Raising the Rainbow Flag …

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The Rainbow Flag

Oh my goodness, this city is simply amazing! We have some friends that live here and they have been kind enough to lend us two bicycles, so we’re having fun scooting around. Although, we really should be more sensible and leave early in the cooler hours of the morning but by the time we’re up and dressed, walked Charlie to the local park, sat on a shady bench for half an hour the time goes by so quickly and when we’re ready to set off, the sun is up and causing serious leaks to my body!  I noticed today that my forearms were leaking!!! (Yes I cycled that hard)

We’ve been on a couple of trips and it’s been lovely to get round at a slightly faster pace than walking. I am secretly hoping to shed some of those ‘Campervan Pounds’ that I accumulated last year! As yet I haven’t taken my camera with me, I’m already loaded up with bottles of water, map etc., so that will be for future outings, I really must get organised!

We did a little walk the other day and it was great to take in some more views of Montpellier.

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Always look up when in Montpellier!

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Les Arceaux, aqueduct.

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A local!

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The café on the right places it’s tables in the middle of the road, under a huge tree.

We had been advised to buy ‘La Gazette’ the local weekly paper which comes out on the Thursday of each week. Yesterday, Saturday, at 5pm, we went off to buy a copy. (See what I mean about getting organised?) As the Hubster read the paper, I was busying myself around the flat, he called me over to say that at 6 p.m. there was the Gay Pride demonstration, would I like to go and see it? Hell yeah!! We couldn’t believe our luck, the march started at the top of a neighbouring road and as we arrived on an already crowed pavement we were just in time to see the very beginning of the demonstrators.

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The start of the demonstration

I don’t know about you but I always find it very moving when I see a large gathering of people with a common belief, whether it is a Gay Pride march, an anti-war protest or a demonstration against cruelty to animals, for goodness sake, I was reduced to a heap of tears when we went to the London Marathon! Seeing all those people running that excruciating race for charities that meant so much to them.

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Mme Doubtfire, a tribute to Robin Williams.

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All the colours of the rainbow.

There were approximately 35000 people! It was fantastic, vibrant and totally absorbing. I won’t dwell on the politics of Gay Pride, but I will give you my personal view, love it or leave it. I think it would be very shallow of me to publish photos and not give my opinion.  I believe we are all very different, we may look different, we may believe in different things, we may change our thoughts and beliefs as we grow, either way, whether we are  pink, blue, yellow, gay, straight, bi, whether we have a handicap, whether we have different religious beliefs, whether we are not size 0, it is precisely that, which makes the world the wonderful planet that it is. Even though these people were having a real party, I still find it very sad that there is a need to ‘march’ for people to accept anyone as a minority. Individually, there will be instinctively some people who you won’t like or get on with, but that shouldn’t be because of their ethnic, religious or sexual group, it should be because they just aren’t the kind of person you would click with, end of!!

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Anything goes

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Marching to the music

Wow!! These guys were happy, beautiful, extravagant extroverts, who were hell-bent on having a ball. We saw everything! It was a real eye opener. I won’t be printing all the photos I took, as some, even I regard as bordering on shocking (at my tender age)!! But I can say that the ‘shocking’ were in  minority!

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Fabulous but leather in this weather??

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Float after float went by, confetti and bubbles released into the air creating a carnival feel to the city.

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Montpellier sky awash with colour

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Bubbles anyone?

The music blasted so loud from speakers installed on each float. Donna Summers, “I feel love” ringing in my ears, I found my heart was pounding as I was taking in the atmosphere of happiness and above all – youth! Crowds of people, dancing, gyrating, hugging, marching and having a really good time.

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Follow that float!

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Having a good time

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No, that isn’t Jennifer Aniston on the right!!

There was, of course, a very serious side to this march too, which mingled in subtly, that was the awareness of HIV, Aids and the Safe Sex Campaign..

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Aids information.

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Mobile Aids testing results in 20 minutes.

I was struck by the amount of what I class as beautiful people, with the pounding beat of the music, I was quite sure that all of my photos would have camera shake, I was so chuffed when we got home and I found these, I think they are stunning.

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You really felt that these people were passionate about what they believe in.

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The more serious side of the demonstration

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Being Heard

This march was going through Montpellier to a venue, (apparently with the largest dance floor in Europe!) where there was going to be a party until 7 am the next morning! I can only hope their enthusiasm lasted the night. For our part we were delighted to have experienced this riot of colour and feel good. The “camera clicker” in me, really hopes that this series of photos portrays just a little flavour of what we saw. If I could make a living taking photos like this, I think I would survive on adrenaline alone!!

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Let the party begin!

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