Thursday, July 19, 2012


We're moving!  We've been docked for three days and are finally on the move.  It is 7 AM.  I was up at 5:30 with tummy problems.  Too much rich food for dinner last night, or too much wine?

On our other trips with Grand Circle, we got, I believe, one glass of wine with dinner.  On this trip, they keep our wine glasses full.  Vive La France!

We just set sail and am waiting for some more magnificent scenery to photograph.

I think I'll skip breakfast today!

Au Revoir!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Honfleur & Normandy

Did I tell you this already?  We got on our ship on Wednesday.  Yay!  No packing/unpacking until we get home now!  Honfleur is a charming little town on the Seine, across from Le Havre.  We spent the first evening and first full day just exploring.  Yesterday we spent an emotional day and evening exploring the battle grounds of D-day, Omaha Beach and the American war vererans' cemetery.  It rests, finally, after having been once moved on a beautiful stretch of land overlooking the "French" Channel. Its site is US soil--given to us by or purchased from? the French--(I really don't know for sure).  It's employees--French citizens-- are paid in U.S. dollars. 


On that note--do the French really hate the Americans?  According to our guides, absolutely not!  They love and are very grateful to the American people for coming to their aid during this time.  They adored General Eisenhower.  They hated Bush.  They like Obama.  They like to be greeted with a Bonjour and left with a Bon Soir--obligatory in France for all--but, afterwards they will gladly converse in English.  It is considered very rude to walk into a shop without a bonjour--even if you don't see anybody!  Don't even talk about our American table manners!

Friday, July 13, 2012

A Thinker

I was very proud of myself when, while at the Museum D'Orsay I immediately recognized Balzac by Rodin.

The next day, at the Rodin Museum, we were greeted by The Thinker, which seemed to me to be a familiar old friend. Had we met before--besides in books?

As it turns out--we had.  Although now, I can proudly say that I have seen the original--the bronze and marble cast that inspired these thoughts stands in front of the Rodin Museum--was first cast in 1902.  There are more than 20 in all, including one at the Cleveland Museum of Art, which I have most probably seen before.

Inside the museum we were greeted, yet again by Mr. Balzac (this time in granite?), then another Balzac sculpture, then another, then a portrait painting. Finally--the piece de resistance--Nude Balzac! Definitely more than I needed to know.

How many Mona Lisas will I see at the Louvre or at home in the US?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down* **

Second night in Paris.  I can't sleep.  At 4 AM I don't want to wake hubby, so I get dressed and go down to the lobby to read, blog.  The lobby--which consists of a computer and 1 cafe table and two chairs, is dark.  The concierge is asleep on a bench.  What can one expect for $200 a day?

So...I trudge back upstairs to the hallway in front of our room and take out my book and read for about five minutes...until the lights go out.  I take off my clothes and get back in bed to toss and turn for another two hours.

Again I dress and go down to the lobby--which is open now.  I walk down the street and pass a meat truck with sides of beef hanging in the back, ready to be delivered to neighborhood markets.  Of course, I don't have my camera with me!  A few people--very few, considering it's now Monday AM, are walking the streets as I go in search of a cup of cafe au lait.  Nothing is open.  I walk back to the hotel and the concierge directs me to the nearest Starbucks, which he says should be open.  I get there at about 6:30 to find that it opens at 7:30.  So, I go back to the hotel where the concierge tells me that the cafe up the block should be open.  It is not, but, as the door is open, I walk in and I was told to come back in 15 minutes, but was graciously offered a cup or coffee to go.  For only 2.80 euros, which is a bargain, considering, til now the least expensive I've found is 5 euros.  But, that is not a problem as I am on vacation!

So, here I sit, blogging, sorry if I'm grumpy, but I'm much happier now that I've had my coffee.

*The title of a book that I brought to Paris with me, very entertaining, written by an American business man living in Paris.  Highly recommended.  The author is Rosencrans Baldwin.

**As we check out of the hotel on Tuesday afternoon, I see a sign that says "coffee and tea 24 hours a day".

Sunday, July 8, 2012

I am in Paris!

I'm trying something a bit different this time.  I'm reporting live from Paris--though you won't see it til I get home.  I don't like to publish my whereabouts and I did not bring my card reader for pictures.  But--you will get more of Paris and somewhat less jewelry, which may pleae some of you.

We stayed in a very small hotel on this lovely street filled with fruit and flower markets and watched the real Paris stroll by!
We've actually covered quite a bit of ground, already.  Our first stop was La Tour Eiffel--just a short walk from our hotel.  From there we walked and walked and walked and walked to La Musee D'orsay,with a stop for lunch.  I dined like a Parisian on cheese and a cafe avec chocolat.  After having the coffee I realized that wine might've been better, but the coffee was much needed and wine would've definitely put me to sleep, as I'd, at that point missed most of two nights sleep.   And the coffee was topped with real whipped cream and chocolate.



 In the evening we went to see L'Arc de Triomphe and climbed the 280 steps to the top for a spectacular view of Paris!  Fortunately we took an elevator down!  I wanted to see it lit up but, unfortunately, at 9:30 Paris is still daylight and we weren't going to make it awake much longer!  So...that was day one in Paris!

Oh could I forget?  We were dining at a sidewalk cafe and a parade started, I'm assuming in our honor, because nobody could tell us what it was for!