A Ramble Around France and Notes on A Bullfight


Two photo things in a row. You can blame Tally (for coming up with the favorite photo tag and getting me looking at scores–or more accurately–hundreds of old photos) and Fanta (for explaining to me that I should use macro to take pics of pics) for this post, but I just can’t help myself. I think I’m that lonely old lady who sits in her house, with her cats, and rifles through her curling sepia prints waiting to pounce on the next person who rings the bell to regale them with tales of her lost youth. Guess you’ve just rung the bell.

So this one time, at band camp . . . well, not band camp so much as France. Anyway, I was in France and took some photos (the thrills of the tale are breath taking, aren’t they? The way I wove the moment with words and wit . . . astounding).

Or that whole picture’s worth a blah blah blah . . .

That’s an alley in France. I think it might be in Arles. Or in Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. One of those.

This one was definitely taken in Arles, if you know Van Gogh’s Cafe Terrace at Night this will look familiar. And if you don’t . . . yellow. Pretty. Like Spongebob and daffodils, two of my favorite things.

That one time, in France, we went down to Saintes-Marie-de-la-Mer, as mentioned above, and as it’s a coastal town, got a nice view of the Mediterranean Sea.

The narrow beach between the cars and the water was topless. Well, the beach wasn’t topless, but the sunbathers were. Even the men. I was all prudish and American and didn’t do it, and now, don’t you know I regret it. But I have to wonder (as I do with those 20/20 regrets) if whisked back there again, if I’d actually do it, or if I just think that I would. Now that I’m far far away and can’t possibly be held to it.

Another thing that I learned while I was there is that I am not a “worthy” spectator of the bullfight. Or maybe there were inartistic fighters or poor bulls, as Hemingway would say. Either way, it didn’t work for me. I’d read Death in the Afternoon the year or two before this trip, and I had it in my head that bullfighting was art, passion, ritual. That Hemingway, such a writer is he that I was longing to see this spectacle . . .

Now, this is not Pamplona, Spain, so it wasn’t a running of the bulls in that sense; no, this was Saints blah blah in the South of France, so what you see above is the whole thing. Well, there was a bull, too. And some cows. According to my memory (now) of Hemingway, the cows calm the bull. Or some such. Anyway, I was a bit nervous and didn’t come out of the shop until the scary bulls and scary cows had run by. Thus the back end of the horses. But still, picadors (or whatever). And you can see the bullring behind there, with all the people watching the bulls run into the holding area place.

The inside of the ring, with the picador peeps riding out. For those of you who don’t know, they jab and poke at the bull until it’s bleeding and weak and tired, and then the bullfighter guy comes in and swishes his cape around until he deals the death blow to the bull–a sword through the skull. Hemingway writes it way better than I do, though. Besides, my perspective isn’t the best on it, really. As I wasn’t there for that part. Any of the parts, really, as you’ll soon learn.

I think this is actually a cow that they play with before the bullfight. I know I left before the matador came out, because I started crying. Weeping and sobbing and shaking and a bit faint, actually. Very embarrassing.

Okay, so now that I’ve typed all this, I’m wondering if this is “mature” content? Not the not topless sunbathing, the bull fighting.

Anyway, so what’s a fun walk down memory lane on a Sunday without a Shoe Sunday pic? (okay, so my segue is off; actually, that probably can’t even be called a segue, can it?)

No, I didn’t throw my shoe at my cat, they were standing all nice, but she pounced on the strap and pulled it over on herself.

I love these platform shoes, though with a 4″ heel, I don’t wear them often. As you can tell by their virgin bottoms. Um, okay, now I know I’m clicking “mature content,” can’t you just see someone misreading that one?


That first pic is of one of Hemingway’s trunks and was taken (the pic, not the trunk) by me at the Hemingway Collection in Boston, MA. It’s not “the” trunk, the lost one with all the manuscripts in, though. I checked.


