Day 50, July 30, 2014 – Wednesday – Summary

After doing some packing, we only wandered as far as the corner for dinner at the café Le France. The food was adequate but not spectacular. Janet and I had the salade niçoise which not only had the customary tuna but other fish and shrimp as well. It was washed down with my favorite (so far) French beer Grimbergen La Rouge. After dinner we returned to finish up our packing.

Salade Niçoise with Grimbergen La Rouge.

We are some of the last departures. Our luggage must be outside our door by 9:30 and we depart for the airport at 10:00. Our flight wasn’t until 1:55 so this seemed to be plenty of time. Our driver was on time and Ken made certain that we had all of our luggage in the van and we said our good byes. Ken told us that someone would be at the airport to assist us in getting to the right place. BOY, did it turn out this was needed.

When we arrived things looked pretty normal at the curb. In just a couple of minutes our escort greeted us and we got our luggage loaded on a cart and headed inside the terminal. The chaos was immediate and intense. I don’t believe I have ever been is such a crowd. Queue lines were nonexistent, the entire terminal was wall to wall bodies. I asked our escort if this was normal and in the typically French way she said ”certainly not”. A local traveler overheard my question and also assured me that this was definitely not normal but no one knew what was going on. After several false starts trying to get into the correct “line”, we finally did get into a queue and was assured by our escort that this was the proper place to check our luggage (we had already printed our boarding pass). About an hour later we made it to the bag check counter. Despite the push, the counter clerk was very friendly and open to conversation. I asked about the crowd. It appears that some unattended luggage was found and the terminal was shut down for a couple of hours before we arrived. Everyone was evacuated and as a result everything was about two hours behind. Everyone who had to be evacuated had re-entered along with new arrivals like us.

After checking our luggage things went much smoother. Security wasn’t too difficult, in fact I wasn’t even detained despite all my electronics and camera equipment. Kay was pulled out of line for a body check (and she said it was the most through she had ever had at an airport). None of our group was asked to power up our electronics although we had been warned we would have to.

As we waited at our gate, the departure time began to be pushed back by 15 minutes intervals and finally persons with US passports were instructed to get into another line. Here our credentials were check and we were directed into a departure causeway so we thought we were on our way. With about 40-50 persons inside the line was suddenly closed. We remained in the causeway for about an hour with no chairs, water or WC. We couldn’t leave or we would have to go through the last security check again. After a delay of two hours we were finally led down the steps of the causeway to the tarmac where we boarded a bus for about a 10 minute ride to our aircraft a Boeing 747-400. Kay, Janet and I were seated in the upper deck and had ample room and wonderful service since there were only about 60 persons it was like being on a smaller plane. Carl was separated from the group in the lower level but had a choice seat near the exit door. David and Li were seated together and apparently had ample room as well. Air France’s service was exceptional with decent food and plenty of it. We were also offered wine, beer and spirits in addition to coffee, tea and soft drinks. The pilot was able to make up some time in the air and we arrived in Atlanta just a little after 7:00 PM about 2.5 hours late.

The new international terminal made customs a breeze compared to what it used to be. Everyone except Carl and Janet were through in less than 15 minutes. Unfortunately they were randomly selected for a more through customs interview, but it took only about 10 minutes longer.

After claiming our luggage, I called Top Hat Limo service and our driver picked us up with about a 5 minute wait. Folks, this is the way to go. After being up the past 24 hours I would certainly not have wanted to drive home from the Atlanta Airport. The Limo service was well worth the cost (about $65 per couple).

SUMMARY:

We were gone a total of 50 days, visited 10 countries, several major European Capital cities including London, Paris, Amsterdam, Vienna, Budapest, Bucharest and Belgrade. In addition with the river cruise we had the opportunity to visit many smaller cities, towns and even villages.

The question always asked is “What did you like best?”

I can’t answer for the others and it will be hard to answer for myself but I will try. Every country and every city had something that was the “best”. I enjoyed the unusual places, I enjoyed the history, I enjoyed the food, and I personally enjoyed the huge variety of beers available. I enjoyed the monuments, the museums, and the cathedrals. But, if I have to name one thing, it would be the ability to meet and interact and gain just a little understanding of the people of the countries we visited.

Some of the things I remember most was getting to talk with one of the youngest (at the time) Freedom Fighters in the 1989 December Revolution in Romania. The revolution was to break free from communist rule.

