A small park by the Garonne River, Toulouse
After strolling around the center of Toulouse under a scourching hot sun, we decided to have a cold drink here with the students lounging by the grass & setting an ambiance with a great accoustic guitar jazz session. Toulouse is the capital of Aeronautics & one of the many university capitals of France. Life seems so simple looking at them. So many years ahead of them to build a future - a future that also holds the great unknown.
Lake Oredon, Haut Pyrenees
On our only day in the mountains, we had an ordinary mountain weather - big gray clouds, rain, thunder, sun, blue skies hiding behind patches of clouds - I was so humbled in front of nature.
Les Aigles d'Aure, Arreau
So humbled by nature, we went to see the birds of Aure. We were very impressed of these wild birds in captivity & they bewildered us with the art of flying. The flying spectacle is part of the visit where they release around 10 different birds - eagles, falcons, owls & a crow - to all hover around us at the same time. Being able to fly freely doesn't always mean freedom.
The Shying Vulture - The Great Hibu-hibu Owl & my favorite, The Crow
Les Laquettes, Pyrenees
Finally got on our hiking plan the next day & after an hour of trek, we reach this lake on top. I was amazed how I get the exact same silence covering my ears with my hands. A total zen. I wondered if I am capable to go back to basics.
Mini-falls down to Lake Oredon
Cité Medieval & Le Pont Vieux, Carcassonne at Night
It was difficult to go back to the city after the serenity of the mountains. Carcassonne though is full of history - France is a very old country - and it is home of the Cathars, the well sought after by the Romans during the Inquisition. I wondered if I'd survive the Medieval Age.
La Maison Hantée
This haunted house is found inside the Cité Medieval - and I had to include it here because it is the first haunted house that really scared the beejeesus out of me. It is not your normal little train ride around the darkness of the house & one of the crew will surprise you by grabbing your arm or screaming boo! to you. This one is equiped with new technology - more psychological & you don't get on the train - you walk in darkness while you wait for the creeping doors to open to get in a new room. The hitch is you have to be quick in going through the doors because it is automatic - the fear I had in getting stuck in a room! You are in complete darkness with creepy sounds & you wait & wait what will happen.
Inquisition et Instruments de Torture (jusqu'à la Révolution Française)
We ended our holiday with a little terror in our heads - we went to a museum of torture instruments used from around the 13th century until the 17th - there is a punishment for every imaginable thing from talkative women to bad musicians - it is truly horrifying yet interesting how it makes you wonder about Catholicism - the Inquisition. I've always thought that witches or heretics were only burned in the stake or decapitated- I was in for a big surprise - was I too dumb not to know this part of history where it was widely practiced in Europe? The drawing there on top is from the brochure of the museum which I scanned - I didn't want to be too graphic but to those who are not faint-hearted - I found this site where it shows not even half of the instruments of torture we saw in the museum - it really made me wonder of human nature & how we progressed as being naturally human.
Back to reality.