Tag Archives: River Cities


Mis en scène – the ruin of Clisson castle, 30km south east of Nantes, in Brittany – west France.

View from the bridge

The famous lioness of Brittany, Jean de Clisson lived there.

Her husband was accused of high treason by the king of France. He was decapitated, his body dragged through the streets and his head displayed in Nantes on a pike.

The nobility was agast, since there was no public proof of his treason and it was not at all done to treat the body of a nobleman like that.

His wife also took umbrage and swore to revenge his death, which she saw as a cowardly murder.

She sold her estates and raised an army of soldiers who where loyal to her husband and Breton sympathisers.

They attacked two castles and a garrison where her husband used to be stationed. Everyone was killed save for a man or two to carry the message to the king of France.

Then she had three war ships built, painted black and fitted with red sails. The flagship she called ‘My Revenge’.

For thirteen years she plies the English channel and wreaks havoc on French ships. Once again all the men are killed save a few to take the message back to the king of France.

Eventually her luck runs out and her flagships is sunk. She drifts on the see with her two sons for five days before they are rescued by de Montfort sympathisers. But her one son had already died of exposure.

She marries for a fourth time and lives in castle Hennebont on the Breton coast until her death in 1359.

Back to the town.

They have a beautiful Roman style church

With priceless contemporary murals.

and an old wooden roof

Clisson is at the confluence of the Sèvre de Nantes and the Moines.

Tamed rivers

They have beautiful park land beside the river.

It being a beautiful summer day I picknicked by the river with the other French.


It seems as if I am in the south of Germany here sometimes, although in reality it is Namibia, on the south western point of Africa.

There are so many Germans here in Swakopmund you get confused.

I’ll do a small post about last summer in Germany.

We start in Cologne, a highly industrialized city that survives since before Roman times, was mostly flattened in WWII, put still has their cathedral.

They have quite a vibrant shopping scene today.

From my window, on the 22 floor, you could follow the chimneys on the horizon.

The poor cathedral is really suffering with all the air pollution.

The spiel is that building works extended over 700 years, but if you listen carefully, it sounds like it was suspended for over three hundred years, somewhere in the middle. Because of wars I take it.

So not quite 700 years of work.

I wasn’t overwhelmed by their cleaning effort, to be honest. At this rate they will never get it done, and the overall effect is really just to make the dirty bits look dirtier.

Also they seem to have enough going on inside. Nifty spider thingy they have there.

I suppose if they don’t clean the outside, the dirt will eventually work its way inside and you will be left with a mosaic floor with a ribbon around it, like you have on the old Roman archeological sites.

Impressive mosaic though, assume made with marble etc and not tiles.

Windows equally impressive

Here is a little combination from the summer gardens on my side of the city.

They seem to be doing well despite the air pollution.

I was in the red and blue block you can see  above the honey sign. It won the award for the ugliest building of the year 😦

Can’t fault the view though.

Trees on my way to the shop

Had to go past the tennis courts, along the mosque and across the street.

Suppose you need workers in all those industries.

I found the people of Cologne gentle and kind, which makes sense for a city with one of Europe’s oldest universities.

Also quite gels with their signature scent, the 4 7 11, soft and unpretentious, if a little aged 🙂

The old city over the Rhine

and a little closer up

This guy seems to have his own built in pigeon, very efficient.

Quite a good museum about their Roman history, which I didn’t visit.

A lot of transport still goes on the water here. Think this is an oil tanker.

They are the biggest Rhine city today.

And this poor bugger is the face of STD’s in Germany.

I certainly hope he lives far away, it would be a bit upsetting to see him on the S bahn.

Looks a bit upset himself, but who can blame him?

Lyon – Wall paintings

Far too hot to sleep, so here are a few photo’s of the wall paintings in Lyon for tomorrow morning.

The mur de canuts – probably the most famous one; it depicts the area where the silk workers (canuts) lived and worked.

At the last renewal they updated the young father from a few decades ago to an old man and added the city rental bikes.

The stairs are very typical of the area – if you go down to town, you have to climb almost 100 meters to get back home. To my reckoning around 30 stories..

I’m getting fit.

The textile industry is still going strong in Lyon. They recently opened a railway line between south China and Lyon, I take it the silk has always been sourced from the far east.

Most silk weavers of the past centuries worked from home. They needed 4 meter high ceilings to accommodate the frames and found the old monastries on the Croix-Rousse  area (on a hill between the Rhone and the Saono rivers) ideal for the purpose.

The area and the old canut houses are very popular today. A similar crowd lives there, often self employed people with a bit of an artistic bent. The French call them ‘bobo’ bohème-bourgeouse .

No more weaving in the houses though, now we work on our laptops 😉

The lucky ones sit in the courtyard gardens with their cats and fig trees.

Don’t know if this lucky fish is meant to represent the neighbourhood?

The more tradisional library.

The trompe-l-oeil is quite good, only when I saw the costumes did I realise..

The Saone

They paint in the colours of Provence, the warm south. And at 37 degrees yesterday they aren’t wrong.