My Favorite Things

It is the end of the trip but not the journey. We arrived home with two full bags of dirty laundry, seven bottles of wine and two bad colds. This was a memorable trip where we saw new places and revisited places we love. My Favorite Things fall into two categories.

  1. Sites
  2. Food and Beverage (Stay tuned for our favorite foods, wines and the places that serve them)

In this blog I will cover sites as apparently, according to our traveling partner Larry, the food and drink choices would be too big to cover in one blog along with the sites. I am sure he is kidding, isn’t he?

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The Bavarian Experience: Just to recap, on September 6th we landed in Munich, Germany to be greeted by our Bavarian friends, Herbert and Christl. This was a special time we will long remember.

 

 

 

Beaufiful, historic Regensburg, the Danube River and Weltenburg Abby

 

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The search for an old friend: We drove our rented car to Weisenheim am Sand, Germany. This was a visit that rewarded us with meeting Gerhard Friedemann and locating Arnd.  Truly a bit of magic in this trip.

 

 

Visiting the picturesque Alsace region, France: Degustation (wine tasting), photo ops and unique cuisine abound in this region.

 

Getting high in the French Alps: The Chamonix valley is located in the French Alps and has striking views of Mont Blanc. There is a exciting set of 2 funicular cable cars that whisk you up the mountain. The station of the Aiguille du Midi has several terraces where visitors can take in the spectacular views of the French, Swiss and Italian Alps. This was a thrill at 12,600 feet.

 

Cruising in Annecy: Next we traveled to the pre-alps lake town of Annecy. This is a big-little town with a great, historical old town and a beautiful lake.

 

Burgundy, an area that brings tears to the eyes of all wine lovers: The  slopes of the Côte d’Or produce the world’s finest and most expensive Pinot Noir and Chardonnay wine. The tears must come from not owning a couple of acres of this land or viewing the cost of the Grand Cru wines. We have had the opportunity to visit this area in the past, and always enjoy Beaune and the country side in the heart of Burgundy.

 

The Paris Experience: From Beaune we moved on to our final destination, Paris. We met the rest of our traveling crew, Larry, Lynn and Kathy and headed for our rented apartment near the Eiffel Tower and close to the pedestrian area of Rue Cler.

One of our favorite things is visiting the markets. It is a meandering trip through fresh produce, meats, cheese and seafood, displayed in typical Parisian art form.

 

1EDFE6BA-E79A-4664-BEAD-816549E0B031Something’s are ready to eat, many things you would like to take home and a few things I would never eat.  C’est la vie 

 

An hour train ride to Medival times: We made a field trip from Paris to Provins where we enjoyed a fabulous Birds of Prey show and the well preserved medival sites of this city.

 

 

Navigating the Paris Canals: Back in Paris, we took the Paris Canal boat through the canal St. Martin which terminated at the Musee d’ Orsay.

 

 

So Many Museums and so little time:

 

The Musee d’Orsay, converted from a train station is a must see in Paris where one can visit all the favorite impressionists, Monet, Manet, Renoir, Degas, Van Gough and more.

Small and stately, the Jacquemart-Andre museum, housed in a lavish mansion is an enjoyable way to visit the art we love. This site has permanent and temporary exhibits and a very nice cafe making a visit a special experience.

 

Marmottan-Monet museum is largely dedicated to the art of Monet and his impressionist friends. Located on the outskirts of Paris, it has a fabulous collection of the father of Impressionism, Claude Monet and a good collection of Monet’s impressionists friends.

 

My traveling crew:  My very favorite, Bill, our neighbors, Larry and Lynn and our very good friend, Kathy. Where you go and what you do in greatly enhanced by who you share it with!

 

 

If you have reached the end of this post, I just want to say there were many more sites and experiences we enjoyed. These stand out as sites I would recommend to all my traveling friends.

Paris is a city that kind of attacks you and I doubt one can ever see it all. As we travel home we are already contemplating our next trip! Where shall we go and what will we see?