Revolutions of 1989 occurred in several Warsaw Pact countries. The Romanian Revolution started in the city of Timișoara and soon spread throughout the country. It ultimately resulted in the violent overthrow and execution of longtime President of Romania Nicolae Ceaușescu, and the end of the Socialist Republic of Romania. It was the last ouster of a Communist regime in a Warsaw Pact country during the events of 1989, and the only one that forcibly overthrew the country’s government and resulted in the death of its leader as well as of many of the protesters. Talking to someone who was there, who was shot at and injured, who saw his friends killed. It makes you realize just what the cost of freedom can be.

I remember having a meal in a private home in Croatia. The meal was prepared by our hostess almost entirely from fruits and vegetables she and her husband grew on their small city lot. The food was delicious but we learned that during the Croatian War of Independence from the early to mid-1990’s they were exiled from their home for 7 years. When they were able to return it was in ruins. Their photo album was a grim reminder that war is hell. It was remarkable that aside from a few buildings which had not been restored, the town look perfectly normal now.

I remember visiting Courtroom 600 in Nuremberg where the Nazi war trials were held. That setting alone is a very moving experience. Then we found that one of our fellow travelers was actually at the trials as an army private stationed to film the proceedings. He was able to relate firsthand what it was like in late 1940’s during those trials.

I remember visiting the Peace Museum in Caen France and the Beaches of Normandy, walking on Omaha Beach, and the American Military Cemetery. There are no words which can express the feelings these places evoke.

I remember a talk presented by Mr. Albert Heintz, a 90+ year old gentleman who was a member of the French Resistance during WWII. Again, firsthand accounts of what it was like to BE THERE.

I remember looking at a tomb stone in the Cimetiere Montparnasse in Paris of an entire family with the inscription “Assassinated in Auschwitz”

I count myself blessed. Blessed to be able to travel. Blessed to have had the opportunity to meet a few of the people who help shape the free world as we know it today. Blessed to have a better grasp of world affairs, not just from an American’s eyes but from an more global prospective. But most of all blessed to be an American and have the benefit of all of those who have sacrificed so that we might be free.

Least we ever forget that freedom always comes with a price we should remember John F. Kennedy’s quote “ The cost of freedom is always high, but Americans have always paid it. And one path we shall never choose, and that is the path of surrender, or submission.”

Well, I guess I better close this dissertation. I never meant for it to get so philosophical. I really have been moved by what I saw and learned and I have a reading list which should last me a couple of years at least.  Hopefully you have enjoyed the photos if not the words of the past two months. But if you have made it this far with my musings, I will take the liberty to use Stephen King’s phrase and wish all my “Constant Readers”  goodbye.   Until next time…

Wendell

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Day 49, July 29, 2014 – Tuesday – Paris

This is our last day in Paris, we fly back home tomorrow morning. Ken offered to take anyone interested for a walking tour of the Marais District. About a dozen of us wanted to go. The Marais district is a bit less touristy and Ken said it was his favorite part of Paris. We walked to the Montparnasse Terminal, about a quarter of a mile and caught a bus which was about a 20 minute ride.

Along the way, as we crossed the Seine, I got a glimpse of the “Paris Beaches”. I saw the beaches earlier from our ship but failed to get any photos. It was early and threatening rain so few people were out. The beaches are unique. Each year during the month of July, the street along the Seine is closed to traffic and tons and tons of sand is hauled in, beach umbrellas are put up and beach chairs are put out. The locals then enjoy the “Paris Beach”. At the beginning of August, everything is put away, the sand removed and the street reopened… Only in France…

The Hôtel de Ville , or city hall in Paris, France, is the building housing the city’s local administration. Standing on the place de l’Hôtel-de-Ville (formerly place de Grève) in the 4th arrondissement, it has been the location of the municipality of Paris since 1357. It serves multiple functions, housing the local administration, the Mayor of Paris (since 1977), and also serves as a venue for large receptions. In this photo you can see a beach volleyball arena has been set up. Unfortunately no one was playing at 9:00AM

We wandered through the narrow street while Ken took us down avenues and passages which we would have never seen. There are many “Hotels” which were private residences of the wealthy who had second homes in Paris. Almost none of them are used as residences today but hold businesses or are public buildings.

An interesting building which reminded me of the German Franconian style stone and timber buildings.

This was a “Hotel”, private residence in the 1600’s.

