On June 4th, we left Sacramento, landing in Nice, France on June 5th. We spent our first night in Monte-Carlo, where we met up with our friends, Stan and Marilyn. After a tour of Nice the next day, we took a bus to Arles, where we boarded our ship for a 7 day cruise up the Rhine and Soane Rivers. Along the way, we visited Avignon, Viviers, Tournon, Lyon and Chalon-sur-Soane , as well as touring wineries in the Charteauneuf du Pape, Beaujolais and Chardonnay- Maconnais regions. After a visit to Beaune, we boarded a bus to take us to Dijon, where we took the TGV (fast train) to Paris. We ended the trip with two short days in Paris before we headed home. This was our second Avalon river cruise, and it was everything we hoped for. The ship was new, the rooms were beautiful, the food delicious, and the crew couldn’t have been better. It was a wonderful way to get a taste of the Provence region of France and Paris.
As always when we visit Europe, we are reminded just how young our American heritage is. For example, at the family owned winery we visited in the Beaujolais region, the winemaker was the 17th generation to manage the winery and would be turning it over to his son in the near future. We saw architecture as far back as Roman times, and buildings started in Medieval times with second and third stories added centuries later. We were prepared to find villages and their ancient architecture devastated by two world wars and were pleasantly surprised to learn, for the most part, that wasn’t the case.
In the last few years, taking photos has become more of a chore than a pleasure, so this time, we left cameras behind thinking if we felt like taking photos, we could use our iPhones. Half the time when we snapped away, we had no idea exactly what we were getting – either the phone was held above our heads, or the screen was too dark to see details, and taking photos again actually became fun.
Looking around us, it became apparent that we had become part of the new way to take photos. My favorite example – a selfie Jeff took of us in front of the Eiffel Tower with a young group of Japanese tourists taking a selfie in the background. The other was taken at the Palace of Versailles. CLICK HERE to see an album of our photos.