Monday, March 25, 2019

Marseilles - Notre Dame de la Garde

Continuing my series of posts on our Marseilles trip... this week, Notre Dame de la Garde. This is the city's most prominent land mark - you can't miss it. Anywhere you are in the city, you can see it towering above you. A bit like the Eiffel Tower in Paris. Here it is, viewed from a distance between a line of boats at the Vieux Port (old port)...
 It is a 19th Century basilica mounted atop a limestone hill called, naturally enough, la Garde. For the busy tourist, there are tourist buses that take you all the way to the top. But the real pilgrim treks his way up. Now Blandine is a devout Catholic and I love trekking up hills, and neither of us were in a particular hurry, so naturally  we did it the hard way. As a compensation , you get a grand view of Marseilles and the seas surrounding it, as you climb. Here is a closer view as we neared it...

Monday, March 18, 2019

Marseilles Trip 2 - Îles du Frioul

Part2 of my post on our Marseilles trip. After IF island, the ferry took us to the Frioul Archipelago, a group of four interconnected islands. The boat lands you on the port of Ratonneau island. It has tiny village about a hundred inhabitants, all of whom seem to be restaurateurs - it is chock a block with touristy restaurants and ice cream parlors. It is only when you see it from a distance that you realize how pretty it is. We decided to give it a miss and head for the island of Pomègues, to which it is connected by a dyke. A decision I regretted later because, despite the port area looking like a tourist trap, it has its own attractions, not least a historic fort that dates back to Roman times. Pomègues by contrast is completely uninhabited. It is a long thin finger of delicious chalky cliffs, romantic bays and lagoons and scrubby vegetation. Blandine and I trekked all the way to the tip and plonked ourself down on a rock shoal under an overhanging cliff and watched the Mediterranean swirling and crashing on the rocks. Until it was time to head back to the ferry...

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Featherbottom Rebooted - 10

Reworked multi-pane version of the the first Featherbottom story arc. This particular episode may seem familiar: I have reused the core gag of one of the earlier cartoons. But if you compare it to the original, I have actually reworked it quite a bit. It's a lot funnier now.  In case you don't like these reworks and would prefer to see all-new strips: Relax. I'm planning to stop the reboot after the 'Shark' episodes. About four more to go. I have no intention of redoing the 'Heaven' and 'Angel' episodes.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Marseilles - The Island of the Count of Monte Christo

Last week, Blandine and I hopped over to Marseilles for a three day trip. It's just down the road for us from Lyon, but for some reason, we never got around to it in the three years that I've been here. Funnily, even Blandine has never visited Marseilles, except once, as a baby, with her parents. I'll be doing a series of posts on Marseilles, but first up: Île d'If (If island, if being the French word for yew. Better known as the island where Alexander Dumas set THE COUNT OF MONTE CHRISTO, and where reputedly the real, historical Man in the Iron Mask was also interned for a while. This island fortress was used as a jail for inconvenient political prisoners from the 16th to 19th centuries. Alexander Dumas used a real location for his novel. In his time, the exact location of this fortress prison was unknown, and it was surrounded with a great deal of dread and mystery. Naturally, having read the book as a child, this was my Number One destination in Marseilles, although the city has many attractions. To get there, you go down to the old port early morning, taking a look at the ancient fish market that still functions early mornings on the quay, and buy a ticket on the ferry boat that takes you to the island and a couple of other destinations.
Here are the pics of the fish market, old port, the ferry trip, and the island itself:

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Featherbottom Rebooted - 9

A reworking of the first Featherbottom story arc in the new multi-pane format. I am particularly satisfied with this reworking. I've managed to reuse two artworks of which I was particularly proud (you may recognize two of the panes from before), and it's a lot funnier like this. I guess most of the old Featherbottom episodes were multi-pane strips force-fit into single-pane cartoons.