Archive for the ‘Traveling’ Category

Fountains in Toulouse

Monday, May 16th, 2011

Yesterday my walk around town had a theme: water.  I encountered various fountains with their lion head water spouts.  Throughout history the lion has stood for courage and strength and has remained a powerful symbol.

You don’t want to fool around with those guys!

Fountains are gathering places and seeing those lion heads made me think of a famous line of Victor Hugo in his famous poem Bo√∂z Endormi from the L√©gende des Si√®cles (1859):¬† “C’√©tait l’heure tranquille o√Ļ les lions vont boire.”¬† “It was the peaceful hour where lions go to drink.” referring to the time of day when lions come to the water hole.

Whether majestic or  simple in design, they all convey a sense of quietude.

I came this cast-iron sculpture which is a public drinking fountain.  Those fountains called Wallace fountains were designed by Charles-Auguste Lebourg and financed by an English gentleman, Sir Richard Wallace, in the nineteen century.  You can find them in Paris and in many cities across France.  As a child I remember loving drinking from them.  This one no longer offers potable water.

 

Toulouse is called the “Ville Rose”, the “pink city” and I like the reflection of the sun on the bricks giving the town its warm atmosphere.¬† A very soothing and inspirational stroll…

 

Bicycle Friendly

Friday, May 13th, 2011

If you judge from the signs below, you would think that Toulouse is not a “bicycle friendly” city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On the contrary!¬† There are numerous bike lanes and places with meters where you can rent a bicycle for an hour, a day or more if you wish.¬† When you are done you bring it back to the “bike station”.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On my way back from a stroll in the “Jardin des Plantes” (a miniature “Central Park” in Toulouse) I saw the same signs, but a different bicycle tied to the post.¬† I almost expected a dog on a leash tied to the post, since dogs are not allowed in the park!¬† Thanks for reading!

Flying across the Atlantic

Tuesday, May 10th, 2011

As I flew recently from New York to Toulouse (France) aboard an Airbus 380, I was surprised to discover that in front of your seat there is a screen showing the position of the plane on the runway.  We were number 15  for take off.  It is a cool feature.

You can also see on the screen the plane taking off and the surrounding landscape, although as you can tell from the picture it is difficult to take a photograph when the cabin light is turned off and the plane is shaking a bit.  By the time we left it was already night time.

The next morning my connecting flight was in Paris.¬† As the plane was flying to Toulouse I looked out of the window and I knew I was not¬† above the Midwest!¬† Look at the size of the fields!¬† It is more “patchworky”.

Stay tuned for more adventures…!