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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

October 19, 2016

Tuesday Oct. 18 It took about 4 hours to drive from Berlin to Prague, Czech Republic. The currency is Koruna (CZK) in Czech Republic. There are 25 Koruna to $1. Things are a bit cheaper here than in EU. We climbed the rather steep but beautiful hill to the castle because the funicular was out of order. Prague castle complex includes several churches, royal residences, courtyards, and gardens. We had beautiful views of the city which was never bombed during the war. We visited Strahov Monastary, Prague castle and St. Vitus Cathedral before walking down the hill to Old Town and Charles Bridge. We stopped for Trdelnik (tube bread) along the way.

Czech Republic | Prague | St. Vitus Cathedral

Czech Republic | Prague | Strahov Monastary

Czech Republic | Prague | Prague Castle | Royal Residence

Czech Republic | Prague | Views from the Castle of Old Town

Czech Republic | Prague | Prague Castle | St. George Basilica

Czech Republic | Prague | Views from outside Castle walls of Old Town

Our restaurant for dinner was a boat tied to the quay just below Charles Bridge. It was a beautiful night for a walk over the bridge and back to our hotel

Czech Republic |Prague | Charles Bridge |Lesser Town Bridge Tower

Wednesday Oct. 19 Another nice day exploring Old Town Prague. It started our a bit rainy but turned into a beautiful day by noon. We did a Jewish Tour in the morning visiting the old Jewish cemetery and several synagogues. We wandered around Old Town on a self directed walking tour

We especially enjoyed Old Town Square architecture, the Astronomical Clock and the Church of Our Lady of Tyn.

Czech Republic |Prague | Jewish Museum Tour

Czech Republic | Prague | Klausen Synagogue

Czech Republic | Prague | Church of Our Lady of Tyn

Czech Republic | Prague | Old Town Square | Astronomical Clock

Tired from all our hiking about for the last few days we decided to take a boat trip on the Vltava River in the afternoon. It was fun to relax and see some of the sights we had walked through from a river perspective. We found the restaurant Al and I had eaten at 5 years ago when we visited Prague and had another great meal surrounded by locals rather than tourists.

Czech Republic | Prague | View from Vltava River boat trip

Czech Republic | Prague | Vltava River boat trip

Czech Republic | Prague | View from boat trip on Vltava River of Prague Castle

October 14-Oct 17, 2016

We left Paris Friday October 14 on a two week road trip meeting Minnesota friends Val and Bob in Berlin. Our first stop was a small town in Darup, Germany where Al's Great Grandmother Lammerding was born. Al's last known relative there has died but we met a nice couple that invited us into there home for coffee and a couple of hours of visiting. It's always so much fun when you're able to meet local people and sharing thoughts. We stayed in Munster, Germany for the night and had a lovely dinner along the canal at Freiheit 26 restaurant. I ordered Seeteufel with lobster bisque sauce. It was excellent! Come to find out it translates Monkfish a favorite fish we discovered in Porturgal.

Saturday Oct. 15 The drive went much faster today to Berlin so we stopped for a walk in Sanssouci Park in Potsdam around 1300. The chateau was built for Frederick the Great King of Prussia as a summer retreat. Schloss Sanssouci sits on a hill overlooking the town. We didn't tour inside any buildings just walked in the many gardens. The beginnings of fall colors both there and on our trip to Berlin today were beautiful. We met up with Val and Bob and enjoyed traditional German food while catching up on all their news.

Germany | Potsdam | Schloss Sanssouci

Germany | Potsdam | Sanssouci Gardens below the Schloss

Germany | Potsdam | Sanssouci Park

Germany | Potsdam | Sanssouci Park

Germany | Potsdam | Sanssouci Park

Germany | Potsdam | Schloss Sanssouci new palace

Germany | Potsdam | Schloss Sanssouci | Gateway into New Palace

Sunday Oct. 16, 2016

We walked much of central Berlin (Mitte) today with our friends Val and Bob. We had great brunch at our hotel before going to a high mass at Hedwig Cathedral. We walked into Gendarmenmarkt Square, to see Konzerhaus Berlin (where the German Orchestra plays), Franzosischer Dom (French Cathedral) and the German Cathedral before visiting two excellent museums. We spent a couple of hours in the Jewish Museum, visited Checkpoint Charlie and then had an English tour at the Topography of Terror Museum. We wander around central (mitte) Berlin for awhile and decided to eat downtown. We had great German "comfort food", pork knuckle, sauerkraut and potato dumplings. We were too full of yummy food and beer for dessert. But no concerns as we had already eaten cake and had coffee mid-afternoon:-)

