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Saint Veran - the highest commune in Europe

A 'commune' is a municipality, and at 2042m Saint-Veran is higher than them all; it's located in the Queyras National Park and was easily reachable by car - though in winter I'm sure it's somewhat more complicated.
Saint Veran map, Hautes Alpes

Here's one view
Saint Veran, Hautes-Alpes, France

Tourism and agriculture are the main sources of revenue in the area; there were many guesthouses and it's popular with hikers in summer, and skiers in winter.

It's population is 290, and about 30 children go to the local school.

The Post Office had the altitude indicated in front - I suppose it's probably the highest Post Office in Europe too
Saint Veran post office, Hautes-Alpes, France

and there were a couple of post boxes embedded in the house walls like this one
Saint Veran post box, Hautes-Alpes, France

The church was very atmospheric, and had these pillars in front - they reminded us exactly of the two lions in front of Chinese temples!
Saint Veran church entrance, Hautes-Alpes, France

a close up - dunno what it's meant to have in its paws. It looks kind of like it's snacking on a baby :-O
Saint Veran church entrance, Hautes-Alpes, France

Here you can see the typical Alpine architecture - stone base and wooden first floor and roof.
Saint Veran street view, Hautes-Alpes, France

We spent a couple of hours there, dozing, strolling and drinking coffee. Once the sun started going down it quickly got chillier - reminding us of the how harsh the mountain climate must be sometimes.

A room with a view - in Provence

A short one to at least update something! Got loads to do this week… :-|

Here is the trip we did in France - it was great! :-)

Road trip France 2009
(click for the Google Map full version)

The nicest place we stayed in was a ‘Chambres d’Hôtes’ (i.e. a B&B en français) – it was called Un Patio en Luberon.

This was our room - called 'Roussillon'
Ansouis, Un patio en Luberon, Chambre Rousillon

and the view from the window
Ansouis, Un patio en Luberon, Chambre Rousillon

It was named after this village, also called Roussillon
Roussillon, Provence

the name of the village is derived from 'rouge' which means 'red' in French, and it is famous for the ochre that is mined there and which colours the buildings

More to come, brief snippets only.

Beers!! Delicious! Enticing! Belgian!

Been travelling for over a week now, and this is the first chance I got to do some updates. It will be quick, and about BEER!!

One of my goals back here is to try as many different beers as I can :-) I didn't take photos of them all, but here are a couple from the UK (OK one is a cider I know :-P)
English beer cider

I found out that Cornish beers/ales are generally pretty nice and smooth. Also, because the weather is kind of cold, warmer ales are much nicer than a cold lager!

Arriving in Belgium, we stopped at the first petrol station for some food, and here was the choice of beers (aaahhhhhh....)
Belgian motorway choice of beers

I have to say, I wonder about the wisdom of serving beers in a motorway cafe, but I was not complaining :-P

We had a 'Blanche' and a 'Kriek'
Kriek Belle-Vue and Hoegaarden Blanche with glasses

'Kriek' is cherry beer, usually the best type of fruit beer - refreshing tartiness. Note also that each has its own special type of glass.

Next day, to the supermarket - here are the shelves packed full! (and some more were around the corner of the aisle)
Continue reading "Beers!! Delicious! Enticing! Belgian!"

The 'ideal type' blog?

As promised, here is some more analysis of the survey. In this post, I'm going to compare responses to a series of statements that were asked to both bloggers and non-bloggers about their opinions on blogs in general. The idea behind this set of statements was to see whether there was some sort of consensus amongst bloggers and readers about what a blog should be like - i.e. is there an ideal-type blog that the members of the blogosphere believes should be a model to follow? There were some questions on more objective matters (e.g. photos or not, comments or not), and some more subjective matters (e.g. whether a blogger should be honest or not).

For me, often the most interesting questions are usually those that ask people to rate their level of agreement with certain statements (it's called using a Likert scale normally); social science is never an accurate science, and reflecting people's range of thoughts and practices accurately based on a structured questionnaire (i.e. with choices of answers) is very difficult, but this way does give one way of reflecting the many shades of gray that make up human behaviour.

You can see the details of the responses by clicking on the thumbnails below
myblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudesmyblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudesmyblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudesmyblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudes

but what I'll do here is compare them using area charts to get a feel for the trends. The charts compare the responses by Bloggers (in pink; n = 356) and Non-Bloggers (in green; n = 197). If you see more on the right side, it means more agreed with the statement, and disagreements show up on the left; a peak in the middle means more were 'Neutral'. Where there is more of a difference in their attitudes, you can see the colour stand out. You should also be aware that these graphs are not always directly comparable - because the scale on the y-axis changes sometimes.

Functional features
These compare the more 'functional features' that bloggers and non-bloggers prefer.

myblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudes
The clearest preference is for comments - overall just over 80% of bloggers and non-bloggers think that blogs should have a comments function; compared to the chat-box, you can see that there is a lot less interest as to whether or not there is a chat-box on a blog.

myblogs2009 malaysian blog survey blogger attitudes
There's a general preference for photos, but many are Neutral, and about one-fifth think they are not a necessity. The Non-Bloggers tend to think this is more important.

Continue reading "The 'ideal type' blog?"