Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Not an ordinary day

Dijon was not on our scheduled program.  We were hoping to drive from Giverny to Interlaken in one day.  What we didn't count on was the traffic coming through Paris nor we did we anticipate misguidance from Fi Fi.  Around 5 o'clock we decided we were stopping at the first sign indicating a hotel. We were about 100 miles from Dijon. The exit was blocked, can't get off.  The next couple exits did not indicate a hotel....of course now we are much closer to Dijon.....we decided to ask Fi Fi for assistance to the nearest hotel.....(now you know we were tired, to look to her for that kind of assistance)  However, she took us off an exit and wound us up and up a hill, curve after curve to a road with two signs.  One "no enter" on the road and the street sign was blocked out with black tape.  Of course she was adamant we go in that direction.  We went around and round the round about....a couple of times, actually until we decided to pull off the road to give her the opportunity to redirect.  AND that was our mistake.   What looked like flat grassy surface was indeed a ditch.  Pam opened the door and uttered UH OH....(that's not good)  this was no ordinary ditch, just a dip in the ground...this was a cement ditch and the front right tire was deep in it....which means the back left tire is up in the air ...about 18 inches.  We kept circling the car....and stating our circumstances......we can't lift this car out ourselves (we tried), we are not very near to a town for help, and the cell phone was dead. (not sure who we would call anyway).  Just when Pam is ready to find a house to walk to, we look up the road and see a jogger, (an angel sent to help us) a strong man angel!!!!  So we relaxed, and waited for the angel to arrive and the song we started to hum is the theme song from chariots of fire......without breaking his stride,  he lifted the car out and was on his way
We have no pictures documenting this escapade....and maybe that's how its supposed to be when you are dealing with angels.

Saturday, June 19, 2010

18 1/2 hours....1001.33 miles...Are we nuts????

Certainly there would have been an easier way to travel.....but Pam and I were of the same mind....if we drove, that gives us flexibility, adventure, see the "real" not just the tourist places of France and Switzerland.  We decided to fly into Basel, Switzerland/France.  Very interesting, the two countries share the airport. There is a glass divider. And yes, I was waiting for Pam on one side and she was arriving on the other.  I wasn't sure which way she would come through......after a bit of waiting on the French side, I thought I should check the other.   Either way, the airport is relatively small and figured we couldn't really possibly miss each other....could we?  I was glad I changed sides! 

We drove from Basel to Paris..to Giverny, stopped for a day in Dijon, then to Interlaken, Switzerland for a few days, stopping in Luzern on our way back to Basel.  Looking now at the map, I see perhaps map quest would have done a better job of mapping us (we had requested the help of Fi Fi (not a complimentary name for the GPS.....but frankly we were not that pleased with her service,( she had gotten us into quite a few predicaments, thus, not a nice name)

As we drove through the countryside, our destination toward Switzerland, we found ourselves delighted with the most vivid yellow fields we had ever seen.   Once again, we couldn't help ourselves.  It seemed each turn around a bend presented itself worthy of a stop for a photograph.  The fragrance was intoxicating.  We kept wondering what is it????As we are seeing the road signs heading us to Dijon.....finally a light bulb went on.........ha....mustard!

Friday, June 18, 2010


 is a small French village 80 km to the west of the capital city Paris, within the valley of the river Seine and the northern region of Haute-Normandie. 

Claude Monet noticed the village of Giverny while looking out of a train window. He made up his mind to move there with his second wife and 8 children to rent a house and the area surrounding it In 1890 he had enough money to buy the house and land outright and set out to create the magnificent gardens he wanted to paint. Some of his most famous paintings, such as his water lily and Japanese bridge paintings, were of his garden in Giverny.

 Ancien Hotel Baudy

The history of the Baudy family and American painters goes back to the summer of 1886.  Painters had to decide where to go for the summer months when studios and academies were closed. Metcalf was enchanted by the scenery of wide meadows, the valley of the Epte River and of the foot hills covered with orchards, vineyards, and fields of grain. With fellow painters; Breck, Taylor, Blair-Bruce and Wendel. the American painters persuaded the Baudys to buld a studio.Neither the Baudys nor their clients were rich, but the idea excited them. The studio was erected in 1887, the year when the guest register began. Then was born the hotel for painters, the true Hôtel Baudy. additions. It grew little by little. In 1888 the outbuildings were added, and the essential part of the main building was built In 1891 Upstairs in the main house there were two studios.
Painters, sculptors, art historians and travelers came most often they came to paint for the entire season.
The strong natural light of the valley, constantly transformed the landscape, which was one of the most interesting attractions of Giverny.
(information gleaned from Claire Joyces)

Oh how I enjoyed my visit with the master in his own surroundings!


Thursday, June 17, 2010


Come take a stroll with me  through an artist's paradise.....

"My garden is my most beautiful masterpiece." 
- Claude Monet-

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

French Countryside

In the village of Saint-Denis le Ferment is where we found the Bed and Breakfast of our dreams in the countryside of France only 24 miles to Giverney……which was our next destination. Madeleine Rousseau graciously welcomed us into her 18th century home; which, she herself patiently restored.  The surroundings are calm and the gardens are luscious; providing the peace Pam and I both needed after our whirlwind tour of Paris.

                                        It was everything French we hoped it would be!!!

Monday, June 14, 2010

More of France

Neither of us are big city fans.   Seeing Paris was a treat....its old, has history and is very alive and vibrant. And pretty much a day and a half was enough for us.  We were extremely proud of ourselve that we managed to find the subway and get on the one actually going in the direction we wanted to go to the Eiffel tower and see the sights.  A sightseeing bus was pay one price and get off and on as we liked.  It was perfect.  We rode on top of a double decker bus outside, and there were headphones to plug into the talk given as we drove around Paris . Our cameras were clicking, our fingers pointing and our mouths were open wide in awe.   Every so often one of us said....."Can you believe we are here in Paris???"
We bought paintings from an artist outside of the Louvre, ate at outdoor cafes and walked til our feet hurt. Time to find our way back to the subway.  Well neither Pam or I are that exceptional in the area of
direction.  Thats why we had a GPS...however, she was left back with the car.  After walking several blocks in one direction, we finally noticed that nothing looked familar.  How can that be??? We got off at the ARC and took the road to the left.  Well, there is more than one road to the left. Twelve to be exact.
"The Arc de Triomphe is recognized as a symbol of Parisian pomp and elegance around the globe. Erected by the Emperor Napoleon in 1806 to commemorate France's military prowess, the 50 meter/164 foot tall Arc de Triomphe crowns the west end of the Champs-Elysées, the city's most famous avenue, at the juncture known as the Etoile (star), where 12 prestigious avenues radiate out from the arch."