Holiday Thoughts

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.


From Manila to Paris, then to Marseille & to the Côte d'Azur, now in Singapore, clinging to a map of three worlds, where everything becomes all relative.


  1. Wow Makis! I'm sure you had a wonderful time communing with nature. You've captured a scenic pics so wonderfully. Oh how I miss trekking/hiking and nature tripping.

  2. Hi Makis! You sure had a wonderful vacation. Love the photos of nature the most, you captured each one beautifully. =)

    take care and welcome back! =)

  3. carcassonne's a beauty. the torture museum sounds g-r-e-a-t! i used to think i was a bit strange for being so interested in all forms of torture when i was younger (my mother was horrified by my drawings!) but yep, tourture was reality and as bloody as it sounds, it's still fascinating!
    glad you had nice holidays! welcome back to reality.

  4. oi, comment above from kala, btw hehe

  5. love visiting museums and old castles too, i just learn a lot about history, it's so fascinating. and we're lucky to be in the old continent ha..

  6. hi guys! thanks for all your thoughts & i'll do my rounds better when frenchfry goes back to work - hehe!

    kala: got really stuck with the instruments of torture & had to actually had to look it up on the net!

    analyse: france is truly history overdosing & yet first wordly! what more can we ask for, diba?

  7. hey, miss makis, we will be in marseille (marignan) tomorrow Sept 11,2005.
    No event, magkakape lang.La magawa sa weekend eh.
    Thanks sa visit in my blog.
    Your post about France is great!

    Francesca of Nice, Cote d Azur

  8. Thanks Francesca & hope to see you come by my blog again!

  9. I went to the Same Haunted house as you. It was so scary I screamed a few times. I thought the best part about the whole thing was the fact that it got progressively more frightening. We didnt even realize it was the end. There was a man dressed in black chasing us through the last door. Witch dumped us into a random back ally nowhere near where we started. It was one of the best parts of my trip.