Sunday, 16 August 2015

The Sunday Spirit

I have discovered that when the computer goes to sleep on the uploading of pictures to the blog page then the uploading seems to either stop or go incredibly slow.  So patience with technology not being my strong point I got annoyed with the computer because it was taking so long.  Then I remembered a passage that I read in the book Practical Prayer that technology is there as an aid for all things including the spiritual, it’s all in how you use it!  So rather than let the blog page be the focus because I had to wait for the upload before I could write about the events of today, I just went to the word page started to write today's post and in the meantime hopefully the pictures are uploading.  

We had intended to start the day off much earlier than we succeeded.  After a sleepless night, as we are still trying to adjust to the time change, we drifted off about the time we had wanted to actually get up.  So we simply readjusted the timings for the day, had a lovely brunch at home and then headed off to St. Gens.
Today was not a driving day for me either!  (I won't keep you in suspense) So I thought I would put in a picture of one of the roads that we traveled on so you can see just how narrow they are and how little shoulder there is.  Another driver met us on this road and we had to pull in so they could pass.

St. Gens is a small community only about 9 km from where we are staying.  We did visit there about 2 years ago but we have since discovered that there is a short hike to what is referred to as the place of miracles that have been attributed to the Saint.  Upon our arrival we went into the church which was left wide open and unattended for visitors.  The stark beauty of the place was no less of an impact this time around nor was the story of this young man who died at 23.  

This is what seems to be set up as a chapel area and this altar is behind glass doors of an altar in the main body of the church

A monument to St. Gens is laid out discreetly on the side aisle of the church and there lying guard is his loyal friend—the wolf.  

Perhaps what was of greater note to us this time around was the crutches, shoes pictures and basket of notes that people have left.  These clearly indicate that someone has received a miracle and others are in search of or praying for a miracle to take place.

 Note the shoes here

 And the basket of notes here

The overall view of the story of the life of St. Gens

A slightly closer view of some of the artwork of the story of his life and miracle

 Here you see the altar in the main body of the church, behind it is the glass door partition which separates what Edmund and I assumed to be the chapel

While in search of the path into the place of the miracles we came upon another altar/memorial area.  This was set up like a park with picnic tables and a lovely field for people to walk in or children to play in.  The quiet serenity of this place makes you wonder why more churches don’t have an area like this where you can be outside and enjoy the beauty of creation around you while simply being reminded that there is also a sacredness to all of creation.  

A look inside of the "monument" that sits here as a reminder

A short distance away you can see yet another cross marking the area

Signage pointing the way to the hiking path

 The hike, while not long, is over rough terrain so we have to go back with proper hikers and sticks for the trek.

 Another  statue to mark the way

 Out cropping of the rocks in the mountain side

 A place to rest your horse, sorry no horses today

 Have you ever seen anything  sadder than a sunflower that has finished its bloom.  It looks like its head is bowed over ready to give it all up.  It reminded me of the look of defeat.

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun; 
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller's journey is done; 

Where the Youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go! 

 However in the midst of all the defeated looking field there was still a bright spot or two and this flower is hanging on!

Our next stop for the day was Orange, above you see what mark the city centre, a beautiful fountain

Edmund got a great charge out of the name of this store.  It is associated with hard core military personnel and here it is a children's clothing store

 At this point Edmund took over the camera because I wasn't taking enough pictures for his liking, so here are some of the views from the street

 This is a street, not an alley although it looked like an alley.  There were lots of stores and restaurants along here, but in true french style they were all closed up because it was after 2 pm and before 6 pm.  The best we could do was window shop

 Again the side streets

Here you are able to see the antique Theater.  Quite a phenomenon of architecture.  We just stood back and marveled at the ingenuity and workmanship

 It is a spectacular site

We tried to give you some good shots so you could appreciate the height and the depth of the construction

The Grounds around the Theater.  And yes apparently there are still productions that take place here

A monument in the city centre, Sadly neither Edmund nor I managed to get the name of it

 Another side of the Theater

 A closer look at the sculpture

 Again trying to get the height dimension  but could not get it all in from where we were standing.  You are able to see the corner of the top of a door in the bottom right corner so it is still a way to the sidewalk

 Part of the city that we saw on today's tour

The Arc de Triomphe of Orange

Side profile.  Edmund took a lot of pictures of it but these two are quite lovely and do justice to it

 The tour around the city was in this mini train, complete with conductor! It was perhaps one of the most fun things that you can do in a city.

 This is the newer Opera house

The train took us up to a park on what is referred to as the little mountain.  As we entered we could see people off  at a short distance dancing and partying the day away

The View of Orange from the top of the mountain.  Here you can see the steeple of the Cathedral

Mary stands guard over the city and is referred to as the patron Saint of Orange.

What remains of the wall of what used to be the Fort above the city to also offer protection for the inhabitants

Again a view of Mary towering over

As you look down at Orange you can see the Old Theatre

 As well as the Stage

It was hard to get the seating area through the trees, but it was all stone benches and no cushions for those who like something soft for the behind!

This one above and the one below are scenes of the city of Orange

 Again a bit of the wall that remains of the Fort that used to be here to protect the city

A path in the woods, no time to explore as we only had a 10 minute stop before the tour continued

Once the tour finished we walked around the city a bit more, had to get in our 10,000 steps today (Edmund tells me it is my obsession!)  so as a reward Edmund was treated to his favourite Crepes.  His is Grand Marnier with cafe au lait, mine is the salted carmel -- can you say delicious!

And as we conclude for the day we thought we would show you this,  remember the road in the first picture and how narrow it was, well here is a thought for you No this is not a road, this lovely wide piece is a sidewalk!  Easily 2 lanes wide with some room to spare

French society is very secular and yet in the oddest of places there are constant reminders of a greater presence that there is something special here.  Hope you enjoyed today, tomorrow is a hiking day with our educational aspect of this trip being added as we head upwards and pilgrim to one of the many holy places.

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