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Back on my feet and walking around Chantilly

Sunday, December 21, 2014

I have missed my hikes during these last 3 weeks and a half! My hikes and people, if I am honest… 3 weeks at home after the hospital, I am more than ready to see my colleagues in the office tomorrow!

But I am back on my feet and, as I said, I’ll go back to the office tomorrow (for 3 days, then stopping again for a few days after Christmas). To celebrate this, I decided to go for a walk in Chantilly today. It was a very grey day but I didn’t mind, I was feeling joyful! To feel so well after what isn’t minor surgery after all makes me very very grateful (and having lost 10 kilos/22lbs too!).

Chantilly’s castle was built in the 19th century to replace a former medieval castle…

… which had been transformed over the years…

… until it was completely destroyed during the French Revolution and replaced with the one you see today. The nearby stables (yes, this is all the building shown below… they are huge!) are actually older, as they date back from the 19th century. Luckily, they weren’t destroyed.

For a number of years now, the Musée du Cheval (Horse Museum) has been fittingly hosted in the stables. I saw today that a new smaller museum with temporary exhibitions (not horse related!) opened across the road and I am planning to go back after Christmas to see the current one, as it ends early January.

I visited the Horse Museum many years ago with my Dutch friend Cora and it is beautiful. I saw that it is now called ‘Nouveau Musée du Cheval’, so I guess it must have been renovated. I should go back!
I LOVE the details on that building…

As I left the stables, I walked by the hippodrome for a while…

… with some houses on the right…

(The painting says: “Derby de Chantilly, 1884)

I then also left the houses behind…

… and entered the woods…

Now don’t start getting all worried (I know some of you!!!), I had chosen this walk because it was short, never too far from buildings, and I expected there would be plenty of benches as it is very touristy. I was right!

But my legs weren’t at all shaky, I was feeling fine!

As I walked by the back walls of the cemetery, there was as often a lot to see!

Then I walked more deeply into the woods…

… Still lots of welcoming benches, no worry! :-)

As you can see, it has rained a lot in Paris lately!

After a while, I was back at the hippodrome (with the stables in the background).

I decided I was feeling well enough for a short walk through the town center and even a bit of shopping!

I could have spent the day in that shop!

I bought myself a new (smaller) mug for the office as I can only drink small quantities at a time now, and a beautiful candle too. Now I am ready to go back to work tomorrow!
As for you, I hope you are enjoying a great weekend and are getting ready for Christmas! Merry Christmas, dear Sparkfriends, thank you for reading, and thank you for all your lovely comments and notes lately, they were all greatly appreciated!!!

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  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

JSEATTLE 12/21/2014 11:24PM

  I am so Pleased that you are feeling so well and are back in the fresh air again! What a rejuvenating hike today to prepare yourself mentally for your return to work. Glad you found some treats in the cute shop. Would love to see Paris one day. Merry Christmas to you!

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JAMER123 12/21/2014 10:59PM

    Claire, I am so glad you are doing so well. AND I am happy you are out walking but taking care and concern for yourself. I enjoy your walks with you. The country side there is so fascinating. I doubt I will ever be coming to the area so I can view it through other's eyes. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas. Enjoy!! We are going to soon be in 2015 and new paths and roads to walk.
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REGILIEH 12/21/2014 10:59PM

    Oh Claire, I am so happy to see you back to your hikes, back to work and feeling good plus losing weight! Yea! You have been so missed! Take care, do exactly as you are supposed to and thank you again for a wonderful hike and blog and fabulous photo's!



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QTEALADY20031 12/21/2014 10:36PM

    Claire, I am so happy to see that you were able to go for such a nice walk and shop! You are doing wonderful and congratulations on losing 22 lbs! Chantilly, what a beautiful name and thank you for sharing all the history and photos of Chantilly! Claire, I am sure your co-workers will be happy to see you and I know you will be glad to be back at work! Claire, I do wish you a very Happy and Blessed Christmas and the all new adventures in 2015! emoticon emoticon June

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KAREN91 12/21/2014 10:13PM

    Claire, I loved your walk and it encouraged me that you are doing so well 3 weeks after surgery. I have 8 days until surgery. Part of the time I'm excited but I'm also scared. You ease my fears when I hear how well you are doing. I hope you and your mom have a lovely Christmas. emoticon I'll bet you look great and feel better with the weight loss.

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LIVEDAILY 12/21/2014 10:13PM

    I am so glad that you are feeling well enough to go out for a walk!! I do see that you've had a great deal of rain. We are supposed to get some on Christmas, too bad it won't be snow. You had a wonderful walk, and sound as if you are doing very well! Good for you my dear!! A Merry Christmas to you!

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ROCKYCPA 12/21/2014 9:55PM

    Happy to hear that you are doing better and able to get back to your hikes. Enjoy your holiday!

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KING_SLAYER 12/21/2014 9:55PM

    Congratulations on the loss and on the recovery! Beautiful as always, I love the history and the majesty of the buildings. I simply must get to Europe one day and just wander all around!

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LINDAK25 12/21/2014 9:20PM

    So happy to hear you're doing well! What a beautiful hike, even on a grey day. Beautiful photos, as always. The horses over the doorway on the Horse Museum are spectacular. Enjoy your week and have a Merry Christmas!

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WALLAHALLA 12/21/2014 9:04PM

    Thank you for sharing all your beautiful pics! I never have places to walk as beautiful as you do! I'm glad you are feeling well enough to get out and enjoy life!

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DOVESEYES 12/21/2014 8:45PM

    Congrats on the loss Claire, and thankyou for the lovely walk and wonderful photos. so enjoyable to join you once again.

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QUILTINGB52 12/21/2014 8:32PM

    Ahhh....I do love the woodland walks!!! Glad you have recovered from surgery and doing well in your weight loss journey.

Merry Christmas!!!

~Annie B

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SHAWFAN 12/21/2014 8:10PM

    Welcome back and thank you for sharing the beautiful walk with us. Have a Merry Christmas also. emoticon

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SPEDED2 12/21/2014 7:01PM

    Welcome back! Your travels and photos have been greatly missed. Happy to hear that you are on the road to recovery.

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 12/21/2014 6:44PM

    I'm so thrilled you were able to get out and enjoy your walking. Beautiful photos. Thanks for sharing. Wishing you a very Merry Christmas.

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SARAWALKS 12/21/2014 6:44PM

    Hurrah for you! I'm glad you picked a walk with some benches and people nearby, but more glad that you did not need them! It is great that you're feeling strong and adjusting well to those new quantities. I find that hard, I am trying to cut down my portions as well, but feeling the pounds melt away must be a great incentive. And quality certainly matters more than quantity. emoticon

Love the horse sculptures over the door - and wouldn't it be cool to see the horses running? Adding Chantilly to my list...there is going to be a LOT to do when I come! I love coming in the winter actually, and if my new roof does the job we expect it to, I should have no leaks and be able to leave here in the winter when it is MUCH colder than in France. Usually by about 10 degrees F...

Keep up the great work, enjoy being back in the world and have a marvellous Christmas!
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EFFIEANNIE 12/21/2014 6:05PM

    All is well~Claire is hiking!!! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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PORTIAWILLIS 12/21/2014 5:32PM

    Glad you are back and doing well after your procedure.

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_BABE_ 12/21/2014 5:09PM

    Nice to see you back on your feet! Enjoy the pictures as always... emoticon

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WARRIORGIRL121 12/21/2014 5:06PM

    Absolutely beautiful, Claire! That walk was probably very good therapy for you!

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MAWMAW101 12/21/2014 4:46PM

    So very glad to see you are back with your camera and taking us along!
My hope is that you and your family will have a very joyous Christmas!
Stay happy! emoticon

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MLC721 12/21/2014 4:38PM

    Welcome back! I've missed your walks. You never disappoint! So glad you are feeling well enough to get out and enjoy what you love. Best wishes on your return to work.

I hope you have a healthy, joyous, blessed Christmas!
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DARLENEK04 12/21/2014 4:37PM


Love hearing from you, especially enjoyed the "cheval" I know,
me and my horse passion)

Proud of you for losing 22 lbs...too.....and thank you for sharing the lovely

Merry Christmas my friend and glad to hear your Mama is doing well..


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CAPECODLIGHT 12/21/2014 4:33PM

    Happy to see you are feeling better and walking again. Hope you don't feel any soreness afterwards. I bet it will be good to be back at work seeing your co-workers again and getting back into a normal routine. Very good on the weight loss - wonderful news! Just losing that must make you feel so much better.
As I type this, I am in Paris. I decided not to contact you before arriving when I heard that you had surgery... you need to just focus on getting better. Next time!
Joyeux Noel.