Here you can see part of the old city wall.

One of a set of interesting statues outside the Place des Vosges which is the oldest planned square in Paris and one of the finest in the city.

Originally known as the Place Royale, the Place des Vosges was built by Henri IV from 1605 to 1612. A true square (140 m × 140 m), it embodied the first European program of royal city planning. It was built on the site of the Hôtel des Tournelles and its gardens: at a tournament at the Tournelles, a royal residence, Henri II was wounded and died. Catherine de Medicis had the Gothic complex demolished, and she moved to the Louvre Palace.

The Place des Vosges, inaugurated in 1612 with a grand carrousel to celebrate the wedding of Louis XIII and Anne of Austria, is the prototype of all the residential squares of European cities that were to come. What was new about the Place Royale in 1612 was that the house fronts were all built to the same design, probably by Baptiste du Cerceau. The Place des Vosges initiated subsequent developments of Paris that created a suitable urban background for the French aristocracy.

Some of the famous residents included Cardinal Richelieu from 1615 to 1637. Victor Hugo from 1832 to 1848 and Sully, Henri IV’s great minister.

After our tour many returned to the Hotel. Carl, Janet, Kay and I decided to spend some more time exploring the area and get something to eat. We went back to an area which Ken said he frequented when he was in town and found this quiet street café.

Carl and I had the “menu” or the daily special, steak and vegetables. It was quite good. Kay and Janet enjoyed a sandwich which they also said was good.

Midafternoon we started to make our way back to the hotel on the underground. Note the trash can. In Paris all trash cans are wire will clear plastic bags to help reduce the possibility of bombs being left in trash cans. In contrast, in London it was almost impossible to find a public trash can.

Although the station looks quiet, it was usually standing room only. I don’t believe we ever waited longer than 3 minutes for a train.

After freshening up at the hotel, we went back out for the last time. We wanted to explore the famous Cimetiere du Montparnasse which was located only about two blocks from our hotel. Perhaps it seems a bit morbid, but Kay and I have always liked to wander around old cemeteries and we have learned during our travels together that Carl and Janet enjoy it as well.

Just a few photos

Created from three farms in 1824, the cemetery at Montparnasse was originally known as Le Cimetière du Sud (Southern Cemetery). Cemeteries had been banned from Paris since the closure of the Cimetière des Innocents in 1786 due to health concerns. Several new cemeteries outside the precincts of the capital replaced all the internal Parisian ones in the early 19th century

Montparnasse Cemetery is the eternal home of many of France’s intellectual and artistic elite as well as publishers and others who promoted the works of authors and artists. There are also monuments to police and firefighters killed in the line of duty in the city of Paris

This grave, as was many we saw, was that of victims of the gas chambers in Auschwitz.

Montparnasse Cemetery, Paris’ second largest after Père Lachaise, sprawls over 50 acres shaded by 1200 trees, including maples, ash, lime trees and conifers. In fact is so large, while wandering about Carl and I got separated from Janet and Kay and it took a while to locate each other.

Our weather has been great, but some rain finally came our way as we were on our way back to the Pullman Hotel. Now we have to pack for the return trip and then get some dinner…

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Day 48, July 28, 2014 – Monday – Paris

Today was a long day. We left early for one of Paris’ most famous and lively districts, Montmartre. Here we visited the famed Basilica of Sacre Coeur, with its high perch on top of the Montmartre hill. We were able to experience a beautiful view of Paris and the excitement of watching many artist at work as they have been for hundreds of years in this district.

The famous Moulin Rouge Cabaret.

Here we have the smaller but older St. Peters Cathedral of Montmartre built in 1147.

The cathedrals’ inside beauty is not foretold by it’s exterior.

One of the beautiful stained glass windows.

On our walk we came across this tragic loss. Several motorcycles had been burned to the ground.

Beautiful ivy covered wall. Artist have come to this area to paint for hundreds of years due to its wonderful light and proximity to Paris but still away from the crowds.

Some of the local art humor.

Montmartre is a hilly town with winding roads.

The Sacre Coeur, A beautiful cathedral, but they would not allow photos inside.

Street Artists in the plaza.

More artists and their wares. Many artists just wandered the streets and would draw a portrait for you for you while standing on the sidewalk or in the street for a reasonable number of euros.

Another view of the Basilica of Sacre Coeur taken from the “city” area of Montmartre below.

