2011-12 (Dec 2011)

Daily Photos

31 December 2011

Spent the last day of the year in San Remo, Italy and we enjoyed it so much we even extended our stay till the next day. So much photographic opportunities, but first, the Christmas lights….




San Remo, Ligurian Coast, Italy

30 December 2011


Everytime we go to Ventimiglia, we always drive around a roundabout (rotonda) that is beautifully landscaped with cacti, a form of advertisement by a cactus store.  This Christmas season, look what the store has done…. a cacti Christmas tree!

Ventimiglia, Italy

29 December 2011


What is this small structure protruding… suspended …hanging out from a building?


A toilet.  We see them in many rural villages of France and Italy.   It’s because in the old days, houses had no toilets so people just went out to the field to answer the call of nature.  Later on, a public restroom was installed by the local authority where residents had to queue up for their turn.  It was only in the beginning of the 70s when new houses were built with inside toilets.   But old houses have no space for this  important fixture so owners had to smash a portion of their wall to build a small extension..voila, the modern village toilet!

Saorge, France

28 December 2011


We went hiking up Breil-sur-Roya today and saw this picture-frame perspective of the village.   


This commercial property off the main road seems to be changing tenants each year.   One time it was operating as a real estate agency, then a fastfood shop, and now, a funeral services office.  I wonder what’s next?

Breil-sur-Roya, France

27 December 2011

All cities, towns, villages and even hamlets in France have an office building for the local Maire (Mayor) and this one with the French flag is one of our village.  

Roya Valley, France


A nice day for walking today.  Our house maybe freezing cold but as soon as we step out to a blue sky, it’s warm and beautiful!  The walls of our 200-year old house is something like one meter in width so it takes an awful lot of time to get it heated!

Roya Valley, France

26 December 2011


We did our after-Christmas walk in San Remo.  This liberty-style (Italian term for Art Nouveau) casino built in 1905 is one of the oldest in Italy, in fact, one of only four “real” casinos operating in the country.  In 1924, as part of Mussolini’s Fascist ideology, he banned gambling and closed down all the casinos except this one of Sanremo.


It’s  not only cute, it has also gone artistic – that’s the Piaggio ape with the painting of Sanremo’s old town.

25 December 2011

Here’s wishing all followers of Pinay in Europe a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New year!  ….   from Mariadams and H

24 December 2011


The love padlocks of Ventimiglia, Italy 

23 December 2011


Just at the edge of the medieval village of La Brigue is this horseshoe-shaped apiary.  An apiary is a place where beehives of honeybees are kept.  There are about 90 apiaries in this region of the Roya Valley, most of them dated as early as the 17th century.   

The shape of the apiary wall is meant to protect the hives from predators.


The sign, Rucher du Patrimoine, translates to “Heritage Apirary”, which means it forms part of the National Patrimony and is a protected area.

La Brigue, France

22 December 2011

It’s a pleasure driving through our valley, it’s like travelling in time with bits of modern infrastructure.  Here seen is an elevated railway of the Nice (France) – Cuneo (Italy) line.

21 December 2011


The Bay of Montecarlo.  Notice the building on top.


It’s like tip-toeing on the rocks!


20 December 2011

Our newly-baked bread fresh from the oven!


We call this bedroom  –  the Blue Room.  The piece of wood on the wall is a “maid bell”.  Not that we have a maid.  About a century ago, big multi-level houses like this one belonged to wealthy families where the maids stayed in the ground floor or basement while the former lived upstairs.  Each floor of the house has a bell connected by a string that runs from the lower floors all the way to the top floor, so that if the master needs the maid’s attention, he only had to pull the wood (as shown) which would stretch the string connected to a bell. 

19 December 2011   


We were driving on the busy Via Aurelia tonight which is dazzling with a kaleidoscope of  Christmas lights and I thought, what a great moment to practice on creative photography!  The car was moving so this is the result…

18 December 2011


Too cold to go out for my photo-a-day project so I just toyed around in the house looking for a good photogenic corner…

17 December 2011


This muscovy duck posing for my camera.  Fascinating bird!

Breil sur Roya, France

16 December 2011


Passed by this supermarket with a sculpture of recycled shopping trolleys.  Nice and great for a greener environment!

Draguignan, Provence, France

15 December 2011


The lower trunk of this plane tree looks like a giant face!

Flayosc, Provence

14 December 2011

One of the things that we learned from working in that B&B in Tuscany is the art of making bread.  Here H is giving finishing touches to the dough before he puts it in the oven.

13 December 2011


Stopped by in Lucca today on our way back home to France.  The tree-topped tower in the background is the 14th century Torre Guinigi, a famous landmark of the town.

Tuscany, Italy


The Piazza Anfiteatro is an elliptical “square”, so named because it was the site of a Roman amphitheater and over the passage of time, houses started cropping up over the ruins.

Lucca, Tuscany, Italy

12 December 2011


Went for a pizza tonight to celebrate the last day of our Tuscan adventure.  This is my pizza….


… and this is H’s.  We always order different flavours then share half-half, that way, we can taste two kinds of pizzas in one meal!

11 December 2011

An old family photo enlarged and posted on the wall is a very pretty feature for a house.  I just have to dig on our old photo chest…

The lobby of the bed-and-breakfast hotel where we work in Tuscany, Italy

10 December 2011


This sculpture in the village of Gavorrano is in memory of its miners who died on duty.  The town had a very prosperous mining history owing to the abundance of iron sulphate in the area.


After Gavorrano, we visited Ravi, another medieval village with its old brick red houses and walls.

09 December 2011


Walked this two kilometer dirt road of the Coastal Nature Park of Scarlino to see the rugged bay of Calamartino and look who we met on the road!  These two horsemen are wearing the traditional costumes of Maremma, a region of southern Tuscany.

The splashing waves of Calamartina.


Went beachcombing and here is our treasure trove:  the snorkel mask is in very good condition, made in France!  The tupperware is also another find, very practical for some Maremma sand!
Tuscany, Italy

08 December 2011


 Shrines in Italy are just about every corner.  Most of them are as old as three generations combined but this particular one looks new.

Tuscany, Italy
07 December 2011


H trying to get a souvenir piece from a cork tree. I tell you, it’s awfully tough to peel it off when you are only using your bare hands…

Tuscany, Italy

06 December 2011


We took a day trip to Florence today.  This is the famous Duomo also known as the Cathedral of Santa Maria del Fiore.


I won’t leave Florence without buying a fridge magnet, but there’s just too many to choose from, some very naughty though!  Actually.I ended up not buying anything at all because I procrastinated…

04 December 2011


Lovers at sunset.

Punta Ala


Watching the sunset at Punta Ala, a popular resort and marina half an hour from Scarlino.

03 December 2011


It’s a fingerfood party for 22 people tonight at the hotel so another chef was called to prepare the very delicate way of preparing food in stylish miniature containers! 

02 December 2011


How can I describe the country of La Dolce Vita?

 01 December 2011


We finally made it to Pitigliano after driving for 3 hours!  But it’s well worth it…. 

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