2015 Tall Ships Regatta

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl under sail

The Statsraad Lehmkuhl under sail

We are here in Norway for two reasons:  to pack up some things from the house, and sail the Statsraad Lemhkuhl in the Tall Ships Regatta from Kristiansand to Aalborg, Denmark.  Our father was a cadet on this same ship in the late 1930s.  When we discovered we could sign on as crew members, it didn’t take long to pick a few dates and make a deposit.

A postcard my dad had of the Statraad Lehmkuhl from his days as a cadet in 1939

A postcard my dad had of the Statraad Lehmkuhl from his days as a cadet in 1939

My dad as a cadet

My dad as a cadet

We met up with the crew at 10 am on Tues July 28th in the Kristiansand harbor.  After swapping our passports for locker keys, we were assigned hammocks and watch duties.

Captain Marcus addresses the trainees

Captain Marcus Seidl addresses the trainees

Becky with bell

Our sleeping quarters

Our sleeping quarters

Our lockers

Our lockers

Race route

Race route.  From Kristiansand we had three waypoints we had to round before heading south to Aalborg.   They are marked on the chart above as WP1, WP2 and WP3.

On this leg there were 93 “trainees”, as we are called, split evenly between men and women.  (During the regatta at least 50% of the crew must be between the ages of 15 and 25.  They are trying to promote maritime careers with young people).  We got the Red Watch (also called the “dog watch”), noon to 1600 and again midnight to 0400.  Surprisingly it turned out to be a very nice time to be on deck.  Most everyone else is sleeping and it is quiet.  The last of the sunset is just visible when we go on duty at midnight, and at 0230 the first of the sunrise starts to lighten the skies to the west.  Watch duties include; lookout (on the bow) buoy watch (aft deck), helm, and fire watch.  But mostly during watch we are manual labor for pulling on lines to either furl or unfurl the sails or trim the sails.  That part of the watch was a lot more work than I anticipated.

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duties

Our first four hour watch began at midnight Tues.  It was the most difficult watch period of the entire sail due to continual rain and windy conditions.  For the first two hours of the watch we trimmed sails continually.  That meant two hours of racing between lines in rain and total darkness on an unfamiliar deck, as the crew yelled instructions in a mixture of Norwegian and Danish.  It was a bit confusing to say the least.  We were told that the regatta legs are more intense than a regular cruise, but there is a reason.  The continual trimming of the sails is to gain the maximum speed possible.  After two hours of trimming sails, my sister and I took the lookout watch on the prow.  In that hour up front we learned it is the coldest and windiest spot on the ship.  At the end of our four hour watch the hammocks were starting to look pretty good, but the night wasn’t over.  Soaked and shivering at 0400 our watch leader told us that we had to stay on duty because we were approaching a waypoint and they needed at least two full watches (62 people) on deck to complete the coming about maneuver.  So in the wind and rain we hauled on the lines as instructed and at 0600 we fell into our hammocks, sleeping right through breakfast.  It was the most challenging watch of the sail, but also the most memorable.

From the Captain’s log the night of our first watch:

We rounded the first waypoint during an exciting night in variable winds and rain and are now on an easterly in light following winds. Most of the vessels in our class are still tightly grouped and it is a wonderful sight with all the sails around us here in the Skagerak. The wind is expected to increase and we are all looking forward to that.

The afternoon shift was much calmer, and afterwards the entire group of trainees gathered on the main deck to learn sailing shanties from the ship’s “shanty man” Haakon Vatle from Storm Weather Shanty Choir.  After our watch we also got to climb into the rigging.

Me climbing the rigging

Me climbing the rigging

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Our second dog watch was heaven compared to the night before.  We enjoyed calm winds and a moon so full it cast shadows on the deck.  It was peaceful up on the bow where we started our shift; not good for sailing, but very good for contemplation.

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Sails

Sails

From the second day we had much calmer winds and no more rain.  Due to the calm winds, the race ended early, at 1400 on Thursday, with the results to be determined from the ships’ positions that day.  All the ships needed time to reach Aalborg by Saturday.