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PATRICIA-CR 12/21/2014 4:30PM

    Marvelous photos and virtual walk!


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JOANNANOW 12/21/2014 4:22PM

    Happy to see you are out and about. Lovely blog thank you. Wishing you a Merry Christmas and all the best in 2015. emoticon

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DR1939 12/21/2014 4:02PM

    Glad you are up and about again. I miss your beautiful walks. Have a Merry Christmas. emoticon

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PENOWOK 12/21/2014 3:59PM

    Everything is so beautiful and green! Things here are looking brown with just leftover hints of green. I am so glad you are feeling so well!! What a lovely walk!! It does sound as though you traveled quite a bit. How fortunate to have found benches and shops to browse! Of course, I wish you a blessed Christmas and a wonderful start on 2015!! I'll look forward to your next post!

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MBPP50 12/21/2014 3:51PM

    Glad you are better and back to walking. I love your blogs.

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KLONG8 12/21/2014 3:44PM

    So glad you are back on your feet and feeling strong enough for a mini-hike. Good choice of terrain....and keep feeling stronger and healthier. Merry Christmas!

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WENDYANNE61 12/21/2014 3:18PM

    Big sigh of relief for you up here in little old Bremen! Happy to read about your (modest) walk and loved all the excellent photos of the beautiful buildings and the woodside. Thank you, Claire! It has rained an enormous amount here as well - we will all be wading around in wellies on Christmas Day by the look of things.... I was able to fit into my sturdy winter shoes at last this afternoon, so I went for a short walk around the block to test them out! Hope work goes smoothly tomorrow and that you can take it easy in the evening to recover! Hugs!

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INGMARIE 12/21/2014 3:15PM

    Hello ,Claire. So glad you are up and about, feeling good. emoticon

Thank you for the lovely walk and photos, the small details on walls and doors are amazing, loved them all. Thank you

I wish you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy New year. emoticon emoticon

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SUSIEMT 12/21/2014 3:07PM

    Thank you for the lovely walk! I hope all is well with you after your surgery and you are able to manage the small amounts of food you can eat. I know I just wouldn't have been able to do that type of diet. I had tried out for the surgery but I couldn't even lose the 35 lbs the doctor had asked me to do on my own. So I knew it was more psychological than anything else. But I did lose the weight eventually with the help of my sister Thoms1 and sparkpeople. The best to you Claire and have a wonderful Christmas and New Year! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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MSTWOMOONS002 12/21/2014 3:06PM

    HI Claire; emoticon

Glad to hear your feeling better and you've already lost 22lbs. Your walk looks like a wonderful first start. I hope you continue to feel better & better & you see more progress & weight loss.

Have a wonderful Christmas, enjoy your days off. Make the most of your TEA=Time, Energy & Attention. Take care & be well.

Many Blessings Always Debby

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    Congratulations on your wonderful beginning. It is exciting that you have healed, are losing so nicely and are back in the saddle. Boots, really, which are better suited to your love of hiking and exploring.

Chantilly brings to mind a little gift for you. You well may know the song and I shall not apologize for the American pronunciation.


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NAN041 12/21/2014 2:32PM

    Claire, A lovely glad you were able
to get out. Do take care of yourself.

Have a Merry Christmas, and enjoy the season, Nan

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TREYONE 12/21/2014 2:32PM

  How happy I was to see your posting of pictures from your walk!!!! I am glad you are feeling well enough to get back to your hikes (selfishly, I love sharing the journey) but it means you are doing well on your path to recovery!!!! Have a wonderful Christmas!!!!

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1CRAZYDOG 12/21/2014 2:09PM

    Joyfully I saw you posted a beautiful blog about your hike!!!! So happy for you that you could do your beloved hiking. Proud of you for adapting to "the new you".

What beautiful pictures. It certainly does look like Paris has had a lot of rain! The Castle is beautiful. LOVE the artwork on the Horse Museum.

As always, my dear Claire, it is just a pleasure to read your blogs/travelogues.

Wishing you all the best returning to work.

And sending wishes for a beautiful holiday and health in the new year.

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KATHYJO56 12/21/2014 2:07PM

    Greetings Claire, It is wonderful to see that you are on your feet again and was able to take a short hike. What a beautiful place you chose to go for your outing. Congratulations on losing 22 pounds already. I am very happy for you. At this time, I would like to wish you a
Joyeaux Noel. emoticon

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CLAIREINPARIS 12/21/2014 1:49PM

    Thank you BOOKREADER8! emoticon

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BOOKREADER8 12/21/2014 1:38PM

  Great news Claire! I have been thinking about you and wishing you well.
I am sure that all your hiking has made you very strong and that is why you are recovering so quickly.Just imagine how slim and fit you will be by the time the first daffodils appear!
Wishing you all the best for Christmas.

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ALIHIKES 12/21/2014 1:24PM

    Congratulations on your lovely walk! I am glad you are feeling so well after surgery. Your weight loss is very impressive WOO HOO! The photos are beautiful. It is rainy and stormy here in Oregon also. But I was not brave like you -- I did not go for a walk in the rain!
Thank you so much for the great blogs throughout the year!
Wishing you much love and joy in the holiday season,

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    Oh, so, very glad to see your blog... and to know you are well on your way to being completely healed. I wish I had some new ways to say the same things I always say.. Great blog, Great photos, love your narratives ... I am learning to "Not to Worry", to trust your judgement on what you can do and all of that stuff.
Love your wall paper...
AND, I must ask how are your parents?
Hope they are having a great Holiday season.
Love and Hugs, Audra

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DJSHIP46 12/21/2014 1:01PM

    Very happy to hear that you are doing so well! Merry Christmas!!!

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MINIMOE1 12/21/2014 12:51PM

    What a beautiful first hike after your surgery sabbatical. You are doing wonderfully well to be so active in less than a month. The weight loss must be especially gratifying too. Wishing you a very Happy Christmas and continued success in the new year.

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WORKNPROGRESS49 12/21/2014 12:47PM

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HOLLYM48 12/21/2014 12:46PM

    Oh, good for you Claire that you were able to get out and go for a long walk today. I have been missing your hikes and walks and virtual tours so I am so happy for you that you are feeling better and stronger!
I am sure being back in the office will feel great after missing all of your colleagues for the last few weeks and how nice you can start slow by just working 3 days and then having some more time off.
I hope each day finds you stronger and how wonderful that you have already lost 22 lbs. That must feel wonderful and as you see that scale dropping each week, your walks will be longer and easier every single time!
Have a wonderful day tomorrow back at work and thanks for showing us the pretty area.
The Horse museum looks so beautiful and as usual, the architecture there is always so gorgeous!
Happy Holidays and lots of love!

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COFFEEMUG2009 12/21/2014 12:38PM

    great pictures

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HEALTHY4ME 12/21/2014 12:24PM

    So glad to hear you are up walking. I walked around the grocery store last eve when it wasn't super busy last eve. Still not standing straight as my leg is still not straight to stand and lol have to get more bend when sitting. But slow and sure.
I hope you have a very Merry Christmas and a great holiday. Hugs to your mum too. I think of her when I see your blogs.

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HELEN_BRU 12/21/2014 12:21PM

    So happy to know you are recuperating nicely! Loved your walk and all the pics.

Merry Christmas!

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Weight loss surgery - one week post-op

Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

La vie est belle! Life is beautiful!

If you have been following my hikes and travels for a while, you know I am convinced of it. Yet, life can also be tough. I gained about 100lbs in 3 years for several reasons too personal to explain here, and I didn’t manage to lose them later. (Before you ask... Healthy eating – check! Exercising – check! Counseling – check! I conquered the binges and stopped gaining weight in 2012, but I didn’t conquer overeating...)

I was very much hesitating to share about this surgery. I always dread feeling judged… but I laughed and thought the decision had been made for me when one of my Sparkfriends commented on my weight loss status yesterday by writing: ‘It is already working wonders’. Hmmm the ‘secret’ wasn’t going to last very long!!!!!

So yes, after lots of soul searching (about a year in total), lots of research, last summer I took the decision to go for weight loss surgery – in my case sleeve surgery. 85% of my stomach was removed in the shape of a sleeve, like this:

I am NOT saying it is the best solution, nor will I become a champion of weight loss surgery, believe me!!!

But for me it was the way forward. I was stuck, obesity-related health problems were slowly appearing (sciatica, heart arrhythmia, very uneven blood pressure with dramatic lows and highs, esophagitis, painful knees and hips) and I didn’t want it to limit my life. I wanted to succeed at weight loss for a change!!!

Sorry if I sound a bit defensive. : ) To be honest I have received only one very negative reaction, of someone who told me: “Don’t do it.” All the other ones, either my very few Sparkfriends who knew or friends in ‘real’ life, have been mostly supportive, one way or another. Some said they didn’t understand because they aren’t obese themselves, but they were there for me.

