Buffalo, Paris, and Chimney Pots.

Twenty four years ago I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express on Chippewa and Main in Buffalo, NY,  and was intrigued by the adjoining roof top of an early 20th century two-story building, rimmed with tens of classic chimney pots. 

Years later while in France, the view from the Eiffel Tower brought those chimney pots to mind…

Just for perspective because I like the image, here is a view from the top-level of the Eiffel Tower on September 25, 2012. I wonder how many of these “pots” would be within this view! 

As usual, click on the image for a closer look, and thanks for viewing. Comments are always welcome. M 🙂

Vincent van Gogh, Greatness and Demise; An Afternoon in Auvers, France, 2012

 

A flashback to an experience we shared on vacation two years ago.

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This post contains nine images.

As one of history’s creative luminaries, Vincent van Gogh, the Dutch post-impressionist painter, fit the irony linking talented genius with mental affliction, (as so well discussed in a recent article by Nancy C. Anderson, “The Atlantic” magazine, July/August 2014.) In his last days, at the age of 37, van Gogh resided in a small one room apartment above Auberge Revoux, an inn in rural Auvers-Sur-Oise, France, about 27 km NW of Paris. During the brief seventy days spent there in 1890, he was artistic greatness…..but dealing with demons,  eventually resulting in his probable suicide that spring. 

In September of 2012, Jeanne and I had the privilege of visiting this very special place, the experience intensified by gloomy weather befitting its historical nature. Below is a photographic taste of that day – a side tour from our Avalon Seine River cruise.

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Room #5, his room, preserved as it was with barely enough space for a bed and sparse furnishings – and place to hang and dry paintings

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Our small group walks along narrow lanes and thru evocative gateways as rain begins to fall under darkening skies…
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to the Romanesque/Gothic church, which was inspiration for van Gogh’s “Church at Auvers,” shown below.

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We continued with a slow-paced, contemplative walk up this primitive lane towards the hilltop cemetery, the weather suggestive of a day here 122 years earlier, imaged by the strokes of the painter – but emphasizing the brighter, sunlit foreground against the storm clouds as seen below.
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(This and other source credits to Wikipedia)
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And in the gentle peace of the light rainfall, but troubled sky, we paid tribute to Vincent and his brother, Theo, at the cemetery… their neatly tended graves seen below with one of our groups older members – he slowly walking past while paying his silent homage.
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As a post script, the man above, a solo traveler unknown to the 15 or so others in our group, caused some anxiety while we waited on the bus to leave the small village. The driver/guide and others looked in adjacent quaint shops and inns searching in vain, as the rendezvous time came and went. Perhaps in his early nineties, concern was universal among us. At the last moment, this quiet unassuming man appeared, slowly made his way down the bus aisle in silence as we all wondered where he had been. As he slowly and purposefully reached his seat – not even looking up – he unceremoniously said, “I’m sure you all want to know… her name was Annette!”

D-Day – Normandy Beach – 70 Years Later

June 6th 2014 marks the 70th anniversary of the beginning of the liberation leading to the end of World War Two. On the northern coastline of France in Normandy, nearly 4500 Allied troops lost their lives this first day among 12,000 casualties, – 2000 on Omaha Beach alone.

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A while ago we visited the region, including Omaha Beach, shown here. Peaceful, reflective… tourists mostly walk silently on the sands and among the memorials. These images seemed to support the long healing process and recovery these sands have seen – including the gulls above, the shells in the sand…

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The monument…

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But the exoskeleton below was hauntingly reminiscent of a skull… numbing!

Perhaps,  it was a sign… that the beach remembers!

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 Click on Images for larger view, and as usual, Thanks for Viewing

 

 

 

Living High, atop the Eiffel Tower

Please click on the images for full size view       

While in Paris last fall I really enjoyed going to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Gustave Eiffel is credited with overseeing the design, and building of this incredible, VERY open air structure, which literally stands as a testament to what late 19th century “modern engineering” could produce, and… in only about 26 months.

Conceived and presented as the entrance to the 1889 World’s Fair in Paris, a visitor sees the wonderful engineering details… starting at the massive four supporting legs anchored deeply near the Seine River.  Above, is the beautiful, graceful lattice of 18,038 girders and connecting pieces joined together by some 2,500,000 rivets. The top observation level is 918 ft. (279 m) above the plaza and from there the very top of the tower is another 145 ft., or a total of 1063 ft. (324 m).

What intrigued me this time?  The apartment built by “Gus” on the top. Can you imagine asking a friend over for a drink at “my apartment… it has a nice view!”  NICE VIEW! I usually am not bothered by high places, but to most, hunkering down on the settee for an overnight in a small apartment perched atop a 1000 ft. tower would be ….worrisome! “How’s the weather?”  Make that drink a double, please!

ImageAbove:        From the Esplanade du Trocadero, across the Seine from the Eiffel Tower

ImageAbove:       The first observations level, including “Le 58 Tour Eiffel”  restaurant

ImageAbove:                    From the plaza at the base of the “lattice” work

ImageAbove:    Pont Alexandre III, crossing the Seine,   as seen from the 2nd observation level

ImageAbove:                    The 3rd level (two decks) and top of the tower

ImageAbove:               Looking up at the very top, antenna’s, lights, beacons …

ImageAbove:                  Plaque telling of the apartment, on the upper deckImageAbove:       The original top of the Eiffel tower, showing the apartment, –  long since gone

ImageAbove:     The awesome view from the upper deck, 3rd and highest observation level