Archive for March, 2009

Mont St. Michel

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

montstmichelnightYes, right out of a picture postcard, this amazing Abbey sits in the middle of the bay, with the tide coming in and out.  It started  way back in the 700’s by a monk who heard voices (“if you build it , they will come”).  This is a real homage to the faith of so many who toiled through tremendous obstacles to create something on a rock in the middle of the water. . . and with no electricity, cranes, power tools –  just dedication and alot of talent and innovation.   Could we build something like this on one of the Coronado Islands off San Diego today?

viewfromourroomI was thrilled to actually stay on the island in one of the few hotels, and thanks to the generosity of my church, to ask for a special room – one with an awesome view!  The Abbey itself is incredible to tour.  Reading the book “The Pillars of the Earth” before, really made this place come alive for me (thanks, Joe Hewitt).  Of course, there were a trillion steps which I took one at a time with my bum knee, but nothing was gonna stop me from this experience. Steve was so patient.

I will bring you up to date on the Bayeux Tapestry, bird poop in the hair, and enjoying dinner with other Americans, later as a flash back. 

We traveled from noon until 8:30 pm, traversing a lot of France  on our way to Monaco tomorrow!  It was a crime not to even see one chateau in the Loire Valley, but if I am lucky I can have lunch in Provence tomorrow.

Omaha Beach

Tuesday, March 31st, 2009

You can’t imagine how moving this special location is until you witness it first hand. It is quite a stirring memorial to the thousands of young people who gave their lives on June 6, 1944, and in the ensuing days.  normandycrossesThe photos, testimonies, and mementos of those who served really came alive in the museum presentation and on the field of green that over looks the Omaha Beach.  While 3 of our parents served in this war, they were fortunate to serve in other locals: Barbara in Washington D.C., George in Africa and Brazil, and Joe went to China.  War is different now in so many ways…Steve was in Vietnam…and that was different too.  Unlike most other countries, service in our military is honored; it is not just a job but a commitment.  But the risks are great.  We were taken with the fact that the crosses we saw represented young people who gave up their futures so that others could have one.  And so many loved ones left behind to grow old without them.

Sleep Time

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

I am so tired, but my reading public needs to be kept abreast (all 3 of you).

Tomorrow is huge as we tackle the Bayeux Tapestry, and the beaches of Normandy, plus a 4-5 hour drive.  I don’t want to get up early, especially with losing an hour tonight.  The rolls and salami we snagged at breakfast will be our dinner.  When did travel become such work?

Brugge

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

bruggecanal

bruggebridgeBrugge is the northern Venice.  It is a city of canals, very old homes, 21 churches, and tourists!

We ate Belgium waffles, Belgium chocolate, saw Belgium lace, and took a canal boat ride (sorry, no Brussel sprouts).  This country is divided in two halves; the Flemish side (they like the Dutch) and the French side (they don’t like the Dutch) and neither side likes each other.   But Brugge is awesome.

We traveled nearly 3 hours to get here, and when we arrived, it was like the bus let out…thousands of people on a chilly day?  It was great, and we didn’t fight!

In Brugge

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

We had a great day today…Lucy was a little ornry first off and we traveled by the seat of our pants for awhile, but she got her act together. Brugge was awesome and we took a canal ride and had Belgium Waffles and Belgium chocolate and bought a Belgium Lace bookmark. Do I have to eat Brussel Sprouts while I am here too?

Now we are at a military hotel across from the NATO base outside of Brussels in their computer center. We have time change tomorrow, but I hope I can still sleep in.

FYI

  • The gps is Lucy
  • The itouch is Ethel
  • My kindle is Brittany
  • Steve’s kindle is Marion

The naming of the car???  It is still up for grabs.   Andy votes for a Swedish name (Gail’s delivery van is “Brutus”).

