I’ve been following a blog called My French Heaven for quite a while, it’s written by a Frenchman named Stéphane. Stéphane lives and runs a Chateau (B&B) in a small town outside Bordeaux. All of his posts are written in both French and English. I can’t remember how I came across the blog but what attracted me most, were the photos. Stéphane takes the most beautiful photos of people, scenery and food! Pictures that draw you in, and make you want to get on the next plane to France.
That’s why when recently planning a trip with friends, I suggested we fly to Bordeaux, drive out into the French countryside and stay at Stéphane’s Chateau. After showing my friends his photos, they were in total agreement. All info about the Chateau and surrounding area can be found on his blog.
Tucked between vineyards and not far from Saint Emilion, the Chateau was the perfect place to stay. It was especially nice to finally meet one of my many blogging buddies (I wish I could meet you all). Stéphane was a friendly and very helpful host.
Although I’m not quite the photographer Stéphane is, here are some photos from our trip…
Chateau St. Jaques Calon
A trip to the Farmers Market in Libourne
The charming city of St-Emilion
A tour and wine tasting at Chateau Cardinal-Villemaurine
A bicycle trip
The only thing missing from our trip was the sun and we hardly even noticed.
A story that’s very near and dear to my heart… My grandson Henrik learns how to swim :)
Originally posted on Marshall Campus Rec:
Not including Labor Day, today marks the “first” Monday of the month. Which means it’s time for another MRC Member Spotlight, easily one of my favorite parts about this blog. Since October of 2012 we’ve posted about one of our inspiring members every month, and while the success of this month’s member might be slightly different than most, he is still an inspiration. Today’s member did not lose any impressive amount of weight (I honestly don’t think that he could if he tried), but he did reach not only a “fitness goal”, but somewhat of a milestone in his young life. Five year old Henrik Muth is September’s Member Spotlight because he has learned how to swim thanks to our swim instructors, specifically Carissa. I asked Carissa to write about her experience with teaching Henrik the ropes in the pool, and her testimonial is below:
“Hey Guys! I’m writing…
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When I was young my father desperately wanted me to learn how to play the piano. I gave it a try but it just wasn’t my thing…
Flash forward and none of my four, plus one (stepson) seemed any more interested in playing an instrument than I did.
Then our sixth (and last!) child came along. This one was different or should I say Unique, he’s quiet and always keeps to himself. At three-years-old he was diagnosed with autism. Unable to participate in team activities, he started piano lessons. He unenthusiastically played for about three years before moving on to the guitar. A few years went by and he lost interest in that as well.
Sorry Dad, it doesn’t look like the grandkids will be playing for you either.
You can only imagine my surprise when last summer this son, now eighteen came to me and asked if he could start playing bagpipes!
Bagpipes in Norway? Who would teach him? Where would we buy them? And how much do they cost?
I calmed down when he told me he could take lessons online and we didn’t need to buy bagpipes (yet). The first step in learning to play the bagpipes is on a chanter. A chanter by itself doesn’t cost much.
He stuck with it for a whole year, didn’t lose interest and was really starting to sound good. Now convinced that he was serious, off to Scotland we went. We bought bagpipes, ordered a kilt and he attended an intensive bagpiping course in Glasgow.
That was two months ago. He practices everyday and I think he sounds great… Have a listen for yourself.
The first song is Corkhill, the second is Itchy Fingers and the third is Amazing Grace.
This is for you, Dad…
Every year it’s the same story… Where should we go this summer for a suntan?
The reason is simple, we live in Norway.
Here in Norway, you can never-ever count on good weather.
Not even in summer!
Most Norwegians head south but not us. We go west, towards New Jersey. The Jersey Shore is a great place to spend summer.
This year, with my granddaughter coming over from the States we decided to stay right here in Norway. We were invited to a friends place, way, way up in the top of Norway and so while everyone else was flying south, we flew north…
I promised the locals I wouldn’t give our exact location, because they don’t like tourists wandering around while they’re trying to skinny dip ;)
I will tell you this… We were above the Arctic Circle and no one was more surprised than me at how beautiful it was.
It was a perfect, Norwegian summer!
Imagine if you will –the most perfect summer day. A warm sun, a gentle breeze and a clear blue sky.
Now try to visualize –the ultimate outdoor theater. Hundreds of people sitting on a grassy hillside overlooking a natural stage set in Viking times. Behind the stage, magnificent mountains and a sparkling Norwegian fjord.
A perfect setting for the timeless and tragic legend of, Viking Hagbard and Princess Signe.
Hagbard and Signe were from the same village, played together as children and fell deeply in love as teenagers. Hagbard is sent off to war and Signe promises to wait for him. Three years later thinking Hagbard is dead, Signe’s father has arranged for his daughter to marry a Russian prince. Hagbard comes back and Signe who is still very much in love with him, refuses to marry the prince. Her father is enraged and insists she honor her commitment, for the good of the village and to protect his reputation as a leader, and man of his word.
He bans Hagbard from the village and locks Signe up. Hagbard disguises himself as a woman and sneaks into the cabin where Signe is being held. The reunited lovers make plans to escape and runaway together, but are caught in the process. A fight breaks out and many people are killed.
Hagbard is captured, tried and sentenced to hanging. A distraught and desperate Signe begs for his life, but to no avail. On the day of Hagbard’s hanging a brokenhearted Signe sets her cabin on fire and also dies.
Singne’s father is grief stricken over the death of his daughter. Her mother, who had also begged for the lovers freedom leaves him.
He is left broken and alone.
Although sad and tragic, the play was also filled with music, dance and sword fighting. There were horses and a witch. They also carried in what looked like a real lamb (my husband assures me it was not) and slit its throat as a sacrifice to the Viking God, Odin. I found myself totally seduced by the surroundings and captivated by the Norwegian history. This production, bringing both tears and smiles, was absolutely mesmerizing!
Did you know…?
Northern Norway lies above the Arctic Circle and is a wonderland of treasure…
The Northern lights illuminate the dark skies of winter, and the midnight sun provides endless days of summer.
The midnight sun also gives extra energy making it very easy to forget to go to bed at night.
A landscape of skerries, boat-houses, lapping waves and the cries of gulls ease away tension.
Would you like to see the treasures I found on my recent trip north…
I’m taking a summer, blogging break.
My eight-year-old granddaughter, Maren is flying, by herself (with assistance) from America to Norway. I was eleven the first time I flew to Norway without my parents, and her mother was twelve the first time she did it. That makes Maren the third generation of adventurous little girls. She is staying for three weeks and I can’t wait!
Pop Pop Harry and I are taking her on a trip to Hamarøy, which is an island up in the north of Norway. Friends of ours own land there and we will be staying with them, in a two hundred-year-old farm house. They have a daughter the same age as Maren, so it should be fun… the only problem is Maren doesn’t speak Norwegian and my friend’s daughter, Hannah doesn’t speak English! I guess I’ll be doing a lot of translating :)
Hamarøy is a place where where the sun shines twenty-four hours a day in the summer. Maren can play all night and sleep during the day, because it really doesn’t matter. She can go fishing, crabbing and has a good chance at spotting a whale. She’ll climb mountains, run through fields, pick berries and wild flowers. She’ll sleep in a lavvu, eat dinner in a lighthouse and cook hotdogs on the end of a stick, over an open campfire. She will also be able to explore the ocean floor when the tide goes out. It doesn’t matter how wet or dirty she gets, for this week, she will be one with Norwegian nature.
I hope you’re enjoying your summer too!