On the GR-65. Day 9 ( last day)

Saturday September 30. Lauzerte to Moissac. This day will be over 30km.

A difficult day as it starts with rain as soon as we leave the gite in Lauzerte. We are wearing our raincoat. We have a cover on our backpack but we really hope the clouds are going to get tired to spray on us.

I don’t want to take photos with  my camera. It is in a plastic bag in my pocket. I try to take pictures with my cellular but really I will take very few that day. But when I see this building I want a photo. This must  be a dovecote ( where pigeons or dove can stay).

We walk, we walk and we do not find a place to shelter for our lunch. We do not want to waist time  as we think it would be better to arrive  and rest. But it is our last day on the trail and we keep thinking about the arrival.

We see a few pilgrims  who, like us, have to deal with the muddy and slippery  trail. Without walking sticks it is not easy to climb the step trail.

We have booked a hotel room for this last night. I am quite happy to get in  Moissac.

We have been there a few days before this adventure. It is where I bought my créantiale and now I have many stamps on it. In France we do not have to show our créantiale when we sleep in a gite  but in Spain the pilgrims need to have one.

All day the rain doesn’t stop. It would be our most difficult day. Our feet are wet and I feel cold. The warm shower is the best thing to do when we get to the room shortly after 3 pm.   We rest and later we choose a restaurant close by our hotel. We indulge in pizza and red wine.

Celebration. We have done more than 250 km in 9  days.

The next morning, we have time to wander in the city. It is not raining anymore!

The  abbaye Saint-Pierre . Since 1998,  the church and cloisters have had international protection as part of a World Heritage Site “Routes of Santiago de Compostela in France “.

I really like the sculptures of the French artist Toutain.

Now that this adventure is finished , we will return to Toulouse for two nights and  continue our traveling  in   Southern France  and Spain ( Catalonia) . More to come next week! Thanks for reading.

 

 

Mission San Buenaventura

Hello readers… another post on our visit to the Spanish Missions in California.

Finally, it was the day  were going to visit  Mission San Buenaventura, Mission by the Sea. Named  for Saint Bonaventure, a 13th century Franciscan cardinal and renowned philosopher. The  very last mission  we were going to see – of the 21st of all the Spanish Missions in California. Here is the front of the church seen from the other side of the street. The church has 5 bells, the oldest dating to 1781.

The first church was destroyed by a fire , the second was abandoned during construction. The present church was not completed before 1809 and was almost completely destroyed  by earthquakes and tidal waves in 1812. another earthquake damaged the church in 1925 and was repaired in 1950.

This Mission is located in Ventura.  On Easter Sunday March 31, 1782, Father Serra  raised a cross and celebrated Mass to found his 9th and final mission.  He died  two years later before the founding of Mission  Santa Barbara.

 

At each of the missions, we see a statue of Fr. Junipero Serra.

We visited the garden with a beautiful fountain.

In  the church, lots of restoration was underway .

It might be odd that we wanted to see all the missions  as we are not people going to church and we are not Americans.  As I often said they are nice places to see with lots of history . It gave us a good reason to stop in all the cities  where there is a mission.

The very first mission we visited was in March 2013. It was  Mission  San Juan Capistrano.  On that day, I had  purchased a  postcard showing the location of the 21 missions in California. Soon after  we made  plans to see more of them.   The last one we visited  was on February  20, 2017.  I am quite certain that many people living in California have not visited them all. If you read this and found it interesting, let me know. And I hope you still continue to read my blog on different places I visit.

Thank you .

 

 

 

Mission Santa Barbara

Santa Barbara  was the tenth mission founded (December 4,1786).  Three adobe churches  were built but the third one was destroyed by an earthquake in 1812. The present church was built in 1815 and completed in 1820. Another earthquake damaged the church. Restoration work was completed in 1927. Santa Barbara is the only mission in the California chain remaining under control of the Franciscans without interruption from the day of its founding until the present time.

This Mission is also called “Queen of the Missions” and was named for Saint Barbara,   a legendary martyred  church  figure of the 3rd century. The Neoclassical facade is inspired  by 1st century B.C. architecture of Marcus Vitruvius Pollio.

The fountain  built in 1808 along with the adjacent stone  “lavandaria” which was used by Native Americans.

The day we visited it was another  wet day  but most of the tour was inside. We watched a 18  minutes video and then went quickly in the cemetery garden.

We enjoyed the artwork  displayed in the church. Some of the interior detailing were patterned after an ancient Roman temple. It was difficult to take good photos in the church as there was not much light.

There were many things to look at in the museum. There was lots to read and great info.

And of course, there was a gift shop. Notice the beautiful handmaid decoration on the wall.

Another photo taken outside the mission.

It was another good visit and then we drove some more to get to Ventura where we would visit the very last mission on our list.

Thanks again for your visit.

 

Mission Santa Inés

To share my visits of the Missions,  the text will be short, I will rather let the pictures tell the story of what we saw.

The architecture of the 21 Spanish Mission built along El Camino Real (1769-1823) reflects both the simple tastes of their Franciscan founders and the limited resources of material and skilled labor available. The missions were constructed of stone and adobe, finished inside and out with whitewashed mud plaster and topped with pitched roofs of hewn timber covered with red tile.

Located in beautiful rolling hills in the city of Solvang,  Santa Inés has been called the “Hidden Gem of the Missions.” It was founded  on September 17,1804. The 19th of the 21 Missions in California. It is named for Saint Agnes of Rome, a 13 year old roman girl martyred in A.D. 304. It is an active church, the responsibility of Capuchin Franciscans since 1924.

We arrived in Solvang with  heavy rain. I took the first photo through the window of the car. But it did not stop us to visit. My photos will tell more.