From the Captain’s log:

After the official termination of the race was announced at 2 pm yesterday, we decided to continue sailing along the race route and are now on the last leg southwards towards the finishing line off Skagen. We have a nice sailing wind and as the pictures from our visiting photographer from the Danish Fyns Amts newspaper illustrate, the trainees are kept busy on their watch posts and learning seamanship while they enjoy life at sea. Yesterday we were visited by the commander of the Norwegian Coastguard vessel SVALBARD and the Race Director for the Tall Ships Races, who we had invited over for coffee at sea and a shanty session on deck under full sails and sunny skies. We will continue to sail towards The Tall Ships Races Aalborg as long as the wind allows and plan to arrive at 10:00 tomorrow morning.

The stress level diminished and the shanty singing enthusiastically increased with the termination of the race.  Our duties were much easier and we indulged in some lolling on deck in the sun.  We had lessons in knot tying, rope splicing, rope coiling, and sailing techniques.

Learning to splice rope

Learning to splice rope

The captain sang a shanty too

The captain sang a shanty too

Shanty singer Haakon from Storm Weather Shanty Choir

Shanty singer Haakon from Storm Weather Shanty Choir

Me taking a break on the deck

Me taking a break on the deck

Becky on ship

On Thursday at about 3 pm, a Norwegian Coast Guard ship came close and launched a runabout.  Three of the officers, friends of the captain, came aboard for a visit with coffee and sweet rolls.  They stayed for some shanty singing and then we sang them off.

Norwegian coast guard

Norwegian coast guard

Although the race was over, the captain decided to sail the route, so we continued with our sail training, all the watches, and our duties.  My favorite duty was the helm.

Me on Helm duty

Me on Helm duty

L at helm

My sister at helm duty

My sister at helm duty

We also continued to learn more shanties.  The plan was to load up the yard arms with the cadets and sing our way into port in Aalborg.  The sails came down around midnight Friday night and between 8 am and 10 am on Saturday all the trainees were put to work polishing brass and perfectly coiling all ropes.

Vanessa instructing trainees in the rigging

Vanessa instructing trainees in the rigging

The Christian Radich behind us.  There is a long standing friendly competition between the crews.   They passed us near the end and came in 8th

The Christian Radich behind us. There is a long standing friendly competition between the crews. They passed us near the end and came in 8th

Kids singing shanties in the rigging as we came into port

Kids singing shanties in the rigging as we came into port

Saturday morning we motored into Aalborg with the yardarms lined with kids.  We all sang shanties as we found our moorage.  The harbor was full of Tall Ships and the party was already under way.  It was a great sail and quite an experience.  We marched in the crew parade on Sunday and cheered the crews who won awards at the ending ceremony.  Unfortunately our ship the Statsraad Lehmkuhl did not win any prizes.  We came in 9th in the Class A ranking.

B and L

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Sand to Kristiansand

L, Maalfried and Solveig

After receiving yet more gifts and the last hugs, we boarded the ferry and waved goodbye to the aunties and cousins.  It was sad to leave, but it also was the prettiest day yet with sunshine and no wind.  The ferry ride from Sand to Stavanger was just two hours, and it was a good day to be on the water.  In Stavanger we walked the short distance through the picturesque old town area to the train station.

Leaving Sand on the ferry

Leaving Sand on the ferry

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The nearly empty train from Stavanger to Kristiansand took three hours and wound its way through some very scenic areas, sometimes following the coast and sometimes inland.

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

Stavanger

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Stavanger

On the train to Kristiansand

On the train to Kristiansand

The many masts of the Tall Ships greeted us upon disembarking from the train in the Kristiansand station.  The harbor was full and the party had been going on for three days.  There was an outdoor stage with a band, food and souvenir kiosks, and a colorful and enthusiastic crowd.  Each ship seemed to be hosting a party with the crew in full dress uniform.  It was quite a festive scene.

Tall Ships in Kristiansand harobr

Tall Ships in Kristiansand harobr

Kristiansand

Kristiansand

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Kristiansand harbor near the fish market

Becky in Kristiansand

At the Kristiansand fish market

At the Kristiansand fish market

The fish market in old town Kristansand

The fish market in old town Kristansand

The Tall Ships Regatta has been a bi-annual event, the ports competing for the honor and the tourist dollars that it brings in.  This year there are a record 28 ships in our Class A category.  Due to the popularity of the race, it has been set in the Mediterranean for next year.  We located the Statsraad Limhkuhl, a repeat winner of the regatta, but it was too late to take a tour of the ship.  The Kristiansand harbor seemed a perfect setting for the regatta.

