December 5, 2017

Les Jardins de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! My last post covered our visit to le Château de Versailles.  That grand old palace, built by Louis XIV, and now a museum is certainly amazing. But equally extraordinary are the surrounding grounds and gardens. The entire estate covers over 800 hectares or almost 2000 acres. That’s about twice the size of Vancouver’s Stanley Park or Perth’s King’s Park. It’s also larger than San Diego’s Balboa Park (1200 acres) or New York’s Central Park (843 acres). Louis the XIV commissioned the brilliant landscape architect André Le Nôtre to design the gardens and work began simultaneously with the Château. It took forty years to complete. The picture…

October 27, 2017

Le Château de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! Most of central Paris is within walking distance. And on the afternoon we arrived, we did just that, walked around the old city – from the Eiffel Tower to the Arc de Triomphe, down the Champs Elysées to the Louvre, and back along the Seine to the Eiffel Tower again. Many other attractions are within easy reach. But the next day, our first full day, we ventured out of the city center to see the fabulous Château de Versailles. This palace and its surrounding gardens are about twenty kilometres from the city center and easily reached by train. Leaving the train station we walked a block…

October 27, 2017

Photo Gallery: Le Château de Versailles

Follow us on Facebook! Here are some additional photos of our visit to the Palace at Versailles. These were taken with an older camera and if we should be fortunate enough to visit Paris again, I’ll replace them with better pictures taken with my newer camera. Follow us on Facebook!

May 25, 2017

Rome’s Colosseum

Follow us on Facebook! The Colosseum is the largest amphitheatre ever built and a must-see highlight of any visit to Rome. We spent a day there before taking a Mediterranean cruise in 2011. After the cruise we spent another day in the city. That first day had us take a hop on/hop off bus around the city and one of our hop off points was the Colosseum. We grabbed a light lunch and then walked around the perimeter. It is an ancient building and in remarkably good repair considering it is almost 2000 years old. Construction started under Emperor Vespasian in 72 AD. He died in 79 AD and did…

April 10, 2017

Sicily and Mount Etna

Follow us on Facebook! To celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary we spent a week in Paris followed by a Mediterranean cruise. The first port of call was Sicily. The ship passed through the narrow strait between the island and the toe of Italy’s boot and then into the harbor of Messina, the island’s third largest city. A golden statue known as the Madonna of the Letter greets you as you enter the sheltered bay. The latin quote at its base says “Vos at ipsam civitatem benedicimus”. It means “We bless you and your city” and is a taken from a letter sent by the Virgin Mary to the people of Messina…

August 9, 2016

Paris: Ooh-la-la!

Follow us on Facebook! Often the unexpected is what makes a vacation truly memorable. And sometimes the unexpected is so out of left field that it cannot be replicated. While we absolutely loved our week in Paris in 2011, one incident stands out as a story we tell over and over again. It is deliciously wicked and if we were to visit Paris twenty more times, I doubt it would ever happen again. If we had stayed at a different hotel, it wouldn’t have happened. If we had gone down to breakfast a half hour earlier it wouldn’t have happened. But kismet – it happened. As I recounted in my…

August 4, 2016

Paris: The City of Light

Follow us on Facebook! Paris does not have a wild plethora of neon like Times Square in New York or the Shibuya Crossing in Tokyo. It’s called the City of Light because of its importance during the Age of Enlightenment and because it was one of the first European cities to get street lighting. My wife and I spent a week in Paris to celebrate our thirtieth wedding anniversary in 2011. We had never been there before and we were in for a treat. Paris is fabulous. Today’s post will give you an overview. In future posts I’ll look at the Palais de Versailles, the Louvre, Notre Dame Cathedral, the…