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Nearby is Montélimar another pretty town of around 30,000, again with more Roman ruins. 

The local art gallery is presently hosting a very interesting exhibition of well over a hundred works by six contemporary artists.  It’s amazing how much time energy and resources are expended on art in France.  Photographs were prohibited but I got a couple before being informed of the ban.


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It was a great exhibition and I was disappointed not to be able to record it in more detail, so I purchased the catalogue (more weight to my bag).




We had planned to have a quiet lunch at Mornas where there is a medieval (12th-century) fort that might be interesting.

According to the guidebook:


During the Wars of Religion in the 16th century there was vicious fighting for control of the fortress. In 1562, The Calvinistes of the Marquis de Montbrun captured it, massacred the women and children, and threw the garrison over the cliff onto the spikes below; they allowed only a single person to escape. In 1568, Mornas was retaken by François de La Baume, and the same fate was inflicted on the Protestant garrison.

The strategic importance of the site diminished over the years, and the fortress was already abandoned by the time of the French Revolution.


But now as we approached it was anything but quiet.  The place was packed.  Cars lines the roadside for a kilometre.  Luckily for us a car was just leaving as we approached, allowing us to park very close to the centre of activity.

We had serendipitously arrived in the midst of the annual medieval festival of Mornas.   

It was like a fete, the streets strewn with straw; adults dressed up as knights, matrons and maidens, medieval crafts being demonstrated, and activities including jousting with real lances and horses;  archery for the kids; medieval food; various animals on display, even ferrets;  everyone having a great time.


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Lunch was as one might expect at a fete, a baguette with cheese and ham - but we didn’t mind one bit.

It was a lovely day and we set out again passing through the vineyards of Châteauneuf-du-Pape on our way to Avignon.

They must still hand pick here.  The vines are like little bushes, not on trellises, as in most wine districts these days.



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Hong Kong and Shenzhen China






Following our Japan trip in May 2017 we all returned to Hong Kong, after which Craig and Sonia headed home and Wendy and I headed to Shenzhen in China. 

I have mentioned both these locations as a result of previous travels.  They form what is effectively a single conurbation divided by the Hong Kong/Mainland border and this line also divides the population economically and in terms of population density.

These days there is a great deal of two way traffic between the two.  It's very easy if one has the appropriate passes; and just a little less so for foreign tourists like us.  Australians don't need a visa to Hong Kong but do need one to go into China unless flying through and stopping at certain locations for less than 72 hours.  Getting a visa requires a visit to the Chinese consulate at home or sitting around in a reception room on the Hong Kong side of the border, for about an hour in a ticket-queue, waiting for a (less expensive) temporary visa to be issued.

With documents in hand it's no more difficult than walking from one metro platform to the next, a five minute walk, interrupted in this case by queues at the immigration desks.  Both metros are world class and very similar, with the metro on the Chinese side a little more modern. It's also considerably less expensive. From here you can also take a very fast train to Guangzhou (see our recent visit there on this website) and from there to other major cities in China. 

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Nepal Earthquake


The World is shocked by the growing death toll, that has now passed 5,000 as a result of the recent earthquake in Nepal.

The epicentre was close to Pokhara the country's second largest city with a population just over a quarter of a million.  Just how many of the deaths occurred there is not yet clear.

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Electricity Pricing


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The present government interventions in electricity markets, intended to move the industry from coal to renewable energy sources, are responsible for most of the rapidly rising cost of electricity in Australia.  These interventions have introduced unanticipated distortions and inefficiencies in the way that electricity is delivered.

Industry experts point to looming problems in supply and even higher price increases.

A 'root and branch' review of these mechanisms is urgently required to prevent ever increasing prices and to prevent further potentially crippling distortions.

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