13 Sep 2013

HOLIDAYS DAY 9

Today was our last day, tomorrow we will return home with a stop in Reims.

It is still cool outside, but fortunately the heating works perfectly now and this morning it was nice and warm. Only my room was ice cold this night because just in there the heating didn't work.



After lunch it cleared up a bit and we could drink our coffee outside for the last time.



In the afternoon we strolled through Thonon and I saw the city hall for the first time ! Then we visited the Sonnaz Castle where we saw an exhibition of smuggling by boats from France to Switzerland.




The smugglers were really very creative, gold coins in a bread and lots of other things, but I will write a post about that later.



At the entrance of the castle was this statue which had been created by a German artist, and I couldn't resist to sit besides it in the same pose.

Nicole and Dominique are pottering around to clean what is to clean because tomorrow we will just close our luggage, check if everything is switched off in the villa and then take the road.

12 Sep 2013

HOLIDAYS DAY 8

This morning I had the feeling that winter had moved into the villa it was freezing cold although the heating should switch on automatically. After a couple of hours it still didn't work and as it was a new system Dominique didn't know it and called the company. After some explanations she did what the man had told her so we dressed in several layers and had breakfast and lunch in a rather cool house.

Then we went to Evian a famous high-market holiday resort and spa town on the shores of Lake Geneva it has been visited, over two centuries, by royalty such as Kings Edward VII and George V of the United Kingdom and King Farouk of Egypt, and other celebrities, so of course we had to go to. There was an exhibition of huge old luxury cruise ships in the Palais Lumière, a beautiful building which had once been the thermal bath of Evian.





The artwork inside and the architecture of the building were very beautiful.




The poster of the exhibition was very promising. I had high expectations and thought I would see replicas of rooms, uniforms, etc. The truth was very disappointing. The ships were little models and the cabins were in doll house size. The only thing which was good was the advertising ! Lots of visitors rather disappointed came out of the exhibition.



It was not allowed to take pictures, which didn't bother me I took them when nobody looked. The poster above was hanging in the exhibition and it was not allowed to photograph, but outside you could buy a copy, so I took a picture of the copy instead. In short the whole exhibition was a real flop at least for me.

Dominique and Nicole had taken a guided tour which lasted 2 h and I was happy that I hadn't joined them at least I could watch 3 very interesting movies from 1930 showing life and travel on a cruise ship at that time. In fact not very different of the once we have today.



When I went out I saw these old suitcases and a cruise ship.



Outside we found this funny little place to sit and Dominique squeezed herself into the children seat.
Then it started to rain and we returned home.

Instead of a warm house the heating hadn't worked at all and it was still cold. Suddenly we heard strange loud noises, like whistling, growling, squeaks and rumbling. It was as if all ghosts from Thonon had a meeting somewhere in the house. It was rather eerie. We followed the noise and found out that it came from some hidden tubes in a closet on the second floor and more loud in the utility room on the first floor. Apparently there was a problem with the heating. The house is heated through the tiles on the floors. Before the house blew up and I had to day goodbye forever to you all,  Dominique called the company again, and a man came immediately to check what was wrong. Fortunately it was only air which were in the tubes and caused this noise, as the heating hadn't been used for a long time. Relieved we had our supper and Dominique and Nicole some glasses of red wine, to calm their nerves. After that we laughed about our adventure and finally it was good that it had happened while we were here and not when nobody was in the villa, although there is a guardian who checks it regularly.



11 Sep 2013

HOLIDAYS DAY 7

The whole morning we spent at home, I was blogging, Nicole reading and Dominique had workers here for the heating ! It rained and it was quiet cool and for the first time we had to eat our breakfast and lunch inside. But fortunately in the afternoon it cleared up and stopped raining so we went to Yvoire  an old city  well known for its medieval buildings and beautiful flower decoration during the summer season. It is also one of the "most beautiful villages of France". Which is certainly true. I loved it very much.



We admired the little old houses all decorated with beautiful flowers in all colors, walked on the cobbled streets,and entered in some old shops.






We stopped at the little habour, and a swan colony came towards us, one even posed like a professional model. When we returned home it started to rain again and we just made it before the cats and dogs fell from heaven.



After supper Dominique and Nicole played a game  with numbers which I found too complicated as an excuse, because numbers and I are the worst enemies. I continued to sort out my pictures.

Then we went to bed, again tired and happy we had another nice day.

10 Sep 2013

HOLIDAYS DAY 6

After the thunderstorms, the weather was sunny again, but the temperature had cooled down. So we decided to use the morning to visit the Thonon castle which is named Chateau de Ripaille ( Ripaille’s castle),  which was built in the 15th century..

The castle was very well restored and looked beautiful.



There was a little film explaining its history and I took a picture of an overview of the castle and a friendly man took a picture of the three of us at the entrance.



The castle is used today for wedding receptions or for seminaries, and also has a restaurant. We payed the entrance fee and followed the indications.



In one room was a huge mirror, and I tried to take a picture of us, but it didn't came out very well.



