The month in Photos: March 2016

I create this monthly photojournal for myself so I get reminded of the places we’ve been to, a monthly summary of what we’ve done as well as the beautiful, the fascinating, the insolite, the weird,  the strange and many more,  that which I always enjoy browsing years afterwards. And for my loyal readers, it is also a way of discovering some traditions, art, culture, food and habits of the Europeans (and other nationalities) we meet from day-to-day.

Thanks for browsing.

03_paris03 March 2016
Paris

I am in Paris for 48 hours for an appointment at the embassy. It’s sad to see that this city, post-13 November 2015, has changed tremendously by the scant number of tourists I see around me.   It is definitely quieter, the streets looking more haunted,  restaurants nearly empty and even the important sites which used to be heaving with visitors are more subdued, but I suppose, for lovers,  the city’s romantic charm is at its peak when it is nearly  deserted.  I feel sorry for the business owners who rely so much on tourist trade.  I hope this is just momentary and life will go back to normal.04_paris
04 March 2016
On the metro, Paris

This is a very common sight in 21st century planet Earth.  I fear the day when all of us would be acting like zombies, cut off from the rest of the world because our common focus would be at our smartphones,  all bowing our heads, eyes fixed and ears wired  into these flat glowing devices.  But I, myself, is as guilty as I also prefer reading the news and browsing on self-improvement articles on the internet via, what else, but my Samsung Galaxy.

05_ilenau
05 March 2016
Achern, Germany

My first attempt in incorporating  “journalling” into my digiscrap page.

06_
06 March 2016
Vendenheim, Alsace

From the train going to and from Strasbourg, I always see these barges moored along the canal of this town  so I envisaged that one day I shall take H here to do our Charlie walks (walks made with our pet dog named Charlie).  H is a skipper by heart and always fascinated with boats and the water so I’m sure he will exalt at the idea.  That day came today and we were quite thrilled to walk past several bridges (a swing bridge being one of them), a few canal locks and many boats and barges.  The shorter boats are moored like they are just stopping for the day  but the longer barges seem to be fixed on the spot for an indefinite period, probably floating second homes to families wanting to experience a piece of Alsace.   07_horse07 March 2016

The good thing about digital scrapbooking is, even if your photo is blurred and more fitting to move into your computer’s trash bin,  there’s still a chance for a re-looking.  Yes, it can be done through Photoshop!

08_snow
08 March 2016
At home

It’s March and it’s snowing, hurray!  And who is the happiest to frolic around but our little boy Charlie!

09_gate
09 March 2016
Charlie walks

We stumbled upon this most grandiose wooden gate in our village.  The house  is not even a mansion, so it’s quite possible that the owner has a peculiar fascination for glorious entrances!

10_charlie
10 March 2016
Charlie walks 

Day 1 – not high enough

In this house with a green gate lives a vicious dog that barks at Charlie incessantly while he strides past, that which irks the heck out of our little boy so he tries jumping at the “vicious” (how we call him) to exact revenge but couldn’t quite reach him despite the high flying attempt. Quite a funny sight, actually.

11_charlie
11 March 2016
Charlie walks

Day 2 – not high enough

12_medieval
12 March 2016
Ferrette, France

Our Saturday destination is a medieval village in the Haut-Rhin located just at the border of Switzerland.  Here is a park that tries to recreate the gardens of the medieval era:  boxes arranged in a harmonious manner, each box sowed with plants according to their use: herbs, medicinal, aromatherapy,  leafy greens, etc

13_stursanne
13 March 2016
St Ursanne, Switzerland

Today, our wish to own a freezer came to reality  and even exceeded our expectations.   Made in Denmark, 80 liter capacity, functioning perfectly – and it’s free!  Find out the whole story here.

14_horse
14 March 2016
In the village

Surrounded by vast agricultural and open fields that are home to several horse farms, it is quite normal to meet a horse and its rider while doing our Charlie walks.  While I love photographing them as I think they exude elegance and majesty, little Charlie barks at them for reasons I can’t comprehend.  Well, he barks at everyone and anything that moves anyway.

17_goats
17 March 2016
In the village

From deers, to horses, to squirrels to singing nightingales, we also have sheeps.  How I love the countryside which is just at our doorstep and yet, just  20-minute drive  to the International city of Strasbourg.

18_school
18 March 2016
In the village

Unmindful of passing school children behind him, Charlie is obsessed finding moles and field rats.   We thought he could be the ideal finder of truffles, that hundred euros per kilo mushroom most sought after by Michelin-starred restaurants.  Hmmm…a chance to reap some euros!

19_birdssmall
19 March 2016
At home

Been busy, busy these past few days and my way of cutting off is to go artsy.  How? Do a scrap!

20_car
20 March 2016
Drussenheim, France

We went for our Sunday promenade in Drussenheim along the Rhine where we had the luck to  park the van next to this American classic.  How it attracts everyone’s attention particularly the boys!

24_fleurs
24 March 2016
In the village

I’m on Springwatch so am always scouting for flowers growing from trees, bushes, grass and even from weeds, then I saw these blooms  lurking out amongst the green vegetation.  I just took a photo and left them there hoping that a flower-loving walker like me could enjoy seeing them there, too.

26_marienthal
26 March 2016
Basilique de Notre Dame de Marienthal, Marienthal, Alsace

Its grandeur from the outside gives the impression that it was once a monastery but it was in fact built as a convent and chapel in the 13th century  in honour of the Virgin Mary who is said to have performed miracles for the sick and wounded.  It became a pilgrimage site and in the 19th century  was rebuilt as a Basilica.  In 1811,  to ensure that the celebration of the daily mass  and the welcoming of pilgrims continue, a home for retired priests and another for Benedictine nuns were created in the Basilica grounds.

27_honestbox
27 March 2016
Gengenbach, Black Forest

We see a lot of self-service open shops like this one in the Black Forest.  They mostly comprised of fruits and vegetables grown from the seller’s garden like these apples.  Honesty boxes are placed alongside the produce .  The turnover of this particular “shop”   was quick as it is just at the edge of  the carpark where tourist buses load and unload hoards of  visitors.   These apples are selling like hotdogs, one moment we saw the table almost empty,   but after a short while, we saw it replenished.   Business must be good here.28_cross
28 March 2016
Sasbachwalden, Germany

So fascinating to discover that the Christian faith is strong in the Black Forest.  In many hotels and restaurants we have been to, we see displays of religious images such as the cross above.

29_staircase
29 March 2016
Musée de l’Œuvre Notre-Dame, Strasbourg

This jaw-dropping 16th century gothic staircase at the museum was the best part of our two-hour tour.  While I can’t seem to get enough of it, I envy the staff who climbs up and down these historic steps many times a day, five days a week.  I should have been a museum employee!

31_oldhome
31 March 2016
In the Village

With my visiting belle-soeur in tow, we went exploring the area where we  have been living for the last four months.  This is the oldest house in the village says in the engraving on the stone in the foreground.  It is called “La Maison Archaique”  (sort of Primitive House) because the style of the timber frame is reminiscent  of 15th century architectural style.  personally, it reminds me of Hansel and Gretel’s house in the forest, small half-timbered house with tiny windows decorated with flowers.

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