Germany | Berlin| Hedwig Roman Catholic Cathedral

Germany |Berlin|Gendarmenmarkt Square| Konzerthaus Berlin and Franzosischer Dom

Germany | Berlin | Berlin Wall Memorial

Germany | Berlin | US Army Checkpoint Charlie

Germany | Berlin| Topography of Terror Museum | Berlin Wall remains

Monday Oct. 17

We had another busy fun day in Berlin. We took a train to the far SW corner of Tiergarten near the zoo to visit Kaiser Wilhelm Gedachtniskirche (WWII bombed Memorial Church) We walked back through the garden and along the River Spree to Alexanderplatz visiting most of Central Berlin's highlights along the way. We had a beautiful walk past the Siegessaule (Victory Column), Bellevue Palace (German President's house), the Reichstag, Pariser Platz and Brandenburg Gate, and the Holocaust Memorial. The Jewish Holocaust Memorial near Brandengurg Gate is an unusual site covered with 2711 different height oblong pillars set in a maze visitors wander through contemplating the horror experienced by the European Jewish community.

Germany | Berlin| Kaiser-Wilhelm Memorial Church | Bombed in WWII remains

Germany | Berlin | Bellevue Palace | German President's Residence

Germany | Berlin | Brandenburg Gate | Sally and Val

Germany | Berlin | Tiergarten | Siegessaule -Victory Column in Tiergarten

Germany | Berlin | Reichstag | Seat of German Government

Germany | Berlin | Jewish Holocaust Memorial near Brandenburg Gate

We stopped for coffee and cake mid-day and then did a tour of Berliner Dom. We even climbed to the dome for beautiful views of Berlin and Museum Island. We visiited Alexanderplatz walking around the Rotes-Rathaus and Fernsehturm (TV Tower). We visit Nikolaiviertel (Berlins Medieval core) and Nikolaikirche. We visited several Art Deco courtyards in Hackeschen Hofe and then stopped for dinner at another great restaurant in Alexanderplatz. We actually found Sauerbraten on the menu which made Al very happy!

Germany | Berlin | Berliner

Germany | Berlin | Berliner Dom | Views of Museum Island from Berliner Dom

Germany | Berlin | Rotes-Rathaus

Germany | Berlin| Nikolaiviestel | Nikolaikirch-St. Nicholas Church

Germany | Berlin | Restaurant in Alexandreplatz

Germany | Berlin | Alexandreplatz | Fernschturm - TV Tower

October 11, 2016

Paris We ran a few errands yesterday but otherwise rested up from our busy week. Today we decided to finally visit Musee National des Invalides. We had a picnic in the lovely gardens before starting our 5 hour visit to the museum and church. We were afraid of missing something and toward the end we moved quickly to check if there was something more worth coming back to. It's too bad they don't offer a two day ticket as it's overwhelming after a while.

France | Paris | Musee National des Invalides | view from garden

France | Paris | Musee National des Invalides

The Cathedral Saint Louis is in two parts: The Soldiers Church which is the official church of the French army and Eglise Dome where Napoleon's crypt is house. Both are quite beautiful. We spent a long part of our day exploring Musee d'Armee reviewing lots of French Military history from the French perspective. We could have taken more time for Musee de l'Ordre de la Liberation which had a special area dedicated to Charles de Gaulle

France | Paris | Cathedral St. Louis | Eglise Dome

France | Paris | Musee National des Invalides | Eglise Dome | Napoleon's Tomb

France | Paris | Musee National des Invalides | Cathedral St. Louis | Soldiers Church

October 09, 2016

We had a musical weekend. Saturday October 8 afternoon we went to a lovely violin and piano recital at Chapelle de l'Hopital Lariboisiere near Gare de Nord. It's a beautiful chapelle inside the grounds of a working hospital. The courtyard had lovely flowers and benches for patients to enjoy when the weather was nice. We got our daily dose of miles in walking back to the boat.

France | Paris | l'Hopital Lariboisiere | Chapelle garden

Sunday October 9 After mass we walked back to Bastille. We stopped for a Bretagne galette at the Bastille Market. The line was a bit long but the buckwheat galette was worth the wait. My Crepe was filled with ham, cheese, egg, tomato and onion and Al's was the same except for sausage instead of ham. We had a short rest before walking up to Opera Bastille just above the marina to enjoy the opera Tosca. Lovely performance in excellent venue. The acoustics were great. We don't think microphones were used.

France | Paris | Opera Bastille | Tosca had English and French subtitles

October 6, 2016

We left early this morning to catch a train at Gare de Lyon to Fontainbleau/Avon. We then caught a bus to Fontainbleau to visit the Chateau. This was a royal residence and a favorite hunting grounds for many French Kings. Napoleon said good-bye to his guards from the Cour du Cheval Blanc (Courtyard of the White Horse ) before his exile to Elba. He stood upon the double horseshoe staircase. He signed his abdication at the chateau.

