We know nothing about wine. When I approached mike about trying out some French wines before we head to France next month, he said, “like Merlot?”
We have been home for less than a week. The trip to France was absolutely wonderful. Amazing. Spectacular. Energizing. Fantastic. Stunning.
We stayed in the Rue Cler neighborhood and it was an easy walk from our hotel. We had dedicated a much larger amount of time to the visit than we needed to because we chose to hike up the stairs rather than the long wait for the elevator. And we decided to forgo the ride to the very tippy top. I don’t always love heights and it was hard imagining the view being so much better (and the crowds being enjoyable). Mike was neutral on going to the very top. So we just made our way back down the stairs again. I tried to smile encouragingly at the folks who were sweating it up the stairs. You can do it… you can do it.
And it was worth it.
So that’s the story of the Eiffel Tower… have you been? what did you think?
Previously published elsewhere on our family blog Thursday, May 22, 2014
We chose to stay in Bayeux on a whim. When I started researching Normandy I read that Bayeux would make a good spot for day trips to both the D-Day beaches and Mont St-Michel. My main resource for this entire trip was the Rick Steves’ France 2013 book and his Paris book. We are Rick Steves’ fans, having previously used his guidebooks for our trip to Germany and Austria when we got married. I listen to his podcasts while I drive or fold laundry and we even youtube’d his Normandy episode and watched it in the kitchen while cooking dinner one night before we left.
The Bayeux Cathedral. Large-scale cathedrals like this really shouldn’t surprise us any more. They are all over Europe. However, they always catch us off guard because we are just not used to this kinda stuff being right off the sidewalk.
This picture above really doesn’t do it justice. It’s about twice as large (wide) as the picture shows. Our first day was solidly booked with the D-Day tours, but after returning from Mont St. Michel, we headed over to visit the cathedral and another amazing site – the Bayeux Tapestry.
I don’t always love visiting church after church after church. But the only church we had on our agenda this trip was Notre Dame so this was just a pleasant little surprise.
Saint Therese of Lisieux (pronounced Lee-soh). There is a small town near Bayeux called Lisieux… Duh. It all fell on me like a ton of bricks. I’m so used to France being this hugely faraway place that I sorta forgot that places can be so incredibly close once you get over there. Again, if I’d had all the time in the world, I would have visited her home there.
Oh my gosh! It was so incredible. The audio guide walks you through the story and each section of the tapestry. What a story. The king is about to die. He names a successor (William, Duke of Normandy) and asks Harold (a contender for the throne himself) to carry the message to William. But Harold gets angry and ends up taking over himself– despite the fact that William saved his life when Harold was captured en route. There’s a scene where men are running through and getting stuck in the quick sand at Mont St. Michel (we had been there that very morning) and all sorts of crazy battle highlights. The saga continues with a final victory — William becomes known as “the conquerer” and history is forever changed.
And then you get through the whole story and the audio tour says… this would be known as the Battle of Hastings in 1066.
Oh jeez, yeah, I’ve heard of that. Ashamed to admit I couldn’t have told you anything about it. But, yes, I probably should have known a little something about this.
This might be the most amazing gob-smacking part of travel. If I can go somewhere and look at the place and read the history, I am infinitely interested and open to everything. To be quite frank – I feel really smart. The ability to see and feel things rather than read a chapter in a book is what makes my head spin and my world explode.
This little visit was yet another reminder that the world is real. These things I’ve read about really happened somewhere and there are lands and buildings and people and families touched by this rich history. I feel so incredibly lucky to have seen this tapestry. Mike and I agreed that we actually felt like we had seen something priceless.
Previously posted elsewhere on our family blog on Tuesday, June 10, 2014