Photo credit:   R. Nielsen

Photo credit: R. Nielsen

Our ship, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl

Our ship, the Statsraad Lehmkuhl

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Sand, Norway: Hello and Goodbye

Sand, Norway

Sand, Norway

My sister and I are back in Sand, our father’s home town in Norway.  My aunt’s house (in our family for over 65 years) has been sold, and we are here to help pack up some things and to say goodbye.  Coming back to Sand will never seem the same, if ever we even come back.  This summer is the coolest and rainiest in the last 50 years, according to Norwegian news.  We have had rain and sun, but it does feel more like September than July.

Boat houses a few blocks from my aunt's house

Boat houses a few blocks from my aunt’s house

The main street that runs through Sand

The main street that runs through Sand

The church in Sand

The church in Sand

Sand, Norway

Sand, Norway

The rosemaling chest my sister inherited

The rosemaling chest my sister inherited

One of the things I love about coming to Norway is how clean and orderly everything is.  You just don’t see any junky houses or cars, and the ferries always run on time.  Sand is a sleepy little town, with cute old wooden houses, and just a little bit of tourism.  It isn’t as busy and industrious as it used to be when my father lived here.  There are just a few shops, and some are not open every day.  The bank only changes foreign currency on Mondays and Thursdays.  The biggest draws for the town are fishing, the Ryfylke Museum and the Fjordhotel.  I had good luck at the local antique shop, finding a beautiful woven Hardangar table scarf and a bowl decorated with rosemaling.  The exchange rate is the best we have seen in many years, 8 NOK to $1.

Antique Shop in Sand

Antique Shop in Sand

The antique rosemaling bowl I bought.

The antique rosemaling bowl I bought.

The Fjordhotel in Sand

The Fjordhotel in Sand

Fjord Hotel Sand

The Ryfylke Museum

The Ryfylke Museum

Inside the Ryfylke Museum the top floor is a play area for children.  It is based on the White Bear childrens book.  There are racks of costumes that the kids can wear.  They were playing beautiful folk music while we were there

Inside the Ryfylke Museum the top floor is a play area for children. It is based on the White Bear childrens book. There are racks of costumes that the kids can wear. They were playing beautiful folk music while we were there

bridge

A major pastime for us during our trips to Sand is walking around the town visiting relatives, alive and dead.  It is no wonder that we are related to a good percentage of the town, as our grandfather Hans Kristian was one of ten children.  From the 1920s until his death in 1940, our great grandfather owned the town’s magnificent Victorian-era Karhus Hotel.  It then passed to his children, who sold it in the late 1940s.  It burned to the ground in 1965.

Karhus Hotel

Karhus Hotel

My grandfather Hans Kristian and his 9 siblings and parents.  He is second from the left in the back row

My grandfather Hans Kristian and his 9 siblings and parents. He is second from the left in the back row

Roses in my Aunt Ruth's garden

Roses in my Aunt Ruth’s garden

Our second cousin May-Britt treated us to a wonderful lunch, her open face sandwiches almost too pretty to eat.  Of course the lunch was topped off with fresh local strawberries and cream, a daily in-season ritual.

May-Britt treated us to lunch

May-Britt treated us to lunch

May-Britt's sandwiches

May-Britt’s sandwiches

local strawberries

Me and my second cousin May-Britt

Me and my second cousin May-Britt

Me and my dad's first cousin Ruth.  I think that makes me a first cousin once removed

Me and my dad’s first cousin Ruth. I think that makes me a first cousin once removed

A short walk from my aunt’s house is Suldalslaagen Fossen, also known as Sandsfossen.  The first written record of salmon fishing in this area was in 1000.  We saw people fishing at the falls in the evening.