20 thoughts on “A Ramble Around France and Notes on A Bullfight

  1. *Sniggering @ “virgin bottoms”*
    I loved those photos, the ones of France were memorable in a way for me too, cause I’ve been to those places as well 😀
    I don’t think I could handle a bull-fight either…hell, I can’t even handle fishing 😐
    Gorgeous shoes, as ever (you have such good taste!), and lmao, your cat is just too cute for words with the shoe-lovin’ 😀
    Huggggs to you, TFT >:D<

  2. Love the pics again, make us want to go there, that beach look fabu. I remember the Hemingway novel, that was a good one, they had a bull running yesterday in Spain, but feel sorry for the bulls though, heard they will be killed after the running. The cafe looks grand, I wish we had it here with an open atmosphere, only a few restaurants do. I love the cat picture, she also wants to try the shoes you know 🙂

  3. Know what you mean, Tally, your Eiffel Tower one reminded me of it, too. I’ve got a few, but they all pale (read: suck) in comparison to yours! Thanks for the shoe taste compliment, again, that means a lot because you’ve got good shoe taste to me!! 😀 Hehe, mutual admiration society . . . meetings, Saturdays, 3 p.m. / EST and 8 p.m. / GMT. LOL Okay, am giddy from too much coffee and tea and too little sleep. 😀 Huggs TFT!!

    Yay, Chris, thanks so much! I’ve got a pic all saved to post just for you, it’s one of a bunch of seagulls flying in the sky (well, of course in the sky). I’ll post that in my next post. 😀 I feel sorry for them, too, and yes, they are all always killed, even if the matador loses (which happens when the bull gores them, etc.). Sad. I do love the open atmosphere, too, of so many French cities; it’s lovely to sit outside and eat. I guess they have that here, in places, but it’s not quite the same. Have a good day!! 😀

  4. Very nice blog with some very interesting memories. I don’t think I could handle the whole bull-fighting thing either. I am way too sensitive . . I cry when I accidently hit a squirrel because I couldn’t avoid it. This was very interesting and quite funny . . .waaaaaaah I want to go to France but not topless =D

  5. Great pics! I don’t blame you for being upset and leaving the bull fight. I would have been upset and left too. LOL about your cat attacking the shoe strap! That sounds like something Trystan would do 😀

  6. DING DONG!!! <Mitch ringing the bell LOL). Another great alley pic. We must start the 'Alley appreciation society' LOL. I'd LOVE to be able to transport you back to that beach, just to see if you would bottle it again (that's Brit slang for 'lose your nerve'). LOL.
    Am going to skip over the bullfighting thing. Was going to wax lyrical about the barbarism of bullfighting, but this is supposed to be a fun blog, so will refrain.
    I love your cats!! They have made shoe sunday more interesting to the average (!!!) male reader of your page.
    Oh, the temptation that a phrase like “virgin bottoms” brings. Am trying so hard not to make any funny remarks here……….

  7. Ohhhh…I love all the photos. Sigh, trips down memory lane! No worries, I’ll be the old lady (4yrs younger..hahahahah) down the hall from you in the nursing home…flipping through her own sepia photographs!

    It’s funny…right before reading your blog, I was reading an article about the running of the bulls yesterday. 2 gored, 7 crushed. Lovely tradition!

    I crack up every time your cat is mauling your shoes. I’m beginning to believe that you’re not the only female with a shoe fetish residing in your house!!!

  8. wonderful post, as always, fuzzy! i’d much rather thank tally and fanta, because i really enjoy looking at photos. and frankly, this one was worth the read just for the asides alone. 🙂

    i think i can see why you like taking photos of alleys. i think i might try to go out sometime and take a photo of some around here after seeing the two you’ve posted. probably won’t be as interesting, but since i don’t live in france… *shrugs*

    i don’t think i’ve seen van gogh’s cafe terrace, but it looks just how i imagine a french or maybe even just european cafe. i love the little terrace up above the cafe.

    while i don’t think of myself as a prude, i don’t think i could ever, ever, ever bring myself to go topless on a topless beach. nope.

    i would have been crying, too, if i were at a bull fight. i hope you don’t feel bad about that. in my opinion, there are some things that, just because they are tradition, doesn’t necessarily mean that they are good things that should continue.

    lol! i’m starting to think that your cat wants to wear your shoes.

