Friday, October 2, 2015


You know that it's a very cold location when the windows are composed of two, doubled panes windows.  We had traveled to Toulouse, France, a land that is currently quite pleasant, warm during the day and brisk at night. However, when we saw our hotel windows, I immediately decided this was not a place to visiting them winter.

The city is a quiet place to explore, small streets, winding cobblestones taking you between ancient buildings, old churches and small shops nestled in the walls. Some areas have very modern looking shops with things you'd find anywhere. Pharmacies varied, from general over the counter stuff to one with an extensive herbal, homeopathic, fresh dried herbs and tinctures filling very nook and cranny! Wish I could have read the French! Turns out, they have regular medical pharmacies and para pharmacies that have homeopathic and other alternative medicines regularly available. If the green light is on, a pharmacist is available and from what I could see, readily able to talk with people about either form of health care (obviously observation and I could have misinterpreted but it sure seemed like that's what they were doing)

We wandered to an old Jacobin church. This particular church has seen many uses throughout the years, a church, a room for art exhibitions, as well as hiding some of the art works shipped out from the Paris art museum to protect them from the Germans. The gardens behind were small but very quiet for walking through. In one on the rooms off the garden, a young man was tuning a piano...the tuner only until he sat down to play. He was spectacular! He was actually Kataro Fukuma, the star performer for a concert coming up the next night. We enjoyed a 45 minute performance as he played song after song! Heavenly to have it so quiet, sitting in the gardens, two of only about 8 people in the audience.

Whoever designs and creates the display designs here should be awarded a medal. Or two. The Jacobin church also housed a display of maps of Toulouse. Primary documents! They had original maps dating back to the 1800s.  They were displayed, carefully framed between glass, preserving it yet allowing people to minutely study it, seeing the growth of the city, changes in street names and localities, even changes in the green spaces. The city has numerous parks, liberally sprinkled throughout the city, parks as old as the city itself as well as many new ones.  They even had some early aerial shots of the city, showing some of the major thoroughfares. Just a fascinating snapshot of history.

Talk about displays...we went to the museum of natural history today. They had one of the most outstanding gems display I've ever seen. The presentation was unique as well as intriguing  ...all the colors of fluorite and all the shapes.colors of calcite. Excellent comparisons...and al done I. French. It was so well done that we could follow what they were saying...helpful that Jeff both knew the gems and French, but even I was able to follow some of it. They had an entire wall of herbal remedies, pictures and samples of the flowers as well as some info about uses. Wish I could have understood that! I love displays that aren't limited to the need to understand everything in the language it was printed in.

We managed to be in town for their once a year Heritage Festival. They had a farmers market set in the middle of the town square, selling jewelry, gems, local honey, food, veggies and a lot more! Fun to wander through the stalls, checking things out. They also had a play of some kind with gargantuan puppets worn by men - a king, queen, knight, a few ladies in waiting...and a fisherman who seemed to be at he center of the story! I love accidentally running into things like that though I wish I understood more of what was going on.

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