Monday, 25 July 2011

Gite in Languedoc Roussillon for a Holiday in France

Well I have been playing with videos again, this time using Window's Movie Maker. Those files get really big when you add lots of special effects. I think I actually got a few extras that I didn't want but after waiting all afternoon for it to upload then I am afraid it is what it is. Or more accurately 'was', I am pleased to say that I have tried a different file format now which is much better. Hardly any crackles now. So you shouldn't be worried that your computer is playing up as you may have been with the previous version.

They also say that they will continue to improve the video quality over time. But I have to say it took 4 hours to upload initially and it was only about 3 minutes long, so I didn't hold out much hope out for that one. Changing the format and uploading again definitely improved the quality, but it is not quite as good as the Facebook version which you can see here Living in France

I am sure I will get better at this the more I do it, but for now all I can say is it is a good job I have plenty of storage space, because any more videos like the first one and I will need to buy an external hard drive. And don't even suggest I use the cloud to store my files, I am already on the wrong side of middle age and life isn't long enough to upload any more files like that, even if it is just to a storage directory.

Well I hope you enjoy it, and as I have your attention I would just like to point out that the purpose of the exercise was to advertise our gite on the 2nd biggest search engine in the world. Especially as we still have a free week at the end of August, in the school holidays and I am prepared to negotiate. Happy viewing.

Sunday, 17 July 2011

La Cite Ablaze - Carcassonne 2011 on Bastille Day

OK I know the next post was supposed to be of the Tour De France arriving in Lavaur, so what happened? It rained that is what happened, July in the South of France and it rained. Couldn't believe it and to be honest standing on the side of the road in the rain in July, even for the Tour De France, when we normally have gorgeous sunshine just didn't seem like a good idea.

So instead we waited 24 hours, out came the sun again, and off we went to Carcassonne for the Bastille Day celebrations and a look at the amazing fireworks display where 'La Cite Ablaze' is reenacted as the centre piece of the Bastille fireworks celebration. Fortunately I remembered to take my video camera with me so I could record proceedings but unfortunately I forgot to check if it was fully charged.

Still I got pretty much all I needed to, the exception being about the last 10 seconds. The display starts a little sedately and then builds to this huge crescendo of pyrotechnics which only a video recording can even attempt to capture. So stick with it and even with the last 10 seconds or so missing, I am pretty sure you will not be disappointed. Look out for the people standing in the middle of the River Aude about half way through. Or actually you can have a look at the blurry photograph below, the camera didn't really like the dark, but it at least shows the lengths some people will go to for a great view of proceedings.

These are a few tips for the night. If you can, avoid the town centre as a parking place, otherwise you might find yourself waiting a couple of hours to get out of the city and on your way home. The best option is to look for a parking space on the route into the city and turn your car around so you are pointing in the direction you want to go. A 20 minute walk can potentially save you hours of sitting in a traffic jam trying to get home.

Try and get to your viewpoint about an hour before the display starts otherwise you may spend the whole display looking at the back of someones head, a large white van or perhaps the side of a bridge. Of course you could stand in the river like the young ones in the photograph, but that does play havoc with your suede shoes.

Lots of people head into the city centre after the fireworks and you will find some form of entertainment going on in all the main squares, either a disco or a band and the bars and restaurants will be offering lots of tasty food and drinks. The party only really starts once the fireworks have finished, well unless you are getting a bit long in the tooth, when a swift beer and the way home are the order of the day.

The battery did recover sufficiently enough for me to add a few seconds of the mass exodus from the river bank and a little bit of the celebrations starting up in the Place Carnot, but after that it really was a case of being as dead as a dodo. Ah well, maybe next year, all I need is about another 30 seconds worth to tack onto this years effort and I will be done. It's not easy this blogging lark you know, hope you appreciate it :-)

Saturday, 9 July 2011

The Tour De France is Coming, Blaye-les-Mines to Lavaur

It's that time of year again and the Tour De France is well under way.

We are not as fortunate this year as we were last year because the Tour is not coming right past our front door. That said it is not going to be so far away and from what I can see our nearest finishing point is at Lavaur.

That is after the Blaye-les-Mines > Lavaur stage which takes place on Wednesday the 13th July 2011 - and is otherwise known as stage 11.

So about 48 kilometers or an hour away in time, close enough, I would think, to be tempted into taking a look. I was really fancying a mountain stage this year, preferably with them going up, because when we observed last years event between Revel and Castelnaudary, it was downhill and all we really saw was a blur of colour as they sped past at a rate of knots. You live and learn I guess.

But Lavaur is a reasonable compromise because it is a finishing point and it really isn't that far in French terms. Plus I will be able to get the trusty video recorder out this year, and film it instead of just photographing. I sense your excitement at the prospect of seeing even more of my dodgy video editing. But you are just going to have to wait until next Wednesday and in the meantime the attached photograph can wet your appetites.

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