Posts Tagged With: Travel

Monet ~ Musée de l’Orangerie

Musée de l’Orangerie is the home of Monet’s famed Water Lillies. The paintings are beautiful and very moving, at least for a Monet lover like me! Monet donated these paintings to Paris for all of us to enjoy. I do not want to destroy your ahhhhh factor. But I do want to encourage you to see these masterpieces. The paintings are beautifully displayed and they are huge paintings! I hope you will take the time to see them. The Musée de l’Orangerie is very near the Seine River and a wonderful day can be had by doing the Musée and then taking in a river boat ride on the Seine River.

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Le Food! Le Gastronomy!

Don’t miss cafe’ in your area of Paris. If you do not fancy the first one walk half a block ad there will be another one! Although I will say I have not had a bad dining experience in Paris yet. Enjoy a taste of heaven and have a pastry. There is noting quite like the flaky delicious taste of a croissant from a patisserie. There are so many fabulous choices for your taste buds to experience at the Patisseries!

The service in Paris is impeccable, for one thing it is a profession and you will be served by staff that takes great pride in their work serving you. It is not the custom in France to tip. That said occasionally I would leave a tip for excellent service. There is a lesson in watching that service to others!

Paris has dozens of markets that are very popular with the Parisians. You can find fresh bread, fruits, meats and cheeses all reasonable priced and fresh. We cooked in several times and found the products excellent! Made such friends with the local grocer that he now says, “See you tomorrow!”

Street food is also delicious, a street crepe is a must. I really loved the Nutella and banana one (my first time having Nutella where has it been hiding?) They also have some with egg, cheese and ham that make a wonderful breakfast.

While visiting a museum (Musée’) it is wonderful to enjoy their cafe’ as well. I made some new friends at the Musse d’ Orsay over a cup of café creme (coffee with steamed milk) and a pastry.

 

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This was by far the best service of my life! It was so good I asked him if I could take his photo! My friend said, “Never eat I a place that is not busy”, and he was right! This waiter had 60 patrons in the outside section at 30 tables. His service was impeccable, food was delivered promptly, orders were delivered to the correct person, refills were provided without having to ask and he was amazing to watch! A true professional!  He never wrote anything down! He gets my first ever ********** that’s right 10 stars!

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Eiffel Tower

What is Paris without going to the Eiffel Tower?  Enough to said? I will tell you if you are using a cane or otherwise handicapped you can go to the second level, but not all the way to the top. I highly recommend going early to beat the crowds or doing a tour with a specific time. The lines can be daunting!

The view is wonderful, go on a pretty day! There is something about this historic monument that will draw you to it and up it!

 

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Notre-Dame Cathedral, Paris

When visiting Paris, in my opinion, it is a sin not to take in some churches, no matter your belief system they are beautiful works of art.

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Notre-Dame is one of  the most historic churches in the world! There is much written about Notre-Dame and I am no expert on that history. I just know what I like. I am not Catholic (I am a Christian and am a Baptist). I do believe there is only one heaven and those of us that are Christians will one day be there. Having said that I love to experience different denominations and Christian churches. I was there during the end of a mass and would recommend that you try to go during a mass, as sit for the mass as all are welcome.

I did find myself wondering what the difference between a Cathedral and a Basilica was. This is what I found out. A basilica is designated by the pope as an important church because of history, spirituality, or other significance such as architecture. Once a basilica always a basilica.

A cathedral is where the bishop’s throne is located. That throne is called a cathedra. A cathedral is a higher designation by the Catholic Church than a basilica.

Now to make matters more confusing a basilica can be a cathedral, or not. A cathedral may or may not be a basilica. For example Notre Dame is the Cathedral for the Archdiocese of Paris, it is not a basilica.

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Paris Ooh la la!

I have had many opportunities to go to Paris over the years and for one reason or another decided not to go. The single most common thread keeping me from Paris was that I heard time and time again, “Parisians are not very friendly or helpful to Americans.” I admit I heard  ~ wrong ~ wrong ~ wrong! My experience now is Parisians are wonderfuly to this American!  So what got me to go this time? A friend in need! A friend needed a dog sitter in Paris or as I like to say ~ I am now an International Paw Pair! It is a very good life long friend!

image Left from DCA (Washington Dulles)image To CDG (Charles de Gaulle)image Love the business class on Air France!image Leg Room! Comfy!

