Category Archives: Animals

Charlie’s Travels

“But I haven’t even travelled that many countries in such a short time!”, so says S, my sister-in-law when told about Charlie’s trips to five countries in less than four weeks.

Indeed, he is starting to become one of the most-travelled pets! He is lucky, as some of our friends say, but we are also lucky for having him. He has brought so much laughter and calmness to our otherwise very-stressful and busy life. We are also becoming fitter each day and are constantly in awe as the three of us continue to tread paths we’ve never been before -.endlessly fascinated at the beauty of the world around us. Thanks, Charlie, for these walks. You are changing our life for the better!

Getting ready for summer camping – with Charlie!

Neighbourhood dogs gawking at Charlie as he passes by for his walk.
Tiniest dog: Why do they take him for a walk every morning while we are stuck here behind this fence all the time.
Fattest dog: Don’t know. Maybe he knows the tricks of the trade.

Our last walk before we left Hungary.

Camping on the Croatian coastal village of Pomer.

Morning walk in the campsite

The seering heat in that part of Croatia had us stopping for drinks every now and then.

To help Charlie cool off, we had to teach him how to swim, but he doesn’t like the water!

Papa: “Come on Charlie, swim towards me!”

But he would rather watch the swimmers.

He is friendly with dogs, like this one we met on the boat going to some island.

It’s his first ride on a boat.  Glad he didn’t get seasick!

 Charlie seems to be oblivious at the historic monument behind him.
This 1st century A.D. ruins of the Pula Colosseum is one of the six most well preserved  in the world…@ Pula, Croatia

Charlie is a good dog really.  We can enjoy a good cup of coffee in a beautiful setting like this while he lay curled up under the table.


 Before we left Pula, we thought of making a good souvenir photo that we could enlarge and display right above his bed at home.


We spent the night at the foot of Mont Blanc on our way home to France, What a lovely feeling waking up to this staggering view!

During the more than 1,000 km journey from Hungary to France, Charlie was always sleeping.

But we  had to get down at motorway stops regularly for  some needed stretching..

Wonder why he’s afraid to drink from the dog fountain!

At home, we continued with our daily walks. Charlie gets excited everytime he meets creatures he had never seen this ostrich.

He just stood there, these horses look so strange to him.

We are also getting hooked on forest hiking…

I love it when he gets so attentive on the road, but of course, after few minutes,  he falls asleep.

He enjoys walking in pet-friendly French roads.  This street is named “Road to the Castle”…(Rue du Chateau)…but the castle is long gone..

And how he loves his comfort!

The story of Charlie, the dog

For nineteen days, he brought a new kind of joy and amusement to the house.  Always seeking affection, he would lick us crazy everytime we walk past his corner.  And whenever we return home from an errand, he is like a child expecting some treats.  Of course, I spoiled him that way and he just couldn’t stop jumping up at my shopping bag in case I have something for him.

He’s at his best when we take him for walks in the field, running up and down the undulating farmlands  as fast as lightning.  Such energy he has. Just over a year old, he’s still much like a puppy, just came out from a large breed.  He’s  stubborn at times, unheeding when we tell him to stop  barking at every passerby, but cowering when we give him a stern look.  Our two lovely olive wood salad bowls became his food bowl and water dish.  Our shopping list started to include dog food, chews and biscuits.

At the end of his first week with us, he was allowed to sleep in the hall as the outside winter cold might be too harsh for him.  This was followed by relaxed evenings in the sitting room, he on the carpet and us on the settee, all three enjoying the sight and warmth of a  roaring fire while listening to the music of Brahms and Verdi.  He would fall asleep instantly, snoring like a bear, only to be sent back to the hall to spend the rest of the night.

Charlie’s presence in our lives has taught us great lessons in life.  No human, except a mother perhaps, could give us unconditional love like him, he never complained, never frowned, he just accepted his lot and yet, never failed to show us playful affection.

We would have kept him, but with our constantly moving lifestyle, it is just not possible.   We cannot even stay in our own home for one month in a row because there is always a reason why we needed to go away and with H working in different cities few months at a time, staying in hotels or short-term accommodations would be too stressful for Charlie.

So with our months-old planned travel itineraries already going berserk because of his sudden arrival, we had to spend a lot of time contacting dog shelters and animal rescue organizations to find him a home.  Zsanett, a Hungarian lady who manages a charity-run dog rescue center  was heaven sent to us.  She found a  family for him, but first, he had to go to a temporary foster home while waiting for the adoptive family to come from Germany.  They would have to get him  a passport, subjected to anti-rabies vaccination, and, sadly, neutered to prevent unwanted litters.  Charlie is such a lovable dog, we dearly hope that this desexing operation won’t  change his behaviour.


We named him “Charlie” because he looks exactly like the dog of a friend whose name is also Charlie.   How did we find him?  One day, when we came home from shopping, we found him waiting for us at our doorstep. Somebody dumped him at us.

