Blue sky, sunshine, and flowering daffodils. A perfect weekend for walks in the park.
We have recently added a new boardgame to our collection: Carcassonne.
I did a lot of research before choosing our first board game, Ticket to Ride Europe. During that research, I came across Carcassonne, and was very tempted by it. But, my motivation for buying a game came from the show TableTop, and I wanted to pick something we had seen. The show gives a really good idea of what a game is actually like.
So, I was excited when they recently played Carcassonne on TableTop. The game looked like fun, and we ordered it from Amazon soon after.
Carcassonne is very different to Ticket to Ride. It doesn’t have a board; you create the board as you go by laying down tiles. These tiles create a network of roads, towns, monasteries, and farms for you to control. We’ve only managed a couple of games so far, but I can see a lot of happy Sunday afternoons playing Carcassonne ahead.
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We spent a couple of days in York on a recent trip to the UK. I didn’t know much about York, other than it is home to York Minster Cathedral. The cathedral was the impressive, imposing structure I expected it to be. But, more impressive were the walls that enclose the city and the gates that give access.
The walls have been wonderfully preserved, and you can walk along the top of a large section of them. It was a novel way to see the city.
There were two things I wanted to do more of in 2013: read and travel.
We moved to France at the beginning of 2012, and that year was pretty much consumed with getting ourselves set up. So for our second year here, I wanted to take advantage of our location and explore a bit. One of the reasons we chose Lyon in the first place was for its travel connections.
Graham has done a great job of putting up photos of the places we’ve been. I thought it would be fun to see the list in one place:
- Scotland: Glasgow, Fort William, Mallaig
- Nîmes, Arles, Avignon, Pont du Gard, Luberon villages
- Edinburgh, York
One things I wanted to do in 2013 was read more. Growing up, and right though university, I read a lot. Somewhere along the line, I lost the habit, and I wanted to get back into it. I wanted to read more of the classics, the ones that inform popular culture, that I was so often unfamiliar with.
We gave away most of our book collection before moving to France. We kept a few favourites and any we hadn’t read. It was difficult to justify the cost of shipping books that would most likely sit in a box untouched for years.
Among the books that came with us was Dracula. This is the book I started with during our holiday last Christmas. It was frightening. So frightening that I had to stop reading it before bed, but I couldn’t put it down.
Next, and the only other unread book in our collection, was Moby Dick. I say unread, but I had started it a long time ago, and given up part-way through. I found the beginning boring and difficult to get through. Happily, it improved the further I read, and by the end I really enjoyed it.
Then, the real change happened. I got a Kindle for my birthday. I wasn’t sure about the idea of a Kindle. I can’t read for long periods on the computer, and imagined the Kindle would be much the same. I was wrong. The experience is very different. I finished reading Moby Dick on my new Kindle, and found it much easier to read than the cheaply printed paper copy I had. I was hooked, and I can’t imagine being without my Kindle now.
It also opened up a whole world of free classics for me to read, downloaded in moments with just a few clicks. My only problem is deciding what to read next.
What I Read in 2013
Here is the list of books I read this year:
- Dracula, Bram Stoker
- Moby Dick, Herman Melville
- Pinocchio The Tale of A Puppet, Carlo Collodi
- Heart of Darkness, Joseph Conrad
- The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, L Frank Baum
- The Scarlet Letter, Nathaniel Hawthorne
- Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen
- Frankenstein, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
- Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Lewis Carroll
- The Phantom of the Opera, Gaston Leroux