Danger, Beware of People Missing a Foot

I thought I would make this picture available for some comedy.  We had just climbed off the Eurorail at Gare de Lille-Europe in Lille, France  and hauled our luggage down to board a train to take us to Kortrijk, Belgium at Gare de Lille-Flandres.  We were off to stay with friends in Oostrozebeke, Belgium.  We looked out the window and saw this sign and snapped a picture.

DANGER! Avoid Disabled People.

Of course you always look at the picture before you try to decipher the words.  Amanda made a comment about, “Danger, beware of people missing a foot.”  We laughed for a few moments.  We could decipher the “For your Security” portion and knew traverser and voies were cross the way.  Kinda like a black cat crossing your path, don’t let disabled people cross your way?  This was on 5 June 2008.

Lausanne, Geneva, and Paris

We did not have internet in Paris, so there has been a long silence.  Perhaps that is a good thing.

As a note, I did upload some photos on the blog.  They were the ones from Dresden.  Well, a few.  I hit my limit for the month for how many photos I can upload.  As soon as July 1st hits, I will start uploading again.  Sorry.  There are some great pictures from Dresden and Meissen.

We left Bern and started making our way to Paris.  We were planning on hitting the temple in Bern but after trying to figure out the buses, taxis, or trains with attendant costs, backpacks, and traveling all day in our church clothes, we threw in the towel.  We just started out for Paris.

We made stops in Lausanne and Geneva.  Lausanne was beautiful.  The view coming in over Lake Geneva was amazing.  Some of the Alps between Bern and Lausanne were breathtaking, much like the Alps we passed through in Northern Italy.  We were supposed to catch a train directly from Lausanne to Paris, but it was fully booked.  We were able to book a train from Geneva so we knew our time in Lausanne was limited.  We decided to hike up to the Lausanne Notre-Dame.  We stopped at some church on the way, St. Michaels or whatever.  We heard an Oomp Pah Pah (who knows what they are really called) in a park near the cathedral.  It was so hot, the sun was killing us, and we were wearing our backpacks climbing an asphalt mountain made for a welcome arrival at the top.  We enjoyed the hike back down to the station to head off for Geneva.

We had limited time at Geneva as well.  We walked over and saw the famous Jet d’Eau and enjoyed what little comfort the breeze brought to us from it.  It just made us want to jump into the water for some salvation from the heat.  We walked through the park to see the flower clock, which all these watch-makers got together to show their prowess.  This massive clock set in a flower bed.  However, it was more than 6 hours off, not one of the hands was on the right time.  Watch making prowess must have been a think of the past.  We then walked up to Saint Peter’s Cathedral where we toured where John Calvin taught.  The University of Geneva is right next door.  It was all very fascinating.  We then had to make our way back down to the train station so we could head off to Paris.

The ride to Paris could have been better.  We ended up in an assigned seat going backwards.  Plus this train was going much faster than the other trains we have been riding on it and it swayed back and forth.  I got sea sick on a train!  Boy was I glad when we got to land.  I wasn’t feeling well.

The next few days in Paris were a blur.  It was miserably hot, again, for the first two days.  We walked loads and both of us ended up with blisters on our feet.  Probably more from the swelling of our feet rubbing.  I was fortunate enough to get blisters between my big and index toes on both feet.  Amanda got them on top from her flip flops.  But it was quite the couple of days in Paris.  We hit all the big sites, except the Pantheon.  Arc de Triumphe, Place de la Concorde, Place de la Bastille, Champs-Elysees, Montmarte, L’Opera, Saint Denis Cathedral, Basilique du Sacre-Coeur, Louvre, Tuileries Gardens, Invalides, Eiffel Tower, Notre-Dame de Paris, and Palais Versailles.  I am sure that is not even a full list.  But we saw them, and much of Paris in between.

Since it is late here, only a few highlights.  Amanda got to see the sun set from the top of the Eiffel Tower on the longest day of the year.  I was there too.  How romantic is that?  We had a fancy, full french meal before ascending the Eiffel’s nearly 700 steps to the second state.  Mine included deep fried turkey and marinated (basically pickled) red peppers.  I probably could have done without the peppers.  My baklava was amazing!