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Paris Dogs

We always considered our Papillon, Emma, to be French. We sometimes thought we might bring her to Paris. That did not happen but we took her pretty much every other place with us.

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We shared our lives with her for almost 15 years and we miss her everyday. In her memory, I share with you the Chiens de Paris. The Parisians love their dogs.

 

 

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Large or small, dogs cast a big shadow in the daily lives of Parisians. Dogs accompany their owners to places usually reserved for humans, such as

 

 

 

restaurants

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And shopping

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Parisian dogs can be seen walking about town, sometimes leading, sometimes following and often waiting, but they all certainly appear to own their space.

I read in another blog that explains dogs might be a bigger part of public life on the street as the Parisian apartments are typically very small and this gives the canines and their parents room to move.

I have learned that dogs are banned from most major Paris city parks. Parisians are very proud of their gardens and parks; to avoid the potential for crottes de chien, dogs are forbidden to enter these green areas.

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Over the years we have visited Paris we have noticed a reduced threat of stepping in “IT”. People are picking up much better these days. Thank you very much!

Dogs are companion to old and young; protecting, playing and some well behaved dogs trotting along sans lease.

J’aime les chiens de Paris

Dogs can also be seen in the art of Paris.

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Merci les chiens parisiens et les Parisiens qui les aiment.

Thank you Paris dogs and the Parisians who love them. ❤️ 

Old Vines

My traveling partner, husband and best friend recently received the following comments from Willamette Valley Vineyards. I am very proud of Bill and hope you enjoy the following article about Bill’s past and recent winemaking accomplishments from Jim Bernau, founder/Willamette Valley Vineyards.

 

Willamette Valley Vineyards

“Old-vine wines often have extra dimensions in aroma, texture, overall length and a wealth of subtle details” according to Wine Enthusiast editor, Paul Gregutt. His recent article, The Old Vines of Oregon Wine, featured our Vintage 42 Chardonnay which he awarded with 92 points.

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Vintage 42 Chardonnay is sourced from Draper clone vines planted at our Tualatin Estate Vineyard in 1973 by Oregon wine pioneer Bill Fuller.

 

Tualatin Estate Vineyard and Bill Fuller

Bill was recognized for many firsts in our industry. His Chardonnay and Pinot Noir took home Best of Show for Red and White in the same year at the London International Wine Fair. In 1997, Willamette Valley Vineyards merged with Tualatin Estate Vineyard and Bill retired. Bill has rejoined our winemaking team to make small lots of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from his favorite blocks using his traditional techniques for Vintage 42.

Click the link below to see the complete article from Wine Enthusiast 

http://www.winemag.com/2017/08/07/the-old-vines-of-oregon-wine/

 

 

 

 

 

Paris by Canal to the Impressionist

 

Bus, Metro, train and. . . . . Boat

Yes, lots of ways to visit Paris. Today we traveled by boat.

We are all familiar with the River Seine that winds through the city. There are also several canals intersecting Paris.

To prepare for this trip today we started with a very fancy Kir Royal. This is sparkling wine with Creme De Cassis and French Griottissimo cherries. YUM!

Fortified and ready to go, we traveled to Parc De La Villette and boarded our Paris-Canal boat with along with a pretty large friendly group of French tourists.

 

The quiet canal Saint Martin has 2 swing bridges and is crossed by 4 foot bridges. Through a series of 9 locks, we were lowered approximately 85 feet to the level of the Seine.

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At the Récollets lock, we can see the Hotel du Nord. There is a famous French movie about this hotel; we ordered the DVD about six years ago after our first Canal St. Martin tour. Maybe we will watch it now.

 

The most unique aspect of the canal is a 1.2 mile long underground vault or tunnel. This tunnel was built by order of Napoleon when boats were vital to industrial transport. It is topped by holes that allow natural light in from above. At the location of the Opera Bastille we pass directly under the July column, commemorating the spirit of the 1789 revolution.

