Trip with Grandma 2013

9 03 2013

Grandma came to see us this winter for a couple weeks. While she was here we took a six day road trip. First we contemplated “donkey ball” soup at Le P’tit Bouchon in Châteauroux and then visited an interesting “modern” museum in the ancient chateau of Rochechouart. Then we visited the WWII martyr village memorial museum in Oradour-sur-Glane. A sobering experience but something one should see to assist with coming to grips with the atrocities of war. Next off for a few days in Lourdes where we visited the Sanctuary of Our Lady, prayed, collected holy water, and lit a prayer candle. Christine and the kids had a chance to go skiing and Grandma and I took in various sights. Some good meals, fun games, and a visit to the Musée Pyrénéen in the medieval château high on a mound in center of town concluded our visit in this lovely town in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Finally off to visit a picturesque medieval fortified town built high on hilltop. Cordes-sur-Ciel and the B&B L’Escuelle Des Chevaliers was quite worth the detour.

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Canal du Midi – Windstrup and Watkins Spring Vacation 2012

15 04 2012

For the longest time I have wanted to explore the Canal du Midi in France. I remember seeing something about it on TV in the late 80s thinking that I want to do that someday. Might have been the BBC cooking show Floyd on France or some other PBS show at the time. I had no idea I would eventually live in the country not just vacation there. After living in France for 10 years while discussing my younger man’s dream with some friends over dinner I discovered other compatriots who had similar dreams. We discussed it a bit and decided on the spot to just do it. What a wonderful opportunity to discover the mysteries of the canal and the charm of the connected cities together aboard the same “Le Boat”. We all took pictures and I took a ton of video. Click on the image below to see the edited and loosely narrated video of our adventure. Or if you want to simply see our photos in a slideshow click here on the photo book slideshow.





RunKeeper

1 04 2012

I’ve always had a fascination with old school pedometers and more recently GPS receivers. These gadgets have encouraged me to get out and about more over the years. I remember back in my youth calculating my run stride with simple math and the yardstick measured distance of the sidewalk in front of my childhood home. I entered this “scientific” information into the electro-mechanical unit I saved up to purchase in the 80s. It made a thumping noise as I ran but it did tally up and fairly accurately show the distance traveled. Of course that was back in the day when I was on the track and cross-country teams. Many years later when we arrived in France I got my first GPS. I was able to see the electronic or “breadcrumb” track of my bike rides and hikes in the environs of our new home. I tediously massaged this information to view it overlaid on georeferenced digitally scanned maps. Imagine my delight now with applications like RunKeeper on the iPhone or hardware like the Fitbit. The Fitbit is a pedometer beyond my dreams replete with wireless transfer of 3D accelerometer and altitude data sent to the web for detailed reporting and analyses. It even tracks how efficient you sleep if you can imagine that. RunKeeper is an iPhone application that does it all! This thing tracks distance traveled and provides a detailed map tracking exactly where you ran and you instantaneous pace at any given point on the map. Cool stuff. It makes me really want to get out there and run as you’ll see in the video. Christine and the kids have been joining me fairly regularly too. The distance and pace I’ve been running is nothing great but my simple goal is to run once a week for at least a year. Let’s see how I do.

http://runkeeper.com/user/jeffwindstrup/activitylist

If not for anything else, if these gadgets get me out and about more, especially the times with my family, they are good gadgets indeed.





Paintball

9 10 2011

David and I had our paintball initiation. A bunch a guys and gals running around shooting at each other. What fun it was. At first we were a bit apprehensive but once we got our first mission underway we quickly let that go and got the gist of the activity. Don’t get shot because it hurts. OK, there is more to it than that but that was the first takeaway. After a few more sorties we started to get more tactical though we still got shot way more times than we were shooting our adversaries. We went with the Watkins to celebrate Johann’s 17th birthday.





Walk in Paris

3 07 2011

We had a lovely walk in Paris today. We’ve lived here for years but rarely tour the city like tourists. We had such an opportunity today as we showed Christine’s family around.  Come with Stephane, Fabienne their children and us while we show them around.  We had excellent view of the Eiffel Tower and the Champs-Élysées from the top of the Arc de Triomphe. Since no visit to the city would be complete without a Métro ride we embarked to be whisked off to the foot of the iconic tower. We gazed at its timeless beauty from below and continued our leisurely walk to a nearby bistro for refreshments. After our tour and including the complete walk along Champs-Élysées from the Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe and up the Arc’s 300 or so spiral stairs we worked up quite an appetite. Dinner would be back at home where I had a chance to fire up the Weber and barbecue some beef shish kabobs. With Stephane’s help they were cooked to perfection.  We ate well and spent a very nice day together.





Spring Break 2011

15 04 2011

We went “skiing” in Morillon, France for spring break with the kids. The skiing is in quotes because we did little actual skiing. We have been going skiing every other year for some time now. We go to the same station and stay in the same chalet. We thought we were “pros” now because of our routine and the fact we purposefully go end of the season to avoid crowds and take advantage of the warmer weather. Well this year we outsmarted ourselves because the weather was so unseasonably warm all the lower altitude stations were covered in green and obviously closed. We did manage to get in a couple of runs in at the higher altitude Flaine station. Skiing or not vacation is still vacation so we took advantage of the marvelous weather by hiking and geocaching. We were able to find 3 persistently stubborn goecaches in the Haute-Savoie. (Land-is Joux-Plane, Les Tines-Sixt, Cascade du Rouget) On previous trips we looked for all these but no joy… This time with not a lick of snow they were not as elusive. We also visited the Musée de l’horlogerie in Cluses, did some shopping, went to a traditional restaurant for some hearty mountain food, and the kids got in some treetop adventure park fun. All in all a nice break from the school and work routine.





Rouen Day Trip 2010

30 04 2010

First attempt at video editing. Taken with my new iPhone. I went out of my way to add some interesting commentary.