Page 2 of ridgydidge46 Travel Blog Posts

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Mont Saint-Michel August 1st 2012

We arrived late at Mont Saint Michel on Sunday, and we were absolutely mesmerised by the medieval charm of this place. It wasn’t until Monday that we started to explore the medieval streets and the Abbey. The Abbey was amazing and its history was really interesting. The views from up there were fabulous. After exploring all this for most of the morning, we then decided to walk across the sand flats, as the tide was out, towards another island to see the abbey from another perspective. Later in the evening, after the sun had set, we went out to the causeway to see the Abbey floodlit. Mont Saint Michel has been one of the high point for us on our trip so far, and we would recommend it to anyone. Just be warned about the vast ... read more
Mont Saint Michel Abbey Church
Main street of Mont Saint Michel
View of cemetry and church

Europe » France » Lower Normandy » Lisieux July 29th 2012

Today we left Rouen and headed off to Mont Saint Michel. On the way we stopped off in Lisieux. Our first stop was the Basilica, which was built in the 1920’s (very Art Deco). Entering the Basilica was an awe inspiring experience for us both. We attended the pilgrims’ liturgy, which was done respectfully and with reverence. One thing that surprised us was the huge ciborium; it looked like an ice bucket with a lid. But I guess, since the Basilica was packed, why they would need one that big. From here, we went to the Chapel of the Carmelites to see Saint Therese’s tomb. We then paid a quick visit to the Cathedral. After this, we continued on to Mont Saint Michel.... read more
Inside the Basilica
Saint Therese's tomb
The Cathedral

Europe » France » Upper Normandy July 28th 2012

On Friday, we left Paris for Rouen. We picked up our hire care (a BRAND new Golf) and on the way we stopped at Giverny to see Monet’s garden and house. The gardens were in full bloom, which was a bonus. We both felt that the best parts were the waterlilies pond and the famous bridge with the wisteria. We then went to the local village church to see where he was buried. When then proceeded to Rouen to our B & B, located in a 14thcentury half-timbered building in the heart of the historic centre of Rouen. Today, we explored all the sights of Rouen. These included Notre Dame Cathedral (nearly every cathedral in France is called Notre Dame), the Abbey of St Ouen, the Church of Saint Maclou, the Great Clock and its tower, ... read more
Monet's house garden
Rouen Cathedral
Medieval street of Rouen

Europe » France » Île-de-France » Paris July 27th 2012

Today we headed off to climb the heights of the Eiffel Tower. To get to the tower, we walked from the apartment, up the main street called rue de Rivoli to the Avenue de Champs Elysee. Here, we took in the Arc de Triomphe. We then crossed the Seine to take the elevator up to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Fortunately, we were smart enough to prepurchase our ticket to the summit of the tower and avoided the extremely long queues and standing in the hot sun. It was a really clear day and the views were spectacular. On our trip home, we walked along the Seine and went to la Madeleine. Built in the 18th century, it is modelled on a Roman temple; very different from other churches in the city. We ended our ... read more
Terry and Anthony at the Eiffel Tower
La Madeleine

Europe » France July 24th 2012

On Monday, we caught the TGV and made our way to Reims. It only took 45 minutes to travel about 150 km (we’ll let you do the maths!). Our main focus was to see the Cathedral, as it was the place of the coronation of the kings of France. The cathedral was as spectacular as we thought it would be. One disappoint was that the cathedral was closed as it was Monday. We then went to the Basilica of Saint Remi, which was also a noted sighted. Today, we went to the Basilica of Saint Denis, the place where many kings of France are buried. The basilica was one of the first French gothic buildings, and it was the model for Notre Dame de Paris. There were more tombs than you could shake a stick at. ... read more
Saint Remi Basilica in Reims
Statue of Saint Remi baptising Clovis in Reims
Basilica of Saint Denis

Europe » France » Île-de-France July 22nd 2012

Today we spent most of the day in Paris’ Latin Quarter. It amazing that we had already stayed here a week a few years ago and missed so much. We started the day with mass at Notre Dame de Paris, then up to the Sorbonne, the original University of Paris. We then saw the Pantheon, which was a church, then a civic building, then church, then back to a civic building. Down in the crypt, there are buried many French notables, including Emile Zola, Victor Hugo and Marie Curie. We went to the Jardin du Luxembourg, which were the gardens of the palace of the same name. The gardens we beautiful to stroll around on such a lovely day. We then visited several other churches. At Saint Sulpice, we checked out the meridian line. We saw ... read more
La Sorbonne
The Pantheon
Palais et Jardin de Luxemboug

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence July 19th 2012

Tuesday afternoon, we went to the Palazzo Pitti and the Boboli Gardens. The palace was the last residence of the Medici family. It is ornately decorated, particularly the original audience and waiting rooms. The rooms of the palace now show many of the treasures of the Medici family, as well as other exhibitions. The Boboli gardens belong to the palace and they are designed in an Italianate style. Our expectations were high. However, upon entering we were somewhat disappointed. The heat and lack of shade did not make the visit any more pleasant. The highlights of the garden were the amphitheatre and some of the statuary. This afternoon, we visited the Medici Chapels and the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo. The Chapels are an amazing sight. Unfortunately, part of the chapel was covered in scaffolding, so that ... read more
View of the Amphitheatre
L' isolotto in the Gardens
Statuary in the Gardens

Europe » Italy » Emilia-Romagna » Bologna July 17th 2012

This weekend we went to Bologna. We left Friday afternoon, and caught the fast train. We were able to get there in little time. We spent the rest of Friday walking around the city. One of the distinctive features of the city are its approximate 30 kms of colonnades, the longest being 3.8 kms, starting just outside the city wall to the Basilica of the Madonna of St Luke. On Saturday, we took off on a walking tour of the city. The tour included the Basilica of San Petronio, the Palazzo dell’Archiginnasio, with its anatomical theatre, the two towers and the Basilicas of Saint Dominic (founder of the Dominicans) and Saint Stephen, with its complex of 7 churches. Amongst the highlights of this tour were the anatomical theatre Archiginnasio, and climbing the Arsinelli tower, at a ... read more
A colonnade in Bologna
The two towers
The Anatomical Theatre

Europe » Italy » Tuscany July 15th 2012

Terry went to Siena on Tuesday. He saw the Piazza del Campo, where the Palio was run the week before. There were still some celebrations going on. He visited the Cathedral and the church of San Domenico, where Catherine of Siena’s head is on display (macabre). Then he went on to San Gimignano to see its famous towers. This whole trip was conveniently brought about by a local tour company, and it was hot! (35 degrees). After class in the morning, Anthony went on a trip to Certosa, a Cistercian monastery out of Florence. The monk who showed us the place was only one of 4 remaining, and he was about 80 years old. Such a large place for so few people. It was originally a Carthussan monastery with an interesting past. We haven’t pasted a ... read more
Piazza Pubblico, Siena
Torre Gemmell, San Gimignano
Streets of San Gimignano

Europe » Italy » Tuscany » Florence July 10th 2012

We arrived in Florence on Saturday at 7.30 pm, and we settled into our apartment. On Sunday, we attended mass at St Mark’s English Church. In the afternoon, we visited the Duomo. In the evening, we attended Vespers at the Badia Fiorentina, a mixed Benedictine monastery. The Vespers were sung in a different way than we were used to, and it was a moving experience. Today, Anthony attended his first day of school. Terry hopped on a train and went to Pisa, seeing the Baptistery, Cathedral and the (leaning) Tower.... read more
Florence's Duomo and Campanile
Il Ponte Vecchio
The Leaning Tower of Pisa

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