Carcasonne Yellow Paint

The second most-visited French attraction now looks like a shooting range. Tourist nightmare?

Photo: Twitter / Philippe Bélaval

This is not (unfortunately) a re-image of the famous Fly4free graphics. Residents of the Carcassonne area are appalled by what the largest medieval urban complex in Europe, the legendary castle and fortifications, has changed. Art or vandalism?

Are you going to France, and one of your dreams is to visit the famous Carcassonne? You must prepare for a big shock. Fortifications look … well, differently than usual.

Felice Varini, a Swiss artist known for his controversial work, was given a chance to “decorate” Carcassonne. The artist paints on architectural and urban spaces, such as walls, buildings and streets. His paintings are characterized by a single vantage point, from which an outside observer can view the whole composition – if he happens elsewhere, he will see only fragments not forming a coherent whole.

What did he paint on the fortifications and walls of Carcassonne?


– It looks like a shooting target! It is simply awful!

This is one of the milder opinions expressed by the residents of Carcassonne and tourists who can see the work of Felice Varini with their own eyes.

Foto: twitter / firenewsfeed

Extreme reactions

The artist glued  thin, aluminum strips – painted in bright colors – on the walls and turrets of the Carcassonne castle complex . The whole looks like concentric circles, spreading on water. Or how … a giant shooting range.

The terms “ugly” and “horror” appear in opinions expressed not only by residents, but also by tourists. Carcassonne is the second most popular attraction of France – annually it is visited by over 4 million tourists from around the world.

– As a medievalist, I am shocked that the French authorities could allow such corruption – comments of this type appear in the media.

Voices of support for modern art are in the minority. The work was created to honor the 20th anniversary of entering the entire complex on the UNESCO World Heritage List. The artist himself does not care about the critics, claiming that the circles fit perfectly into the city’s stone walls.

Understanding art

Apart from the very idea (apparently it does not discuss the tastes), the problem is the way of “displaying the work” .

Of course, it’s the intended effect. Nevertheless, tourists visiting Carcassonne, usually instead of a regular pattern – which is visible only from specific places – have such a picture before their eyes:

Photo: firenewsfeed


Residents of Carcassonne have prepared a special petition in which they demand removal of concentric circles . According to them, it is a disfigurement of a beautiful monument – it was not consulted with them, and the effect of the Swiss artist’s work must look every day.

The work of Felice Varini will be on display until September 30, 2018.

What is your opinion? Close your eyes, imagine a similar installation on the walls of the Wawel castle or the Teutonic castle in Malbork. Would fit?

Travel at the be


I’m Boss of the kitchen. Check out Holiday Hijinx menu!


As the current usurper-of-the-kitchen in our home who has relieved Lietta of the need to spend too much time doing the culinary things she has done most of her life,  I have chosen to relegate my beautiful lodge-keeper to the status of bystander, spectator and honored guest for Thanksgiving Dinner this year.

I don’t want to do turkey. Turkey agitates a gout condition of which I have been free for 16 years thanks to medication and my limited common sense.

So in listening to our fowl brother pictured above, I have elected to use beef as the foundation of our Pilgrim’s Progress To Dining Delicacies.

Using my faithful laptop, I have searched, pondered and procured the following menu:

Brisket with a secret ingredient I refuse to reveal until the big Thursday Showdown Moment:

slow cooker root beer brisket recipe

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

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Whipped sweet potatoes with bananas and honey

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Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Shallots With Balsamic Vinegar

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Fall Corn Pudding with White Cheddar and Thyme


And the piece de resistance: Apple Mince Pie in a cast iron skillet

Grandma's Iron Skillet Apple Pie

Unfortunately the fruit cake recipe I found takes more than a week to set up so it’s waiting for Christmas

Happy’s Lame Recipies: Millennium Ultimate Jack Daniels Fruitcake

All right, I know you hate fruitcake, but I don’t. This is the best fruitcake I have ever eaten. Unfortunately, making this is a real pain in the wazoo. I last made it in 1999 as kind of an end-of-millennium effort.