One of my colleagues at work gave me a tiny bowl that looks almost like a doll’s one, which I am using for every meal at the moment, and it always brings a smile to my face. Thank you Francine!

I read on the Web people who seem to advertise this surgery as being very easy and painless. I disagree. It is tiring, it isn’t painless in my case, and although you are quickly out of the hospital, it can take a while to recover (in France the minimum sick leave is 3 weeks for sleeve surgery).

I have been really struggling to eat/drink again (I am on a liquid diet until tomorrow). Hence the feeling of being extremely tired I suspect. But all in all, it is going better every day and I am delighted I have already lost almost 7 kilos (15lbs). It hadn’t happened in a while!

Here is where I spend most of my time: reading in my chair! (Next sewing project should be to make a proper slipcover for it, hopefully around Christmas!)

I also take a long nap every afternoon and I am glad my bedroom feels like my little ‘nest’!

Finally I would like to share this picture with you. I find it interesting because of the last paragraph…

“Failure to exercise, frequent snacking and poor dietary choices are the common reasons for weight loss failure after gastric sleeve.”
It rings a bell doesn’t it? Indeed, this is no magic!!! And I definitely intend to keep eating healthily and exercising (and seeing my therapist too), so there will be more hiking blogs coming soon!!!

Thank you for reading! Let me end by wishing you a beautiful Advent Season!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

QUILTINGB52 12/21/2014 8:26PM

    Everyone uses different methods when it comes to losing weight. Weight loss is an emotional, gut-wrenching task. And no matter what choices we make to lose weight it is all a rough journey.

I looked into gastric bypass every time I got deeply depressed. For myself it wasn't right, because I was looking for a solution to the incurable disease in my legs. Acceptance is also a tough task to swallow.

So, I congratulate you for find a method that is RIGHT for YOU!! I wish you the best on this weight loss journey and will support you through it all.

Now hurry up and heal, I love the hikes you take and look forward to more in the future!!

~Annie B

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ARMYWIFE3433 12/21/2014 6:00PM

    In addition to my comment. What ppl need to understand is that surgery is not a quick fix or a person doesn't want to put the work in. That is wrong. It is a tool to help u get on the right track. U still have to workout and watch what one is eating

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ARMYWIFE3433 12/21/2014 5:55PM

    You have nothing to feel ashamed or embarrassed about. No one has the right to judge anyone. There is only one judge and that's the man above. I had gastric bypass surgery May 2014 and have lost 78 pounds so far.

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WARRIORGIRL121 12/21/2014 5:04PM

    Claire! I thought I had commented on this! Sweet friend, you have nothing to feel judged about. I think most folks would prefer not to have to do surgery for any issue but we all have to do what we feel is best for our bodies and our lives. The only one whose opinion counts is yours... you are the one walking in your shoes and no one else. I'm proud of you for taking the steps you felt were important for YOU to take, and I will pray for your continued healing and full recovery, and that all works for success for you. God bless you, my friend! emoticon and emoticon Karen

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    A toast to taking control.

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SJKENT1 12/20/2014 6:16PM

    Hope for your best health Claire... praying for a good recovery and patience while you "eat slowly..." emoticon You had to make the decision on what is best for you.

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MRSRIGS1 12/17/2014 7:49PM

    Best wishes to you and to a speedy recovery! emoticon emoticon

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WRITERWANNAB 12/16/2014 7:04PM

    The best of luck to you! emoticon

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SARAWALKS 12/14/2014 10:11PM

    I am happy that you did this! Coincidentally I saw an old friend who has had this surgery and has lost approx. 105 pounds. She looks totally radiant, her health problems have vanished, and she is dealing well with the restrictions on quantity of food that she has to observe. So, a little success story, and I feel sure that you will be similarly successful with this! Can't wait to get together next spring...hugs and always prayers going up for you and your mom and dad!

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CHERIRIDDELL 12/14/2014 3:23AM

    Good Luck/Bonne Chance Claire .No one should presume to judge you,you have been very brave and we each of us must do what is best for us. I am petrified of surgery as I am facing hip replacement surgery now and I have had many others so I tend to avoid any I can but that does not mean I would ever judge you.I love your blogs and I admire your courage.You are tall and beautiful and you are obviously very intelligent your English is flawless I feel lucky to have met you on Spark and think you inspire so many people, whatever makes you feel happy and healthy will be what your true friends want for you! Joyeux Noel Bonne annee et merci pour tous ce que vous partagez avec nous

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GWINNER1 12/14/2014 12:17AM

    Glad you had the courage to follow your heart. Best wishes for a Merry Christamas and a great holiday season!

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OPHELIE 12/13/2014 12:28PM

    Claire, kuddos to you for going through the surgery. You mentioned in your blog that you did not want to feel judged, I totally understand you, especially living where you are. I am also French, and understand the “French look“. I wish you a prompt retablissement. Thank you for sharing your experience.

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LOVENHWOODS 12/12/2014 8:45AM

    Wishing you the very best now and on your journey forward!

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CRADLEY 12/11/2014 7:56PM

  Good luck to you as you continue to heal from your surgery and progress on your journey.

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BELLA328I 12/11/2014 1:26PM

    Congrats on your decision for the sleeve. I got the sleeve done in June. It is not a easy decision. It is a tough road. It does get easier though. I have found a lot of support on bariatric pal. Lots of good support from folks that have been thru it. I wish you all the best! Thanks for sharing. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to me. I wish you all the best! emoticon

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SOOKIE 12/11/2014 11:23AM

    emoticon Wishing you all the best on your recovery and weight loss journey!

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CICELY360 12/10/2014 10:08PM

  good blog

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KITT52 12/10/2014 3:21PM

    I wish you the best....we each must choose what is best for us.....
people are always trying to tell me what I should do or not smile a lot.....I found what worked for me.....not surgery....but I respect those who went that what they tell you to do.....and then do what YOU know is best for you....

Happy Holidays....let's make 2015 our healthiest year yet..... emoticon

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ARMATTHAEI 12/10/2014 2:48PM

    You were very brave to post about your surgery on this site, but the more important thing is that you are educating others that this is not the easy way out. It is only one of many tools that can be used to help a person build the healthier life they are looking for. This is a decision you nor any others who face such a decision make lightly.

The other thing is as you mentioned in writing and in the graphic at the end of your blog, there is still a lot of hard work that needs to be done, much of which the person who has not had the surgery also works on on a daily basis, healthy eating, exercising, etc.

Congratulations on your bravery in the battle of obesity.

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CRYSALLIS1 12/10/2014 1:51PM

    I ran out of character space on my last comment. I wanted to be sure to say your nest looks very cozy. Enjoy this time of rest to focus on taking care of you. You deserve it.

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CRYSALLIS1 12/10/2014 1:48PM

    I wish you all the best my dear. It's obvious that you did not enter this decision lightly. It's sure a battle that's not easily won. I wish you a quick recovery & the healthful results that you are seeking. I know friends who have great success.

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KEYTA180 12/10/2014 11:28AM

  How amazing wishing you ultimate success!

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JROOT1126 12/10/2014 10:07AM

  Claire, I came across your blog as I also want to start one. I'm having my surgery 12/29; I decided on the sleeve and am very happy about my decision. I was very scared first but after intense research, seminars and talking to people I decided that I need a life change. I've gained weight due to bad choices. For the past 5 years I've gained over 75 pounds. I'm only 42 years old and I want to feel healthy and pain free. Your story made me think that people will judge you no matter what. I'm very happy that you are happy and your story confirms why I'm doing this. Thank you very much and wish you the best and healthy journey.

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NELLIEH1 12/10/2014 8:38AM

    Claire, you are indeed brave to have had the surgery and then to be willing to be vulnerable and share with all of us. May you heal well. You "nest" is so beautiful and inviting. I love reading your blogs of your trips and your hiking experiences! Thank you for writing! Blessings day-by-day and Merry Christmas! Nellie

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MILLEDGE2 12/10/2014 7:10AM

    Cheering you on and wishing for even more comfort and joy to come your way!

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    Only the best wishes...speedy healing...much success!

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EFFIEANNIE 12/9/2014 10:04AM

    I wish you much success. I know this wasn't an easy decision for you. Speedy recovery and on with your weight loss!