 We visited all rooms where furniture and other antiques were displayed. One of the furniture was a praying stool and Nicole always ready for a joke knelt and faked to pray. With the stuffed bird aside it was too funny ! 



Then we visited the wine cellar. The entrance had a little window with bars and we amused ourselves by looking through the bars.



This is a rack for empty bottles I swear we didn't empty them ! The wine casks were enormous. A very tall man could stand easily inside. There is still wine produced but not in the castle anymore but the wine is called Chateau de Ripaille.

After we finished our visit, we went to a public  place where women used to wash their laundry. A local lady told us that it is still used by the people when there is something special to wash.



It looked so pretty. We just imagined the women washing and chatting all together around the stone washing bassins. Although the place looked beautiful with all these flowers around, I honestly prefer my laundry machine !

We stopped at the local bakery and bought some cake and croissants and then went home for lunch.
The whole afternoon we spent at the swimming pool and watched the little boats sailing on the lake.
It was too cool to swim.

And while Dominique and Nicole used their green thumbs in the garden, I was busy with my pictures and emails. I have no green thumb at all ! Instead I prepared the supper and we spent a quiet evening watching the sunset and chatted and tired from this hard day we went to bed early ! I think it is all this fresh air, that makes us going  to bed so early  and the fact, that there is no TV ! A new one will be installed later.



9 Sep 2013

HOLIDAYS DAY 5

It had rained the whole night but my ceiling stayed dry. We heard the wind howling around the villa and the very noisy rain. When we got up the lake was grey and we could hardly see the mountains on the other side. A little disappointed we had our breakfast in the kitchen instead of the terrace and were happy that we were invited by my son's friend whom I knew since childhood when they both went to preschool together in Waterloo. I think they both were 4 years old ! 

Now he lives with his family in Coppet a little town near Geneva.Thanks to Mrs GPS we found his house immediately. I found it very nice and loved their furniture, it looked all so cosy and warm although the furniture was very modern. I had never met his wife and liked her immediately. She seemed so cheerful and obviously very warmhearted. I also met his little 5 year old son. It was so nice to see how he lives now as a married man and Daddy after all these years.

Coppet is home to the Château de Coppet, which once was home to Madame de Stael who  was a French woman of letters of Swiss origin whose lifetime overlapped with the events of the French Revolution and the Napoleonic era. She was one of Napoleon's principal opponents. Celebrated for her conversational eloquence, she participated actively in the political and intellectual life of her times. Her works, both critical and fictional, made their mark on the history of European Romanticism.

Before we visted the castle we made a little walk through Coppet, which  is a cute little town.



Dominique admiring the lake and the houses along the lake with my friend and his wife.



Coming out of the castle, 5 year old Michael was surprisingly brave, because honestly I found the guide's explanations also boring, so we sat  on the steps and whispered together. I always prefer to look at the different things and read later about their history.



Unfortunately it started to rain and we decided to return home. We said good bye and returned home. The rain meanwhile became so heavy that we could hardly see the streets and  got the impression to drive through a permanent car washing drive ! It was awful ! The water stood high on the streets, and we were glad when we finally arrived home safely. My room was still dry and after a supper and a glass of wine we were tired and went to bed. It had been such a nice day !

8 Sep 2013

HOLYDAYS DAY 4

We were already in bed when a terrible thunderstorm started over the lake. Up we went to the living room with French windows from one side to the other of the house and standing there all three in our nighties, we admired the beautiful lightening over the lake ! It was very impressive and the lightening was not only sudden light but really had this zig zag shape !


I can't remember when I had seen this the last time. After this free amazing show, we returned to bed and listened to the thunder which slowly went away.

In the morning it was a little cloudy and cooler, so we went shopping and filled in the fridge again.



Then we had our lunch on the terrace, Dominique is waiting for us.



and while we were eating we saw all these little sailing boats on the lake. The sky over the lake looks different every minute, or almost.



In the afternoon it cleared up and we could use the beach beds, but not the swimming pool. It was full of leaves. Nicole saw me sitting on the little wall and wanted to take a picture of me, so I posed. But when I got up the wall broke (I am probably too heavy) and two pieces stuck on my bottom and then fell down. We bursted out in laughter and  had a closer look at the wall which needs to be rapaired.

After our supper we had another thunderstorm, but this time with buckets of rain and a very strong wind.
We watched the lightening again and talked and talked and then went to bed. When I entered my room a drop of water fell on my head. I was rather surprised. Water dripped from the ceiling ! My room is located under one of the terraces and a tile was loose. I slept with a bucket under the spot where the water came through. Monday workers will come and  start to repair at least provisional before the winter.

To avoid that the drops falling into the bucket were not a Chinese torture for me, we put an old bath towel in the bucket and I didn't hear the drops. Again we had to laugh seeing each other half undressed running around for rags and towels and then checking all ceilings on the first floor ! Fortunately only my room was damaged.

One thing is for sure our risible muscles are well being trained  !