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.