    i must say again, a really fabulous post. *hugs*

  9. Oh…nice pics…makes me want to dig out my old albums and share my France photos….hmmm…maybe I will.
    We did the south of France too, St Tropez, Cap D’Antibes, Cannes film festival, Nice, perfume factories in Grasse……pure Heaven! And no, I passed on the nude beaches too. Back then I was thin…I surely wouldn’t do it now!
    Nice shoes by the way…I love that your cat gets in on all the photo opportunities! (:

  10. wonderful pics and meander down memory lane fzy.
    Love the Arles pic….if you could rub out the obvious tourists on the right hand side..and esp that guy with white trousers and omg..white shoes!!….it would be a wonderful pic to put on the wall.lol
    hugs x

  11. Thehehe….You always find a way to put shoe pics in a blog ,don’t you?I always remember you when I see a pair of nice shoes,I wonder why!!!!!!!!! Love from Spicy.

  12. I love pictures. I think sometimes that is my favorite part of blogs. Its like Seeing through someone elses eyes. I hope you keep the pictures coming.

  13. lol @ going to France but not topless, Laurie, and yeah, the whole bullfight thing was just not for me. Not at all.

    LO, I thought I would be able to get a pic of the shoes with just her paws (as usual), but then the thing moved or something and she pounced on that strap and curled over and pulled it back, it was pretty funny actually. Wish I’d got it on vid!

    Naw, Mitch, you can wax on about the barbarism of bullfighting, I’d have to agree with you though, so how much fun is that? LOL Well, I’d agree just so long as you didn’t say we need to go marching into Spain (or in some other way) put a stop to it; that’s a long standing cultural tradition with all sorts of significance we can’t possibly understand. I’d do anything to put a stop to someone wanting to start it up here, but . . . anyway, you’re right, fun post ahoy! Or was that ‘ding dong’? And yay! Am so glad my cats are helping you menfolk cope with Shoe Sunday! Huggs

    Yay, Ang! How cool if you were down the hall being all funny about your sepia prints, too, though guess we could just shuffle back and forth and not be too lonely after all. Double yay!! Yeah, I know, that Pamplona one is crazy but hey, those fools want to get out there and run in front of a bunch of charging bulls . . . they deserve what they get. 😀 My cats just like anything that moves, and the strap on this shoe was swinging around, I guess. Oh, and if I put something (anything) down, they have to investigate immediately. Especially this one, Cali, so she features in a lot of Shoe Sunday shots. Heeeee!

  14. omg, Kerry, you just made my whole day! Well, you made my yesterday when I first read this and now my today when I reread it!! Thanks so much. 😀 The alley thing is cool, I can’t even remember how it started or if it just sort of did, and I realized I kept getting pictures of them, so thought I’d look for them. That’s round and round, but you know what I mean. They just make good shots for some reason. I did feel a bit bad about crying at that bullfight, I was really overcome with emotion when I saw the bull being taunted and frightened like that, and it was bleeding . . . it was horrible. I felt a bit silly, though, as almost everyone else stayed and of course the locals thought I was silly. Sigh. But you make me feel better about it, too; it was really out of my cultural experience and not something I can do. Other Americans (Hemingway, for example) really love it. and I must say again, thanks! *hugs*

    Rivergirl, do!! I’d love to see your pics, sounds like you were in totally different areas. Though when you were in Provence was the lavendar in bloom? We missed that, unfortunately. 😦

    LOL, Rash, I didn’t even notice those white shoes! They might be athletic shoes, though, no? (well, they do look like loafers, huh?) Huggs

    Yay! Welcome back, Spicy One, so fab to see you! And yes, the cats are still barging in on all my kodak shoe moments! LOL Big huggs!!

    Thanks so much, Bert, I do have a few more posts in the making from pics of pics, so you’ll be seeing more of them. Yay! Thanks for being so kind about it, too. 😀

  15. Fuzzy, I’ve told you before about this ‘old’ thing. Enough! But i really love the pics; they have great character the way they’ve been reproduced. Well, not the one of the feline picador bravely grappling with an ex-bull, but the others anyway. And so much info – ‘an alley in France. I think it might be in Arles’. Great! ‘Like Spongebob and daffodils’! And custard don’t forget! ‘Back end of the horses’ (I’ve heard a similar phrase used before) and maybe ‘some cows which calm the bull. Or some such. AND picadors (or whatever)’. I can almost taste the atmosphere!
    I can guess what brought all this on – you were sitting in the bath, looking at your tan-lines . . .