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Biking at Rehoboth, Delaware

Early Morning Biking

Early Morning Biking

One of my favorite things to do in the summer is go to the beach. While I love sitting in my comfy beach-chair with a good beach read, I love to bike as well. Why do I love biking at the beach in particular?

I am a leisure biker and am working on getting in a better state of fitness. That said, the beach becomes a favorite simply because it is mostly flat and beautiful! There are many parks and scenic places to bike in the beach area. However, many beach towns are very bike friendly, as is the case with Rehoboth Beach, Delaware.

I have friends that can bike from Lewes to Rehoboth and on to Dewey in Delaware. I can bike from Rehoboth to Dewey very easily, although there is often traffic to deal with most of the way their are designated bike lanes. I recommend using the bike lanes when ever you see them. I enjoy biking in the parks and around Lewes as well.

I also wear a helmet when ever and where ever I bike. I am a nurse and have seen the results of not wearing a helmet – enough said – wear a helmet! You also need to remember to follow the same rules you would if you were driving a car when you are riding your bike in traffic. Remember, car drivers are at the beach and easily distracted driving in unfamiliar surroundings. Therefore, stay alert to cars!

There are some beautiful nature areas to bike near Rehoboth. One of my personal favorites is Cape Henlopen State Park. There are well maintained bike trails and the scenery is fantastic! I hope this will inspire you to take your bike to the beach next summer!

Cape Henlopen State Park

Cape Henlopen State Park

View from the bike!

View from the bike!

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Crazy Horse – South Dakota

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A trip to the Black Hills to Mount  Rushmore would not be complete without going to see Crazy Horse.  The Crazy Horse Memorial was started June 3, 1948 by Sculptor, Korczak Ziolkowski and Lakota Chief Henry Standing Bear.  The mission of the Crazy Horse memorial is to honor the culture, tradition and living heritage of North American Indians.

The work on the largest stone sculpture continues by the Ziolkowski family.  Korczak and his wife Ruth had ten children many of which have worked on the Crazy Horse Memorial and continue the work there today.

There is a wonderful Indian Museum of North America on the Crazy Horse Memorial Grounds.  Several years ago my grandmother told me we are Choctaw Indian.  Ever since that revelation I have become more interested in the Native American Heritage and the museums.  There are beautiful arts and crafts on display.  The Museum is home to a massive tribal flag collection that is on display.  There are amazing artifacts which bring the history and culture of the Native American Tribes to life.

I encourage you to include this as a destination on a trip to South Dakota. They have events and displays for all ages including children of all ages. It is a full day to see both Crazy Horse and Mount Rushmore in the same day.

For more information see the Crazy Horse website:   http://crazyhorsememorial.org/

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A Word on Rental Cars

Rental CarsAs an avid traveler I enjoy traveling both home and abroad.  My first trip outside the US was at age six months to Africa. Recently, I totally enjoyed a two week adventure in North and South Dakota.  I have a list of places I want to go and one personal goal has been to see all fifty states.   I only have ten left to complete that goal.

On this particular trip I had planned to fly into South Dakota and out of North Dakota.  I planned to rent a car at the South Dakota Airport and return it to the North Dakota  Airport.  I was easily able to purchase airline tickets in this manner.  What was impossible for a reasonable fee was the rental car.  Neither of the airports in question would allow rental at one airport and return to the other one.  I thought it might be because I was crossing state lines. So, I tried one rental car on one side of the state and another on the other side of the state.  I tried rental car companies both in and out of  several airports.  I called numerous rental car companies in each combination I chose.  I finally found someone that would do it or an additional $1,000.  Needless to say I flew in and out of the same airport.

I did rent a car from and returned it to the Rapid City Airport.  Unfortunately, this changed my route and travel plans based on the inability to be accommodated by the rental car industry.  So word to the wise call all modes of transportation and be sure you can book what you want to do before you start paying for reservations as there are fees to change reservations.  I did have to change airlines, and pay a fee, as I had booked one airline into Rapid City and another out of Bismarck before I discovered the Rental Car issue.