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CHUBBY_MOM 12/9/2014 6:22AM

    I always enjoy your blogs. You always have such beautiful pictures! Love your "nest". Glad that you made the choice that is right for you! My sister in law has also had this type of surgery and was in quite a bit of pain for some time but is now doing great. She has lost a lot of weight but also is very careful with what she eats and exercises a lot. She feels so much better and is off all her meds that she had to take before surgery because of weight related issues.
emoticon emoticon

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PUGLOVER1999 12/8/2014 9:04PM

    I admire your courage in risking judgment; I don't like to risk it either! emoticon

Wishing you success and a quick recovery! emoticon

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MILPAM3 12/8/2014 1:19PM

  If the rest of your home is as attractive as your "nest," it is a testament to your skill as a decorator. What a restful spot!
Merry Christmas! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DSHONEYC 12/8/2014 11:45AM

    Dear Claire in Paris,

No there is not magic bullet, but I can tell that this is a major step for your next season of life. A crutch for a broken will to lose. I mean that in a positive way, as I agree with you that this is not the "easy way" to lose weight. I pray it will be a the catalyst for change. You have my whole-hearty support.


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REBIRTHDIVA 12/8/2014 7:25AM

    Brava! emoticon

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HEALTHY4ME 12/7/2014 3:50PM

    OH we can recuperate together! I think I missed a blog while in hospital so just checking my subscriptions. LOL
Hope this works for you and I can't say enough about your last paragraph. I have 2 friends and they both think this is just it and both haven't lost a lot and both are not happy. YOu have your mindset already there so I know this will be great.
I am slowly getting moving a bit more. physio exercises are painful!!! but so necessary. I had a bad reaction to the anathestic and took an extra day before they were able to get my moving. I have been told once the staples are out of your knee you move better. Most issue is lifting off the bed and bending. oh well.........
And btw LOVE your home it is so so cozy!!! awesome!
Rest relax and recuperate!!! HUGS

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SIMONEKP 12/7/2014 1:54PM

    Everyone makes the choice that works best for them. Surgery isn't for everyone, I considered it but ultimately decided it wasn't the path for me.

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KARENE10 12/7/2014 8:57AM

    emoticon on making the right decision for yourself! Hope you heal quickly!

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HYATTI1 12/7/2014 1:48AM

    Congratulations on sharing your journey with us. I have always enjoyed your photos of the beautiful country side. I am rooting for you to succeed in more ways than one. I would like to see your outcome as my decision to either have the surgery or to let it go is approaching quickly.

Good luck and keep us informed.


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GRLTAZ 12/6/2014 11:41PM

    You did what you felt was right for you and for that, I am proud of you. You researched it and are now living it. It is not easy like some believe. I see it because I am an RN and thought about it at one time also but am too scared of pain so never did it. I love your picture hikes. Your country is beautiful. Keep doing your best.

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WALNUTT1961 12/6/2014 10:09PM

    So glad the surgery is behind you and you are on the way to recovery. Praying for you and your continued health! So happy you have found what works for you.
I know it won't be long until you can take a hike in your lovely Paris - that's France not Missouri! HA!


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KANAVEL 12/6/2014 8:35PM

  Oops. Bariatric surgery not variation.

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KANAVEL 12/6/2014 8:34PM

  Congratulations. Variation surgey is not the easy way. It does come with a lot of preconceived notions and stigmas. I had gastric bypass surgery about a year and a half ago. I am excited for you and your choice to be healthy. I enjoyrd your post.

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LIVEDAILY 12/6/2014 7:42PM

    Claire! Good for you!! You did your research and made the best decision for YOU. May your health continue to improve. May you continue to have patience with yourself throughout this new journey. Your apartment looks lovely! A Happy Advent season to you also!
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LISALGB 12/6/2014 3:40PM

    Claire, I am so proud of you!! You are so very courageous to take this step to be healthy and happy. I hope you are recovering well.
Your home is lovely!!

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DYANNE4293 12/6/2014 2:29PM

    i had gastric sleeve surgery 7/17/12. It has not been an easy journey! I have learned to eat for nutrition and not for pleasure or emotion. Exercising has been easier. But changing my relationship with food has been hard!! Congrats!!!

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DAWNDMOORE40 12/6/2014 1:09PM

    emoticon Claire, you did what you felt you needed to do, even if it's not the solution for everyone, that doesn't mean it isn't going to work for you. Just make sure you stay healthy and follow all instructions and you will be ok. Just remember setting small goals is the way to success and you will go far! Hats off to you for making a decision and sticking to it even when others didn't always agree with you! emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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DANIELLET96 12/6/2014 12:56PM

    Claire: you did what was right for you and you did your research. Anyone who is a critic is not worth listening too. Congratulations on your decision and your path to better health. Your French nest looks very inviting and' Parisian'. I have spent many a delightful vacation in your country!

Keep blogging about your journey as I am sure other Sparkers like me will be interested in how you are doing!

You are a great inspiration!!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KTTAYLOR21 12/6/2014 11:40AM

    I know A LOT of people (at least 20 coworkers had this surgery) and there's NOTHING easy about it! I pray you have a smooth recovery. Weightloss is a never ending journey no matter what road you take. Warm hugs!!! Sending blessings your way!

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WISHICOULDFLY 12/6/2014 8:18AM

    Claire, I am so happy that the surgery is behind you and you are on the road to recovery. Good for you for doing the research and making a very hard decision. I am sure you will see amazing results and feel wonderful. emoticon You already have the passion for hiking so your exercise will only become more and more enjoyable as it will be a lighter and lighter load on your joints. Happy healing and keep us posted! emoticon - Connie

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TIHAITIEN 12/6/2014 7:58AM

    emoticon Taking care of oneself anyway possible is what matters. I'm going through my 1 year pre-op process too.

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MELYROD18 12/6/2014 3:26AM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KATBWIN 12/6/2014 1:42AM

    May you heal rapidly. May you regain you health quickly. Remember knowing all that you knew you made the right decision for you. Will look forward to hearing more of your journey

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

A lovely time in Athens with NUOVAELLE and BLOOMINGLENA

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Hello dear Sparkfriends,

Greetings from Athens, Greece! That was the view that greeted me when I reached the hotel on Saturday evening…

Striking no? For me however, being in Athens isn’t just the beauty of the city and the excitement of work meetings (NOT!!!), but of course…

… meeting with NUOVAELLE and BLOOMINGLENA again! - We first met back in February 2013 when I had a few hours in Athens between flights. The blog is here if you want to have a look:

As I visited Athens a couple of times in the past, we didn’t do all the touristy sites: I especially wanted to spend time with Elle and Lena getting to know them better! (Before I continue, I should say that as I am writing this blog tonight I am listening to a Greek singer I discovered thanks to Lena, called Haris Alexiou... Apparently she is very well known but to my shame I didn't know her! Here is a link to listen to one of her songs: Enjoy!)

But I love flea markets and antique shops, so we walked around the little shops and stalls near Monastiraki. It was very busy, but not more than a Parisian flea market on a Sunday, and I loved it!

(Looking at this lamp above on the right, I am really regretting I didn’t ask for the price… yes it would have been crazy taking it back home on the plane, but it is exactly the kind of thing I like for my home! Ah well, too late now!)

If you are into embroideries and laces, believe me this flea market is the place for you! It was very small, but there were even more by square meter than in French markets!

But I think the stall Elle, Lena and I enjoyed the most was the one with all the old boxes of all kinds. Of course for me, anything with Greek writing is exotic too, but even apart from that, they were fun!

Ohhh I forgot to tell you! It was the day of the Marathon! Everywhere we walked in the afternoon, we saw people in running clothes, some with their medal around their neck. It was very fitting for a day 3 Sparkfriends meet!

In the little streets going up the hill there were mostly second-hand books stalls…

… and, to my surprise, birds in cages! I should have asked Elle and Lena whether these were people’s birds or whether they were for sale!

By then we had reached the Roman Forum, and Elle and Lena found a great place for us to eat, in the shade but with a great view!

I tend to be suspicious of restaurants in touristy places, but this one was great!

The Greek salad didn’t disappoint, and Elle explained to me the herbs on top are oregano, not thyme as I had always thought. So I’ll try to redo this at home, although the beautiful Greek olive oil really is the secret ingredient!

Have you ever had fried feta cheese? Give it a go if you have a Greek restaurant nearby, it may not be very healthy, but you only need a small piece to enjoy the taste! : )

Same for fried aubergines/egglplants! They were great!

I had ordered grilled octopus and that was a special treat for me. I could have seafood everyday I think!

After our late lunch we walked further up the hill…

... to well-known Plaka. It is very touristy but so pretty!

(Elle and I in Plaka)

We walked further up the hill (I id 18,000 feet in total that day, so we didn't just eat and chat you know!!!)... and ended up near the Acropolis Museum, which I definitely want to visit next time. This time my sciatica presents me from standing still (I must keep walking all the time or it really hurts) so we didn’t go in. But the building itself is a work of art!