2 pounds mixed glazed fruit (pineapple, orange peel, lemon peel, citron, etc.)
1 pound raisins
1/2 pound golden raisins
1/2 pound currants
1/2 pound glazed cherries (I skipped these.)
1/2 pound chopped figs
1/2 pound chopped dates
1 quart Jack Daniels
2 cups chopped walnuts (I increased the walnuts to 4 cups.)
1/4 pound unsalted butter
2 cups sugar (I used dark brown sugar.)
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
3 ounces unsweetened chocolate, grated (I substituted 9 tablespoons dutch process cocoa and 3 tablespoons cooking oil. I suppose you could increase the butter and leave out the oil.)
6 eggs, beaten (I didn’t beat the eggs.)
1-1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup Myers Dark rum (I used 2 T per cake.)

Combine all of the fruits in a very large non-aluminum bowl and mix well. Add the Jack Daniels and toss together. Cover and set aside in a cool spot for a week. Stir the fruit every other day.

Mix the nuts with the fruit.

Cream the butter and gradually add the sugar. Add the spices and chocolate, and beat until well combined. Gradually add the eggs, and beat until mixed. (I added the eggs, unbeaten, one at a time to the creamed shortening/sugar mixture.) Sift together the flour and baking soda. Remove 1/2 cup of the flour mixture and set aside. Combine the remaining flour with the chocolate mixture, and fold together with a large spatula to form a thick batter. (I added the flour to the creamed mixture in three additions, folding the flour in until all of the streaks disappeared.)

Drain the fruit in a colander (save the squeezin’s for ice cream), then squeeze to remove most of the liquid. Combine the fruit with the reserved flour and toss well. Then mix into the chocolate batter, mixing with your hands until everything is well combined. (I slowly poured the batter over the fruit, and mixed it in with my hands. This is when it’s really good to have another person help you.)

Butter and line loaf pans with baking parchment. (Pan spray and wax paper work just fine.) Fill the lined pans about 3/4 full with the cake batter. Bake in a 275 F oven until test done with a toothpick. Small cakes need 1-1/2 hours to 2 hours. Larger cakes require as much as 3 to 4 hours.

Cool the cakes in their baking pans until just warm to the touch. Then pour 1/4 cup of the rum evenly over each cake. When the liquor has been absorbed, remove the cake from the pan (leave the parchment on the cake). Wrap in a double layer of aluminum foil. (I removed the wax paper, then wrapped the cakes in plastic wrap, after which I wrapped the cakes in aluminum foil.) Store in airtight tins for at least four weeks.

The Millennium Edition yielded 6 small cakes that were baked in 1 quart pans. The recipe should yield 4 large cakes baked in 1-1/2 quart pans. The results were delicious. Ron, who doesn’t eat sweet stuff loved this recipe.

I believe Lietta is scared, worried and nervous.

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And Me?

I’m up for adventure … like stepping off a precipice

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Bannack, Montana …Ghost Town Par Exellence.

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One of the few places I’ve visited where I actually wanted the T-shirt they were selling.

Bannack consists mainly of a very long main street with still-standing and well-preserved buildings including store fronts,

homes, shanties,

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a “batchelor’s quarter”,

a working saloon (with a long wooden bar, mirror and piano),
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a hotel with local civic offices downstairs and an upstairs full of halls and rooms that would satisfy any Hollywood western you’ve ever seen) and where at the rear of the hotel is the largest old wood-burning stove I’ve ever seen that had around 12 hot plates and was obviously used in the restaurant kitchen,

a doctors office right out of Doc’s Gunsmoke place),

general store, an assortment of single and double-wide out-buildings,

and of course the two-story Masonic lodge with the impressive classroom including big and long blackboards underneath and where it is suspected that the privacy of the Masonic lodge was a good place for men of all sorts (when an official lodge meeting restricted only to Masons was not being held) to plot in extreme privacy the establishment of a Vigilante Movement that summarily executed some 20+ outlaws including their leader, Sheriff Henry Plummer.

The Methodist Church and story behind it’s establishing reflects everything from a desire to oppose the godless greed and evil among the men and the soiled-doviness of some ladies as compared to the clean and righteous gentrified ladies.

In fact, Bannack as it sits now would and probably did serve as a model for those Hollywood back lot and interior scenes.

Bannack is a historic preservation ghost town where the preservation has been serious. There ain’t no staged shows of gunfights or any of that. For such things go East to the ghost town of Virginia City.

… Oh, and the old traditional wood-burning stove in the drug store is classic, but so is the moonshine still sitting next to it.