Under A Rainbow

11 Nov

Last week I mentioned getting out and doing some experimenting with the camera based on reading I had been doing… it didn’t happen.  Not that I haven’t achieved any milestones this week.  Tuesday was a dreary day weather-wise and I managed to pass the entire day without putting even a toe outside the door!

On Wednesday, in spite of the ongoing dreary weather, we went for an afternoon drive to Melle.  Not much to report from there except that it was cold and damp.  Apple maps had a bit of a fit too.  On the way in to Melle it tried to get us up a pedestrian path and when we were leaving it took us to a T-intersection but in order to get to the other road we needed to got down a flight of stairs!  We decided against it.  We rarely get a bad call from this system but Melle was an exception.  On the way home we passed through La Mothe-Saint-Héray – see the photo below.

Passing through La Mothe-Saint-Héray on a drive one afternoon.  We had been for a short walk but a light rain had started so we made for the car.  No sooner had I put the camera away and got in myself when this rainbow appeared.  By the time I got the camera out and took this shot it was fading quickly.  The whole thing was over in 30 seconds.  So not the best composition but at least I got something!

Passing through La Mothe-Saint-Héray on a drive one afternoon. We had been for a short walk but a light rain had started so we made for the car. No sooner had I put the camera away and got in myself when this rainbow appeared. By the time I got the camera out and took this shot it was fading quickly. The whole thing was over in 30 seconds. So not the best composition but at least I got something!

The weather looked quite reasonable on Thursday so we left the house about 9am and took the minor roads to Chinon.  On the way along the river to the city centre we spotted an interesting looking cave and it was open so we stopped to explore.  The tunnels were easily 7m high and 10m wide.  They went off in all directions.  And it was really dimly lit.  I was on ISO 12800 and shutter speeds under 1/30th second to get anything.

The entrance to a wine cave (pronounced "carve").  This was called Cave Monplaisir.

The entrance to a wine cave (pronounced “carve”). This was called Cave Monplaisir.

The entrance hall of Cave Monplaisir.  From here there were a labyrinth of tunnels.

The entrance hall of Cave Monplaisir. From here there were a labyrinth of tunnels.

It was almost pitch black inside.  We used the light on a phone and a small flashlight for this photo.  Everything was covered in a thick grey mould.  [ISO 12800, f/4.5, 1/25sec, 47mm]

It was almost pitch black inside. We used the light on a phone and a small flashlight for this photo. Everything was covered in a thick grey mould. [ISO 12800, f/4.5, 1/25sec, 47mm]

Some fresh looking barrels in Cave Monplaisir - no mould yet!

Some fresh looking barrels in Cave Monplaisir – no mould yet!

There's a nice display!

There’s a nice display!

We wandered through the city and up to the fortifications before lunch then found a nice place to dine. It was raining lightly when we came out but that didn’t last long.

Chinon from the bridge across the River Vienne.  There are usually sandbanks on the side but the river is quite high at the moment.

Chinon from the bridge across the River Vienne. There are usually sandbanks on the side but the river is quite high at the moment.

The River Vienne again.

The River Vienne again.

Looking over the rooves of Chinon towards the river from the path to the fortified hilltop.  The water is just visible before the grass on the far side.

Looking over the rooves of Chinon towards the river from the path to the fortified hilltop. The water is just visible before the grass on the far side.

Just a snapshot of the place we found to have lunch. We were a bit early, it ended up with a steady flow of locals coming in. At least I assume they were locals based on the way they greeted the waiter!

Just a snapshot of the place we found to have lunch. We were a bit early, it ended up with a steady flow of locals coming in. At least I assume they were locals based on the way they greeted the waiter!

A view of the city through the flags.

A view of the city through the flags.

Looking back to the city and the fortified hilltop behind it.

Looking back to the city and the fortified hilltop behind it.

Looking back to Chinon with autumn coloured vines and trees under the afternoon sun.

Looking back to Chinon with autumn coloured vines and trees under the afternoon sun.