What a lovely time!!! And you know what? Lena and I met again tonight for a walk and dinner after work and we enjoyed chatting, chatting, chatting!!! About (healthy) food and exercising of course (Lena loves zumba and recently discovered pilates too!), travels, friendship... emoticon
It was the perfect way to celebrate the near end of my meetings before heading back to France tomorrow. I am feeling quite sad tonight though, I will really miss Lena and Elle and I wish I could come to Athens regularly (or they to Paris)... Believe me I have rarely been disappointed when meeting Sparkfriends, but Elle and Lena are extra special with BIG hearts and very warm personalities! Thank you both for taking such good care of me during my visit, dear friends!

I’ll end with these bougainvillea flowers to send you a bit of Athens’s sunshine and warmth!
Thank you for reading friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRIJ7 12/7/2014 10:35AM

    Spark friends are the best!

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EFFIEANNIE 11/26/2014 7:29AM

    Beautiful pictures. So glad you had a wonderful visit with Spark friends.

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MOONGLOWSNANA 11/23/2014 12:03AM

  I would have bought either a small empty tin or a tiny old bottle at the flea market if I had been there, something small that would fit in my luggage.

When I took Latin in high school I always dreamt of seeing the Roman ruins and visiting Athens to see the architecture and just to travel to different places. I doubt that I will do that now with my physical limitations, but who knows. I am happy to travel with you and your photos. I once thought it would be fun to live on a sailboat and go from port to port when I read about a family who did that very thing. I did sleep on a windjammer once, tied to the dock, and it was fun. I may get to go to Yellowstone National Park with one of our sons, and his family next spring if I am able. We'll have to wait and see!

Thanks for taking us along on your trip to Greece. Sorry you had to work and that your sciatica was giving you pain, but glad you took pictures and shared with us! Oh and thank you for stopping by my blog and leaving me a comment!!!

Jackie aka Moonglowsnana emoticon

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WRITERWANNAB 11/21/2014 12:46AM

    Oh, it sounds like a wonderful visit! emoticon

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KAREN91 11/18/2014 8:16PM

    Claire, Your blog made me hungry. I've never had greek food but it looks great! I love seafood too. Greece is lovely and I enjoyed looking at their markets. I'm glad you got together with spark friends while you were there. I've been sad lately because my dog died but you helped me to feel a little better while enjoying your blog! emoticon

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GARDENCHRIS 11/18/2014 7:29AM

    so lovely! YOU are one of my far flung emoticon 's! I so enjoy seeing parts of your world through your blogs! I have traveled some in Europe but not to all the places you seem to "arrive" at! So thanks for taking us all with.

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CHERIRIDDELL 11/18/2014 2:50AM

    I am so glad you had such a wonderful time.I love Greek food ,flea markets and Antique shops and seafood so you can guess how fascinating I found this Claire ! If you ever have a chance to come to Canada I promise I will show you Edmonton and the Rockies !

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REGILIEH 11/17/2014 11:48PM

    I love experiencing Greece through your eyes as when I was there I was not a fan of Athens but I did enjoy Santorini.

You really have a beautiful way of seeing the country, people, flowers, everything and a wonderful way with words and expressing yourself!

I'm your #1 fan!




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GEMINICHIK 11/17/2014 5:36PM

    Thanks for sharing!

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KALEWINE 11/16/2014 10:44PM

    Beautiful! It sounds like you had a wonderful trip!

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MRSRIGS1 11/16/2014 2:39PM

    emoticon emoticon for sharing your visit.

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SARAWALKS 11/15/2014 8:48PM

    Ooooh, I LOVE the song and the singer! I"m listening right now. Thank you so much for sharing the photos too. How perfect that you could enjoy Athens with these two wonderful friends! The colours, the tastes, the smells and sounds - I am getting them right from your photos.

I've been in Virginia for almost a month, finding a forester to conduct an auction to harvest trees on some land I own. Complicated to learn about but interesting. However that and visiting my cousins took me totally away from my usual routine. Finally getting back to it now...and it's getting quite cold here. Also finally uploading lots of my France photos. Fun to look at them and remember being there!

Now off to some more of your blogs. I can't wait to come again in the spring! emoticon emoticon emoticon

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BFLOGRL 11/15/2014 8:32AM

    As always, thanks for taking me along on your journey. emoticon

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TUBLADY 11/14/2014 3:55PM

    Love reading and looking at your blog.
It's like being ther in person.
I have been there, but not the same places.
The food yummy, makes me hungry.
What's so nice about living in Europe id the closeness to other places.
So enjoyable.
Take care,
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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GRLTAZ 11/14/2014 3:33PM

    Your blogs never disappoint. thank you !

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MOMMY445 11/14/2014 10:19AM

    emoticon emoticon

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LORIVIOLA 11/14/2014 7:20AM

    so wonderful! I am glad you had such a lovely time. Thank you for sharing with us! 📷

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MANOLY 11/14/2014 12:10AM

    Thanks a lot. I really enjoyed the trip emoticon

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PORTIAWILLIS 11/13/2014 9:55PM

    Always love your pictures and descriptions. These were beautiful as usual

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AJB121299 11/13/2014 6:45PM


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ALIHIKES 11/13/2014 5:57PM

    Thank you for sharing your adventures in Athens! I loved seeing the flea market, the lovely meal, and listening to the singer. And I think you know how much I love archaeological ruins!

I really appreciated reading about your trip, and I am so glad you met SparkFriends for your Athens walk. The bougainvillea was lovely summery end to the blog, particularly since I enjoyed reading it after a hard workout shoveling snow off my driveway.

also -- thanks so much for commenting on my Turkey blogs!

Hugs from,

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WALNUTT1961 11/13/2014 4:27PM

    What a lovely time and thank you for sharing it with us!

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DANELLE34 11/13/2014 3:23PM

    Amazing!!! I love exploring other day!!! Thanks for sharing😊

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JUNETTA2002 11/13/2014 3:20PM

    What a marvelous day you had. I enjoyed the pictures. Thank you

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 11/13/2014 2:28PM

    Such a wonderful time with your friends. I loved the photos. Enjoy. Safe travels.

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GRACED777 11/13/2014 1:02PM

    A beautiful place, wonderful sights, new good friends, good food and exercise! What could make a better mini-holiday in the middle of work? Thanks for letting me come along!

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JEANADOLL77 11/13/2014 12:41PM

    How fun!!! emoticon

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MARGOH12 11/13/2014 11:19AM

    Glad you had such a great time with your sparkfriends

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ANAKIE 11/13/2014 10:41AM

    You have made me both jealous and homesick. I haven't seen the Acropolis in 25 years. I lived just a few minutes away for almost 4 years.
That Greek salad looked wonderful! To eat a good one that I don't have to make myself is a rare treat around here. Even the "Greek" restaurants where I live don't know how to make an authentic one.
I guess it's time to buy some good veggies for a healthy salad again.

Thanks for the trip down Memory Lane.

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REBESANCON 11/13/2014 10:22AM

    So glad you had a great time with your friends! I always love your blogs - I get to see new things, learn new things, and add lots of places and things to my bucket list :) Thank you so much for sharing and have a beautiful day!

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BFMONICA 11/13/2014 10:04AM


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BFMONICA 11/13/2014 10:03AM

    Just gorgeous!

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BOWKAY 11/13/2014 9:09AM

    Thanks for sharing! The flea markets look much more interesting than the ones here at home. emoticon

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TRIM180 11/13/2014 8:35AM

    emoticon emoticon

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1HOTFUDGEMAMA 11/13/2014 8:21AM


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LILHOBBIT29 11/13/2014 8:19AM

    What a locker blog!! I really enjoyed this!! Thank you for sharing this with us!!! :-)

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TENNISJIM 11/13/2014 6:27AM


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MUSOLF6 11/13/2014 6:06AM

    emoticon emoticon

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BLUEJEAN99 11/13/2014 1:22AM

    emoticon emoticon

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MARYJEANSL 11/13/2014 12:14AM

  I love flea markets too! So much fun. :-)

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JUSGETTENBY42 11/12/2014 11:14PM


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DARLENEK04 11/12/2014 9:51PM

  How lovely a place....and I would love the flea market....
and I have a bougainvillea that is Fuschia....I am hoping
next spring to plant a whole bunch more, just was curious
to see how they would do....bloomed pretty much all this


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SHOAPIE 11/12/2014 8:32PM

    emoticon emoticon

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SPARKFRAN514 11/12/2014 8:11PM

    Thank you allowing us to join you on your Spark adventure how fun to visit a spark friend face to face and tour the lovely city of Athens and the sites it like being there with you. always look forward to getting a notice you have a blog up . emoticon emoticon

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NONNAOF2 11/12/2014 7:51PM

  What a beautiful place to visit and to shop at, too!
Thank you for the wonderful blog, it was nice that you were able to meet up with your two friends, also! :-)

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TULIPLAURIE 11/12/2014 5:34PM

    What beautiful pictures! And what beautiful friendships you have cultivated. My bucket list includes Italy, Greece, France, and Portugal. I want to eat and drink wines through all those countries, and having my Spark Activity Tracker will keep me honest. I love how many steps you got in your day--but the beauty of the country would keep me on the move, trying to see everything!