In Hungary, there are many unwanted dogs.  Animal shelters are literally refusing to accept any more strays so these poor fellows are just left in somebody else’s backyard, if not left on the road to wander aimlessly. In one of our driving trips to Budapest, we saw four small dogs, probably siblings as they all look alike, abandoned on the  motorway, two on the left side and the other two on the right.  They looked very scared, narrowly missing speeding cars.   What a heartbreaking sight.

By walking Charlie every morning, we get to discover more the beauty of our area.

As new arrivals of the village, we instantly made friends with our neighbours’ children because of Charlie.

These children are so fond of him, and he, to them.  These photos became very useful when the adopting family requested as many photos of Charlie as we could provide them.

We tried dropping him at the dog boarding house, supposedly just for 2 nights while we went to Budapest for an appointment, but we could not produce an anti-rabies certificate so he was refused entry.  We had no choice but to take him with us for the 2 1/2 hour journey to the capital.

We had to book a hotel that welcomes dogs.  I thought there is a common room for all the pets to sleep, but I was mistaken.  “Dogs allowed” means you can let your canine friend to sleep in your room!

Here’s Charlie being reassured by H that everything will be alright.  We can  understand if he feels claustrophobic inside a hotel room, what with the wide open space he is used to at our home in the Zala.  I had to buy him a toy and the toughest chew bone I could find so he doesn’t get bored.  He didn’t like the toy (as you can see it behind him) and the bone lasted only overnight!


Barely a week after his first trip to Budapest, he had to travel there a second time to go to his foster mum.   Unfortunately, the veterinary-student foster mum lives in a 3rd floor apartment in the center of the city and the nearest park is a children’s playground with a large sign at the gate saying, “No dogs allowed” (in Hungarian).  Oh boy!


That sad moment when we had to say goodbye to Charlie, but he was excited actually because a bitch called Bella was already flirting with him. Might it be the start of a canine love affair? We think not because he will soon be sent to the castration table before he goes to  Germany. We hope his name won’t be changed into Klaus…

After dropping him off, we took a leisurely walk around the block and discovered that the area is actually a “chic-mistress-walking-the-dog” neighbourhood.  So from a peasant dog, our little fellow is about to be transformed into a city dog!


Sunday Nature Walk

Sun, blue sky, the desperate yearning for a promenade, the desire to be instantly relieved  from cabin fever and the need to shop for food in the market, you combine all these factors and the first things that come to mind are:  put on a good pair of walking shoes, get the shopping bag,  search for the key and drive the van to somewhere green, pleasant and not far from a bustling market

Parc of Les Ulis

Glad that the parc of Les Ulis is just 14 minute drive from where we live in the Essone.  It’s been very cold, windy and wet the past few days and what sweet comfort  to go out in the open, bask in the sunshine and flex every single muscle of our body.  Well, I must include the muscles on my right index finger that clicks the shutter!  A photographer can never run short of inspiration here.  For even in these cold winter days, despite the absence of leaves and flowers,  this scenery just outside of Paris is a sight to behold.   It is just as beautiful in the Spring, Summer or Autumn when seasonal flowers bloom and the locals are out and about.

And when there is beauty in your surroundings, it brings forth the inspiration to get your creative juices out, and if you are a poet, it’s like weaving the right words  to create heart-rending messages that can even make you cry.

Here are some:

 “In every walk with Nature one receives far more than he seeks.”
… John Muir

“The tree which moves some to tears of joy is in the eyes of others only a green thing that stands in the way. Some see Nature all ridicule and deformity, and some scarce see Nature at all. But to the eyes of the man of imagination, Nature is Imagination itself.”…..William Blake, 1799, The Letters

“Knowing trees, I understand the meaning of patience. Knowing grass, I can appreciate persistence.”
….. Hal Borland, Countryman: A Summer of Belief

“A tree is beautiful, but what’s more, it has a right to life; like water, the sun and the stars, it is essential. Life on earth is inconceivable without trees.” …. Anton Chekhov

Time to go home, but insatiable me had to ask for more. Why not drive through a smaller village and allow ourselves to be surprised even more?

And we have not driven that far when we saw these adorable Highland cattle of Janvry, another village of the Essone.  (Actually, we have been here before but too long ago to even remember..)



Scottish Highland cattle that have been raised in French soil, hence, the attachment to day-old baguette courtesy of this man (only his hand is visible) who probably owns a boulangerie (bakery) and brought with him a big bag full of  leftovers.

 Finally driving home and yet, we saw more animal scenes on the way.

Note:  We did find  the market in Les Ulis, it sells everything  from fish and fresh veggies to great tasting baguette topped with poppy seeds!  Mission happily accomplished!

A Puppy Day Morning

Did I scare him? I don’t think so.
He stared at me for like 10 seconds, tilting his face one millimeter to the left and one millimeter to the right.
And then I understood. He was posing for the camera!
And so the camera-freak in me just kept clicking again and again.
And then he started barking..
Her mistress and I couldn’t stop laughing..
Imagine how a simple puppy could make your day……
and create a fun topic for my Photo of the Day!