We after returning to the hotel, we had a typical French lunch of bread, butter and cheese, got a little rest and then headed back out about 2:00 PM not to return until about 11:00PM. We caught the underground, only about a couple hundred yards from our hotel. The French transit system is efficient, clean and easy to navigate, especially the subway. The buses can be a little more challenging.

For you A&F fans, this is Kay standing by the Abercrombie & Fitch sign on the Champs Elysees.

This is the actual entrance… We did not venture inside: still too many things to see and do.

We found this also on the famed boulevard. A store front for Toyota. No standard cars here….

My first good photo of the Arc. The thing is HUGE. Napoleon was small, but he sure thought big…

A different viewpoint, taken from directly underneath the Arc.

Inside the circle plaza at the Arc de Triumph, Janet and Kay practice their French greeting.

View of the Arc from one of the 12 avenues which radiate from the center.

Kay and I with the Eiffel tower in the back, taken at Trocadero. The place was named in honor of the Battle of Trocadero, in which the fortified Isla del Trocadero, in southern Spain, was captured by French forces led by the Duc d’Angoulême, son of the future king, Charles X, on August 31, 1823. France had intervened on behalf of King Ferdinand VII of Spain, whose rule was contested by a liberal rebellion. Trocadero restored the autocratic Spanish Bourbon Ferdinand VII to the throne of Spain, in an action that defined the Restoration. Being located across the Seine River on a hill, from the Eiffel Tower it affords a beautiful view of the tower.

We continued our walk/bus ride to the Concorde square. In 1763, a large statue of king Louis XV was erected at this site to celebrate the recovery of the king after a serious illness. The square surrounding the statue was created later, in 1772, by the architect Jacques-Ange Gabriel. It was known as the place Louis XV. At 20 acres in size the octagonal Place de la Concorde is the largest square in Paris. It is situated between the Tuileries and the Champs-Elysées.

In 1792, during the French revolution, the statue was replaced by a another, large statue, called ‘Liberté’ (freedom) and the square was called Place de la Revolution. A guillotine was installed at the center of the square and in a time span of only a couple of years, 1119 people were beheaded here. Amongst them many famous people like King Louis XVI, Marie-Antionette and revolutionary Robespierre, just to name a few. After the revolution the square was renamed several times until 1830, when it was given the current name ‘Place de la Concorde’.

In the 19th century the 3200 years old obelisk from the temple of Ramses II at Thebes was installed at the center of the Place de la Concorde. It is a 23 meters (75 ft.) tall monolith in pink granite and weighs approximately 230 tons. In 1831, it was offered by the Viceroy of Egypt to Louis Philippe. Three obelisks were offered by the Viceroy, but only one was transported to Paris.

The obelisk – sometimes dubbed ‘L’aiguille de Cléopâtre’ or Cleopatra’s Needle – is covered with hieroglyphs picturing the reign of pharaohs Ramses II & Ramses III. Pictures on the pedestal describe the transportation to Paris and its installation at the square in 1836.

Walking to the end of the Square, we find the Luvrer, It was rather dramatic with the threatning storm clouds looming.

A closer view of the famed and contriversial glass pyrimide entrance to the museum.

From the Concord square, we caught a bus to the Champ de Mara area near the Eiffel tower. We have a skip the line pass for the tower at 8:00 PM. After finding the office of the tour company where we were to pick up our passes, we decided to have dinner.

We had a very pleasant dining experience at this small café near the tower. We found that by following a few very simple rules of curtisy with the French, they were most accomidating and would go out of their way to help you, not only with the menu but with diretions or general information. It was amaizing what doors a simple bonjour would open and always rember to say merci and au revoir when you part. It is really an expected part of French culture.

Our approach to the base of the tower.

View from the tower of the Champ de Mars. The Ecole Militaire is located at the end of the mall. The tall black tower in the distance is the Tour Montparnasse. Our hotel is the white building just to its right.

We received a thrill, when Kay and Janet spotted our ship the Bizet. It had taken on a new group of passengers and was on its way back to Honfleur from Paris.

The M/S Bizet

Kay and I on top of the Eiffel Tower.

Sunset from the Eiffel Tower.

The Bizet sails away…

Twilight over Paris. The lights are just beginning to come on at 10:00 PM.

We decided to descend the tower by the stairs. This is a view during the decent.

The illuminated tower taken from the ground. Gustave Eiffel was truly a genius.