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PATRICIAANN46 11/12/2014 5:28PM

  Hi Claire........
How wonderful to be able to share all of the beauty and fun times with two Spark Friends. I am still in awe of a job that sends you to so many great places. emoticon for sharing with us again.

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BKNOCK 11/12/2014 4:41PM

    Cool blog, also cool that you got to see some of your SP friends!

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BONIFIANT 11/12/2014 2:59PM

    Claire, I agree, the lamp is beautiful. Are the shop keepers willing to bargain? I would imagine that the only safe way to get it home would be to have it shipped professionally and that might make it too costly. Oh well, it can be part of a beautiful memory.

I hope that when you got back home, you found everything to be going well for your mom.

Thanks again for inviting us along your journeys.

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MSTWOMOONS002 11/12/2014 2:53PM

    Hi Claire

Thank you for your blog I feel like I've been on a trip with you I love flea markets & antique shops. You have such an interesting life, glad you got to spend time with your friends having such a good time knowing each other better.

You are so blessed and I am so blessed to have you as a friend in my life Thank you for the joy your life brings into mine.

Safe travels, take care & be well live in the moment & feel the joy of it all.

Many Blessings Always Debby

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Hiking around Vétheuil

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Do you know Vétheuil?

If you are a Claude Monet fan, you actually know Vétheuil! The painter lived in the village between 1878 and 1881 and made over 100 paintings of it.

The hike I did yesterday was through the villages and the countryside…

… but one of these days when I go to Vétheuil I want to find the view Monet painted the most, from across the Seine. So beautiful!

That was a short hike. I should probably say a gentle walk (2 hours and 10 minutes), but it was hard work as it was steep in places, and my sciatica wasn’t happy (a colleague who did it last week said it was all flat… hmmmm it was far from flat!).

But it was sunny, warm, a gorgeous area, and I took things easy! I couldn’t believe it was 1st November, I was wearing a light linen shirt, it was that warm!

And you may have noticed already, the autumn colours are definitely starting to appear. They should be at their best in about 2 weeks, when I am back from Greece (I’ll be in Athens for work, woohoo!). But it was definitely starting.

My favourite part of the hike was probably as I followed a little creek… I loved how it sounded…

I share the views of my hikes, but never talk about the sounds much. They are so much part of the pleasure of hiking in this area though… Complete silence…

the sound of the leaves under my feet…

a church’s bell in the distance…

the birds in the trees nearby…

the cows’ and horses’ roar…

I think it is partly thanks to all these wonderful sounds that I never feel lonely during my hikes, and also that I prefer to hike alone to really listen to them.

Even though yesterday’s hike was short, it had all I love in a hike, and made me feel like I had been far away, both in terms of geography and time, on a great holiday!

Isn’t it a fantastic feeling to have? I’ll definitely go back to Vétheuil though, and then a little further to Giverny again!

Thank you for reading dear friends! Have a sparkly Sunday!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MARYINFL2000 12/3/2014 10:08PM

  You always have such a way with both your pictures and words. I love traveling with you! Thank you again so much for sharing.

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TERRIJ7 11/29/2014 11:58AM

    What a lovely way to spend my morning! Thank you.

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MCJULIEO 11/27/2014 1:02AM

    Exquisite on so many levels...

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REGILIEH 11/17/2014 11:42PM

    As you will see I am really behind on my emails, I've had a few family challenges like my daughter being in ICU for four days, husband starting chemo and my dear uncle with Alzheimer's aspirating!

I always save the best for last and so I save your blogs!

This was so beautiful, so fabulous! Thank you so much for all you provide to us! I am thankful and grateful for the opportunity I have in experiencing YOU!



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WRITERWANNAB 11/16/2014 6:59PM

    Gorgeous photos, as always! emoticon

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JERICHO1991 11/16/2014 1:10PM

    Another gorgeous hike. Thanks.

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SARAWALKS 11/15/2014 8:55PM

    Beautiful...beyond beautiful really.

And I know what you mean about the sounds. I find myself not playing my iPod when I go walking, it is good to be silent. Maybe the next hike we take, we should take vows of silence! (wonder if we could do that, ha!)

Vétheuil and yes, I have yet to go to Giverny. I think autumn would be a great time for that.

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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CICELY360 11/15/2014 2:47PM

  beautiful pictures

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WALNUTT1961 11/13/2014 4:32PM

    Love the photos! Thanks for the sharing the information on Monet.

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ICECUB 11/11/2014 6:02PM


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MAWMAW101 11/10/2014 11:37AM

    Love love your blogs! Congrats on being featured...well deserved!

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STEVIEBEE569 11/10/2014 9:39AM

    Very Nice

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SHARONCAPPS 11/10/2014 8:39AM

  Great hike. Enjoyed the pictures, they were lovely. Can't wait till the next one.

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CARSU77 11/8/2014 5:10PM

    I'm an artist and loved your hike. Thanks

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SWEETNEEY 11/8/2014 3:10PM

    were they Monet or a photograph - beautiful

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KONRAD695 11/8/2014 1:37PM

    Every time I read your blogs, I just want to hang out with you. Thank you for letting us see such a wonderful part of your life. emoticon emoticon emoticon
emoticon Konrad

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MRSRIGS1 11/8/2014 11:54AM

    These pictures are beautiful! You capture your hikes so well, congratulations. Today, I am giving my twin sons a birthday party and looking at these pictures have sent me to a relaxing place - thank you!

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HICKOK-HALEY 11/7/2014 10:05PM

    Beautiful hike Claire. I do like Claude Monet's paintings. I'm with you. Listening to the sounds is just as enjoyable as the beautiful view when hiking. Don't you love this time of year? Lovely colors. Enjoy your time in Brazil. I'm jealous lol.

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HYATTI1 11/7/2014 7:08PM

    Thanks for sharing...pretty scenery.

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1STBUCKETITEM 11/7/2014 5:16PM

As usual you've outdone yourself. The locales of Claude Monet's (one of my favorite artists) paintings are like a look into the past. Yet, we can see how little the countryside has really changed. You took lovely pictures once again. Thank you for sharing your "hikes" with us! emoticon

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MILPAM3 11/7/2014 3:17PM

  Aren't you thankful to God for giving you sight and hearing and touch. It is by those we can enjoy His creation and those made by man -- the buildings, the bells, the paths.

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JEANADOLL77 11/7/2014 11:22AM

    Great pics! emoticon

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1HOTFUDGEMAMA 11/7/2014 1:12AM

  I enjoyed reading your blog! Beautiful pics!

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SUPERSYLPH 11/6/2014 11:20PM

    So gorgeous! I've never been to a place with "real" fall colors. I live in a desert. Lol

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QUILTINGB52 11/6/2014 1:44AM

    I recently watched "Chocolate" again....just love that movie!!! Your village trek reminded me of the movie.

I think I could even handle that hike.....short, sweet and full of adventure!

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GGRSPARK 11/5/2014 10:26PM

    Great photography...send us more. I loved visiting France years ago, and can't wait to see your photos if Greece...especially if you visit Crete.

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TREKPURRSON 11/5/2014 8:57PM

    emoticon for sharing your travels with us! Awesome art and gorgeous scenery! Thanks for the virtual vacation! emoticon

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    Thank you for sharing the countryside and the art

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MAXY100 11/4/2014 10:08PM

  Nature is so wonderful. Thank you for sharing the pictures with us!

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SCOTMAMA 11/4/2014 9:46PM

    I usually hike alone, but both have their pro's and con's. I can adjust to either one, although I think for the full benefit of a hike it is best to be alone.

Again, I do so enjoy your blow-by-blow commentary, and the colors were really fascinating -- I can't imagine them getting better, and yet you say they are just beginning!

Thank You!

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LIVEDAILY 11/4/2014 5:57PM

    So, so pretty! I love Monet's works, and it was nice to see where he once lived.

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LADYVOLSFAN1954 11/4/2014 4:34PM

    Such a wonderful hike. Thanks! I love to hike alone because you're so in tune to the sounds around you. Walking by water always relaxes me. It's as if the animals are speaking to you too.
Enjoy Greece! emoticon

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HMBROWN1 11/4/2014 3:31PM

    OM gosh! So beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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LINDAKAY228 11/4/2014 3:18PM

    Such a beautiful hike! I'm like you and like to hike alone and listen to the sounds of a wooded area. And I just love any kind of water, from the ocean to a lake and especially to babbling brooks and streams!

