excursions, vol. 7: mourchon winery

45 minutes from Avignon is a small town called Seguret. Between Seguret and Mont Ventoux lies Mourchon. (You can find their wine all over the US, and I recommend it! Especially the rosé…!) Once a year, they have a picnic for their fans. My host father, Raynald, is a contractor, and he built the house and the production facility there. We drove up, got the picnic out of the car, walked around a corner, and entered heaven.

Mourchon 13 juillet
Mourchon 13 juillet
Mourchon 13 juillet
Mourchon 13 juillet
As dusk fell, people mingled while live music played. We crashed some friends’ picnic (but we did add our own food to the mix, so it wasn’t so greedy!)
Mourchon 13 juillet
And it even merits a sunset picture…
Mourchon 13 juillet

excursions, vol. 2: uzes

A couple quick snapshots from our first group excursion. We took four short trips from Avignon with the program. On the first, we canoed down the Rhone in the mistral (no small feat!) and passed under the Pont du Gard. That afternoon, we stopped in Uzès, a charming little town where we had too little time. There were many medieval structures for me to enjoy; here are a few glimpses…

La Tour Fenestrelle:
Avignon et Uzes

Le Duché, sadly closed at the moment we were there (I still don’t know why):
Avignon et Uzes

je suis charlie

Coincidentally, my mom and I had planned a trip to Paris that took place several days after the attacks on Charlie Hebdo. Mom had some trouble with her flights, so I ended up alone on the day of the big manif. The town felt really vibrant, there were people with signs everywhere and the buses and metro were packed. I didn’t go to the manif myself partially because I promised Mom I wouldn’t and partially because I think it would have been a lot of people for me. But we did buy copies of the latest Charlie and I noticed a lot of solidarity imagery around town, plus tons of Je Suis Charlie.

Like in the window of a clothing store:
Paris

…as graffiti in the Luxembourg Gardens:
Paris

… on the Hôtel de Ville:
Paris

… and many buildings lit up like this, the Mairie du 6e:
Paris

My mom and I had a great time hitting the soldes (after-holiday sales).
Paris

The first night I was there, I took a walk setting out from our adorable hotel around the Jardin. The sunset was amazing and the weather was so pleasant. I even ran into a herd of shetland ponies (?!).
Paris
Paris
View from hotel:
Paris
Nearby St-Sulpice:
Paris

After a lightning-fast week, I was on my way home, via Reykjavik.
Paris

illinois raptor center

Over the Thanksgiving break, my mom set up a visit for us at the Illinois Raptor Center in Decatur, IL. We were able to hold Yeti, a snowy owl (21 weeks) and Kenny, a bald eagle (4 years I think).

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She was very friendly and liked her ears rubbed.

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She was holding her mouth open because she was warm.

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Afterwards, she ate a mouse in one gulp!
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Kenny weighs 7 lbs, but boy did he feel heavy on your fist!
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What a neat opportunity!