Sunday, October 31, 2010

Make Your Village A Star!

RendezVous Films  is producing a romantic comedy feature film called Kiss the Frog  in which an American businesswoman falls in love with a French farmer. Most of the story takes place in a tiny and remote village in the South of France and production will begin in April. Now they just need to find the village. Writer/director Kevin Dole describes Kiss the Frog as “my love letter to France.” He

La Ciudad Fortificada, Carcassonne

Puerta Narbonesa

03/08/2010: La "Cité" de Carcassone es una ciudad medieval fortificada junto al río Aude llena de historia y arte.

Este complejo fue declarado en 1997 Patrimonio de la Humanidad por la UNESCO.

En la maqueta se pueden ver las dobles murallas que rodean la ciudadela, diferentes torres y en el interior del complejo, el Castillo y la Catedral:


En el acceso principal a la ciudadela por la entrada de la Puerta Narbonesa (foto superior), encontramos antes de entrar el busto de Dame Carcas, que defendió la ciudad del asedio de Carlomagno. Se dice que hizo sonar trompetas y campanas para llamar al emperador y un soldado que lo oyó dijo: "Señor, Carcas ta sonne" derivando de ahí el nombre a Carcassonne.

Busto de Dame Carcas previo a la puerta Narbonesa:

Cruzamos el puente levadizo, pasamos por el pasadizo entre las Torres Narbonesas de 25 m de altura y llegamos a un laberinto de callejuelas llenas de tiendas y de gente.

Preciosa ciudad con sus casas de piedra y el pavimento de adoquín.
Antes de visitar el Castillo, fuimos a un restaurante a comer la famosa "Cassoulet", un plato exquisito "parecido" a la fabada. Lleva alubias blancas, salchicha de cerdo y carne de pato. Todo en una cazuelita de barro y regado con un buen vino tinto francés nos dió energía para la visita a la ciudadela.
Entramos al Castillo, construido en el S. XII por los que formarían la dinastía Trencavel. Durante la Primera Guerra Mundial fueron hechos prisioneros oficiales alemanes, pero en la Segunda Guerra Mundial fue cuartel alemán.

Entrada al Castillo en la que se ven sobre la muralla y una torre las construcciones de madera que servían a los soldados de ataque con flechas:


Vista desde la "Grand Caponniére" un antiguo camino de escalera cubierto que llegaba hasta la gran Torre de la Barbacana por la parte del río:

Vista de la Torre de la Justicia desde la Torre Pinte que fue utilizada como torre de observación y para transmitir señales:

Vista de Carcassonne y cubierta de la torre con teja de pizarra:
En el interior del Castillo se encontraba el Museo de Lápidas, en la que destacaba una fuente de mármol del S. XII. También había pinturas mural, estatuas, y vitrinas con representaciones en piedra del cristianismo.

Vista desde el patio interior del Castillo:

Vista hacia la Torre de la Inquisición:
La Basilica de Saint-Nazaire fue nombrada por primera vez en el 925. Antes fue Catedral, hasta que en 1801 perdió su estatus.

Vista de la Basilica desde el Castillo:

Vidrieras de la Basilica de Saint-Nazaire:
Abside de la Basilica:

No hay que perderse realizar un paseo por el perímetro de las murallas interiores, se puede hacer a pie o comprando billete para ir en carro tirado a caballo:
Las Murallas de la Ciudadela tienen una longitud de unos 1000 m y cuentan con 52 torres entre su muralla exterior y la interior. Fueron construidas en la época de Luis IX.
En las murallas interiores se apreciaban lineas horizontales de ladrillo rojo, imagino que para estabilizar entre las grandes rocas. El espesor de las murallas era de 2 a 3 m:
En el camino amurallado frente a la Torre del Molino realizaban un espectáculo medieval, con acrobacias, luchas con espadas, exhibición de halcones, etc.:
Torneo medieval:
Halcón:
Torneo con lanzas:
Espectacular visita histórica recomendada a todo el mundo, sobre todo a los que les gusten los castillos. Lo único es que está siempre llenísimo de gente, por lo que si se tiene poco tiempo, lo mejor es ir muy pronto, ya que luego las colas para sacar entrada al Castillo son largas.

En esta web podeis encontrar información en varios idiomas sobre Carcassone: http://www.carcassonne-tourisme.com



Saturday, October 30, 2010

Changed plans!!

We will be leaving Barcelona one day earlier than planned. There is rough weather on it's way and we do not want to get stuck here more than neccesary. We're ready to go and will so do tonight. Champagne and farewell hugs at 8 in the harbor tonight. Come by if you're around! 

As you can see, we did not have the time to repaint in the cockpit. Just like we didn't have the time to finish the teak, the toe rails and millions of other smaller things, but it doesn't matter... Now we just want to leave!

