Sunday, January 26, 2014

Normandy, France 2012

There is never a better way to explore an area than by car. This quick stop to Normandy and the surrounding areas allowed me to satisfy the history geek in me and cross off an item on the bucket list.

St Pierre Cathedral at Caen. The home base of the Normandy adventure

The most recognized flower to any Canadian. The infamous poppy growing at Juno Beach.

Paid respect at the Canadian cemetery a short drive from Juno Beach. 
Beautiful and simple with the poppy flower growing all around.

A few kilometers away lied the American cemetary. 
Grand monuments and beautiful pond decorated the surrounding area.  
A big contrast from the Canadian cemetery.

The American tombstone. The endless lines and rows made a powerful statement.

"a german soldier" - finally, we made a quick stop to the German cemetery. The simplicity to the area and bleak atmosphere marked another example at how the Germans acknowledged their actions in the war by not making a glamorous statement or any large monuments in the cemetery.

Pointe du Hoc
Pointe du Hoc

Pointe du Hoc - standing on top of the cliff provided a beautiful view. However, it also reminded that this cliff was the exact reason why so many American lives were lost. Standing there, looking down and imagining what it would have been like back in 1944. To know you were fighting an impossible mission and that no help was to come.

Paris, France 2012

After a relaxing few days traveling along the Rhine, it was back to Paris, France! The wonderful thing about visiting a city for the second time is the chance to stray away from the touristy must-sees, slow things down and if need be, revisit a few spots. With no specific itinerary on hand, I was free to wander!

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Frankfurt & the Rhine, Germany 2012

I realized that I never quite got around to posting my 2012 European escapade as my last/only post was on Denmark back in November of 2012. With a sudden surge of determination, right at the start of busy season, I will resume the editing/posting process. As to when I will get through remaining 6 countries that makeup this European adventure.. well, that's another story.

Next up! Deutschland. Although the main reason for visiting this country a second time was the fact that Frankfurt was really the only available airport that connected from Copenhagen, it was just another fabulous opportunity to explore more of this wonderful country. With a quick pit stop to Frankfurt (they were not kidding when they said it's really a one day stop), the next couple of days was filled with wine, beer and castles galore along the Rhine Valley.

Saint Bartholomew Cathedral. Although it was over a year ago, I still remember the interesting fact that was mentioned where the architect figured everybody always looks "up" so he didn't bother putting much effort to the bottom half of the cathedral.

Beautiful view of Frankfurt City with a glimpse of the Old Town & the River

Paid a quick visit to the Jewish Memorial in Frankfurt. We lost count of the endless rows. Supposedly, placing a rock on top of a name was one's way of remembering that individual.

The start of my Rhine Valley adventure. Well technically, the Rhine starts in Switzerland and ends in Netherlands so I should say.. the "Middle" Rhine Valley adventure.

At one of the many little towns (Bacharach)

More castles & more wine vineyards

One of the things that makes the Rhine Valley so breathtaking is the endless grape vines which covers the hills. It's a shame that many of the vineyards are shutting down in the area as the younger generation, who inherited the land, are not interested in the intensive labour required to run the vineyards and move away to nearby cities to find more white collar jobs. I sure hope this doesn't jeopardize my beloved Riesling!!

It's funny how it often takes you to enter "vacation" mode before you start to appreciate the simple beauties around you.

More castles and more vineyards

This marks the end of the Rhine Valley journey with many pit stops along the way to towns such as Rudesheim, Bingen, St Goar & finally to Koblenz. It was such a wonderful little getaway from technology and the bustle of everyday chaos. It was so amazing just to sit myself down at some random spot and read a book for hours. Take me back there now!