The falls near my aunt's house

The falls near my aunt’s house

Fishing just below the falls

Fishing just below the falls

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One day we walked across the bridge and hiked up the other side.  The scenery had me half expecting to see trolls, but instead we found wild blueberries

hiking bridge

L hiking trail

My sister picking wild blueberries

My sister picking wild blueberries

Wild blueberries

Wild blueberries

Tomorrow  we will take the ferry to Stavanger, then catch the train to Kristiansand.  In Kristiansand we join the crew of the Statsraad Lemhkuhl for the last leg of the 2015 Tall Ships Regatta.  Our father was a cadet on this three-masted barque in the late 1930s, so in his honor we have signed on as crew members for 5 days, sailing from Kristiansand, Norway to Aalborg, Denmark.

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I always seem to find a kitty wherever I go

I always seem to find a kitty wherever I go

Sand with roses

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Glad Midsommar

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This time of year, Midsummer, the longest day of the year, I always think of Sweden.  Today, June 19th, is the big Midsummer celebration in Sweden, and I have heard from friends and family in Sweden as they prepare for the festivities.  For me there is no better place to be, but Oregon is a close second in a pinch.  This year Midsummer and Father’s Day fell on the same weekend, so I had to come to Oregon.  Oregon has been having an unusually dry and warm Spring.

My mother's house with the hay ready for cutting

My mother’s house with the hay ready for cutting

June is the month for flowers here.  It isn’t April showers that bring May flowers here, May is still too cold.  Today on the Oregon coast, sunrise is 5:23 and sunset is 9:10 pm, nearly 16 hours of daylight.

nasturiums

nasturiums

pansies

fuschia

Even the frogs are pretty colors in the Spring

Even the frogs are pretty colors in the Spring

yellow rose

The hay, ready to cut, at sunset:

fields of grain

sunset hayfield

My mother planted Birch trees, another reminder of Sweden.  Their beautiful white bark and delicate green leaves make pretty bouquets at Midsummer.  When we were in Sweden, we stopped to pick 7 types of wild flowers, and of course sang Helan Går while sampling snaps to celebrate Midsummer.

http://www.swedishfood.com/songs

birch tree bark

Birch tree bark

Birch leaves

Birch leaves

Daisies in the field

Daisies in the field

Honeysuckle

Honeysuckle

Blondie

Blondie

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Last Day In Paris

Images from Le Cimetière du Père-Lachaise

Chopin's tomb

Chopin’s tomb

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Jim Morrison's grave.

Jim Morrison’s grave.

A particularly moving tomb

A particularly moving tomb

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Among the many last resting place of famous artists, architects and political figures, we saw;  Oscar Wilde, Marcel Marceau, Edith Piaf, Sarah Bernhardt, Jim Morrison, Chopin, and the most recently added Bernard Verlhac dit Tignous, the Charlie Hebdo cartoonist murdered by Islamic radicals.

http://www.pere-lachaise.com/

 

THE TOWERS OF NOTRE-DAME

After waiting in line for 30 minutes and climbing hundreds of narrows stairs, you find yourself at the top of Notre-Dame, the symbol of medieval Paris, with a view well worth the effort.

The winding staircase to the top of the Towers of Notre-Dame

The winding staircase to the top of the Towers of Notre-Dame

 

The Chimera gallery gargoyles, designed by Viollet-le-duc in the 19th century.  This photo is of Stryga, Greek meaning "bird of the night", a nocturnal and evil spirit

The Chimera gallery figures, designed by Viollet-le-duc in the 19th century. This photo is of a Stryga, Greek meaning “bird of the night”, a nocturnal and evil spirit

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Taken from the south tower belfry.  I happened to be up in the towers between 1130 and 1230 and heard the full set of bells.  It was awesome

These gargoyles are on the south tower belfry. I happened to be up in the towers between 1130 and 1230 and heard the full set of bells. It was awesome

An angel in the south tower belfry

An angel in the south tower belfry

Chimera;  depiction of a monster or mythical being.  Not to be confused with gargoyles, which are protruding features designed to drain rainwater.

Chimera; depiction of a monster or mythical being. Not to be confused with gargoyles, which are protruding features designed to drain rainwater.

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Looking east over the roof of the nave, you see four groups of three apostles, alongside allegorical depictions of the evangelists, descending on all sides of the spire.

Looking east over the roof of the nave, you see four groups of three apostles, alongside allegorical depictions of the evangelists, descending on all sides of the spire.