More updates coming soon.

T&A

Friday, October 29, 2010

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

This is our last backlog article of our Canada trip of July. This superb church in Montréal is so special because of its bleu and gold interior. They call this also Basilica the Twin Tower church. You have to pay an entrance fee but it is more than worth a visit.

Dit is ons laatste artikel van onze Canada reis van juli. Deze super kerk uit Montréal is zo speciaal omwille van zijn blauw gouden interieur. Ze noemen deze Basiliek ook de tweeling toren kerk. Je moet inkom betalen maar het is zeker een bezoekje waard.

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal

Basilique Notre-Dame in Montréal
Previous Montréal article: Cathedrale Marie Reine du Monde, Montréal

Link to the Official Website: Basilique Notre-Dame, Montréal

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I don't know how, but we've survived this week..


Paint is on!
Bathing platform is on!
The new dinghy and the engine to it have arrived!
The portholes are (almost) on!
The Internet antenna is here!
The watermaker is here!
The books have arrived!
The headache from all the stress is still here, but I'm sure we can solve it with some fine wine/rum/vodka and a delicious dinner with family and friends tonight. It's the last night out in real Barcelonian style...

Hasta Mañana amigos.

Internet

The Satellite unit arrived last night. I think I forgot some important information last time I wrote about it. It is a Thrane&Thrane hardware and nothing else. We're connecting to the Inmarsat Satellites and airtime is delivered by KVH. We don't have the time to install it before departure, but we'll let you know later on how it works. /T

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Last night




Last night we were invited to our new friend's Adam and Camilla's wonderful Hallberg Rassy 312 for dinner. So incredibly stupid of us to bring the camera and still forget to take any pictures - for their boat was beautiful! In fact one of the most interesting boats we've seen, as they've done so much qualitative renovations on it. Their galley, for example, was - hands down - the best one I've seen so far, in a sailing boat. Such an incredible way to use limited space and also making it feel like a real home and not only a boat - with a nice Scandinavian touch to it all. That was an inspiring visit, for sure. Go in and have a look at their well made blog, and say hi from us (their blog is in Swedish but they do speak perfect English).

Thanks guys for a perfect night, and Camilla the food was amazing!! /T&A

Photo from their blog.

Shiny

We got some very good help by a blog reader, who also recently re-sprayed his Hallberg Rassy 352, to find out which colors to choose from Awlgrip, for our Caos. Thans a lot for your help, Mark! 

The hull is now painted in Oyster White, and the Royal Blue tone will be added tomorrow. Unfortunately we will not have the time to paint the blue lower line, close to the water line, as we need to put the boat back into the water on Saturday, and this line would not be able to dry before the boat gets back into the sea. Will have to sort it out one day later on when we have left Barcelona. Because we're leaving on Sunday and nothing can stop that plan, remember!?

Can you tell how shiny and beautiful the hull is now? You can mirror yourself in it! /T

Lunch time


Luscious macaronis with mustard chicken

This is probably the easiest thing to put together and suits us fine when life is upside down like it is on this boat right now. A little bit of pasta, a little bit of marinated chicken and some rucola to that and you're all set. This is how I do it:

Bring a pot of water to a boil and cook the pasta according to package directions. I've used large macaronis for this dish, as I love the texture of them and the fact that the creamy sauce gets stuck inside of em'. Very wonderful and juicy, from the inside and out. While the pasta is cooking, swirl together a little chicken marinade into a bowl. You'll need more or less:

1 tablespoon soya sauce
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon dijon mustard
1 teaspoon of mayonnaise
salt
pepper
ground chili powder
also you could toss in some garlic if you'd like..

As soon as this is done and mixed up, bring some sliced pieces of chicken into it. Leave it to absorb for ten minutes or so. The longer the better but if you have not much time, five-ten min should be OK.

In olive oil: panfry some chopped onion, why not shallots. When they're golden brown, bring in the marinated chicken. With all of the marinade, obviously. Let it all simmer around and leave it to get a brownish, golden tone. You'll see when it's ready. When pasta's done, remove the water and dump in the pasta into the pan with the chicken. Mix it all together softly and add some fresh rucola to it.

This. Is. So. Damn. Delicious. You have to try. Now!

/Taru

Sitesucker

A little tips for you all out there. There are some websites that we simply can't live without (sorry I'm dramatic but that's almost true) and as we cannot access the Internet whenever we need to no longer, what if we had the websites saved on our laptops to be able to view them in offline mode? This is possible of course. What I am using to download full websites is a software called Sitesucker and it does exactly what the name hint of, sucking up every single information from a website and saving it on your hard drive. This is excellent as we now, for example, can be able to view important information about harbors, clearances and specific country informations on Noonsite, wether we have Internet connection or not. The good thing is that this little piece of code actually saves the whole thing in the mode it is showed online with permalinks, images where they should be and all set up for you to view, exactly as it would be on the net.