France | Fontainbleau | Chateau Fontainbleau |Cour du Cheval Blanc

France | Fontainebleau | Chateau Fontainebleau | Cour du Cheval Blanc

France | Fontainebleau | Chateau Fontainebleau | ballroom

France | Fontainebleau | Chateau Fontainebleau | Napoleon's bed chamber

France | Fontainebleau | Chateau Fontainebleau | Napoleon's Throne Room

The palace is beautifully decorated and furnished. We had an excellent audioguide and spent 3 hours exploring. Unfortunately or maybe fortunately some areas were not open today. We took time out to have a lovely lunch in a small cafe in Fontainebleau. After lunch we visited the Chateau gardens. The gardens were lovely but not nearly as impressive as Versaille. When we returned to Artemis in Paris we had a BBQ on the quay in front of the Yacht Club. It was another fun, full day and we are looking forward to a day of rest tomorrow.

France |Fontainebleu | Chateau Fontainebleu | view from gardens in back of Chateau

France | Fontainebleu | Chateau Fontainebleu gardens

October 1 - October 5, 2016

Happy to be back in Paris for the winter. We started to reacquaint ourselves with Paris walking to some of our favorite places. Last Saturday Oct. 1 we strolled through the Marais area. It's always liveliest on the weekends. We stopped at Mi Fa Mi restaurant and picked up yummy lamb/turkey falafel and found a park to sit and enjoy it in. We visited Pompidou area and circled around to walk back along the river.

France | Paris | Musee Carnavalet | lovely courtyards

France | Paris | Marais district | Falafel for lunch

France | Paris | Pompidou fountain

On Sunday Oct. 2, we took the train to Arc de Triomphe and went to mass at St. Joseph church. It's always so much nicer celebrating mass in English. We walked down Hoche Ave to Haussemann stopping for lunch at a favorite spot Chantier restaurant which was the old soup kitchen. Great atmosphere and inexpensive good food. You are seated family style so we shared our table with a French couple.

France | Paris | 7 rue du Faubourg Montmartre 9e | Chartier restaurant

We visited the Picasso Museum and it was free today the first Sunday of the month. The museum didn't have much on display. I guess we were spoiled with the excellent Picasso Museum in Barcelona. We stopped at Place Vosges resting our feet and enjoying people watching.

France | Paris | Picasso Museum | newly renovate Hotel Sale 2014

France | Paris | Place des Vosges | people watching

Monday Oct. 3 Al sanded and varnished the companion way door in the morning. Then we took a walk through Jardin des Plantes just across the river from Port de l'Arsenal. The flowers are still lovely, different from our Spring time visits. We wander to the top of the labyrinth and noted some impressive old trees planted here. We had a nice walk along the river back to port.

France | Paris | Jardin des Plantes | walkway to Gallery of Evolution

France | Paris | Jardin des Plantes | Giant Lebanese Cyprus

Tuesday Oct. 4, we took our our bicycles and rode 6km to Parc Floral du Paris and Bois de Vincennes. It was a bit cool riding until the sun rose higher in the sky. Gorgeous day to enjoy the parks.

France | Paris | Parc Floral de Paris |

The Dalhia gardens were just as beautiful as we remembered from our visit last fall. They have hundreds of varieties of them. In the springtime it's the rhododendron bushes you come to see as they have many varieties of them too. We enjoyed a picnic watching/listening to the birds as they played in the lovely trees.

France | Paris | Parc Floral de Paris | Al lost among the dahlias

France | Paris | Parc Floral de Paris | Dahlia Gardens | so many varieties of dahlias

We rode through Bois de Vincennes and sat to watch the swans in Lac Daumesail. Lovely day on our bikes. Paris is making more and more safe bike routes throughout the city. Like in Barcelona traffic is kept out of harms way with concrete bumpers along the paths.

France | Paris | Bois de Vincennes | Lac Daumesail swans

Today October 5, we decided to picnic in Jardin des Tuileries before visiting Museum d'Orsay. We thought we'd just have a quick visit and then move on to Musee Orangerie to see Monet's garden pictures but... We so enjoy the Impressionists that we lost track of time and grew too tired to visit Orangerie. So we'll leave that for another day. We walked back along the right bank of the Seine. The city has made it family friendly with no cars and several play areas all the way to Port de l'Arsenal.

France | Paris | Jardin des Tuileries

France | Paris | Jardin des Tuilleries | view of Eiffel Tower

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