The Flower Market

The Flower Market on the Il de Citi

The Flower Market on the Ile de la Cite

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A Farmers’ Market In Our Neighborhood

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Our last evening up on Montmartre was lovely, with sunshine and no wind.  What a difference that made, and the crowd was gathered for sunset.

Montmartre stairs looking up

Montmartre stairs looking up

Montmartre stairs, looking down, black and white

Montmartre stairs, looking down, black and white

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A large crowd had gathered close to sunset

A large crowd had gathered close to sunset

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Paris, Museum Pass Day 4

Due to the excesses of the night before, we didn’t get going until 11 am, so a last minute change of plans, shortened considerably.  We took the metro down to the Place de la Concorde with the intent to tour the Musee de l’Orangerie.  We got a bit sidetracked by our first encounter with Fashion Week Paris which is this week.  There were so many photographers with big cameras and big lenses, we decided to see what was up.  Turned out there was a show, Carven, and the invitees were passing through the crowd, and at least one model as well.  We surely didn’t recognize anyone, but other people did.

Photographers shooting the fashion show attendees

Photographers shooting the fashion show attendees

You could tell the attendees not only by the frenzy of the photographers, but they also carried invitations.

A fashion show attendee poses for the photographers

A fashion show attendee poses for the photographers

We watched for a bit and then turned our attention to the real stars of Paris, the collection of Monet’s giant water lily paintings.  Two large naturally lit rooms hold 8 giant paintings, seen the way Monet intended.  It was wonderful.

A postcard of one of Monet's giant water lily paintings

A postcard of one of Monet’s giant water lily paintings

Being in no big hurry, we strolled the length of Avenue des Champs-Elysees from Place de la Concorde to the Arc de Triomphe.  We did a bit of window shopping, but it was an expensive street.

The marker in the ground in the Place de la Concorde marking the spot where the guilotine stood

The bronze plaque in the ground in the Place de la Concorde marking the spot where the guillotine stood and where Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette plus more than 1000 others lost their heads.

Window shopping along CHamps-Elyssee

Window shopping along Champs-Elysees

Arc de Triomphe

Arc de Triomphe

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We made our way back to the apartment to rest, passing once again Sacre-Coeur looking more splendid with a blue sky as a backdrop.

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The plan was to head down to the Eiffel Tower at 6 pm and wait for the lights to come on, which is exactly what we did.

This statue, like the rest of us, seems to wait for the Eiffel Tower lights

This statue, like the rest of us, seems to wait for the Eiffel Tower lights

The only place we saw Je Suis Charlie was on a crepe stand at the base of the Eiffel Tower

The only place we saw Je Suis Charlie was on a crepe stand at the base of the Eiffel Tower

And finally at 7 pm we not disappointed and the sparkling lights put the "light" in City Of Lights

And finally at 7 pm we not disappointed and the sparkling lights put the “light” in City Of Lights

We had dinner at the Cafe Trocadero (a tasty fish soup and goat cheese something or other) and from there made our way via metro to the Arc de Triomphe to take the photos in the previous post.  It was our night photo excursion, and it was beautiful.  Our last use of the 4 day Museum Pass was getting to ride the lift up to the top of the Arc and not having to take the stairs.

 

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City of Lights, Paris By Night

Eiffel Tower at 7 pm with the sparkling lights

Eiffel Tower at 7 pm with the sparkling lights

They light up the tower with sparkling lights for 5 minutes each hour, at the top of the hour.  This photo was taken at 7 pm, the first lighting.

The Arc de Triomphe, taken from the middle of The Champs-Elysee

The Arc de Triomphe, taken from the middle of The Champs-Elysee

Taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

Taken from the top of the Arc de Triomphe

The full moon over The Champs-Elysees from on top the Arc de Triomphe

The full moon over The Champs-Elysees and the Eiffel Tower, taken from on top the Arc de Triomphe with my iPhone on panorama

The full moon over The Champs-Elysees

The full moon over The Champs-Elysees

Arc de Triompne

Arc de Triompne

 

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Paris, Museum Pass Day 3, aka Happy Birthday to Me

Eiffel Tower taken from near the Place de la Concorde

Eiffel Tower taken from near the Place de la Concorde

We started today with a tour of the Musee d’Orsay.  A fabulous museum with three floors of Art Nouveau objects d’art, furniture and design (an entire room) that I didn’t even know were there, and rooms of master piece paintings, it was a great way to spend a birthday.  The building was reopened as a museum 47 years after it had been closed as a train station and was almost demolished in the 1970s.  It has been put to a very good use.