Remember, if there are to be multiple drivers get them all listed with the rental car company so they will be covered.  You will want to be sure your personal automobile insurance covers the rental car before you decide to decline the insurance coverage from the rental car company.  I have rented cars from various rental car companies in many states within the United States with ease.  I have been pleased with the cars and the customer service by the companies I have used.  In this experience I describe it was a lack of knowledge on my part as it never occurred to me that it would not be possible to rent in one airport and return at another airport as I have done it in the past in more metropolitan area of the country.

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Dingle Peninsula, Ireland

Dingle Peninsula

The drive around the Dingle Peninsula has magnificent views of steep sea cliffs, rolling mountains and sandy beaches. The Slieve Mish Mountain Range runs down the neck of the peninsula and then rolls down to the sea creating lovely vistas.

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The Beach from Ryan’s Daughter

The 1970’s film Ryan’s Daughter was filmed on the Dingle Peninsula and the beach in a scene from Ryan’s Daughter is still wonderful view. The 1992 film Far and Away was partially filmed on the peninsula as well.
Brian de Staic Ogham Jewelry
There is wonderful shopping on the Dingle Peninsula as well. One of my favorites is Brian de Staic and his Ogham jewelry. Ogham is an Early Medieval Alphabet used to write the old Irish Language. Brian de Staic makes lovely pieces with your name on them while you enjoy your drive down the Dingle Peninsula.

DSCN3393The Beauty of the Cliffs
There are over 2,000 monuments preserved on the Dingle Peninsula. There are over 6,000 years representing eight time periods; Mesolithic Period, The Stone Age, The Bronze Age, The Iron Age, The Early Christian Period, The Viking Period, The Medieval Period and the 1600’s through modern Times are all archaeologically represented on the peninsula. See a fort from the Iron Age; standing stones from the Bronze Age; monastic sites form the Early Christian Period; or circle rock art from the Stone Age.
The Dingle Peninsula truly has something for everyone. Photographers and nature lovers will especially enjoy the ocean bluffs and vistas on the drive out Slea Head. There are sheer drops where the rocks meet the Atlantic Ocean. There are sights not to be missed. I enjoyed this drive every bit as much as the drive around The Ring of Kerry.

 

 

 

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Ring of Kerry

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Above: That’s me with a view of some of The Ring of Kerry scenery

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Above: Me in my new hand knitted Irish sweater at Torc Waterfall

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Above: The Muckross house

The Ring of Kerry holds breath taking vistas of mountains fields of green, and views of the beach and ocean. You will see stunning fields of lush green grass that give Ireland the nickname Emerald Isle. There is also a good bit of history to see in the old famine houses, forts and old monasteries. I recommend getting a guide book if you are planning to drive the Ring of Kerry so you will not miss any of the points of interest. There are several churches with interesting cemeteries and statues along the way you might miss without a guide book.

Ring of Kerry is a place to truly cherish the solitude and the grader of nature. There are lots of opportunities for scenic photography. The Torc Waterfall is a short walk through the forest up a slight incline to a beautiful waterfall. The Muckross house completed in 1843 is a wonderful house to take a tour of. It was the home of Henry Arthur Herbert and his wife, Mary, a watercolorist. The rooms are furnished with period décor from the 19th century.

There are some quaint small towns along the way that offer a pub for lunch. All the pubs I visited had soup and wonderful Irish meals. One of my favorites is a toastie. A toastie is made like a grilled cheese sandwich but includes ham, onion, tomato and cheese.

It is recommended due to the narrow roads to drive around the Ring of Kerry clockwise, buses go counterclockwise. That way you do not get stuck behind a tour bus. It takes about four hours to drive the 109 mile Ring of Kerry.

The Ring of Kerry is a relaxing drive around the Iveragh Peninsula and is not to be missed. It is Ireland’s most popular drive in the country. We had a debate on the tour I was on as to which was best Ring of Kerry versus Dingle Peninsula. The results were split almost evenly with a third choice of loved them both. It truly is a personal preference. I voted that I loved them both.

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