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Archive for the ‘Travel’ Category

Aubeterre-sur-Dronne

Click for a slideshow

Click for a slideshow

One of our favorite discoveries in France was the little village of Aubeterre, right on the edge of the Charente region. Signs proclaimed it “one of the most beautiful villages in France,” and it certainly was that. It turns out that that’s an official designation. There are 150 towns and villages in les plus beaux villages de France.

The name comes from the Latin alba terra, ‘white earth’, because of the nature of the limestone of the area. It’s the site of an enormous underground church, an ‘eglise monolithe.’ Here’s a small slide show of our visit, taken with our first digital camera — a monstrous 1.3 megapixels.

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Seneca Rocks

senecarocksWhen we returned from our Shenanadoah/Luray trip we took a new route for us, taking U.S. 33 west (technically, north) from Harrisonburg, VA to I-79 south of Clarksburg, WV. It’s 2-lane most of the way, with several steep grades and lots of twists. But it was very little traveled (at least on a Wednesday) and passes through some beautiful areas, including Seneca Rocks. I’d never seen them before but they’re apparently well-known to rock climbers.

We didn’t stop since we had such a long trip that day. Even from the road, they’re striking.

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Bears!

IMG_0818More from our trip to Shenandoah/Skyline Drive: we saw at least two bears foraging on the side of the road — one cub on Skyline (shown here), and another larger one on US 211 near Luray. I’d been there several times, but had never seen bears before.

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Dark Hollow Falls

IMG_0806We’ve just returned from a short trip to Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley/Skyline Drive area. One of the popular hikes is Dark Hollow Falls at mile 50.7 — popular because it’s near a big campground, and it has the shortest walk of all the falls on Skyline Drive, though the trail is a little steep. Since we were there on a Monday, the crowds weren’t too bad. The upper falls were impressive, and we thought the lower stretch (shown here) reminded us of the paintings of the 19th-century Hudson River School artists.

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VassyReunion2009sm

June 14th, 2009 in Beaverdam community, Cherokee Co., South Carolina. I’m a Vassy on my mother’s side. This was the first time I had been to one in years. Visiting, singing old hymns, food — ham, chicken, barbecue, chicken salad, pound cake. . . .

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200px-Gen_james_oglethorpe

J. Oglethorpe

On June 9, 1732, James Oglethorpe was granted a royal charter for the colony of Georgia. His colonists began arriving in 1733, establishing Savannah and other cities.

Ah, Savannah. Certainly the most beautiful city in which I’ve ever lived. Jenny and I met there, had our first date at a service in, and later married in, Christ Church (founded by John Wesley, whose tenure in Savannah was a little rocky).

Christ Church, on Johnson Square

Christ Church, on Johnson Square

I was there to help start up WSVH Public Radio, then an independent station and now part of Georgia Public Broadcasting. I lived on Gaston, so technically not a NOG (North of Gaston) but not a SOG either. Bless its ornery little heart.

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422px-LindisfarneFol27rIncipitMattOn June 8, 793, Vikings raided the remote abbey of Lindisfarne in Northumbria in the first Viking incursion into England. Alfred and other Anglo-Saxon kings of England were able to battle the invaders with some success, but for almost the next 300 years England, especially the North, was locked in a cycle of invasion, warfare and settlement. The Vikings’ Old Norse was a cousin of Anglo-Saxon and some elements of modern English come from it — for example the personal pronouns they, them, etc., and skirt (a cognate of shirt, from Old English).

The beautifully illuminated Lindisfarne Gospel is among the treasures of medieval art. Shown here is the title page from the Gospel of Matthew. Look carefully and you can make out stylized letters reading:

liber generationis Iesu Christi filii David filii Abraham…

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, son of David, son of Abraham…

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IMG_1182This is the American cemetery at Colleville Sur Mer. We took this on our tour of Normandy in 2005. That’s my sister Margaret and her husband Sonny in the middle of the picture. The principal reason for this trip was to visit the Normandy monuments of D-Day.

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chez Faivre

chez Faivre

Here’s the house of our friends the Faivres, near Poitiers in France.

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J. Buckett's tombstone

J. Buckett's tombstone

In 1972 when I visited the small village of Stockbridge, England (a little northeast of Winchester) I found this tombstone in the church cemetery. It’s a splendid example of a poetic epitaph. They don’t make them like this anymore.

When I went back in 2002 moss had made some of the writing illegible, but based on my notes from 1972, here’s how it reads:

 

In
Memory of
JOHN BUCKETT
many years Landlord of the King’s Head Inn
in this Borough
who departed this life November 20th (?), 1802
Aged 67 Years.

And is alas! poore BUCKETT gone?
Farewell convivial honest JOHN.
Oft at the well by fatal stroke,
Buckets like pitchers must be broke.
In this same motley shifting scene
How various have thy fortunes been!
Now lifted high, now sinking low,
Today thy brim would overflow.
Thy bounty then would all supply,
To fill & drink & leave thee dry.
Tomorrow sunk as in a well,
Content unseen with Truth to dwell.
But high or low or wet or dry,
No rotten stave could malice spy.
Then rise immortal BUCKETT rise,
And claim thy station in the skies.
’Twixt Amphora and Pisces shine,
Still guarding Stockbridge with thy sign. 

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