La Rochelle- Medieval City

What do I think about the people of Europe so far? When I cruise the supermarket isles I see the same concerns reflected in the products that I see in America. I see a whole isle of beauty and skin care, I see an isle of toiletries, an isle of soda pop, an isle of junk cereals, an isle of pharmaceutical. I do see more and better cheese sold in 100’s of little boutique packages. The shops are loaded with what I would call luxury goods, the cafes are filled with people enjoying the street scenes.

If you were to swap out the Peugot’s, Citroen’s and Renault’s for Fords, Chevy’s and Chrysler’s, and swap out the language, swap out football for er- football, I think you would find the same people with the same values. The same with Ireland and England. And I am a little impatient to go somewhere really different.

Hmmm, Morocco is close.

La Rochelle pleasure craft, to illustrate my point.


Everyone says the best part about traveling is all the interesting people you meet. I meet dead people. The architecture displays their values, that which they thought sophisticated, beautiful, useful and modern. The dead who built this city shout out as I pass, tread the cobblestones with me.

The Great Clock Tower, parts dating back to the 14th century.


This is a walled city. In medieval times these towers guarded the entrance to the city and the harbor. At night a chain was drawn between them.


Here is the only remaining medieval lighthouse on the Atlantic.


And they do have a public rent-a-bike system. Check out the shaft drive and generator powered headlights. A Euro for half an hour.


A tour de supermarket leaves me wondering how folks can be so numb to the high prices of things. If Euro’s were dollars things would be priced similar to what they are in the States. But it takes $1.35 to buy one Euro. My lovely buffet lunch at an oriental restaurant for example costs me 11 Euros, the best lunch deal I could find. But that translates to $15.00. In the US we can get a similar lunch for $8.00. Why?

La Rochelle street scene.


And this is what happens if you put off the cosmetic work for 400 years. Note the toilet addition scabbed on when sewers became available- a 1700’s ? handyman job.


3 thoughts on “La Rochelle- Medieval City

  1. I knew this would be controversial! Great generalizations are always right and wrong. My sense was more this: If you could remove all the artifacts of culture- and then swap out the people from one western world to another- and then put the artifacts of culture back on them- that, in general, you would have a hard time knowing what “people” you were actually talking to.

    The comment was not about core survival needs, which all humans share, nor about our cultures, which we all differ. If was about something in between.

    For example, if I was lost in America and standing on a street corner with a map in my hand, it’s likely someone will walk up ad ask to help, and give friendly directions. In England that would not happen. However, the minute I asked for help, an English person would give friendly directions. A different response would be “I am sorry you are lost brother, but the map will not help. You must find the thing that shines brightest to you and go that way.”

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