Morning along the Seine

Morning along the Seine

Sculptures outside the Musee d'Orsay

Sculptures outside the Musee d’Orsay

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The Musee d’Orsay was among the few places that had the ‘no photo’ sign everywhere.  However, there was one spot in the museum that allowed photos to be taken, and I confirmed that before snapping these two photos, the second being my favorite shot of the day.

Inside the Musee d'Orsay looking the clock

Inside the Musee d’Orsay looking out the clock

Sacre Coure from inside the Musee d'Orsay

Sacre Coure from inside the Musee d’Orsay

Postcard of the Vue de l'allee centrale, Musee d'Orsay

Postcard of the Vue de l’allee centrale, Musee d’Orsay

Postcard of some of the chairs

Postcard of some of the chairs of the 1900

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A book I purchased at the museum

After about 2 1/2 hours in the Musee d’Orsay, we walked back along the Seine and towards the Place de la Concorde.

A pedestrian bridge that links the Musee d'Orsay to the Jardin des Tuileries.

A pedestrian bridge that links the Musee d’Orsay to the Jardin des Tuileries.

The bridge was covered with the ‘love locks’ so popular with tourists.  At least on this newer more modern bridge it seemed ok, but not on the historic bridges, where we also saw the locks and they are causing problems.  There was a man selling locks on the bridge, and they even engrave them.

Engraved locks on the bridge

Engraved locks on the bridge

In the Jardin des Tuileries.

In the Jardin des Tuileries.

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On our way back to the apartment to rest before going back out for the evening, we stopped at a magazine stand to buy a Charlie Hebdo.  The local French man seemed quite happy about my inquiries into Je Suis Charlie, but we haven’t seen much use of the phrase so far.  I was hoping to get a sticker or t-shirt or something, but there has been nothing to purchase.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.

The latest issue of Charlie Hebdo.

a page inside the issue of Charlie Hebdo.  Drones partout justice nullepart;  using images of political and historical figures, such as the Catholic Church and al-quaida to illustrate the futility of making people behave

a page inside the issue of Charlie Hebdo. Drones partout justice nullepart; using images of political and historical figures, such as the Catholic Church and al-quaida to illustrate the futility of making people behave

Our lunch today in the apartment, tarts and bread and cheese from the local bakery

Our lunch today in the apartment, tarts, and bread and cheese from the local bakery, and wine

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Birthday pastries served as cake.

Birthday pastries

Birthday pastries

We rested the afternoon in preparation for our big night out, dinner reservations at Le Jules Verne restaurant.  We took a cab to Place du Trocadero for the best location for Eiffel Tower photos.  It was cold but it was a good spot for photos.

Me with the EIffel Tower from the Trocadero

Me with the EIffel Tower from the Trocadero

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Eiffel Tower 1

Le Jules Verne restaurant has a private lift, and a gorgeous view.

View from Le Jules Verne

View from Le Jules Verne

We enjoyed the 5 course dinner with the 5 wine pairings.

Started with champagne

Started with champagne

smoked salmon, gold caviar, mimosa garnish

smoked salmon, gold caviar, mimosa garnish

sauteed scallop, potatoes with Mont d'Or cheese, cooking jus

sauteed scallop, potatoes with Mont d’Or cheese, cooking jus

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Le Jules Verne

Le Jules Verne

Crispy 'Tower nut', chocolate from their Paris factory and praline

Crispy ‘Tower nut’, chocolate from their Paris factory and praline.  With two dessert wines;  2009 Sauternes Chateau Haut-Bergeron, and 15 ans Maury Hors d’age Domaine Pouderoux

 

 

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Chartres Cathedral, A Day Trip From Paris

Chartres Cathedral

Chartres Cathedral

It was an easy one hour train ride from the Montparnasse Train Station in Paris to Chartres and a nice change of pace to see the countryside after spending a few days in the city.  The 16 euro fare took us past cute French villages and through farm land.

