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October 2016 - France, Germany, Czech Republic, and Belgium

France | Paris | Port de Plaisance Paris de l'Arsenal- Bastille| Artemis winter berth

October 31, 2016

We had fun showing Val and Bob some of our favorite spots in Paris before putting them on a bus to their airport hotel. It was a great couple of weeks touring with them. We arrived back in Paris Thurs. Oct. 27 and they used the "Hop On Hop Off Bus" to get an overview of the city on Friday Oct. 28.

Saturday October 29 we visited Montmartre and Sacre Coeur and had a nice lunch in one of the cafes there. We walked a touring route past Moulin Rouge, Place Republicque, St. Martin Canal and back to La Bastille and Artemis.

France | Paris | Montmartre | Basilica of Sacre Coeur

Sunday October 30 We took the train to Arc de Triomphe to St. Joseph's for mas in English. After mass we walked through Parc Monceau, past St. Augustine Church and Palais Garnier (Opera House). We went to lunch at "Chartier" an old Parisian soup kitchen. We walked through Forum des Halles, Centre Pompidou, Marais district and Place des Vosges enjoying people watching.

France | Paris | Parc Monceau | new edible garden

France| Paris | Place de la Republique|

Monday October 31 Today we had one last picnic and hike in Paris with Val and Bob. We put them on a bus to their airport hotel this afternoon as they are flying home tomorrow morning. We walked from the Bastile past Notre Dame, over the river to Pantheon and Luxembourg Garden. It was another gorgeous day perfect for a picnic and people watching in the park.

France | Paris | Picnic in Luxembourg Garden

France | Paris | Luxembourg Garden | another beautiful sailing day on the pond

October 27, 2016

We drove to Caen, Normandy France on Monday October 24. Bob and Val went to the Caen Memorial Museum. We've been through this excellent WWII museum twice so Al and I only walked through the German Bunker and the American Garden. Then while Bob and Val did the museum we checked into our hotel and walked to the Citadel. Unfortunately the museums were closed for a holiday but we did walk the Ramparts. We walked along the Plaisance de Caen to see the boats which arrive via the River Orne from the English Channel. We came back later that night with Val and Bob for dinner.

France | Caen | Memorial Caen Museum | American Garden

France | Caen | View of Caen from Chateau

France | Caen | Eglise St. Jean

Tuesday Oct. 25 we did a tour of the Normandy D-Day Beaches in France. We started out at Arromanches for the 360 cinema. Then we visited the German Gun Battery in Longues-Sur-Mer, Normandy American Cemetery, Omaha Beach, Pointe du Hoc, and Ste Mere Eglise/Airborne Museum. This was our third time visiting the various Normandy Memorials and no less moving.

France | Longues-Sur-Mer | German Gun Battery

France |Colleville-Sur-Mer| Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial

France |Ste Mere-Eglise | 101st Airborne paratrooper caught on church steeple

France | Ste Mere-Eglise | Main altar in Ste Mere Eglise

We drove on to St. Malo, France for the night. Unfortunately we saw very little of the beautiful countryside and sea due to heavy fog. We chose to return to a quaint, romantic hotel Al and I stayed at last April inside the city walls. We had an excellent meal at Restaurant Lion d'Or and amazing desserts. Thanks Bob! After dinner we walked the city ramparts (walls) which was rather eerie in the fog but beautiful and peaceful.

Wednesday Oct. 26 We had another foggy day in Normandy. We stopped in a Breton village for breakfast. At first the owner said he wasn't serving food. But after we ordered 4 coffees anyway he changed his mind. He warmed up his galette pan and made us each an excellent ham, egg and cheese galette. (buckwheat filled crepe). We visited Le Mont St. Michel, France and celebrated mass in the Abbey. The music was beautifully done by the nuns and monks serving in the Abbey. We spent several hours touring the Abbey and walking about the village on Mont St. Michel. It was too foggy to get great pictures or views but Al and I had been here twice before so not too disappointing for us.

France | Mont St Michel | Tide is out along the city walls of Mont St Michel

France | Mont St Michel| Village rooftops below Abbey

France | Mont St Michel | Abbey

Wednesday Oct. 26 We drove on to Rouen for our last night on the road. We found a great pizza and salad restaurant for dinner and then walked to Eglise Maclou and Notre Dame Rouen Cathedral so Val and Bob could see them beautifully lit at night.

Thursday Oct. 27 Rouen, France Val and Bob did the St. Joan of Arc Museum which Al and I have already done. He and I shopped for a new mattress topper for our bunk in Artemis. We found what we wanted but not the size we needed. There is another store near Artemis in Paris so we'll get one there. After the museum we showed Val and Bob some of the highlights of Rouen.

France | Rouen | Notre Dame Rouen Cathedral

France | Rouen | Palace of Justice

France | Rouen | Abbey Ouen

France|Rouen|St. Joan of Arc Church

We bought baguette sandwiches and decided to stop at Versailles, France on our way back to Paris to show Val and Bob the gardens and palace. The flowers have been turned over for the winter but they are still fantastic. We bought ice cream cones to speed us on our way back to Aretemis in Paris. The traffic wasn't bad until we reached La Defence area in Paris. Then it took us nearly an hour to go 12 km.

