2009-12 (Dec 2009)

Pictures of the Day

30 December 2009

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A moving train through the clouds

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Trying to practice on spanning using low shutter speed……

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One of the many giant Christmas trees in Menton

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So Santa can reach his destination faster!

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Christmas lights in Menton

29 December 2009

We just finished off the last bite of our Christmas turkey today and what a best way to shed off those festive pounds than to do some gentle exercise: walking!  Three hours of “gasping-for-breath” climbing uphill to Saorge, but the effort was well rewarded by breathtaking sights and fascinating village displays… 

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door to a boutique

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zen-scape

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26 December 2009

Limone, Italy

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A handbag is an important fashion accessory among Italian women

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Winter shoes

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Dog fashion

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25 December 2009

H: Do we have thyme for our roast turkey tomorrow?
M: None, but we could get them on the hills. Come, let’s go hiking, I’ll take a bag with me.

And so the two went to look for thyme on the hills…

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They took the road past the train station

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And saw this view from up

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and still went higher..

stopping by to admire the fascinating flora on the way.

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There’s the thyme!

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Voila, le thyme!

And H and M lived happily ever after….THE END

23 December 2009

“So now you’re a published author!”, my husband exclaimed as I was slowly waking up this morning. I saw Philstar’s email just before I went to bed last night, telling me that my story has been chosen for publication.

Finally, my efforts are starting to bear fruit, dear readers! I thank this site, “A Pinay in Europe” for the practice I gained in writing, plus of course your continued kudos to my articles. That kept me going.

So, instead of the usual virtual card of Christmas greetings, my offering to you this festive season is the moral lesson of my story.
I would like to invite you to read it.

A Christmas tradition interrupted
by Shirley B. Adams

Merry Christmas to everyone!

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Christmas time is one of the best times to be in Paris. I wish I am there now to photograph all the Christmas scenes, but since I am not, I will just content myself to looking at the photos I’ve taken of last year..

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At the Christmas Market in La Defense

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The giant tree inside the Galeries Lafayette

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Christmas lights along the Champs-Elysee

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Les Quatre Temps Mall in La Defense

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22 December 2009

Running out of Christmas decor ideas?  Let me share with you how they do it here in this part of the world:

In the Italian Riviera:

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In Monaco:

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Christmas tree inside a yacht..

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Christmas tree up a yacht..

21 December 2009

It’s the time of the year when I need to go out shopping for gifts to my friends and loved ones.

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For my godchild who adores Chuckie

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For my Japanese friend living in Italy
Pepperocini farciti al tonno in olio d’oliva…..Stuffed Pepperoni with tuna in olive oil

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For my wine connoisseur friend who has everything in life….

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For my newly-married neighbour who hasn’t prepared a Christmas dinner in her life

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time for lunch

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Beautiful, gigantic Sicilian aubergines..lovely! Great for melanzane alla parmigiana!

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Maman, there’s not enough snow to make a snowman!

19 December 2009

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The staff of the Mairie (village hall where the mayor holds office) will be skiing to work soon..

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The build-up towards a Winter Wonderland Christmas

17 December 2009

Christmas and Nativity scenes in Fontan, Roya Valley

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16 December 2009

Went for a brief morning walk to Saorge today to get some muscles moving…

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We did not expect to see lavanders in bloom, in this freezing winter!

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The dance of the violins…together..we play

15 December 2009

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Went to Monaco today for a quick look at the Chrismas decorations. Great! There is a Christmas market going on by the promenade. At 2:30pm, it was a bit quiet, nothing like the whopping crowd we see in the summer.

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Time out from shopping

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marshmallows…i like it dark, please

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The giant swimming pool by the harbour which attracts a mammoth crowd in the summer has been transformed into a skating rink. 

14 December 2009

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The creator of this miniature stonehouse got her inspiration from the same hamlet where she lives.
Roya Valley, France

13 December 2009

The Santons of Provence gracing our village Christmas Market

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“Silent Night, Holy Night”….

