Monday, August 2, 2010

Paris Pasteries

All I can say is ... there goes my waistline.

Garnier Opera House

This was truly one of my absolute favorites. I took a guided tour and learned even more than when I was here in 2007. The Opera House was a place to "be seen." Separate entrances, large grand stairs, and balconies over looking the main staircase so that your entrance into the opera would be a show all of itself. People would buy their own boxed area with walls. Their names would be on the door and it would be theirs for the year.

One of the pictures shows a very small snippet of the library of music, opera and design from the Opera House.

The entire building was one I could sit in all day a muse; however, the place I loved the most is under the grand staircase - the very bottom picture.

This is the place that Phantom of the Opera was written for. Unfortunately there are no rivers underground...only a large vessel holding water in case of a fire.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Vincennes Castle

We took the Metro to the end of line 1 and found Chateau Vincennes. The chapel was one of my favorites...nice and bright on the inside with HUGE stained glass windows. This castle started out as a hunting lodge for Louis VII. Over the many years other kings have added on. It has been used as a prison.

The picture of paintings are of when it was used for a prison, the prisoners would paint the walls. I also got photos (not included here) of graffiti from 1861. I am fascinated by ancient graffiti.

This picture of Eric...I could make an entire photo book of Eric with statues. Thank goodness Eric keeps his clothes on.

Monday, July 19, 2010


Our short visit to Switzerland was beautiful! I had to take these fun pictures of the hotel. By the time that we arrived in our room the TV was on with dad's name on the TV welcoming him to the hotel. Then they came and made up two beds for Eric and Michael and left an adorable teddy bear on each of the beds in a cute little bag. Then...they left a Swiss chocolate bar for each of us, water, ear plugs, and little wonderful extras in the bathroom. We decided that we didn't want to leave the hotel.

The next morning we were hoping to get up to the alps. Unfortunately there was a low cloud cover so the boys didn't get to see the majesty of the alps. However, the scenery was extremely beautiful and since they didn't know what they missed, it didn't bother them.

We enjoyed the day of sight seeing and driving back to Stuttgart Germany to catch the train and get back to Paris.

Lichtenstein Castle

The boys and I caught a train (a fast one! It went 320 mph) from Paris to Stuttgart Germany. Welc met us at the train station and we all spent the night in Stuttgart and then rented a car to drive down through Germany and into Switzerland. Welc was going to be looking at fruit trees and checking out the fruit in markets.

On the way we visited a small castle called Lichtenstein. Lichtenstein Castle sits on a crag overlooking the Echaz Valley in Germany. It is a fairytale castle. We had a short 30 minute tour and then we were off on our way to Switzerland. We drove on the Audubon at speeds a little over 100 mph. I was not thrilled in the least with that. I tried to keep myself occupied with watching movies from the History channel (Joan of Arc and Napoleon) that I had downloaded on my ipod.

Bastille Day - July 14

Bastille day here in France is like the 4th of July in America. Bastille day marks the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789 and the first major event of the French Revolution of 1789.

In the evening we went to the Eiffel Tower to watch the fireworks. I really have to step back at moments like this to soak in the reality of being here in Paris. It was beautiful. I found myself realizing that it was not the same without "Oh beautiful for spacious skies..." playing in the background. France is wonderful but America is where my heart is.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Dday continued

These photos are of the bunkers that the Germans built in preparation for a battle. Eric is standing in the doorway of one. Inside is an empty shell of fear and death. "Cement" walls housed the big machines of war with wide "windows" to swivel and get aim.
Behind Eric in one of the rooms the Americans found 33 German soldiers. Three escaped to a small town nearby and all the others were killed. Looking in that blackened muddy room I recalled the words of a Veteran. In the museum I had heard him speak that he is still haunted by the sounds of a soldier "gurgling" in his blood. The German had attacked him from behind and the Veteran took his knife and sunk it into the German's temple. He then had to slit his throat. Because he could not bear that the man was dying a slow death, he turned him over and stabbed him in the back. That veteran is still haunted by those sounds and life for him was never the same.
Inside the bunker you can see a direct hit probably from one of our ships.
I don't know a lot about war. Standing on those bluffs, in the bunkers, and on the sand looking up at those bunkers I wept. I wept because my 18 years old boys were there with me and that is the age of most of those young men who died on those sands in 1944. I wept because I missed my father and his patriotism. I wept because I know those men storming the beaches of Normandy on that hellish morning felt alone and very scared. Scared of the unknown and the unsaid.