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From the Chartre train station, it’s a short walk to the stunning cathedral that absolutely dominates the surrounding area.  It was a beautiful sight, and luckily we had sunny weather for our arrival.  The cathedral was built between 1194 and 1260, relatively quickly for a Gothic cathedral and the reason for its harmonious design.

The East Rose window

The West Rose window

We took our time walking the interior with an audio guide, and my sister’s running commentary bolstered by many years of art history helped my understanding of the stained glass windows.  There is nothing random about the stories the windows tell.

The South Rose Window

The North Rose Window, the center window on the bottom depicts Saint Anne holding the infant Mary

There are three rose windows, depicting different bible stories and times of Jesus’ life, and most of the stained glass is original.

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The ceiling over the choir

The famous "Blue Virgin" window on the right

The famous “Blue Virgin” window on the right

The "Blue Virgin" window from the 12th century.  The virgin is shown holding baby Jesus

The “Blue Virgin” window from the 12th century.

 

The "Blue Virgin" original glass

The “Blue Virgin” original glass

The virgin shown holding the baby Jesus is the oldest stained glass at Chartre.  This depiction of Mary dates from the previous church on the site that burned in 1194.  The four panels were incorporated into the windows of the 13th century church.

Piscese in the window next to the "Blue Virgin"

Pisces in the window next to the “Blue Virgin”

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The holy relic - the Sancta Camisia - is reputed to have been the robe Mary wore when she gave birth to Jesus.

The holy relic – the Sancta Camisia – is reputed to have been the robe Mary wore when she gave birth to Jesus.

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As we exited the cathedral we were hit with a cold rain driven by strong winds.  Retreating to a cafe we enjoyed a local lunch, and then headed back to Paris.  On the train northbound we saw the facade of The Chateau de Versailles off to the west.

Galeries Lafayette

Galeries Lafayette

Back in Paris by 3 pm, we hopped the metro to Galeries Lafayette, one of the city’s biggest department stores.   The building was beautiful with an Art Nouveau stained-glass dome, but the prices were so high we walked and looked, but didn’t buy.

Beautiful interior to Galeries Lafayette

Beautiful interior to Galeries Lafayette

A pretty dress displayed

A pretty dress displayed

 

http://www.cathedrale-chartres.org/en/,143.html

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Paris, Museum Pass Day 1

Cathedrale de Notre-Dame on the Ile de la Cite

Cathedrale de Notre-Dame on the Ile de la Cite.  This photo is a bit deceptive.  The sun was out but it was anything but warm.  The high today was 46 F and the wind never ceased.

Yesterday we bought the four day museum pass for 56 euros, a very good bargain if you plan to hit even a few museums.  We had planned to do just two today, but as the weather rapidly changed from sunny to at times heavy rain showers, and the relentless wind tore at my pitifully inadequate outer gear (unprepared Floridian tourist – I should have known better),  we ducked into a few extra spots to escape the cold.

From a packed morning rush hour metro we gratefully entered the nearly empty Notre-Dame Cathedral at 7:45 am.  A mass started at 8 am as we slowly made our way around the interior, to the sound of the Priest saying the mass in French and some occasional chants.

Notre-Dame interior

Notre-Dame interior

Notre-Dame interior

Notre-Dame interior

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Kilometre Zero, the point from which all main-road distances in France are calculated, located on the western side of Notre-Dame

Kilometre Zero, the point from which all main-road distances in France are calculated, located on the western side of Notre-Dame

From Notre-Dame we quickly made our way to Sainte-Chapelle, also on the Ile de la Cite and just a few blocks away.  Unfortunately, we ended up standing in line, in the wind.  We thought it opened at 9 am, but it was 9:40 by the time they opened the door.  After passing through a metal detector we entered the upper chapel, built by Louis IX from 1242-1248.  1113 glass panels tell the entire Bible story.

Ingterior of the upper chapel Sainte-Chapelle

Interior of the upper chapel Sainte-Chapelle

A detail from one window

A detail from one window

The floor of the upper chapel, almost a beautiful as the windows

The floor of the upper chapel, almost a beautiful as the windows

Sainte-Chapelle was truly beautiful, windows and floor, but it was also frigid.  I just couldn’t linger in the cold, so we headed back over to Notre-Dame with the intent of climbing the tower for the classic gargoyles over Paris photo op. The line for the tower was not only long, but directly in the wind and neither of us had the tolerance for it.  So we left the area and headed towards the Musee National du Moyen Age in the Quartier Latin.