We climbed more than 1000 steps between Notre-Dame and the Eiffel Tower in one day.  On other days we climbed mont marte and a whole list of other stairs.  Add to that the oppressive heat, and some days we were about as good as dead when we got back to our hotel room.  Our hotel had no air conditioning!

We enjoyed French pastries every morning and every time Amanda would let us.

We did see the Venis d’ Milo and Mona Lisa, along with scores too many of other artworks.

The Metro of Paris is wonderful.  We could get to nearly anywhere in relative comfort.  However, some of them were hot and the air hung with a motor oil smell and greasiness.

We are glad to be back Oostrozebeke, Belgium for a day of laundry and relaxing.  Thursday we fly out for Glasgow.  Britain, here we come!

Victor in Vianden

We have just returned from a trip to Luxembourg.  I really am exhausted and don’t want to take the time to tell a whole lot.  So you are only going to get an abbreviated version.

Yesterday we went to visit the Catholic church in Harelbeke, Belgium.  We then went to Kortrijk, Belgium and of course Amanda had to go to the chocolate shop for Belgium chocolate.  We did some window shopping, being tempted by some of the goods in the stores.  The suits were out of my range, as is about everything with the exchange rate with the Euro/Dollar.  We did snap a couple of pictures for your viewing pleasure.

Afterward, we made our way back to Oostrozebeke and prepared for the trip to Vianden.  We drove through the beautiful Ardennes on the way and into Germany.  There was a storm the entire way so everything was highly misted and especially green.  We drove past Brussels, Liege, and stayed at the Grand Hotel de Vianden.  It was very pretty.  Amanda and I went for a late night walk through the city for some photographs.  The bars were full but we enjoyed the sights.  Victor Hugo lived in Vianden for a spell.  We saw the house he lived in and the bridge with his name and bust.

Today we arose and went for a tour of the Vianden Castle/Chateau.  It was beautiful.  Originally there was a fort on the site in the time of Julius Caesar.  The current castle was built during the 13-14th centuries.  It fell into ruin but was restored in the 1970’s – 1980’s.  Vianden was the last town to be liberated in Luxembourg in 1945.

Afterward, we drove through the beautiful mountains to Luxembourg and went on a tour of many of the cities sights.  We saw the Notre Dame there.  It was gorgeous with a huge, high wall.  Who would ever have thought?  We ate lunch at Pizza Hut of all places.  Talk about going for the local cuisine.  I did have toasted bread with goat cheese on them (At Pizza Hut!)  Did you know Luxembourg had a 1,000 year celebration?  963 to 1963.  How is that for old?  The downtown market area reminded me much of London or Manchester, but the architecture is different.

We finished our trip to Luxembourg and came back to Oostrozebeke, Belgium.  We will visit Antwerp and Brugge in the next couple of days before we make our way to Paris.

Anyhow, I have uploaded more pictures in the European Trip Album from the last two days for your viewing pleasure.

Europe Trip – June 4-5

We have arrived in Belgium!  What a relief.  I cannot tell you.

We flew out from Boise airport.  We were fortunate to catch a non-stop flight, from LA!!  Boy, if there is anything near torture, try flying through the night in a very cramped space.  After 9.5 hours on the plane, we landed at London Heathrow.  We found our way through the Underground to Kings Cross Station.  Amanda went and found Platform 9 & 3/4 of Harry Potter fame and took a few pictures.  We waited, checked in for Eurorail at St. Pancras Station, and enjoyed a Cornish Pasty.  A first for Amanda, a beloved memory for me.

We climbed aboard the Eurorail which treated us to a trip through the Chunnel.  France proved to have beautiful scenery.  We got off at Lille, France and switched trains.  We rode to Kortrijk, Belgium.  James met us at the station and now we are in our digs at Oostrozebeke, Belgium.

Funny thing, we knew we needed to get to Kortrijk but we forgot to bring James & Catherine’s phone number and address.  Meaning, when we arrived, we were totally at their mercy.  We couldn’t catch a taxi to their home, and we could not call them.  It is sure a good thing James showed up with his little Toyota.

We find ourselves babysitting while J & C are off to branch council.  We put the kids to bed in 15 minutes, take a shower, and crash ourselves!  We are exhausted

Be sure to check our joint Blog.  Amanda will include some pictures there with some commentary.  I will also upload to a new European Album all our photos we deem of sufficient quality to share with the world.