It was about a 15 minute walk from the tower to our Metro Station and only required one transfer to get to our station. When we exited this is what we saw..

The Tour Montparnasse building illuminated around 11:00 PM, on our way back to the hotel.

It has been a long but very satisfying day in Paris.

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Day 47, July 27, 2014 – Sunday – Paris

We disembarked the ship this morning. Most of our fellow travelers were heading home but about 30 of us extended our stay in Paris. We were fortunate to continue our extension with Ken our shipboard program director. Our hotel room at the Pullman Paris Montparnasse, would not be ready until afternoon so we dropped our luggage off at the hotel. Ken took us on an approximately two hour orientation walk of the neighborhood which included using the Metro. We were given tokens for two days of Metro service by underground, bus or train. After the orientation we all went our own way. We decided to walk to the Luxembourg palace and gardens.

The Jardin du Luxembourg, or the Luxembourg Garden, located in the 6th arrondissement of Paris, was created beginning in 1612 by Marie de’ Medici, the widow of King Henry IV of France, for a new residence she constructed, the Luxembourg Palace. The garden today is owned by the French Senate, which meets in the Palace.

The palace is beautiful but the gardens are the focus point. In addition their beauty they provide tennis courts and peaceful places to rest in the shade.

After the gardens we decided to visit the Cluny Museum, the Medieval Museum and ancient Roman Baths of Paris. The Hôtel de Cluny is partially constructed on the remnants of the third century Gallo-Roman baths (known as the Thermes de Cluny), famous in their own right.

Statue of Adam, taken from Notre Dame Cathedral.

Much of the original decorations of Notre Dame have now disappeared. However, many of them have been found and are on display at the Cluny Museum. They come from different parts of the cathedral. These heads had been used as foundation filler for a several hundred year old home.

More of the esteemed group.

One of several examples of Christ on the cross which were taken from alters.

The Lady and the Unicorn (French: La Dame à la licorne) is the modern title given to a series of six tapestries woven in Flanders of wool and silk, from designs ("cartoons") drawn in Paris around 1500.

After an nice leisurley Paris lunch, we started to make our way back to the hotel which was probably 1.5 miles distant. Along the way we passed through the Luxembourg Gardens as a short cut. Here we found a group of people playing the popular French game of boules, which is similar to bocci ball except you use steel balls.

A very serious game with spectators an betting.

We stayed and watched for a while.

I thought they made for some interesting photos. Note the cord with the man in the middle. It has a magnet attached so he can pick up his balls without bending over…

Everyone has their own technique.

Concentration!

This guy was very serious.

As well as this one.

If there was any question, the tape measure would appear.

After we got back to the hotel and check in, it was about 4PM and we were exhausted. I went to the small market near the hotel and purchased a baguette, butter, cheese and beer, all for about 5 euros (about $6.50): I felt like a real Frenchman, although I didn’t carry the bagette under my arm J. It made for delicious meal and we were asleep by 9:30.

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Day 46, July 26, 2014 – Saturday – Paris

We are still docked at the same pier where we were yesterday. At 8:30 we left for a tour of the highlights of the Louvre. I say highlights because it would take weeks to see everything.

The Louvre was originally a palace. An area in underground has been preserved to show the original foundation structure and walls.

This is the smaller, inside inverted glass pyramid of the Louvre.

A view through the pyramid to the outside.

Another view of the wall and foundation.

One of the older Egyptian exhibits.

The next few photos show a few of the exhibits we saw.

Along with the huge crowds.

Winged victory

Again the crowds…

And of course…

Must not forget Cupid.

This was an interesting pedestrian/bicycle bridge across the Seine. It had a nice cover J.

We walked from the ship to Notre Dame. About two miles and a nice walk along the river.

Another view.

The line was very long, but it took only about 20 minutes to get admission to the Cathedral.

It was worth the wait. We have seen a lot of cathedrals, but Notre Dame is truly grand.

Photo speaks for itself.

The beautiful rose window.

A tower view between two buildings.

Seen on a pedestrian bridge…

One of the barges converted to a houseboat on the Seine.

After dinner the ship was moved farther up the Seine and this was an interesting photo showing one of the several smaller Statues of Liberty in conjunction with the Eifel Tower.

At our new pier, we again saw many people enjoying themselves along the pier.

About 10:00 PM Janet and I walked across the nearest bridge to get these photos just after the Tower was lighted.