  16. What a fun blog. And I was fortunate enough to be one of those who “rang your bell” on a Sunday afternoon (well, Monday night, rather).
    I will never ever understand Bull fights. And I happen to live in Spain, where they are just crazy about it. Tickets are sold out every Sunday. I don’t get it. They also like to eat some of the parts of the poor Bulls that bled to death, parts that I cannot name here because it’s of “mature content”. It’s some round parts and they usually come in a couple (not one and not three), that’s all I can say. And it is NOT the eye balls. Or the knuckles on their knees.

    The shoes you displayed here are actually way too beautiful to wear in dusty streets, so they are really better off at home. I totally understand. They are too special, right? LOL
    Are they made of Crocodile skin???? My Grandmother had a pair of the same texture, although there were less than four inches high in the heel area. She wore them all the time.

    Great job with the Macro setting:)) You can also use it to take close-up pictures of small insects, or water drops, tiny shrimps, a cat’s paw, tiny people, you name it. Anything that’s super small, basically..
    There are lots of beautiful tiny things that surround us, but we don’t always notice them. Macro helps bring out the beauty of these things. They will look amazing.

  17. roflmao, Neil, that’s the best funniest comment ever. I think you should get an award. Truly. Yeah, I pretty much suck when it comes to evoking memories, huh? And the pic o’ the pic makes them not sharp, but still . . . you can kinda see, right? 😉 I did notice (yet again) that I have a terrible habit of taking a zillion pics, eventually getting them developed, and then never writing on them what they are or putting them in albums with neat labels. I have albums. Lots of them. All empty. I had such good intentions, though, and doesn’t that get me something? Other than a one-way ticket on that paved road to hell? 😀 Thanks for the giggles.

    Ooooh, Fanta, I am so taking pics of every tiny thing I see!! Bloggers beware, I feel a new obsession coming on. Seriously, I am so giving this a try. Yes, I’d heard about the people eating ALL the parts of the bull, including his testicles (you can say that because I marked this entry “mature”, so I guess you could even say “bull balls” if you wanted.) And no, that’s faux crocodile, I’m afraid. Well, not afraid, just that it’s regular leather made to look like crocodile, or actually, as they’re Nine West, they may not even be leather at all. I’ll have to check. Biggest hugs to you, Fabulous Fanta! xx

  18. Bulls balls!!! yay! I can’t believe I can say it loud and clear. Thanks for giving me the freedom to do so, dear Fuzz. You’re the bestest!

  19. I went to Mexico in high school with my jazz band… we were supposed to see a bullfight and took a 4-hour bus ride through scary mountain passes to that effect. I won’t even mention how the bathroom on the bus was locked, and the driver lost the key, and how our bladders were full to bursting by the time we got to the bull ring restaurant. (Oops, guess I mentioned it. *teehee*)

    Anyway, the bull fight ended up being rained out because the muddy conditions were supposedly too dangerous for the bullfighter. *snort* I was actually not too disappointed to miss it, because like you I probably would have been horrified to the point of tears also.

    I do like displays of aggression in some contexts, like boxing, or the movie Fight Club, but it is one thing to see two entities of equal circumstance battle it out for supremecy, and another thing completely to torture an animal and then send in a killer when the animal is close to defenseless from exhaustion. *shudder*

    I have no idea of the history of bullfighting, perhaps it started as a tribute to bull hunters, who perhaps used similar technique hunting bulls to feed their families? Perhaps there was a need to diminish the male population in the cattle herds? It doesn’t really matter the why… I still wouldn’t want to be an observer.

    As to public nudity, I would’ve been too uncomfortable to attempt topless sunbathing (not that I’ve ever sunbathed in any state of dress either.) But I do have to say after that long bus ride through the mountains with no bathroom, I completely seriously would have dropped trou and relieved myself in the middle of any crowd the bladder pressure was so desperate. LOL!! Luckily we arrived at the restaurant before anyone actually exploded. Although, that was the LONGEST line I’ve ever stood in during my entire life. *wink*

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