Saturday, July 17, 2010

Ready, Set, GO!

After months of planning, budgeting, Google-mapping and guide book reading,
we were ready to embark on our 30 day, 5 country, 3,656 kilometer
Excellent European Adventure!

Here's the itinerary:

Paris June 4 - 11
Troyes, France June 11 - 12
Dijon, France June 12 - 13
Lindau, Germany June 13 - 15
Salzburg, Austria June 15 - 16
Gargnano, Italy June 16 - 18
Menaggio, Italy June 18 - 20
Menton, France June 20 - 25
Alet-les Bains, France June 25 - 28
Beaune, France June 28 - 29
Paris June 29 - July 3


We left on Friday, June 4 -- first stop Paris:
where a week of Excellent Adventure Awaited!

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Troyes & Dijon, France

From Paris we traveled to Troyes -- which turned out not to be a particularly clever thing to do. The idea was not to drive too far the first day and go through Rheims and see a cathedral there Louise really wanted to check out. That part was clever.

The part we had no way of knowing was that the "Centre Ville" of Rheims was in the throes of major construction so the streets were impassable, there was no parking and streets our GPS wanted to send us down were closed.

So after driving around for awhile we decided to just head for Troyes ... found our hotel (finally) and our room (up four flights of stairs) and then (after a totally POURING rainstorm!) managed to find a bunch of locals to watch the first game the French played in the World Cup. (It was pretty much downhill from there for the French team, but that night a good time was being had by all!)

The next morning we headed to Dijon ... which turned out to be a DELIGHTFUL town where we wished we could have spent more time exploring.

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Lindau, Germany

Sunday, June 13 it was a long day driving from Dijon to Lindau in Germany. Mostly "freeway" scenery as we left France, entered Switzerland for a bit and then into Austria briefly and finally Germany -- along Lake Constance to Lindau.

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Through Bavaria to Salzburg, Austria

"Ready to audition for the Von Trapp Family Singers!"

Leaving Lindau, we traveled through Bavaria and some amazing Alpine scenery of lakes, castles and still-snow-capped mountains. Destination: Salzburg.

Click on photo to start slide show

Gargnano, Italy

It was a long, rainy drive from Salzburg to our next stop: Gargnano on Lake Garda in Italy. Louise did an amazing job of keeping us on course and on the road in spite of pounding rain and tons of trucks on windy, mountain roads.

So we didn't exactly experience that leg of the trip as "scenic" -- mostly we were just grateful to experience it as "over."

Menaggio, Italy

The roads from Gargnano to Menaggio were windy, twisty, narrow and (thank goodness!) dry. Our GPS really earned her keep that day ... and we when we finally arrived safe and sound it was easy to see why Lake Como is such a popular destination! (Yes, it really IS that lovely!!)

Menton, France

This is it, folks:

The French Riviera

Menton, France to be exact. The last French beach before the Riviera becomes the Italian Riviera and a little more laid back, casual and funky than Monaco and Nice.

We. Just. Loved. It. And here are the pictures to prove it:

Alet les Bains, France

From the Riviera we headed northwest to the tiny village of Alet les Bains to spend a few days with our friend Tony Jewiss. A clergy colleague from here in the Diocese of L.A. Tony deserted us to go work for the national church in New York City ... and then made up for it by getting a fabulous retirement home in the south of France (where he is now serving as the Vicar of Limoux) and inviting friends to come visit.

And so we did.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Paris 2.0: Paris via Beaune

The last leg of our trip was driving back to Paris from Alet les Bains.

Since it was a long drive and we didn't want to try to do it all in one day and end up figuring out Paris traffic at the end of a long day, we decided to stop in Beaune -- in the center of the Burgundy region.