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WALLAHALLA 11/4/2014 1:27PM

    I want to go on your hikes! They hold so much more beauty than the ones I've been taking. I hope to visit France again in the future. Hopefully there will be more time to enjoy your beautiful countryside.

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QUAIL75 11/4/2014 10:02AM

    What fantastic pictures! Thanks for sharing.

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REBESANCON 11/4/2014 8:05AM

    Just gorgeous - I loved looking at all the pics you shared! Have a great time in Greece!

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DRTOVAH 11/4/2014 7:59AM

  great pics!

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CFMOSS 11/4/2014 6:37AM

    Thank you yet again for bringing us along on your journeys. Beautiful scenery....I enjoyed some time outside walking in northern Virginia this past weekend. Always to good to get outside and enjoy the world around us.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 11/4/2014 5:13AM

    What a gorgeous place to hike. The fall colors were lovely.

Hope your back is feeling better.

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CHERIRIDDELL 11/4/2014 3:39AM

    I hope your sciatica does not bother you for too long it can be miserable. I love Monet and this was a wonderful hike you managed to capture the essence of the place . You can transport us there with your beautiful it is a glorious place for a Sunday stroll. Thank you!

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BLUEJEAN99 11/4/2014 2:00AM

    emoticon love love love Monet!

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SUGAR0814 11/4/2014 12:22AM

    emoticon Thank you for sharing your adventures!

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TUBLADY 11/3/2014 11:23PM

    Thank you for such an wonderful blog.
I have been there and I'm digging out my photos to see if we took some of the same shots.
Oh this brought back beautiful, memories.
Many years ago, long lost romance , but memories that never die.
Looking forward to your next adventure.
Spark on.
Tisha emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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ALIHIKES 11/3/2014 11:16PM

    What a beautiful walk! The scenery is beautiful, and one can see where Monet got inspiration for his art. The fall colors are at their peak here in Central Oregon, and there is fresh snow on the mountain. Your photos are beautiful and convey a sense of calm and peace. Thank you!

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JIBBIE49 11/3/2014 11:12PM

    I laugh at how in Europe they have buildings that they still use after 500 years, but here in America we build something and 30 years later they tear it down and have to build something new again. There was a favorite restaurant we went to that was built in 1980, and last week they tore it down, as it closed last year because the owners retired. They are building something new on the property now. Another restaurant about a mile away had the same thing happen. Americans are so wasteful.

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SPARKFRAN514 11/3/2014 10:37PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon thank you for the peaceful i can hear the stream if i listen and the birds those can can sing and those that an;t made the walk fun thanks for taking the time to share emoticon emoticon

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ROSES4ME1 11/3/2014 7:35PM

    This may be one of my favorite hikes that you have taken us all on! Awesome!
Wonderful to see the fall colors starting. Just lovely.

And then on to Greece! How wonderful is that? I go to Ohio next week to work which is not quite in the same universe. Have a safe journey and look forward to our next hike.

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JAMER123 11/3/2014 7:18PM

    Thank you for sharing the hike with us. You have found some beautiful walks and the fall colors really enhance your story and to be out there with the silence to listen to nature is something I really enjoy with all the camping we do. We try to be a little off the road to hear mother nature.
emoticon emoticon emoticon

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JUNETTA2002 11/3/2014 7:17PM

    Awesome pictures.

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Voted Popular Blog Post: View All Popular Posts

Lost but not shot!

Saturday, October 18, 2014

I am sorry for the dramatic title, but today was an eventful hike indeed! I don't think I like those, I'd rather have one of my usual hikes, where the worst that can happen is to get a bit lost... And speaking of getting lost (to start with the fun bit!), I haven’t lost my touch! emoticon Although it hadn’t happened in a few months, I still know how to get completely at the opposite of where I am supposed to go during a hike!!!

It is especially stupid as today’s hike should have been really easy! Mostly flat and straight, through the beautiful Vexin countryside!

But I used directions prepared by an association I already had had problems with. I think out of the 3 hikes I did that they prepared, all 3 were very badly done! I.e. poor maps, no signs and almost no directions. The best way to get lost!!! If I could remember where I got these 'hiking sheets' from, I would go back and tell them they are really unreliable!

Because really I did get lost brilliantly!!! I took the wrong path in the woods… it wasn’t straight at all, so I lost my sense of directions (and of course I thought I was on the right path!)…

I ended up completely West in Blamécourt when I thought I was completely East in Nucourt.

Of course paths didn’t match what I saw on the map, I didn’t understand but I kept going, walking through the countryside and crossing a village with a funny old water pump with an animal head…

And as I left the village, there was a sign with its name, and I just stopped and laughed out loud. Suddenly it made sense! I really was completely in the wrong place!

Luckily, that village still appeared on the very poor map I had in my hands, so I was able to find my way back, cutting through the countryside. It was such a gorgeous day I didn't mind at all, and the area is so beautiful! (In France most paths are public, i.e. everybody can walk on them, so if you have a map that shows the paths properly, you are fine!)

But it is never a good idea to be creative in terms of ‘paths finding’ during hunting season! I ended up on footpaths that weren’t official ones (not recognised by the hiking federation and clearly marked)… and suddenly, as I came out of some woods…

… I heard a very loud BANG that sounded way too close for comfort!!! Hmmm what to do? Well I kept going, slowly, and singing at the top of my head!!! I think between cows (see my blog from two weeks ago!) and hunters, I’ll choose cows anytime!

When I finally came completely out of the woods, facing the fields, I saw about 10 hunters facing me in the distance. My goodness, they had been shooting animals in these woods! I don’t know between them and me who was the most unhappy to see the other(s). I am sorry I interrupted your little Saturday afternoon game, guys! And very glad you didn’t permanently interrupt my life!!! I didn’t like the sound of your BANGS at all. (No, I didn’t say anything, I am not that mad... and they were too far anyway... I just left as quickly as I could!)

I won’t lie: I was a little wobbly on my feet for a while after this! And I was glad I basically only had to cross one last big field before I reached Serans again.

The church looked wonderful as I saw it appear in the distance! PHEW. Now can I go back to my usual uneventful hikes please? I would love the same sunshine next week, but NO HUNTERS, or at least very far away from me!

Thank you for reading, friends. And please don’t worry, I’ll be more careful next time and make sure I have a good map with me so that I don’t get lost. I hope you are having a fantastic weekend!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

TERRIJ7 11/21/2014 1:04PM

    I must agree. That was too close for comfort!

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LORIVIOLA 11/17/2014 8:38AM

    YIKES! THAT'S SCARY! emoticon
I am glad you are okay. emoticon

Lovely pictures, as usual. emoticon


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SARAWALKS 11/15/2014 9:01PM

    WHEW. Scary. Hunting season began just as I finished walking my woods in Virginia so I didn't have to wear my orange vest. You're required to wear bright headgear or vest during hunting season...sounds like that might be a good idea in France too!

Beautiful photo of the shadowy place at the edge of the to last photo...that kind of chiaroscuro is my favourite thing. Autumn seems to be late in France as it is in Virginia. Here in PA most of our leaves are gone now & it's looking quite wintery...

emoticon emoticon

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KAREN91 11/3/2014 2:36PM

    I'm so glad you are ok. Please avoid hunters, I don't want anything to happen to you, dear friend. emoticon from Iowa

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ILOVEMALI 11/2/2014 11:52AM

    I will spend the next several minutes fantasizing about walking in Paris!

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DJSHIP46 11/2/2014 7:28AM

    Thank you, what a lovely place for a walk/hike. Taking my grandchildren to an orchard to day for a fun afternoon of gathering apples for fresh pressed cider. At least one granddaughter is looking very much forward to the candied apples they make at this orchard. I'm very much looking forward to it again this year!

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BEWELL48 10/31/2014 10:08AM

    OMG, thank goodness you are okay. A bit frightening indeed!

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WRITERWANNAB 10/30/2014 7:43PM

    I am so glad you weren't shot! emoticon

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KLONG8 10/30/2014 11:48AM

    Beautiful church! Thanks for the adventure and think of how upset all of us here at SP would have been if you'd been shot by those hunters emoticon . Seriously, glad you came out of that unscathed!

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MSTWOMOONS002 10/27/2014 5:56PM

    Nice to be able to read your blog, just got internet, phone & tv again, the move is going well still tripping over boxes but looking more like home everyday.

Glad your still here to share your hikes & blogs with us, sounded scary must have been so for you for sure, thanks for your blog I missed hearing your adventures while I was gone.

Take care & be well.

