Viviers and Snuffling Truffles

 
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We’ve sailed on to the port of Viviers (not so much ‘port’ as ‘boat ramp’), another picturesque medieval village in the Rhone valley.  The village is vertical and mostly free of automobiles, but the real attraction here was our tour guide, Frances.   Continue Reading →

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Ex-cursion

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Indulge me in a bit of time-travel.  On Day 2 of our enforced stay in Lyon, while most passengers were being bussed 4 hours to Beaune, we rented a little Alfa-Romeo and took to the road to rekindle memories of our first trip to Bourgogne, during Roger’s 1998 sabbatical.   Continue Reading →

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Chocolate!

The Rhone River - from the 'wild' Tournon side

The Rhone River – from the ‘wild’ Tournon side

Day One of the Real Cruise.  We docked at Tain-L’Hermitage and Tournon, two towns spanning the Rhone River, both known for their Syrah vines (and wines, of course.). We learned from the local guide that one side of the river (Tain-L’Hermitage) is warmer and sunnier than the other and that people on the Tournon side of the river are wilder than their countrymen on the Tain side.  Being cold and dark will do that to you. Continue Reading →

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Lyon, City of Lights

The Museum of Confluence

The Museum of Confluence

Competition between cities seems to exist in every country, every culture.  Lyon, which can really stand on its own as a center of French gastronomy, still struggles not to seem provincial compared to Paris.  Paris – the City of Light.  Lyon – the City of Lights.  That essential ‘s’!!   Continue Reading →

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Lying Around Lyon

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Laying… Lying… You figure it out.  We ended up staying two days in Lyon due to the high water on the Soane River.  And just in case you think I’m lying, here’s a picture of Roger demonstrating how high the water is (not much of a demonstration, I’ll give you that – but you CAN see that the river is lapping the stepped stairway.  It’s apparently high enough to stop a cruise ship.  Or someone wearing nice shoes.)

See?  SO deep!

See? SO deep!

We commandeered a couple of bicycles and took advantage of the fantastic network of bike paths that traverse the city and hug the rivers.  Our first stop was the stunning “Confluence Museum” (that’s the building in the photo at the top and just below), which not only celebrates the confluence of the rivers Soane and Rhone, but the confluence of the elements of life.  It’s an intriguing museum – exploring myriad ways that humans observe life and death, our relationships to animals, to the universe –  it’s scope is huge and the interactive displays (in English and French, thankfully) really grab your interest.  We spent hours and could have stayed longer, but the gorgeous weather (and the Whit Monday holiday) beckoned.

A bridge with sofas and chairs

A bridge with sofas and chairs

Along with hundreds of Lyonnaise, we biked to the popular park D’Or (or maybe it had another name. I just made this one up.  I’m too lazy today to do any research.). Like parks…everywhere…this one had a zoo, a botanical garden,  a lake with paddle boats, screaming kids.  Even though I realize I am probably seducing you with my descriptions of this great park, you’ll have to content yourself with this photo I took – the only one in which all twenty thousand Lyonnaise are not in the frame.

Roses.  And a gravel walkway.  And a building.

Roses. And a gravel walkway. And a building.

After all the excitement of the park, we returned to the ship to relax in our stateroom (wait.  Scratch that.  This room is so tiny, at best it could be described as a ‘townroom’.  Or a ‘failed state room’.  Still, it’s comfy and quiet and someone makes the bed and cleans the toilet everyday.  And I’m not talking about Roger.)

That's all, folks!

That’s all, folks!

Introducing a new segment:  “Things You Don’t See in America” (some you should, and some you shouldn’t.  You be the judge.)

Cute doggie fountains in the park

Cute doggie fountains in the park

Slightly raised 'tracks' by which blind people can negotiate the train station

Slightly raised ‘tracks’ by which blind people can negotiate the train station

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Cruise Control

Jet lagged happy meal

Jet lagged happy meal

After a roller-coaster ride across the Atlantic (WHEE!!!  Wait…how many more hours of this???  Umm.. whee…?) we landed in Lyon, a day ahead of our river cruise along the Soane and Rhone rivers.  In a desperate attempt to acclimate to the local time zone, we zombied around town til an appropriate bed time – Continue Reading →

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Coasting Along…

 

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For the past 8 days, we’ve been hugging the North Sea coast in England.  With its balmy breezes and calm waters, the North Sea is …(Oh.  Wait.  That’s the Caribbean Sea).  With it’s fierce, cold winds and turbulent waters, the North Sea is the perfect vacation getaway … for the English.  I’ve come to this conclusion because of the many, many resort villages perched along this permanently furious body of water.  Continue Reading →

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Scottish Horse Power

The Kelpies

The Kelpies

Scotland may be a small country but it’s one that believes in grand gestures, like commissioning the world’s tallest and largest equine sculptures.   Known as The Kelpies, these mythical water horses celebrate the contribution of horse power to the history of Scotland. Continue Reading →

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Moving Experiences

The Falkirk Wheel, at rest

The Falkirk Wheel, at rest

The British have an unequalled fascination with (and apptitude for) enormous structures that move.  (In addition to Henry the 8th.)  Witness “The Eye” in London, a huge ferris wheel on the River Thames that is now iconic.  We found a few more mind-boggling engineering feats operating in Scotland and Northumbria. Continue Reading →

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Scottish Fringe and a Tattoo

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

Sitting at the top of a dormant volcano in the very heart of the city, Edinburgh Castle dominates the skyline in this vibrant Scottish capital.   500,000 people live in this, the 4th most beautiful city in the world (according to the readers of the Rough Guide – a trustworthy travel companion).  While the city may be beautiful, the weather leaves a bit to be desired.  As Dr. Johnson noted during his travels to Scotland in 1775 “the weather is not pleasing”.  (He was a master of the understatement!)  But more on that later….

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