from the cross-country ski school, we regularly skied past this church though I confess I’ve never been inside. I understand it has some interesting frescoes depicting its origins and the cross on the main altar previously stood out in the open and dates back to well before the church was built.

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12 days of Christmas: day 10

This photo is the view from our apartment. I’ve already waxed lyrical about the view which I adore at all times of the day, and at all times of the year. If I’m honest, I probably prefer sunrise and sunset simply because of the range of amazing colours, and the contrast between the sea and sky.

This picture was taken one morning in June which turned out much better than this photo suggests. You could be forgiven for thinking rain was in the offing, but the clouds rolled away and we enjoyed a very warm, sunny day. I love the contrast betwen the angry, stormy sky and the azur of the sea, spotlit by the sun trying, and finally succeeding, to break through.

I liked this photo so much I even made it my Facebook cover picture.

12 days of Christmas: day 9

This photo of part of the Monument aux Girondins, in Place des Quinconces, was taken during our summer vacation when we spent a few days  – not nearly enough – getting to know Bordeaux. The monument was erected between 1894 and 1902, in memory of the Girondin victims of the Reign of Terror during the French Revolution.

The monument has a large pedestal framed with two water basins, decorated with bronze horses and troops, and surmounted by a large column with a statue on top to represent the spirit of liberty.  It’s located slap bang in the middle of the Place des Quinconces, one of Europe’s largest city squares (approx. 12.6 ha).

It was a very hot day when I took the photo and I confess I’d have loved to dangle my feet in the fountain’s cooling waters. But I resisted temptation. Another visit to Bordeaux is definitely in the offing.

12 days of Christmas: day 8

We love heading over the border into Italy for a bit of farniente and la dolce vita, which may or may not involve a couple of Aperol Spritzs! If we go for a couple of days, we’ll typically stay in Alassio at a hotel where we feel right at home. It has a Thalasso therapy centre and what the French call pied dans l’eau (seafront location). I took this photo in April from the jetty, looking back towards the town’s seafront with its pretty multi-coloured properties. I love towns which are right on the seafront, much more family friendly and so much more enjoyable to wander around as they’re often traffic-free. We’ll be spending Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and Boxing Day here this year – our first Italian Christmas.

12 days of Christmas: day 6

This photograph is the first of three I’ve chosen from our vacation last winter in Austria. I loved this row of colourful houses beside the Inn river with the snow covered hills in the background. Innsbruck’s a delightful Tyrolean town with plenty to see and do all year round. This year it hosted the UCI Road World Championships which I had hoped to visit, if only to catch up with friends I hadn’t seen for a while. However, with my beloved unable to walk very far or stand for any length of time, we called off the trip. Still, I can’t complain, I’d been to 10 consecutive Road World Championships from 2006-2015.

12 days of Christmas: day 5

While we traversed the Atlantic coasts of France and Spain this summer I took plenty of photographs of hydrangeas, one of my favourite flowers. I love all their different colours from jade tinged white through to deep and dusky purple. I spotted this bush while we were driving around the vineyards of Bordeaux, snapping away at all the fantastic property porn.

The property behind the bush was just a store but you see properties with those blue shuttered windows, which look in need of total renovation, all over France. I call the colour French blue and it provides a lovely backdrop for this pink hydrangea bush.

I am death on two legs to most plants, aided and abetted by our very sunny and windy terrace. About the only things which survive are succulents. It’s sadly an inhospitable environment for a hydrangea, which are known as “hortensia” in France.

12 days of Christmas: day 4

This is a photograph of the old fishing port in Saint Jean de Luz, in France’s Basque country. I chose this one because I love the reflection of the traditional Basque houses in the water and the way the puffy clouds are focused on the hill behind.

Today the port has a small-scale fishing operation undertaken in small boats with lines and hooks that concentrate on a qualitative rather than quantitative selection of fish; typically anchovy, tuna, sardine and hake. Of course, back in the 15th century, it was a much more active port with fishermen catching tons of cod, and even going whale hunting as far as Newfoundland.

12 days of Christmas: day 3

Before spending two weeks vacation in San Sebastian, we had a couple of days in Rioja, specifically the old walled town of Laguardia. This is one of the many glorious views taken from the gardens surrounding the village, looking out over the vineyards, as the clouds rolled in.

With its beautiful rolling landscapes, medieval hamlets and exquisite wines, Rioja is Spain’s Tuscany. The wine country is subdivided into three regions: Rioja Alta (where most of the oldest vineyards are located in and around Haro), Rioja Alavesa (which also belongs geographically to the Basque Country, and is home to some of the prettiest towns such as Laguardia and Samaniego) and Rioja Baja (further southeast, a larger, more arid region whose main hub is Calahorra). Even though we were only there for a couple of days, we managed to try lots of its wines!