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Handmade chapeaux for sale

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12 December 2009

One of my favorite exercise when exploring a village, town or city is to peer at private gardens. I love gardens but I just don’t have time to maintain one anymore, let alone deadhead my one and only pot of geraniums so I just make do with enjoying someone else’s garden.  But my enjoyment is not complete if I don’t photograph the scene.  That way, I could also share with you the awesome sights that had my heart racing!

Private gardens in Bordighera (Italy)

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Cats on a hot tin roof

11 December 2009

Christmas lights in Breil sur Roya, France

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10 December 2009

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Oooppss..I ran out of hooks!  To pass off the winter indoors, I’ve been hanging some of our multitude of picture frames along the staircase to, hopefully, turn that part of the house into a gallery.  But I ran out of hooks and the closest DIY shop is Tende, a 10-minute drive away.  Of course, I don’t leave home without my twin (what else but the camera!) so when I saw these snow-capped mountains, I had to walk 100 meters up the old town to have this view.  So you see, living in this part of the world is like holidaying everyday! 

The train viaduct is the railway route from Nice (France) to Cuneo (Italy)

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Tende’s fountain with its Christmas decors.

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Early morning dew on a cyclamen.
From the flower display of our village

08 December 2009

On the other side of Breil
(/sur Roya, France)

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Facade of the Olive Mill Museum

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Ode to an English rose

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A mural shrine

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The berry shrubs make a natural fence or screen from prying eyes. Green in the spring, small white blooms in the summer  and colourful berries in late autumn.

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Closer shot…

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The notorious poison ivy with her berries

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A terrace to heaven

07 December 2009

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It’s the season of oranges! These luscious and juicy clementines are selling at 1euro per kilo in Ventimiglia, Italy.  

06 December 2009

Italian fashion

Even if we live in France where the women are renowned to be chic, we are eternally amazed by the sight of Italian women who are definitely more chic than their next door sisters, naturally vougish and feel very comfortable with their looks.

We witnessed this fashion culture again today, Sunday, when we saw them coming out of the church. One would think that there is a fashionable gathering going on but in reality, Italians treat their day of religious worship as a special day.  So special that they have to wear their best clothes.

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..and partner them with the most stylish boots

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..and the most stylish coat

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Their bags also form part of their fashion statement

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And they start them young

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Winter is also a good season to dress up

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Dating in Bordighera

* * * *  * * * * * * * * * * * *

It was 12 o’clock, time for lunch but we were not yet hungry as we had a heavy breakfast this morning. What to have? Take an aperitivo.

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Aperitivos in Italy is like a meal in itself, the only difference is, it is lighter, and cheaper. It consists of light alcoholic drink and little bites of various snacks. We were already enjoying the little bowls of chips, pretzels and peanuts (above)…

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..when the proprietor put another plate before us, containing of grisini, sausages, toast with pâté and chunks of pizza.
The cost of all these: 6euros! (or 3euros per person)
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A panatoni christmas tree…hmmmm I prefer them with honey, please!!

05 December 2009

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The roof tiles of Breil

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Hope

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Just in case it floods..

04 December 2009

Let me share with you the 3-course meal that costs us 12.50euros only:

At 1:30pm, the restaurant was full but the proprietor asked us to return after 10minutes when most customers would have finished their meals. 

Starter: Pâté of green and red peppers with chevre (goat) cheese
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Main dish: fish in turmeric sauce with vegetables
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Dessert: Orange and grenadine gelatin
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Score:  8/10….Lovely!  No wonder the place was fully-packed with diners!  Good food and cheap, service is impeccable.  We went home full and satisfied!  The half-liter red wine was quite expensive at 8euros though.   Next time, we’ll just have water.  It’s free!

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Bridge over the Roya river

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Is it eatable, is it not?  I see myriads of these fruit trees around and wonder why nobody seems to be interested in harvesting them. 

03 December 2009

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Out for a walk up the hill today and saw this chateau in her full glory. Although it’s located in our village, the matured trees and high fence hide it from view.

02 December 2009

In my terrace after a freezing night:

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Winter wonderweeds

01 December 2009

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The restaurant in our village uses mannequins to attract customers. And since it’s the season of Santa, these dolls have to dress the part, too.

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This is the scene of our alley once a month. What you see are the old rummage and odds and ends emptied from everyone’s basements and which the rummage men will come to collect later in the day..

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