Archive for May, 2019

Paris revisited

Monday, May 13th, 2019


Mont St Michel

Saturday, May 11th, 2019

Mont St Michel

The Beaches of Normandy

Thursday, May 9th, 2019

The site of the invasion was very different than that day.  These days the beaches are very quiet and used for recreational use very much in the summer.  The cemetaries were beautiful.  To know what this area went thru is very moving as well as the effort to regain France to the French.  The people here will never forget even if we do as time goes by.  I found it interesting although it definitely felt very different than how I felt the first time I saw Pearl Harbor when I was 21.  

Omaha Beach 2019,  beautifully preserved with memorials abound.

Paul takes in the view of Omaha from a soldiers perspective.

The bunkers from outside.  They are deteriorating but being kept alive for all to visit and learn about what the war meant.



Wednesday, May 8th, 2019

What a special little town, Bayeux  right in the middle of the action of WWII.  We spent several days here and really enjoyed the town, food and sites.


This was our patio at our B&B hosted by Jonna who treated us to breakfast in her home each morning and transported us to town often.  It was about 2 miles outside of town and some days  we walked as we needed to work off some of the fine cuisine.  We had crepes in more than one way and of course the croissants and latte’s.

The town as well as most of Normandy was getting prepared for the 75th anniversary of DDay.  The store fronts were welcoming all who had a part of the war.  The people here seemed very appreciative of the effort of the allies in getting their home returned to France.  



Flanders Fields

Tuesday, May 7th, 2019

From 1914 to 1918, Flanders Fields was a major battle theatre on the Western Front during the First World War.   Today, the peaceful region still bears witness to this history through its monuments, museums, cemeteries and the countless individual stories that link it with the world.

We took an all day bus tour of the area and learned so much about a war I never even thought about.  These people fought to save their country while whole cities were being destroyed.  Bruges had no destruction while Ypres only about 30 miles away was completely destroyed.  Ypres has been rebuilt exactly as it was using some of the salvaged materials.  It looks just as old as the other cities we have seen.  A million soldiers from more than 50 different countries were wounded, missing or killed in action here.   A 4 year war that was fought within a very small region, where the battle lines went back and forth until the end.

Paul walking in the trenches

The Poppies are a symbol of Flanders Fields.  We were early so this all we got to see.  The color is spectacular.  Another interesting thing we learned is this is farm land and the farmers still to this day a 100 years later dig up shrapnel left from the battles.

A German bunker on Hill 60 a preserved battlefield.

Flanders Field American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War I cemetery on the southeast edge of the town of Waregem, . This is the only American World War I cemetery in Belgium and 411 American servicemen are buried or commemorated there.  The memorials in this area are abundant and so well kept.  They plant flowers annually in front of most of the gravestones.

I was not expecting much from this tour but by the end I was so impressed by the care that the Flemish people take to preserve this area and keep alive the battle that was fought to insure their freedom.  They are very appreciative of the efforts of all the Allies.

Off to Belgium again

Sunday, May 5th, 2019

More beautiful buildings, cobbled streets and a very nice B&B right in the heart of this Medieval City. Bruges Belgium  the capital of West Flanders in northwest Belgium.   In the city center’s Burg square, the 14th-century Stadhuis (City Hall) has an ornate carved ceiling. Nearby, Markt square features a 13th-century belfry with a 47-bell carillon and 83m tower with panoramic views.

The two photos above are of The Markt of Bruges. A huge square with amazing buildings all around and fun restaurants were you were able to eat on the patio where the people watching was lots of fun.

The most important of Bruges’ towers stands 83 metres tall. The Belfry Tower has 47 melodious bells that on some evenings they have a concert, we missed it as they were doing repair work on the bells the days we were there, however I did climb the 366 steps to enjoy the views from above!


I had to buy some clothing as the weather just kept getting colder and colder!  New sweatshirt, scarf, mittens and hat.  I wore these until we got to Normandy!