Getting Cultured

Saturday, March 28th, 2009
Rijksmuseum

Rijksmuseum

The Rijksmuseum in the heart of Amsterdam has the greatest collection of Rembrandt paintings (his home town) as well as a collection of Vermeer’s to die for.

We were frisked and relieved of our carry-stuff, but stood inches away from the paintings that, up until now, I  had only seen in books.

Because the place was open late on Friday, we were able to squeeze it in after driving into town, parking under the Olympic Stadium, and taking a trolley to the center of town (you should be  impressed by that feat).

There were even madrigal singers doing a program in one of the galleries.

We enjoyed a full day of God’s magnificent creation in the morning, and Man’s atempt to paint it in the afternoon.

Sadly we couldn’t take picures of the paintings.

Goin’ Dutch

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

woodenshoes1

So much water!

And sooooo many tulips!

And so many Bicycles.

This completely level country of canals is overrun with bikes as the major means of transportation.  The bike lanes are bigger than the car lanes and have the right of way. We are talking Millions!

We enjoyed a delightful B&B for 2 nights and crammed one full day with the Gardens and the Rijksmuseum.

This country definitely has personality.  It is definitely COLD and I am wearing 4 layers.windmill

Keukenhof Gardens

Saturday, March 28th, 2009

tulippath1Once you get off  the freeways ,the quaint villages  along the way can be enjoyed! In the village of Lisse, NI, you will find Keukenhof Gardens; a veritable Garden of Eden. It  is just emerging as spring tries to warm up.

Only open two months of the year, what originally started as a competition between tulip growers has become a renown vista of incredible beauty…it just feeds the soul.  We drove with the top down in the car, speakers blaring, seat warmers on!

Only about 30% was in bloom, but you could see the potential. There is a huge greenhouse display that had everything in bloom, There were also various competitions going on  in several halls showing orchids, mums, amaryllis and many others.

We walked for miles,but never tired looking at all the beauty!

redtulips

On The Road Again (Via Water)

Thursday, March 26th, 2009
The Road Through Kiel

The Road Through Kiel

 

All-AboardWe left the Volvo dealership with only 5 miles to drive to arrive at the ship and we still got lost! We drove the car up the ramp, hopped out and went to our stateroom for a 13 hour boat trip from Gothenburg (gyoatbuhrg) Sweden to Kiel, Germany.

Once in Germany, “Lucy” had a great deal of difficulty getting used to Europe.  But we eventually found our Bed & Breakfast in Keukenhof, Netherlands and will be staying here for the next 2 days.

But let me tell you about the Autobahn…it’s raining, new car, new country, and the speed limit is 120!  We stayed to the right at a respectful 70 mph. That was fine, until 2 Smart cars passed us (we didnt count the Citroens and Mini Coopers).  We found the replica  of  “Noah’s Ark” in Dracken, and are near the flower fields which we will keep for tomorrow’s adventures.

It’s been a difficult day with being lost and everything in German or now Dutch.  Marriage is a daily commitment…we will try again tomorrow.

Here She Is

Thursday, March 26th, 2009

our-new-babyVolvo really knows how to roll out the red carpet!!  So much fun; to be greeted at the airport, a nice hotel, picked up and taken to the showroom with our name on the board.

Then there she was, wheeled into a special showroom where we were introduced.  Her color is “Vanilla Pearl.”  We signed some papers, took a test drive, and then relaxed over lunch at the headquaters.  Following lunch was a factory tour and then a test drive of a concept car that stops on its own in slow moving traffic if you are about to bump!  A FULL day!! 

Two other families were picking up cars so we ot to be great friends, swapping stories.  Then we headed to the docks to put her on the ship and head overnight to Germany and the continent. 

I didn’t sleep much from too much excitement…so it gave me more praying time.  

pearliSooooo, since we have named all the electronics we brought with us…do we name the Car???  We are taking a poll.

For larger, more detailed photos of our new baby, make sure you click on one of the thumbnail pictures on our photo page.