The chimneys of the Roya Valley

Christmas is around the corner and Santa Claus will soon come to town so a topic about chimneys is just about timely.
A chimney is a structure where smoke passes from a fireplace through a pipe onto the outside atmosphere. In order for the smoke to flow smoothly, chimneys are usually vertical.

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The vertical structures sticking out of roofs are the chimney pots.

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Chimney cowls are those things they put on top to prevent rain and wind from getting in and birds from nesting inside.

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Different designs of cowls have flourished, each depending on the taste, personality, purpose or budget of the house owner

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That’s a lot of chimneys in one house!

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A chimney using the stones indigenous of the valley

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“Hey, Chimneeta, where did you get your antenna?  I’d like to have one , too!”

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Which is the odd one out?

Dining, Welsh style

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As is typical in the UK, before sitting down for a meal, drinks are ordered at the counter and consumed at a table or place entirely different from where you will have your food.  This is called bar service, something which is not practiced in other parts of Western Europe.  The hotel restaurant where we had our meal has two reception areas.  We took our drinks in one of them.

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Starter:  Welsh mussels with a creamy garlic and white wine sauce 

We expected the mussels to come with their shells which would have made it more visually, if not gastronomically, delightful.

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Another Starter (which I ordered):  King Prawns with garlic butter

The prawns are a winner!  They melt in the mouth.  Lovely! 

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 Main Course:  Hake in butter sauce.

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Another Main Course (which I ordered): Welsh steak, medium rare. 

That thing on top is fried battered onion.

I’m always wary about steaks because they could be very tough and chewy.  The one above confirmed my suspicion.

Fish and chips

One thing that strikes us about Whitby is the proliferation of fish and chips shops.  Every corner we turned to, we saw these establishments getting queued up for up to a hundred meters, or sometimes more, especially at lunchtime.  We expected these queues as this is not the first time we went to Whitby.  As early as 11:30am, we were already seated inside one shop that has a big sign on the door “Voted by the Whitby Gazette and its readers as the Best Fish and Chips in Whitby, 2008-2009”. 

The food was okay,  service was fast and everything was served in neat china and cutlery.  The only thing that beats the hell out of us is the presence of CCTVs in every corner and in every 2 meter distance of each side of the ceiling.   How can you truly enjoy your food if you know that you are being watched everytime you pick your chips or cut your fish? 

“Maybe they are observing if you will pocket the vinegar ceramic jar or the silver knife!”, I said to H. 

Anyway, let me show you the fish and chips scenes in Whitby.

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Coming down  from the carpark up on the hill, we saw this banner posted at the back of a building. 

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Boards displayed infront of a shop.

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The meal.  There’s not even a single leaf of lettuce on the side, good grief!

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They start eating them at a very young age.

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Takeaway

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Awards have to be mentioned or displayed to attract more customers.

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This shop has been described by Rick Stein as the best fish and chip shop in Britain.  No wonder the queues are that long!

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Errr….can you explain it in simple words, please?

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They eat them everywhere

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and with crossed knees, did you notice?

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Savouring it slowly

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He’s really enjoying it!  His body language says it so.

It’s a doggy dog’s world

Never have I seen a large population of dogs in one town, in one day, than in Whitby in North Yorkshire, England.   This historic place is one of the most visited seaside towns in the UK for many reasons.  And I thought I should start my tale by talking about its dogs. 

Sit back, relax and enjoy reading!

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“I can see better, smell better than a CCTV camera”, says this dog who have chosen to sit on the roof of his master’s car.
A flea market on the way to Whitby town

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Watch for more photologs of Whitby.  Coming soon on this site!

The stacked up houses of Saorge

Saorge, one of the most beautiful villages in France, suspended on the heights of the Roya mountain range, is one that only the fit and the adventurous can enjoy. Why? because one has to climb up very steep steps, a maze of alleys and arched passageways in order to discover more jaw-dropping sights! It’s like walking in an open air museum where you can trace how mountain people learned how to innovate in order to survive harsh conditions, and where facilities are not easily accessible.

I just kept getting blown away by what I saw and thought I should share them with you so that this hidden gem can be enjoyed by those who cannot have the chance to come here.

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That house seems to be built on top of a fortified wall

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This one is for sale. There’s a space to park a vespa truck so it’s not bad.

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In case you want to know what is a vespa truck, that’s the one on the left

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They use stone tiles for the roof. These red slates come from the rocky mountains of the Roya

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Aside from the red slates, there are also the green ones which are also indigenous in the region.

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The houses are put together like pieces of lego

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Cars cannot get through the village so imagine lifting a newly-bought washing machine to the top

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New houses keep getting added over the centuries

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And new terraces, too. I just hope they are strong enough not to collapse

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This fountain water comes from the mountains and it’s drinkable. There are a lot of fountains in the village as well as “lavaries” or washing areas where villagers in earlier days congregate to do the washing by hand.

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Despite the steepness of the steps, a lot of old people live here. They look fit, by the way.

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Living here is just a continuous going up and down the steps

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If you have fear of heights, then you cannot live here

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The village as seen from the carpark

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The village of Saorge

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A postcard beauty!

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Two American tourists hesitating to enter the arched passageway leading to the center of the village.
Tourist #1: “Oh no, I’m not going up there!”
Tourist #2: Yeah, let’s just stay here..”
Mariadams overhearing them: “It’s beautiful out there! It’s the kind of scenery that you will not forget for the rest of your life!”
Tourist #1: How high is the climb?
H: “Just like this (pointing to the footpath’s incline)”

I wonder if they did go, but since they have come this far (the village is 1hour 20minutes to Nice), it would be silly not to see the place inside and out.