Wednesday, November 30, 2011


This is the Excelsior House Hotel in Jefferson, Texas. It has been open since 1850 and boasts some impressive names in it's register, and the best orange blossom muffins for two hundred miles! Oscar Wilde, two US presidents, Grant and Hayes and a first lady who grew up nearby, Lady Bird Johnson have all spent the night here.

If you make a reservation be sure you ask for one of the historic rooms (the others are tiny). I have stayed in the Hayes room and it's grand.

Steven Spielberg was a guest back in the 1970's in the Jay Gould room. Rumor has it he was visited by a hotel "spirit" was frightened and checked out before daybreak!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


If you ever find yourself in east Texas, stop over in Jefferson. It is a sweet little place with an abundance of restored Victorian homes, many that are B&B's and Inns. It was a river port back in the mid 1800. Barges would come up from New Orleans on the Big Cypress Bayou.The town (like so many others) almost dried up when it was by- passed by the trains later in that century. The Schluter home pictured here is on the ever popular ghost tour...more about that tomorrow

Saturday, November 26, 2011


Attended the one woman play "Ann" last night in Chicago. Ann is Ann Richards the second woman Governor of the state of Texas. This lighthearted portrayal of the strong willed, opinionated , home grown Texas lady was delightfully acted out by talented actress Holland Taylor who also wrote the play.

Friday, November 25, 2011


We are visiting our youngest daughter in Chicago. Katy loves to cook so I was just a "helper" when it came to cooking the huge Thanksgiving meal. To start the day off...she served a delicious, healthy layered baked oatmeal. The bottom layer was sliced bananas..and I lost count after that. I know there were sliced apples, blueberries , oatmeal, maple syrup, and pecans. It sure was good!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011


Thanksgiving is a time that we all spend with our families...and a time to give thanks. We are enjoying a driving trip across country to spend this special holiday with our daughter Katy and her very tall husband Joe.

Monday, November 21, 2011


Tom and I are driving from Texas to Chicago, Illinois...and we are taking our time doing it. Some days you just need to get off of the freeways and roll along the little state highways. The weather wasn't too nice I didn't take very many pictures. I did get him to pull off when I saw this old stone store in northern Arkansas...problem is ...he didn't give me enough time to actually go in!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Empress Eugenie

In the mid 1800's Napoleon III built his wife Eugenie a "beach house" which was really a palace on the beautiful beach in Biarritz, France. Today it is a Grand Hotel.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Breaking Ground!

Had to giggle when I saw this sculpture in the garden of the Hotel de Sully in Paris. I had a mole once in my front yard and it wasn't so funny!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Olive Trees

I don't know why I get so excited when I see an olive tree, but I do. I love nature and we don't have olive trees in my part of the world. This tree was snapped in the cliff side village of LaRoque Gageac, France, which is along the Dordogne River.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

The Basque

I am fascinated by the Basque culture...which is alive and well in a pocket of both Spain and France...a land they still consider their own. I read where their physical chacteristists are long straight noses, thick eyebrows, strong chins and long earlobes. These , apparent good friends, were visiting on a harbor bench in Lekeitio, Spain. They agreed to pose for a picture and answered "of course" when asked them if they were Basque!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Coastal Drive

San Sebastian is a small town that has a big city feel on the northwestern coast of Spain... very near the French border. There is a coastal road south of there that is worth the trip.It's a winding road with spectacular views arriving occasionlly at a sleepy fishing port. The way the dramatic cliffs spill into the sea reminds me of the west coast of the USA.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Toujours Chique

This little lady, who up close looked to be in her eighties...was still very stylish and definitely French with her scarf, heels and the very stylish Longchamp purse.

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Dinner on the Seine

Though it seemed a bit touristy(especially to my husband) we had dinner cruising along the Seine. We were trying to figure out which starter (appetizer) we wanted to select. The waiter explained to us that we did not need to choose.Each diner gets all five!

Saturday, November 12, 2011


All of the Basque churches I toured had these beautiful hand hewn wooden balconies along the walls.

Friday, November 11, 2011


The first encounter with these signals, for bicycles, was in The Netherlands; where they have so many wonderful bike lanes. I was not expecting to see them in the Basque Country of France.... in the beautiful city of Bayonne.!

Thursday, November 10, 2011


I snapped this guy in Bayonne, France. He had a sad look about him....maybe he was just lonely?

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Not Sure

One of the castles we toured in the Dordogne Valley was Castlenaud. They have locals dressed up in medieval costumes re-createing castle life. I was not sure I liked this. It felt a bit like walking around Disneyworld. But, when we got to the tower, and a beautiful maiden, with a soprano voice and perfect pitch, was singing a heavenly song....I changed my mind.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dordogne River

I saw several places to rent canoes and kayaks along the Dordogne River, but in the village of La Roque Gageac you could take a boat ride. Flat bottomed boats called gabarres would take you for 8.50 euros on an hour ride past five castles. I took this picture of two gabarres from inside one of them, Castlenaud.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Castles Castles Everywhere

I have seen the castles along the Rhine River in I am not sure why I was surprised to see so many along the Dordogne River in France...but I was.

Sunday, November 6, 2011


We enjoyed the Basque Country in southwestern France....which also dips down into northern Spain. Lush green mountains meet beautiful white beaches..where locals are again free to speak their own language,Euskara. You feel like you have left France (or Spain) for another country all together! This symbol seemed to be everywhere including on souvenirs ...and I can't seem to find any info on it?

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Boy of Sarlat

This statue sits on a half wall above the main square in Sarlat,France. It is identified in guide books simply as 'The Boy of Sarlat". I do not know who the sculpture was?

Friday, November 4, 2011

Plane Trees

These Plane trees, trimmed for winter (St Jean de Luz, France) are all over southern France. They are a cousin to the American Sycamore tree. Many of these trees were ordered planted by Napoleon to keep his marching troops shaded (especially in Provence).

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Oh No!

I guess I am just not a fan of modern art. I saw this exhibit being set up in Jarin des Tuleries in Paris. The guy in the leather coat is the artist. is plastic!

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


You can imagine my surprise when a fellow blogger changed the header on her blog. Virginia who has a wonderful blog, Paris Through My Lens. The new picture she featured was one I had just taken days before. Of all of the things to photograph in Paris....I was amazed that we snapped the same picture...and in such an out of the way place!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

You Can Smell the Money

In the area to the east of Bordeaux, France there are a lot of vineyards...quaint villages, well heeled and well wheeled people!