We really did not want to spend much time in the garden but we were happy with our visit.

After this visit,   there were only 3 more Missions for us to see  in California.

Thank you so much for reading and if you want to comment, you are welcome ! Have a great WE.

 

 

 

Mission San Miguel

After visiting the Mission San Antonio de Padua, we drove to see the Mission San Miguel  Arcángel.  This was the 16th of the 21  California  Mission founded  on July 25, 1797.  It was named for The Archangel Michael.  The mission was very prosperous during the mission period with a large community of Native  Americans living nearby. The Mission  was fully restored after the earthquake of 2003. It was closed for a while but now   it  looks much as it was throughout most of its history.

To share my visits of the Missions,  the text will be short, I will rather let the pictures tell the story of what we saw.

Visiting a Spanish Mission is enjoyable.  Sometimes the gardens are beautiful or the museum is really interesting. They are all different. This one had a very good  museum with lots of information. The garden had 30 varieties of cactus, some roses and olive trees.

Inside the church we can see The EYE OF GOD shown in clouds representing heaven with divine rays. This is the largest and most beautiful GOD’S EYE in any of the California missions today. The center statue is St.Michael the  patron of the San Miguel church.

The interior of the church is one of the best preserved of all the mission.  Interesting drawings. Its wall and ceiling decorations  have never been repainted. On the photo above, to the left,  we see a large shell representing baptism- the only shell of this size in any of the California Missions.  The columns, copies of columns in the Forum of Rome, were done by  the artist Don Esteban Munras from Monterey. The outside lines are thinner than those in the middle giving a round look to them.

This Mission is called “The Mission on the Highway” as it is right there  by the road  (101)   and was  even there before there was a road !

As I said it was the 16th mission founded in California and for us it was  also the 16th mission we visited since the very first one (San Juan Capistrano) in March 2013.

Thanks for your visit . We have a few  more Missions to see on that trip…

 

 

 

 

 

Alba

We are now in Alba. Alba is a town and commune of Piedmont,  in the province of Cuneo. It is considered the capital of the UNESCO Human Heritage hilly area of Langhe, and is famous for its white truffle, peach and wine production.

We had good weather and time to explore the town before dinner. The next morning we were going to leave on foot for our 6 days walk in the Langhe, an area of rolling hills. You will see  the beauty of it on my  following posts.

We did not have to  walk very far from our hotel to find an interesting  pedestrian street with shops and cafes.   From Via Roma  we  turned left to go on Via Vittorio Emanuele. Such names for streets are found  in every cities across Italy. On the right of the following photo is the church Santa Maria Maddalena.

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Always a church to visit.  Almost  more than one in every city.  This is the Cathedral San Lorenzo.

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A beautiful ceiling.

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We went in a store selling all kind of products made with truffle . You see the truffles on the following photo. There are white truffles and black truffles.  The “white truffle” or “trifola d’Alba Madonna” (“Truffle of the White Mother” in Italian)  is found mainly in the Langhe and Montferrat areas of the Piedmont region. Black truffles are harvested in late autumn and winter.

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Did you know that you can find the Ferrero chocolate factory in Alba ?  Pietro Ferrero,  who owned a bakery in Alba , an area known for the production of hazelnuts, sold an initial batch of 300 kilograms (660 lb) of “Pasta Gianduja” in 1946.   Ferrero used hazelnuts, which are plentiful in the Piedmont region of Italy , to extend the chocolate supply because cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. His son, Michele  modified  the initial product; it was renamed “Nutella”. The first jar of Nutella left the factory in Alba on 20 April 1964.

We’ll be back in Alba later. This was  a quick visit. And on my next post, we are going for  a 16  km walk. I hope you’re coming with me. You will  like it…

Thanks for reading and for your comments.

 

 

 

Barcelona

It was my second visit in Barcelona.  A city I like very much. From the airport, we took a bus to get  to the city. Our hotel was not very far from the Rambla.  What to do in Barcelona:  browsing in La Boqueria , revisiting the Gothic Quarter, walking on Passeig de Graciato to see the great architecture , eating churros, admiring the Cathedrals,  spending time inside the Sagrada, going to Barceloneta to enjoy the view of the water.  We did not have time to go back to Parc Guell  ( we had done it in 2009)  or visiting  museums. Often, we  prefer to be walking , exploring as much as we can while we also take time to enjoy good food.  It was 3 full days well spent.   I will  share a few photos taken during our time in Barcelona.

La Boqueria.

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Gaudi’s work has greatly influenced the face of Barcelona architecture and you will see stunning examples of his work all around the city centre.

Casa Batllo. Gaudí renovated this block of flats to make it look like a sinewy, psychedelic deep-sea beast. Whatever you do, don’t let the queues put you off venturing inside this fantastic building.

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House of Spikes (1905)DSC03195

Casa Amatller. Located on the famous  Manzana de la Discordia, Puig i Cadafalch’s Modernista–Gothic romp has a Dutch air about it.DSC03202

La Pedera. This one-time residence is a masterpiece of Gaudí’s swirling imagination.DSC03229

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Hospital de la Santa Creu  i de Sant Pau. With its dainty pavilions, Modernista quirks, ceramic décor and gardens, this hospital works artistic as well as medical wonders.

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La Sagrada Familia. Gaudí’s unfinished symphony, an extraordinary work of soaring religious devotion and unlimited imagination.

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The Cathedral of Barcelona in the Gothic Quarter.

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and here Santa Maria Del Mar. Barcelona’s finest church is a noble work of grand Gothic construction.DSC03160

Churros.DSC03698

 

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This was a quick tour of a  very interesting city. I hope you enjoyed. Thanks always for reading. Hasta luego !