BLOG NOTE: It turns out that including a blog here doesn't really accommodate all our photos and captions very well. We created another site, with links to the same photos as below, but better viewing: The Urness Chronicles.
Highlights from 2011:
We return to Paris an
d settle into our weekly routines; tulips in bloom; starting up again with our Wednesday walking group.
May - La Defense; American cemetary; climbing the Pantheon; Full Moon Picnic; French cooking.
May/June - Timeshare in the Balearic Islands; Exploring Majorca by car; side trip to Ibiza.
aris when it drizzles; walking the Julius Cesear Road; visiting Santeil, Bois de Boulogne; rock and roll dancing.
July/August - Summer swings
with Chopin concerts; Sacramento visitors; Bastille Day; monster singalong; Tiffany enters totally in the spirit and become an honorary Paris street entertainer; rainbows.
To see our 2010 photos, it's best to go directly to The Urness Chronicles. Highlights:
Country Roads, and More Country Roads - We explore the hills, valleys, chateaux, and forests outside of Paris with the walking group, Ile de France Walks.
Heritage Days - Museums, embassies, universities, banks, libraries and many other sites hold "open house" and we get to see inside fascinating places normally off-limits to the general public.
To the Bastille! - We watch, and join, the well-behaved marchers protesting the changes to the French retirement system.
Laroque des Alberes - Friends invite us to spend a few days at their summer home in the hilltop town of Laroque des Alberes, not far from the Spanish border. We take a local bus down to the beach at Alberes sur Mer and continue on to Coulioure, a thriving artist community with a grand stone fort protecting the Greco-Roman era port.
June 2010. Clair and I take the train from the Paris Gare de Lyon on June 9 to meet up with the Ile de France Walks hiking group for 4 days of hiking and sightseeing around Marseilles and the limestone bluffs and canyons known as the Calanques.
Looking toward the Calanque de Port-Miou. To view the complete Album #1 click here.
We arrived back in Sacramento December 5. Our home seems so big! So much stuff. I'm thinking how well we did with 4 suitcases worth of belongings and a modestly furnished apartment during our year overseas. And here, we have roomful after roomful, closet after closet, of clothes, linens, files, books, office supplies, and odds and ends, clearly not essential to everyday life. I began sorting and filling bags and boxes to donate to charity.
Renting an apartment from across the world, site unseen, takes a good dose of faith. Can we ever be sure that websites and photos paint the whole picture? What if the room dimensions have been overstated...The outside traffic noise never lets up...The entryway is dark and smelly? We were so lucky with ours - but we've heard horror stories!
Then I thought: maybe there is a service here that someone like moi could perform. I will check out Paris apartments. Corporations and universities have staff who do this for the people they send overseas, but what about vacationers, especially non French-speaking? One can cancel hotel nights if you're not happy. For a vacation rental, once you've arrived, it's darn near impossible, without forfitting your entire prepaid rent.
The ideas germinated. I gathered information, read reviews and compared website hosting sites, visited apartments, and, the most time consuming part: mulling things over. What should the name be. Paris Check Out or CheckOut? Settled on Paris CheckOut. Then voila! I signed up at weebly.com and got the basics up and published in a day. Of course, I fiddle with it endlessly.