We took another bike ride excursion to Damme Belgium along a canal and then of course another pub with another beer!  It was a short ride and our guide, Flavia was from Argentina with a masters degree in tourism who in 2018 was traveling in Europe and landed upon Bruges and stayed.  It was a great afternoon

Bruges was a tourist town but with so much to experience you didn’t ever feel as though it was just for the tourist.  We tried Mussels for the first time and truly enjoyed them.  Bruges is not cheap but so beautiful, and they have chocolatiers everywhere!


Tulip Tour on Bikes

Saturday, May 4th, 2019

From Amsterdam to Zaandam, Alkmaar , Egmond aan Zee, Hargen, Bergen, Heiloo, Bakkum, Uitgeest, Haarlem, Lisse, and all the quaint villages along the way to return to Amsterdam after 7 days aboard the Dutch Melody.  So many amazing things we saw and did as well as partaking in lots of cheese, local pancake concoctions, beers, and of course coffee!  The main attraction was the Tulips. We saw them in the fields growing, on an experimental farm, in towns, in a flower park and all spots in between.

We just missed the peak by a day but it was still spectacular, actually it was even better because in the fields we got to see where some flowers had been headed which is the removal of the flower and leave them in the rows.  They do this because the bulbs are what they are after.  They sell the bulbs internationally and that is their industry besides tourism coming to see the flowers in bloom.

The bike ride was the best way for us to see all of the things we wanted.


Without this we would have been lost.  If the teeth are facing you yield!  We thought we had never seen this before but then when we get home we find them in our own community!  Just shows you how unobservant we are until we are placed in a strange situation.

The tour was on your own each day but we buddy up with others and had a great time.  Above is our last day and Paul is the fearless leader of about 12 of us!  Good thing he had GPS.  We had a written explanation each day with numbers to follow, kind of like dot to dot! but the GPS app that the barge company provided was the best tool.  Many got lost and the locals did their best to help.  One day a mom escorted our dinner mates all the way back to the boat as they had gotten way off track.

This is a parking garage underground just for bikes in Alkmaar.

Our Tour leader Sondra.  We would find her along the route often, riding a helping those that were lost.  The tour was 60 riders, mostly in there 50’s.  I think we were among the 20 % that were over 60.  I had an electric assist bike, but Paul plowed along everyday for about 28-34 miles with no assistance.  One day he had a rough one as it was one of the longer days, we missed the shortcut and it was along the sand dunes with some hills and a lot of wind.



We found really charming little coffee spots, cheese houses and of course the beer.

There are so many churches in Europe but this one wins the prize.  It was in a village across the river from Amsterdam.  The village had only a few homes and this beautiful church.  Outside the sign said yogurt!  Inside there was a cafe counter where you could get coffee, pie,yogurt, ice cream,  beer and toilets!  But on Sunday am it is a Presbyterian Church!

Coffee, Beer, Sunday Church Services

Sometimes it was very confusing as there isn’t always lanes, or anything other than the sharkteeth!

Ferries to get us across the water.  We took the second one that cost us 1 euro.  The top is a people powered one that these two joggers knew how to avoid the 1 euro!  I guess if you are jogging everyday that could get pricey and besides its a work out at least for the one girl.  The other was cheering her on!

We saw lots of RV’s.  This one was among a long line of them camped along a path in the Tulip fields.  What a peaceful, beautiful spot to park and enjoy the scenery.

I love public art and these were among some we saw on our trip.  I didn’t see as many as we often see in towns in the US but there was some.  They have such beautiful architecture I guess they don’t need the extra art.

We even happened along a vintage car club.

And this guy was walking his new pet!  The horse was huge but the guy was so tall the horse looks like a pony.

Some of the beautiful buildings that are everywhere.  There is amazing structures that are so old and still so beautiful.

And finally another tribute to the toilet scene in Europe!

There were a couple times where I thought this may be an option!