Unfortunately this is developed for Mac-computers and iPhone's only, but I'm sure there is similar programs for PC's.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

The great feeling of letting go/What will I miss

It is not so much physical things or material that I will miss, but these are the things that will be a bit hard to live without, once we've left this world for another:

Spotify - The digital music library, where you're able to instantly stream all music you wish, whenever you wish to listen to it. Although we've downloaded hundreds of CD's, I'm sure there will be a lot missing once we're out there. Music is equally important for me and Alex and luckily we have the exact same taste, when it comes to this massively important area in life.

Google Translate - When writing in English, which is not my own language (Swedish and Finish is, FYI), I need to double check spelling and grammar to the extent it's possible. This digital wonder, is definitely something I will miss like crazy, and I hope that y'all will forgive me for my (even more) incorrect spellings and grammars once we're on the seas..

Google - In general. I am a person who's dying to know everything possible about everything I encounter in life and I will miss this open source of endless information like a wise, beloved grandparent. I am a curious, knowledge nerd and want to know exactly what was that bird, what is it's behaviors, how long does it live and why does it do like that? It is heartbreaking to know that I will not be in the know of everything that is going on around me no longer. The collection of 100 books that we're bringing with us will have to be enough as guidance and information bank.

We're living in a digital world for sure, where information is sent faster than the light, and besides of missing some important people in my life, the access to the www is the thing I will miss the most. Yes we do have Satellite connection through Inmarsat, but as the price for usage is around 10$ per MB, it will only be used to what is absolutely needed. Which is to receive important weather informations and to quickly update this blog through email, a couple of times per week.

Some things that I will not miss, but what will be an exciting and a bit strange difference to the previous life, is the access to blogs. Alex, who never reads any blogs - with an exception of a few sailing blogs, have always been wondering how the hell can I have such an interest into reading about other peoples lives? Although I do not at all read blogs to the wide extent I used to when I was deeper involved in the social media industry, I still scroll through a bunch of interesting and less interesting blogs out there, just like I'm holding on to an old habit. Imagine to have been in the know of what people around you, and not around you, do and what they think - for several years, and all of a sudden this access to information will be totally gone. Looking much forward to receive additional hours to the day with this healthy, new change. And I also look much forward to being totally disconnected from it all, for an extended period of time.

I think there is a meaning to all things that happens around us and the fact that I accidentally dropped my Blackberry in the water, was a great way for me to get rid of the strong, unhealthy relation I had with it, as I think I might have had a bit harder to let go of it by myself. I believe that one always have to let go of things, habits and sometimes even people, to reach new meaningful insights in life. And as this circumnavigation may be a one time chance in life, I will try making the best out of it, in the most natural way possible and I want the normal world and the need of constantly being connected - to be as far away from the new life as possible. All the way until I have found the new insights I'm searching for. 

When I ask Alex what will he miss the most, the only thing he can think of is an excellent cup of hot coffee with milk. He is wonderfully simple like that and it will be a great challenge to see how long time it will take for me to reach to a similar level of feeling content with less. Can't wait to begin the process. /T

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Jon and Kelly's Excellent Wine & Truffle Adventure

When I have Provençale food or restaurant questions, I go to Jon Chiri, an American chef (from New Orleans) who has lived and worked in Provence for years. When I first met Jon he was the director of the Petit Marmiton cooking school at Hotel La Mirande in Avignon…and if you’ve been there you know that that’s kind of a big deal. These days, Jon is sort of a free-range chef, teaching cooking,

So close but oh so far away

It feels like we're so far away from this image, although it is only a matter of five days left till departure. It starts to get really cold here in Barcelona, 16 degrees (60F) on the days, and the nights I don't even want to think about. It is terrible. As terrible as is the tone of our skin that slowly have began to fade to a pale, dusty shade of white - after not being exposed to the sun for over two months. There is no words that can describe how much we want to get away from this all now. How much we want to trim our sails, slowly sail away with the serene and calming sound of the waves lapping against the hull, with the wind in our hair and the knowledge of that we do not have to return. At all. Ever - if we don't want to. The thought of being able to sit there on the deck of our freshly painted and newly renovated boat who will bring us from this cold place to one adventure after the other, gives me pain in my stomach - as it feels like light-years to reach to that day. It is a painful longing we have to deal with at the moment and the time seem to go so terribly slow that I almost can count the milliseconds between each breath I take. 

Picture taken 6 months ago.