After Chinon we went to Fontevraud-l’Abbaye.  What we could see of the exterior didn’t grab us so we went back to Candes-Saint-Martin to see the confluence of the Loire and Vienne rivers.  The village looked OK and we read later that it is meant to be ‘one of the prettiest in France’!  Like all the other 10,000 claimants to that mantle.

Candes-Saint-Martin.  This is the confluence of the rivers Loire and Vienne.  The Loire is directly ahead with the small island dividing it and the Vienne is to the right.

Candes-Saint-Martin. This is the confluence of the rivers Loire and Vienne. The Loire is directly ahead with the small island dividing it and the Vienne is to the right.

Friday was a deliberately restful day because on Saturday we went to Paris… just for the day.  We got up at 05h00, were on the road at 05h30 and parked in Orléans at 08h10.  We had non-changeable tickets for the 09h35 train to Paris but managed to talk our way on to the 08h35 service.  So we were in Paris at 09h30.  The forecast was 60% rain but it was overcast and dry so that was good.  In the interests of flexibility and safety I did not take my camera, just the phone.  It was a tough decision!

Now here is a travel tip for Paris; if you look on the transport websites for Paris you will easily find the one, two and three day tourist passes.  You will also find books of ten single journey tickets.  What you have to search harder for is to find the ‘Mobilis’ ticket.  That’s the one you want.  One version is valid for zones one and two (this covers central Paris) and includes all Metro, bus, tram and RER (local trains) for one calendar day (not 24 hours necessarily).  All this convenience for €6.60 and you can buy it at the kiosks in the Metro stations.  The other options start at €10.50.  You just need to know what to look for, and now you do!

My motivation for visiting Paris on this public holiday weekend when the All Blacks were playing in Paris that evening was to go to a photographic exhibition, Salon de la Photo.  It was held at the Port de Versailles Exhibition Halls, Hall #4, and we arrived there at about 10am.  It was pretty busy.  There were lots of trade stands and dotted around the hall amongst all this were the various exhibits.  Unlike many others I did not think it was appropriate to photograph the work on display but I can say that some of it was amazingly beautiful while other work was, frankly, disturbing.  I did manage to find a new camera strap system to try out and I looked into some other products that are, for now, on my wish list.  There is always something.

Leanne only stayed a while at the exhibition then she went off to see Gallerie Lafayette and other shopping areas with their Xmas decorations all on display.  After the show we met up again at Place de la Concorde and starting walking – in the rain!  We went to the Petit Palais and after having a nightmare session getting through the security – had to pass through a metal detector but could not remove our jackets, they wanted all metal removed and put in a tray and this is not possible with our jackets – the galleries and the building itself was beautiful.  After that we walked to the Left Bank, around Saint-Sulpice, the Odéon, etc. until we were ready for a drink and a snack.  Then it was time to get back to our train.

Petit Palais from the courtyard.

Petit Palais from the courtyard.

The courtyard of the Petit Palais... it was actually raining lightly at the time.

The courtyard of the Petit Palais… it was actually raining lightly at the time.

One of the magnificent galleries.  The building is stunning and then there is the amazing art.  Nice visit.

One of the magnificent galleries. The building is stunning and then there is the amazing art. Nice visit.

I don't think this guy is going anywhere in a hurry.  Just one of a million reasons to never bring your car into Paris.  Far better to park it 100km away and take the train.

I don’t think this guy is going anywhere in a hurry. Just one of a million reasons to never bring your car into Paris. Far better to park it 100km away and take the train.

And its not like the next guy can move either!  SMS message to wife, "Honey, I could be some time.  Start dinner without me."

And its not like the next guy can move either! SMS message to wife, “Honey, I could be some time. Start dinner without me.”

We left Paris again just after 7pm and in an hour we were back in Orléans.  After an uneventful drive back down the péage we were home again at 11pm.  A busy day.

Needless to say Sunday was a very quiet day.

This is Archie, patiently waiting by his bowl for that guy with the camera to stop pfaffing about AND GET MY BLOODY SUPPER!

This is Archie, patiently waiting by his bowl for that guy with the camera to stop pfaffing about AND GET MY BLOODY SUPPER!

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