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Ya. Chamonix and All That.

Yesterday I was up in Taos Ski Valley with the kids.  We were tubing with my daughter’s school.  It was incredibly fun.  My little boy, watching the skiers on the slopes around us asked if he could learn how. “Oh no,” was my first thought. I grew up in Colorado and skiing was always part […]

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Book Review: The Discovery of France: A Historical Geography

When you realize that Saint Bernadette most likely saw a fairy and not the Virgin you’ve made a key discovery about the very core of France. Bernadette indeed saw something in the cave that day along the roiling Gave de Pau near the village of Lourdes at the base of the Pyrenees but… “Ou pétito damisèla”, […]

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On Top: Pic du Midi Observatory, France

From the ancient stone villages and fortified chateaux of the Knights Templar dotting the foothills that turn to the great wine plains of the Gare, Garrone and to Aquitaine it looks like a lonely outpost of bristling towers and domes on an iced-over alien planet.  It appears impossible to reach. Its residents look to the […]

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My Shot of the Day: The Gavarnie Cirque

Ok. This wasn’t today. It was last week. But I loved this place. It was stunning and I wanted to share this photo. The Gavarnie Cirque is a glacier carved amphitheater-shaped valley located in the central Pyrenees.  This is a massive chunk of rock. The cirque is a stunning 800 meters wide at the bottom and 3000 […]

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My Shot of the Day: Candy!

The tourist shops at the base of Gavarnie are just opening for spring. The old lady was wrapped in a coat and sat in the sun. “Take what you want,” she said. She waved her hand without looking at me or removing her sunglasses. She had anything one could wish for candy-wise. The gummies were […]

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A Visit to Lady of Lourdes France: The Fairies, the Troglodytes and the Photo Essay

It seems odd from here at Lady of Lourdes I attended Mass for the first time in 25 years. I must have gotten caught up in all the excitement of a service at Lady of  Lourdes. Or, maybe it was that I drank the delicious water from the grotto. Or maybe it was that fat […]

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My Shot of the Day: Hiking for the Virgin from Bagnères-de-Bigorre

  I walked straight up the mountain out of  Bagnères-de-Bigorre at noon. The last of the autumn leaves were so thick they were like ice under my feet where the trail went steep; which was most places.  I saw a Bearded vulture, then a fox, then I passed over a small, muddy stream framed in blue […]

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My Shot of the Day: Espelette France

  Espelette France is famous for its…non-spicy chile.  Being from New Mexico, I can’t understand the point of chile without a little kick but so it is. The town even took out a patent on their chile then plastered stings of chile all over the place.  Against the white of the buildings it is gorgeous. […]

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Le Fromagier Extraordinaire – Bagneres de Bigorre, France

  On Saturday morning all the thin, winding streets of this little town filled with tables of garden vegetables, apple cider, fresh fish, deep red horse meat, piles of cheeses, home-made breads, flowers and clothes.  The streets are packed and the amount of chatting going on was nothing short of amazing.     I asked around […]

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My Shot of the Day: Pic du Midi France Hautes-Pyrénées

Pic du Midi France , Hautes-Pyrénées. I’m in the little village of Bagnères-de-Bigorre right at the base of the mountains. Spring time, flowers popping out everywhere! ##

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Famous People Dead : Five Incorrupt Saints You Have to Meet

Of course the Portuguese had gotten all out of control. Timayya had done his work well and the Bijapur kings were out of the way. Goa belonged to Portugal and everyone was rich from slaving and spices. Other than to wait for next year’s spice fleet, there was not much to do beyond bearing the […]

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The ULTIMATE Travel Resource Library – Part I:New Mexico, Colorado, France, Vietnam and Haiti

The full library is available here Part II is here — You already know we’re book hounds here at Around the World in Eighty Years.   Heck, the name itself is an ode to the literature of travel. I never go anywhere without a stack of books. Wherever I go, I’m obsessed with knowing as […]

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