France | Versailles | Chateau Versailles | view from gardens in back of the Chateau

France | Versailles | Chateau Versailles Gardens

France | Versailles | Chateau Versailles Gardens

October 23, 2016

Saturday October 22 We stopped in Cologne, Germany along the Rhine River to visit the cathedral before heading to Liege. Belgium for the night. Magnificent! It was started in 1248, stopped incomleted in 1560 and wasn't totally finished until mid-nineteenth century. We arrived in time to attend mass which again made our church visit special.

Germany | Cologne | Cologne Cathedral main altar

Germany | Cologne | Cologne Cathedral St. Peter

Germany | Cologne | The Cathedral of St. Peter

We enjoyed an evening walk about Liege old town. We found another fun dinner spot. Belgian food this time. The guys had Boulet a la Liegeouse (meatballs in a sweet tomato sauce)

Belgium | Liege | St. Barthelemy

Belgium | Liege |Market Square

Belgium | Liege | Montage de Bueren

Sunday October 23 We had hoped to walk and take pictures Sunday but we woke to dense fog. Instead we had great fun exploring the La Batte Sunday Market along Meuse River. It is one of the biggest markets in Europe and certainly one of the biggest we've seen since Turkey. Many clothing as well as food venders. So busy looking for yummy things to eat we forgot to take pictures! We did note the live chickens, ducks, pheasants, doves, guinea fowl and rabbits for sale Then we drove to Amiens, France with a stop in Valenciennes for lunch.

Belgium | Liege | Batte Market | Chickens for sale

Belgium | Liege | Foggy morning at Batte Market along River Meuse

October 21, 2016

We had a fun but rainy day in lovely Heidelburg, Germany. Al and I were here back in 1971-72 with the Chamber Singers (our college singing group where we met) We enjoyed touring the Heidelberg castle and road the funicular for views of this picturesque city along the River Neckar. We walked around old town enjoying the quaintness stopping for coffee and cake. We especially enjoyed walking along the River Nekar and visited Alte Brucke or Old Bridge and Bruckentor gateway. Of course we had visit the bronze Bruckenaffe or Bridge Monkey holding a mirror. Legend is those who looked into the mirror were reminded neither city dwellers nor those outside were better than the others. But today we tourists seek to rub his fingers to ensure our return to Heidelberg, the mirror for wealth, and the mice for fertility. Needless to say we were not interested in the mice:-) We had to move on to Landenburg near Mannheim for the night as Heidelberg hotels were high demand with University semester starting.

Germany | Heidelberg |Bob, Val, Sally and Al from castle ramparts

Germany | Heidelberg |Old Town/Alte Brucke or Old Bridge/River Neckar

Germany | Heidelberg |view steps leading up to castle

Germany | Heidelberg |views of Karl Theodor Bridge -called Alte Brucke or Old Bridge

Germany | Heidelberg |Views of Schlosshof - castle and fortifications

Germany | Heidelberg |Kornmarkt |Grain Market Square views of Schloss-castle above

Germany | Heidelberg |Bruckentor Gateway guards Alte Brucke -Old Bridge

Germany | Heidelberg |Alte Brucke stone bridge over River Neckar

Germany | Heidelberg |Marktplatz | Heiliggeistkirche-Church of the Holy Spirit

October 20, 2016

Thursday October 20 we left Czech Republic driving back into Germany. Rainy days don't keep this crew from seeing it all.... We drove to Nuremberg (Nurnberg) which is on the Pegnitz River and Rhine-Main-Danube Canal in Northern Bavaria. It's a fast drive on the German autobahns at 130 kph+. We did a rainy walking tour of old town and visited Nuremberg castle. The castles always have great views of the cities. We especially enjoyed Weissgerbergasse area and it's many half timbered houses, cobbled streets and walks along and over the river. We crossed over the Chain footbridge alongside of the Covered Bridge spanning the River Pegnitz.

We went to Barfusser-Hausbrauerei for dinner. This iconic restaurant in the cellar of Mauthalle an old medieval grain warehouse and later the weigh and customs house. They brew their own blond and dark beers and serve German food. We enjoyed another great dinner and evening out and about in Germany. It reminded us a little of the Hofbrauhaus in Munich. Lots of people enjoying great beer and traditional food. No music though...

Germany | Nuremberg | Old Town

Germany |Nuremberg | Old Town | Sally, Val and Bob bridge/River Pegnitz in Old Town

Germany| Nuremberg |Frauenkirche - Our Lady Church near main market

Germany | Nuremberg | Nuremberg Castle

Germany | Nuremberg | Nuremberg Castle | view of the city from the ramparts

Germany | Nuremberg | Weissgerbergasse, half timbered houses and cobble streets

Germany|Nuremburg|Henkersteg-covered wooden bridge/Kettensteg-1824chain bridge