P.S: Don't forget to become friends with us on Facebook, this is where you will find more info and short notes from us, when we don't have the time to update here. New pictures uploaded in our private folder today. Only visible for our friends, remember. /T

Happy Tuesday

Alex thought I should throw in a happy and joyful picture after the bad mood I (we) had to deal with last night. So here we go. A childish smile, captured this morning for breakfast. I don't have much more than this to give you, this morning, as there's too much things to check off from the never ending to-do-list. At least we've now organized for Internet connection aboard so that we will be able to receive important weather information and update this little diary of ours, from the middle of the vast oceans. We'll be connecting to the Inmarsat Satellites, with a Thrane&Thrane FB150 antenna unit and we're purchasing the airtime through KVH - which was the company we found to have the most affordable airtime plans. We'll have the antenna installed the day after tomorrow. That's all for now. /Taru

Monday, October 25, 2010

Patiently waiting

Isn't this beautiful? It's the valve for the watermaker. For the watermaker that should have left Switzerland last week but for some reason it will not hit the road before tomorrow. Will it be here on time, is the big question of today. What else are we awaiting? The book order. We ordered books from The Book Depository with the impression that the delivery would reach us no later than 3-7 days after placing the order, as they promise on the website. It has now gone 12 days and only one of 56 books have arrived. When I contacted the company to ask for the tracking number on our delivery, so that I could search for the rest of the books myself, they informed me that they do not send any packages with tracking possibilities. Excuse me, you don't do what? - Was my instant reaction and suddenly I regretted that we've placed a 600 Euro order with them in the first place - but there's not much to do now, I guess. Just wait and hope for the best. Stressed, frustrated and a bit pissed off - that's the mood of this sunny afternoon. /T

Morning view

This is the view we encounter first thing in the morning when getting out on deck, out hauled on the yard. It is a delightful and sunny day and so far we've been extremely lucky with the weather. It's like the weather gods knew that we only have a few days left and that we desperately need to finish the spraying process. Thanks for that.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

The beginning


So many people have been asking us to upload videos. Here's a little thing I made today.. As soon as we'll be leaving Barcelona and finally getting out on the sea again, there will be more time to produce and upload longer videos. Looking forward to it.. /Taru

The Internet issue

So we'll hopefully be leaving very soon, and it is about time to find out which Internet solution to go for. We would be very very happy if everyone who has an insight, could give us a glance of their experience regarding this matter. Please let us know if you have answers to any of the questions below:

What we want: A stable Internet connection with which we can get online for daily necessities. We want to be able to receive emails, send emails and upload the blog. The blog will probably be updated with email (text plus image) with minimum weight on around 150-200KB per day.

What we're evaluating are these options:

Option 1: SSB Radio with Pactor modem, coupled with Sailmail software - or is there other options? Can Gmail for example work well with the Pactor? Cost for the SSB/Pactor package 4.000 Euros plus annual fee to sailmail 200 Euros. For this price we'll have 12 minutes of free connecting time. The problem, as far as we've understood, is that it is not possible to send emails with attachments. Is this correct? Is this because you can't make it in 12 minutes or is it totally impossible to send email with attachments? I mean, if we pay extra minutes, could we send emails with images or is it out of the question due to limitations in the software, hardware or the connection? If it is possible, what does the extra minutes connected, cost? Have any of you guys sent images through the SSB radio and does it work properly? How does it work on let's say, the Atlantic. We do understand that text based emails are easy to send from wherever, but to also be able to send images are very important for us. 

Option 2: Sailor 150 fleet broadband. We will be able to connect to the Internet basically from where ever in the world. Might be distortions on the big oceans? Is the connection reliable on the Atlantic, for example? Cost for this installation will be 6.500 Euros. Added to that will be the usage, 11 Euros/MB. More or less how many MB would we consume when we quickly want to connect to the email software (gmail for example), receive emails, send textbased emails, and also send one email to blogger with attachment (attachment/photo around 150 KB), send it and log out? Does anyone have a clue? 

Option 3: Which is not really an option, but more of an addition to all this. The long range wifi receiver. This will be used when we're close to the shorelines and can pick up wifi from land. Price 200-300 Euros. Which brand should we go for?

So we've figured that we want to send minimum one blog post per day coupled with one lightweight photo. This when crossing the oceans. Once we're on islands, close to shore, on land - we'll use the long range wifi, local prepaid Internet card or other free wifi connections in coffee shops etc.. We would love to be as free from coffee shops as possible and we're now looking for the most comfortable options for this world tour.

As you can see we're still a bit lost and we'll need to have made a decision no later than tomorrow, Monday. Please let us know your thoughts if you have any. How have you other cruisers done?

FYI: We'll be using our Spanish wireless Internet modem all the way to the Canaries, with some smaller exceptions when in Gibraltar and Morocco. So until end of November we're all set.

Saturday, October 23, 2010