Archives for category: France

Popo — that’s me — visited Italy for the very first time in October 2012, then again in 2013. Last October I went to France, and this May I’ll be sightseeing across Canada by train!

This is my travel blog. Popo, while an Italian name, means Grandmother in Chinese, and though our granddaughters aren’t Chinese, I am. You’ll see.

“2012 – First Trip” records an uncommon trip to Italy in 24 little stories.

“2013 – Italy” is about taking my adult art students from Hawaii to a villa in Tuscany. Painting lessons, cooking lessons, and train rides into Florence comprised the first two weeks’ experience before I moved on to the Cinque Terre, Rome, and Pozzuoli.

Viking River Cruises took me to see Paris and the Heart of Normandy in 2015. Below this introduction is my 2016 adventure in Canada!

Viking Rinda

The Viking Rinda. For scale, notice the railroad tracks and family on land in the foreground.

On November 2 we said au revoir to the Viking Rinda and her crew, thankful for the vacation in France along the Seine River from Paris to the heart of Normandy. My spouse Pete and I were among the repeat customers of Viking River Cruises, and this trip confirmed the reasons we are attracted to this brand of water travel. I chose this cruise for this specific ship and its itinerary. Here’s why.

The Viking Rinda is new and pretty, a small ship, yet the maximum size to fit under bridges and into locks. The bow has been squared off to allow more outdoor seating. Designed and built in Germany, it is very tastefully decorated with attention to details and passenger comfort.

We unpacked and packed once during our entire trip. Someone else drove while we admired the autumn scenery on the shore.

One of the scenes through the wide cabin (vs. stateroom) porthole on the bottom passenger deck.

One of the scenes through our wide cabin (vs. stateroom) porthole on the bottom passenger deck.

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Chef de Cuisine Ricky of the Viking Rinda at the market in Conflans

Chef de Cuisine Ricky of the Viking Rinda at the market in Conflans

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Pete wanted to see the beaches of Normandy, France, site of the D-Day landings by the Allied forces on June 6, 1944. Viking River Cruises took us there. We visited the D-Day Museum at Arromanches, where you can see the remains of the breakwater off shore, the German bunkers in the field at Longues sur Mer, east of Omaha Beach, the American Military Cemetery at Colleville sur Mer, and Omaha beach. There are four other similar beaches where the Allies landed: Juno, Gold, Utah, and Sword. It was a very moving experience to be at the place where the largest invasion took place and where so many young people died.

Remains of a fabricated harbor breakwater, towed across the English Channel in 1944.

Remains of a fabricated harbor breakwater, towed across the English Channel in 1944.

Entrance to D-Day Museum at Arromanches

Entrance to D-Day Museum at Arromanches

Cemetery where almost 1,000 are buried. Those who died were so young.

Cemetery where almost 1,000 Americans are buried. Those who died were so young.

German bunkers

German bunkers

At the American cemetery there was a thoughtful memorial ceremony after which we were given long-stem roses to place on any grace we wished.

At the American cemetery there was a thoughtful memorial ceremony after which we were given long-stem roses to place on any grave we wished.

I apologize that I don't know the name of the artist who made this painting of D-Day.

I apologize that I don’t know the name of the artist who made this painting of D-Day.

Pete at Omaha Beach where his Uncle Lee might have landed with supplies, two weeks behind the front lines.

Pete at Omaha Beach where his Uncle Lee might have landed with supplies, two weeks behind the front lines.

Omaha Beach at low tide, long and wide.

Omaha Beach at low tide, long and wide.

Sculpture at Omaha Beach

Sculpture at Omaha Beach

Memorial and reflecting pool at the American Cemetery

Memorial and reflecting pool at the American Cemetery

20151029-112346.jpgThe garden in Giverny, France, originally designed and planted by the Impressionist painter Claude Monet, enchants with its autumn foliage color and scent-filled air. I spent a little time there yesterday and began to understand “the light” that artists relish. Now I am inspired to create a garden with intentional lines, shapes, textures, and hues for me to paint and to invite people to come and enjoy.

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