Exterior of Musee National du Moyen Age, or The National Museum of the MIddle Ages

Exterior of Musee National du Moyen Age, or The National Museum of the Middle Ages

The museum was wonderfully warm, not crowded and a very good size.  It turned out to be my favorite visit of the day.  The museum houses the best-preserved Roman remains in Paris and the famous tapestry series La Dame a la licorne (“The Lady and the Unicorn.”)

architectural details

architectural details

A Mon Sevl Desir, my only desire

A Mon Sevl Desir, my only desire

From the handbook I purchased at the museum:

The Lady and the Unicorn is a famous series of six tapestries rediscovered in the 19th century and exhibited at the Cluny Museum…The tapestries are generally thought to have been produced some time in the last two decades of the 15th century…the weaving to have been carried out by one of the workshops of Northern France, Brabant, Flanders or the Netherlands…Since the twenties, historians have recognised an allegory of the five senses in the first five tapestries:  Sight; Hearing; Smell; Taste; and Touch.  However, the sixth tapestry known as “A Mon Sevl Desir” after the inscription embroidered in gold on a blue pavilion in front of which stand the lady and her maidservant, is not as easily deciphered.

Taste,  The right hand of the lady takes a piece of confectionery from a dish offered to her by the maidservant

Taste, The right hand of the lady takes a piece of confectionery from a dish offered to her by the maidservant

The tapestries all hang together in one dimly lit room (to preserve the colors).  It seems that here, as in all the monuments and museums we have visited, the authorities have given up any hope of stopping cell phone picture taking, and everyone was doing it.  So the above photo is my own iPhone photo of the 6th tapestry.  The most control they have now is to ask that photos be taken without the flash.

Vierge Allaitant L'enfant.  I was fascinated by this sculpture showing the madonna suckling the baby Jesus, one I don't remember seeing before

Vierge Allaitant L’enfant. I was fascinated by this sculpture showing the Madonna suckling the baby Jesus, one I don’t remember seeing before

The Cluny also exhibits carved choir stalls, altarpieces, stained glass and other tapestries.  It was a good size, not too small and not too big and a pleasure to tour.

A tapestry showing wine making

A tapestry showing wine making

Tapestries also depicted jousts and people on horseback

Tapestries also depicted jousts and people on horseback

Making our way back to the north side of the river after The Cluny, we made a brief stop at the famous book store Shakespeare and Company.  I purchased Colette’s Cheri, (in English) an appropriate choice for Paris and stamped with the “Shakespeare And Company Kilometer Zero Paris” logo.

Rain showers outside Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris

Rain showers outside Shakespeare and Company bookstore, Paris

After a lunch break back on the north side of the river, we had enough time to make a brief stop at The Louvre.  We hadn’t planned to visit it today, but with the unpredictable weather and a museum pass, it ended up on our itinerary.

The dark and rainy sky as we entered The Louvre

The dark and rainy sky as we entered The Louvre

Even though our feet were aching at this point, we made our way through more than 5,000 years of art history.  My all time favorite piece of artwork in any museum is The Winged Victory of Samothrace.  That was our first stop.  Again, photos were allowed, but the Chinese tourists who posed in front of the piece and touched it were quickly reprimanded by the attentive museum representative.  It was crowded and there was even an artist sketching the masterpiece.

My all time favorite, The Winged Victory of Samothrace

My all time favorite, The Winged Victory of Samothrace

The crowd and the artist around Victory

The crowd and the artist around Victory

Fading fast, we opted to skip the Mona Lisa (yes, that’s right) and made our way through Louis XIV – Louis XVI and to the exit.  I finally got my fill of Louis chairs, but it took The Louvre to do it.

Marie Antoinette's furniture

Marie Antoinette’s furniture

Louis chair

Louis chair

Favorite chair, Fauteuils en cabriolet, 1750

Favorite chair, Fauteuils en cabriolet, 1750

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The last of our energy was spent getting to the metro and back up to the apartment.  It was heaven to have our own place to come home to.

The sunny weather that greeted us as we exited The Louvre

The sunny weather that greeted us as we exited The Louvre

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