Many Blessings Always Debby

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CRYSALLIS1 10/26/2014 4:51PM

    Yikes. Glad that ended as well as it did. Your beautiful locals to hike seem unending. How wonderful for you. Love all the great pics you share. emoticon

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JERICHO1991 10/26/2014 9:50AM

    Thanks for sharing another beautiful, though more eventful than usual, hike.

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MOORUNNER 10/26/2014 8:57AM

    Wow that is a beautiful area

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BFLOGRL 10/26/2014 8:50AM

    I'm glad you made it out of the woods!

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MAYBER 10/25/2014 11:03PM

    emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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KSNANA2 10/25/2014 10:38PM

    The hike is beautiful. So glad you made it out safely. God bless you. emoticon

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KALEWINE 10/25/2014 12:22AM

    Oh my! I'm so glad you weren't shot! Please be more careful in the future!

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SHENDERSO1 10/23/2014 8:04PM


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TRAILBLAZER6 10/22/2014 7:42PM

Even lost you give us a great hike! Thanks!

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SAMMIESMOM13 10/22/2014 5:32PM

    Others seem not to be as bothered by this as I am. PLEASE be careful!!! This could have been tragic and we may never have known what on earth happened to you! My best advice, other than "good maps" LOL is WEAR ORANGE. Hahaha! emoticon

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MILPAM3 10/22/2014 3:45PM

  Here's to sunny days and being able to know one's direction by the position of the sun. emoticon

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ARTJAC 10/21/2014 11:26PM


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LINDAK25 10/21/2014 9:50PM

    Oh, I hate getting lost and I do it all too frequently. I'm a dyslexic map reader. I'm great at all sorts of things, just not maps. I got lost in Newport, RI once. If you need to know where the city dump is, just ask me. (It's behind the cemetery.)

Scary hiking when you hear gunshots. And yes, a 22 caliber rifle can shoot a bullet for a long distance, but hunting guns are usually a bigger caliber and don't go as far, but buckshot is deadly. Perhaps you should stay out of the woods for hunting season!

I see you don't have too much fall color, yet.

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MRSRIGS1 10/21/2014 7:43PM

    Glad you made it back! I must add, however, beautiful place to get lost.

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KONRAD695 10/20/2014 10:11PM

    I told you what the cows said, but I'll keep the hunters comments to myself.

I think it's kind of funny! Not the you part, but the situation. As someone who spent a lot of time on a farm and hunting, I can say that you were pretty safe. The sounds can seem right next to you when they are way off. I do understand that it is no place to be though (make hast would be my move).

Anyways, glad you made it out, didn't get cooked for dinner, and saw views.

emoticon Konrad

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JUNEAU2010 10/20/2014 8:50PM

    Whew, that was a close call! What a gorgeous hike, though!

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    The "BANGS" gave you a fright. What did your singing do to the hunters?..... How excellent that you had the presence of mind to be loud.
emoticon emoticon

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TREYONE 10/20/2014 7:52PM

  Awesome!!! Thank you for sharing!!!! emoticon

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KATHYJO56 10/20/2014 5:45PM

    Hi Claire, I am so very sorry that you had an unreliable map and wound up so utterly lost. However, it does as though you handled it with your usual good humor and wonderful attitude. I love these pictures. I was fascinated with the water pump also. I wonder where somebody got the idea to use an animal head as the spount? lol The church where your hike ended, was indeed, very beautiful and a welcoming picture to end your hike with. emoticon

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MOONGLOWSNANA 10/20/2014 2:29PM

  Singing was a good idea even if it did scare away the game for the hunters. Wearing a neon color of orange or green during hunting season might help as well if you are traveling near by where hunters may be out and about! None the less you are safe and sound today and that's what counts, and you were able to discover some really pretty sight to photograph for all of us again, as usual. Sounds like the day being lost may have lessons for us all especially how to avoid the jitters! emoticon

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FORZACHANDMATT 10/20/2014 1:48PM

    So glad to see that everything turned out ok - scary!

Beautiful pictures of course :)

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KRYSSCOTT 10/20/2014 12:46PM

    Well, that was eventful. I know what you need to put on your Christmas list this year. One of those orange hunters vests, that way even if you do get lost only a real idiot would mistake you for a deer. Very glad your safe, I feel fairly certain i'd pick cows over hunters too, at least you can see those coming.

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NAN041 10/20/2014 12:21PM

    Claire, that was one scarey hike, happy all
worked out.
Thanks for thinking of us, and
foraging on, Nan
emoticon emoticon

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STEVIEBEE569 10/20/2014 9:21AM

    emoticon emoticon

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ALEXSGIRL1 10/20/2014 4:47AM

    emoticon pictures and glad you didn't get shot next time remember tot wear bright clothes

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HICKOK-HALEY 10/20/2014 3:26AM

    Love your pictures. At least you were lost with beautiful surroundings. Glad your ok!

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CHERIRIDDELL 10/20/2014 1:46AM

    My husband hunts I do not the very title of your blog had me and my English Springer Spaniel (yes I know they were intended as hunting dogs but mine is a service dog a real baby and companion for me ) holding our breath ! The only thing my dog hunts is warm spots and biscuits ! I am so glad you are safe Shall I make you a bright orange infinity scarf that you can pull up over your head if you ever get to close to gunfire again?

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123ELAINE456 10/20/2014 1:17AM

  I'm so grateful and thankful that you are still here with us. That was a very close call. God brought you out of there safe and sound. Thank You Lord for bringing her home safely to everyone. In Jesus Name We Pray Amen. Please take a cell phone with you so if you fall and get hurt you can call 911 and a friend for help. Let some know where you are going too. That is very important. Please, Please Take Care Of Yourself, Be Careful And Stay Safe!!! Those are very Beautiful Photos. Love your Blogs, going on hikes with you and hearing about all the places you take us too. God Blessings Always. And May God Be With You Always Too. Good Thoughts, Prayers and Lot Of Hugs!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
!!!!Coming Your Way. Have a Wonderful Week. We Love You Too.

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ILOVEMALI 10/20/2014 1:11AM

    We got lost all over Paris and Spain -- it was half the fun!

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MARYJEANSL 10/20/2014 12:13AM

  What an adventure! I'm glad you didn't get shot. ;-) And still you took some very lovely photos.

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DEEEBEE 10/19/2014 11:27PM

    I've walked near hunters, once in a group so I'm sure we made enough noise and I also popped open my red umbrella. I just bought a bright orange scarf to wear just in case that happens again.

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SPARKFRAN514 10/19/2014 11:04PM

    Another wonderful walk with you i look FORWARD TO walking with you and hearing about and places i would never see other wise emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon Thankful you are safe .

Comment edited on: 10/19/2014 11:08:25 PM

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CICELY360 10/19/2014 10:27PM

  pretty pictures

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QUILTINGB52 10/19/2014 10:23PM

    Whether the path is marked or not....I think I would be wearing either bright red or bright orange so they don't think you are "the game" that they are hunting!!

Glad you are safe ~ because I would miss hiking with you!

And what a lovely hike it was...

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WARRIORGIRL121 10/19/2014 10:05PM

    Claire, beautiful blog and pictures, but OH MY GOODNESS! I'm so glad you were not shot! I had a similar experience here in the States. It is very unnerving - most hunters here know to shoot only in certain areas, at certain times and in certain directions (away from possible homes and roads). Still, things happen, and every once in a while, you hear of a hunter who got drunk in the woods (drinking brandy or whisky to "keep warm") and either just missed shooting a person on the road nearby, or some other accident. Anyway, I am SO GLAD you are safe. Hugs to you! emoticon emoticon

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JIBBIE49 10/19/2014 9:30PM

    Yes, getting shot by a hunters is a REAL concern. I've watched a lot of videos with stupid young people out with guns doing target shooting near a woods and have thought "Where are those bullets going that don't hit the target they have up on the tree?" Those powerful guns can shot bullets that go for over a mile.

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PATRICIAANN46 10/19/2014 9:09PM

  Hi Claire.......
The next time you go for a hike, I want you to wear BLAZE ORANGE. If you are not familiar with it; hunters wear it so that they can see each other and hopefully NOT shoot in that direction. Wear BLAZE ORANGE and...........please take someone with you so that you are NOT alone.............

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KING_SLAYER 10/19/2014 8:54PM

    Beautiful as always :) For me, getting a bit lost is almost always the best part of a walk / hike! It becomes a puzzle to solve and tests your thinking abilities (as well as your inner compass!).

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SPEDED2 10/19/2014 8:14PM

    Spooky story for spooky season. So glad you are safe.

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LIVINHEALTHY9 10/19/2014 8:06PM

    Wow, that would have been scary! Glad you found your way out of the woods ok and no hunters mistook you for an animal.
I think I would be wary of using this particular company's hike maps. Yikes!

Happy hiking.

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