Retired French teacher and school librarian who enjoys reading, knitting, traveling and walking the dog.
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  • Day1

    Morning Hike

    September 27, 2020 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    I accompanied my sister to a wedding in Loveland this weekend. Our nephew suggested we hike a bit of The Devil's Backbone, which was 2 miles from our hotel. It was chilly and breezy this morning and we really enjoyed hiking for 40 minutes. A great way to start the day before the long drive home.Read more

  • Day10

    Lutece Arena

    October 1, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 13 °C

    It's our last day in Paris. We took time in the crisp morning air to walk along the Seine. We were above the fray of traffic and enjoyed the Parisian architecture and house boats on the river.
    In the afternoon we set out to find the Lutèce Arena located in the Latin Quarter. This arena was built in the first century by the Romans who called this settlement Lutetia. It seated 15,000 people and was used as an amphitheater, for gladiatorial combat, theater productions and circuses. You can still see the animal cages. In the seventh century it was used as a cemetery and eventually filled in completely and forgotten. Then, in the nineteenth century it was rediscovered during building excavation. Victor Hugo was instrumental in preserving and restoring it. It's a quiet little gem surrounded by a neighborhood. I've been hoping to see the Arena since I read about it in a mystery novel by Cara Black.
    Our next stop was the Ile Saint-Louis, the little island in the Seine. We strolled along its streets before heading back to our hotel for our last night in Paris. We chose an Italian restaurant nearby. The food was delicious and the service wonderful. It's been a fabulous trip with good friends. I always hate to say goodbye to Paris but I love the French farewell, au revoir, until next time.
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  • Day9

    Tuileries Gardens

    September 30, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    On Sunday morning Pat and Mike took a three-hour coach tour of Paris provided by Viking. They said it was excellent with a marvelous tour of Notre Dame. Ron and I walked to a nearby church for Sunday Mass. It was called Saint-Pierre du Gros Caillou, Saint Peter of the Big Pebble. It was nice to attend Mass in a neighborhood church without tourists walking up and down the aisles. In the afternoon the four of us walked through the Tuileries Gardens and along the Rue de Rivoli. Lots of families were enjoying the beautiful weather and gardens.Read more

  • Day8

    Paris

    September 29, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 14 °C

    Saying farewell to Bordeaux we boarded a train for Paris. This was not the super fast TGV; we did make brief stops in Poitiers and Angoulême. Still, it only took three hours and the train was very comfortable. The scenery on the train was pretty ordinary. The scenery from our hotel in Paris, however, was fantastic. The Paris Pullman is located close to the Eiffel Tower. In fact we had a partial view from our rooms. Our first goal after unpacking was lunch. We found a wonderful restaurant called Beaujolais that served great Italian food! We still had time to show Pat and Mike a few sites. We started by walking to the Eiffel Tower for a closeup view. Then we took the metro to the Arc de Triomphe. There was some special veterans celebration going on--lots of people and old soldiers. We did a little strolling down the Champs-Elysées before returning to our hotel for the evening.Read more

  • Day7

    Bordeaux

    September 28, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    On our final day of the cruise we spent a leisurely morning on the ship as we traveled back to Bordeaux. It was quite foggy. After lunch Ron and I walked into Bordeaux for a self-guided tour of the Wine Museum (Musée du Vin et Négoce). It is located in the Chartrons District, home to the wine trade since the Middle Ages. The museum is located in a structure built in the 1720s by an Irish wine merchant named Francis Burke. Like most of the merchants of that era, he worked and lived in the same building. The museum is laid out in two of the vaulted cellars. Following our tour we were given a mini master wine class by a knowledgeable museum employee. We learned about terroir, appellations, and wine varietals--a nice review of our journey this week. Several tastings were involved, of course. We wish we could take some of these wines home with us.
    Our last evening on board was as wonderful as the first. The week passed so quickly. The next part of our adventure begins tomorrow with a train ride to Paris and a couple of days to explore the capital.
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  • Day6

    Pauillac

    September 27, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 29 °C

    After a relaxing morning on the ship we left Blaye at noon, arriving in Pauillac in mid-afternoon. We then boarded a coach for a tour of the Médoc wine country. We drove by several vineyards including Château Margaux. Driving by is as close as we'll ever get to these superb and expensive wines. The grapes are ripe here and we saw pickers in the fields. We did stop at Château Marquis de Terme where the harvest was in full swing. It's quite a production process. A wine tasting was included, always my favorite part of a tour.

    In the evening we shuttled to Château Kirwan for an excellent meal and our favorite Bordeaux wine of the trip. The Forseti chef and crew prepared a marvelous meal of onion and garlic soup in a puff pastry; celery apple remoulade salad with smoked salmon; veal tenderloin with truffle juice, steamed vegetables and potato gratin; and a molten lava cake with vanilla ice cream and red wine syrup. Back on board we finished the evening with a selection of cheeses and Sauternes wine. What a wonderful day.
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  • Day5

    Blaye

    September 26, 2018 in France ⋅ 🌬 27 °C

    At noon we cast off from Bourg and headed to Blaye. Blaye is located on the east side of the Gironde Estuary and is known for its citadel complex high above the town. It was designed by Vauban, a military engineer during the reign of Louis XIV. Built between 1685 and 1689 its goal was to protect the town from invaders coming up the estuary. Along with forts on the other side of the estuary it was able to control river traffic. It is quite a complex with its own streets, barracks and even a prison. There are still ruins from a 12th century castle within the ramparts. Legend says the hero Count Roland of Blaye from the Chanson of Roland was buried here in the basilica on the site of the current citadel.Read more

  • Day5

    Bourg-sur-Gironde

    September 26, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    This morning Ron and I set off on our own to explore the tiny village of Bourg situated on a hilltop overlooking the Dordogne River. According to my research it was built in Roman times, invaded by the Visigoths, attacked by the Normans and fortified by the English. We explored the gardens of the Citadel which had beautiful views of the river. The 19th century church of Saint-Géronce was charming. We even had time to do a little shopping.Read more

  • Day4

    Saint-Emilion

    September 25, 2018 in France ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Saint-Emilion. We've been looking forward to visiting this town and its well-regarded wines. In contrast to Libourne with its center square and streets on a grid, Saint-Emilion is located on a hill with steep and narrow streets. Even with a map it was confusing. Its history goes back to prehistoric times and the Romans planted vineyards here in the 2nd century. It was renamed after the monk Emilion from the 8th century. He settled in a hermitage carved into a rock. The monks who followed him began the commercial wine production in the area. Today the town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Our local guide gave us a brief tour of the town including the Collegiate Church and Cloisters. Then we set off to sample the wine. We found a little open air bar. Ron has been studying French on Duolingo. He ordered us a bottle of wine and four glasses. It was a lovely day and we enjoyed the sunshine and the wine. The streets were confusing but we just headed downhill towards the river to our ship.Read more

  • Day4

    Libourne

    September 25, 2018 in France ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    This morning we took a walking tour of Libourne with a local guide. Libourne is situated on the confluence of the Dordogne and Isle Rivers. In the Middle Ages regional wines were exported to England and the Netherlands from here. Libourne is a typical 13th century medieval town. Like most medieval towns it has a main square surrounded by arcades. Today the arcades are full of cafes and restaurants. Tuesday is market day so we were able to stroll through the market in Place Abel Surchamp as well as an indoor market. The Town Hall, also on the Square, was constructed in the 15th century but remodeled in the19th to make it look more medieval! It has a grand staircase with little gargoyles who are a bit naughty. There is a Museum of Fine Arts on the top floor of the town hall with classical and modern paintings. We enjoyed our stroll through Libourne.Read more

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