Time to say Good Night…

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Day 45, July 25, 2014 – Friday – Paris

We sailed at 11:00 PM last night for Paris with arrival around 8:00 AM. We had a half day “panoramic tour” by bus of Paris. It pretty much took us by everything in Paris of any major significance. It would have been nice to have had a few more photo stops but nevertheless it was a great overview of the city. For the afternoon we had signed up for the Versailles tour before leaving home. We knew for reading that it would be crowded, but were still shocked. Especially after learning that it was a relatively “slow” day for visitors.

A view from our pier.

We were docked just inside the Paris city limits. Not the absolutely best spot but still not too bad.

Arc de Triumph taken from the bus. The traffic circle around the Arc is mayhem. The intersection of 12 avenues, the circle is large enough to accommodate 8 to 10 lanes (I would guess) of traffic with no lanes designated. In addition to trucks, buses and cars you also have bicycles, motorcycles and even bicycle taxies vying for space.

Kay with the Eifel tower in the background. Taken from the Trocadero.

Another view

Versailles. One of those thing you just have to do, but I can’t say I really enjoyed it. I hate crowds…

The next few photos are of various rooms and buildings of the grand Palace of Versailles.

Beautiful ceiling paintings.

And another…

The King’s “receiving” bedroom, where he officially got up each morning.

The famed “Hall of Mirrors”, no photo can do it justice.

The bedroom of Queen Marie Antoinette.

Another view of the grounds.

And another…

The balcony where the Royalty addressed the people.

A view from the garden.

After dinner tonight we went for a walk. This is the scene at the nearby pedestrian bridge. People were literally having picnics on the bridge while waiting for the beautiful sunset over the Seine River.

And the sunset..

People gathered by the hundreds along the shore to eat, drink and visit.

They sat anywhere and everywhere. The French do no how to relax.

Another sunset view.

This is a permanently anchored bar/restaurant.

Carl found a nice place to take a break. We hope he didn’t get any fleas…

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Day 44, July 24 – Thursday – Conflans, France

We sailed this morning around 7:30 for Conflans–Saint-Honorine. It is in this area that the Seine, the Epte and the Oise rivers which are referred to as “Rivers of Light” are near each other and it was here that the Impressionist artist flocked to paint landscapes and scenes that have become recognizable around the world. We had a walking tour of Auvers-sur-Oise, the village where Vincent van Gogh came to live after his release from the asylum in nearby Saint-Remy. Van Gogh remained here for three months, until his suicide in 1890, and during this time he created some of his most brilliant pieces. He produced almost 80 paintings in this three month period including Wheat Field With Crows, one of his last works.

During the morning cruise we saw the Château de La Roche-Guyon which was built in the 12th century, controlling a river crossing of the Seine, itself one of the routes to and from Normandy. The Abbé Suger described its grim aspect: "At the summit of a steep promontory, dominating the bank of the great river Seine, rises a frightful castle without title to nobility, called La Roche. Invisible on the surface, it is hollowed out of a high cliff. The able hand of the builder has established in the mountainside, digging into the rock, an ample dwelling provided with a few miserable openings". In the mid-13th century, a fortified manor house (the château-bas) was added below.

The Chateau has had a long and interesting history. After D-Day, German Field Marshal Erwin Rommel defended Normandy against the Allies in World War II from a bunker located here. The castle also was Rommel’s headquarters

I don’t remember the town, but an interesting church.

Another view.

From the wall in Conflans.

A street view.

Van Gogh trail through Auvers-sur Oise.

Cathedral he painted.

His work compared to the original. These were some of Van Gogh’s darkest days.

Inside the cathedral. This is our local guide’s church. Her children were baptized here and one child was married here.

It’s a beautiful old church.

Van Gogh and his brother Theo’s grave.

The wheat field where Van Gogh did many of his last painting and near to where he attempted suicide which ultimately did result is his death.

Wheat Field With Crows

We saw many units like this which contained advertisements. This is the only one I saw which was a pay WC. It cost .50 euros.

Conflans has a large contingency of retired barges which have become sort of a retirement community for old barge operators. Many are highly modified with gardens and play areas for children. There is even a barge chapel, shown above.

Just an interesting color..

The barges are parked upto six deep.

This is the home for many people.

A sunken and apparently forgotten boat (except for the birds).

The local cathedral as seen from the shore.

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