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At the Ecluse de l’Arsenal we entered the Seine River with a fabulous view of Notre-Dame cathedral and headed toward our final destination, Musee d’Orsay.

Orsay Museum houses French art from 1848 to 1914. This includes the furniture, sculpture and the Impressionism artists, Manet, Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, Cezanne and many others. On Thursdays, this museum is open late and gave us a quiet, uncrowded opportunity to visit our favorites.

The Impressionist artists really impacted the world of art with light, color and everyday subject matter. They tell stories of life of the day, weather, emotions and relationships without words. I had a vision last night of rearranging these pictures. I think I could create a complete novel without one written word.

“We traveled by train, to the Opera Garnier, to see the Ballet!

Au Revior

A Medieval Experience

Whisked away from Paris by a speedy SNCF Transilien train, we are transported to the Middle Ages in the Medieval village of Provins.

We were able to enhance the Medieval experience by getting lost walking to the upper town and again attempting to return to the train station in the lower town. Just part of the adventure!

The town is divided into an Upper Town and a Lower Town, called the Châtel (Castel) and the Val (Valley). The village maps, not so clear! We are here to see the THE EAGLES OF THE RAMPARTS.

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The hunting art dates from the Middle Ages and was passed on from generation to generation. This tradition of the nature and the environment is registered on the cultural heritage of the UNESCO.

In the Theatre of the Ramparts, we sat on a bench beneath the ramparts to watch an exhibition of Falconry with a team of people representing the lords of the medieval past, Arab nomads in the Middle East, the Kazakh hunters with eagles in Central Asia.


The cast includes a horse, a camel with accompanying Bedouins, and an impressive succession of birds of prey, from owls to eagles, hawks to vultures.

Their flights from the ramparts skimmed our heads; close enough to feel the breeze of their wings. That was thrilling!

 

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After the show we visited the aviary with about a hundred birds from 30 different species available to see.

 

 

The dialog of the cast was in French but we felt our lack of understanding the verbal part of the show did not detract from our experience. Just watching the flight of these birds and the clever handling of their flights by the crew was amazing.

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Au Revior

 

 

 

Scenes of Paris

I woke up to a light rain this morning so I decided to take some time to look at my Paris vacation pictures. Paris is a very photogenic city and it would be wrong to say I have been able to take a unique picture.

Instead I spent my morning converting some of my pictures to artwork. I am the architect of this collection, not the artist. I used an app called Lucid and had a lot of fun doing it. I hope you enjoy this artsy view of Paris.

Tour Eiffel

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Hotel des Invalides – Napoleon’s tomb is under the dome

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Gare du Nord – Gateway to day trips

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Vaux-le-vicomte

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Champs-Elysees-A glass of red and a glass of white

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Arc de Triomphe

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Le Dome- a favorite late night stop

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Center Pompidou and Georges (restaurant from the movie 100 Foot Journey)

The Metro

Pace de la Bastille

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My Favorite [airport],  the Charles de Gaulle Airport

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Fondation Louis Vuitton – This was a new location for us to visit. A remarkable architectural accomplishment. 

And the fun stuff, Pizza Delivery, Paris Style

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Marches Parisienne

Bastille Market

Here on a Sunday afternoon, you can find ANYTHING you might need. If you can’t find it, you don’t need it! It probably does not exist. There are jeans, jewelry, underwear and scarfs. We focused on the food which was amazing.

La Pain

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Le Fromage

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Poisson

 

Petite Crevettes and Huitres

 

Le Poivron

662958FC-721C-477E-A825-25A3B8D3CCE3Saucisse

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Tomatoes San Marizano

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Poireaux

A4CAD20B-5BE8-4139-969A-24727FC8FB94Un Radis

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Epices

13545331-A443-400B-9FC2-36545EAAEB34Et les Fleurs

1E478C19-AC05-4B62-8487-6E0448316F17Choix fabuleux

Charles de Gaulle Airport – Flying Low

IMG_0440In 2016, 65,933,145 passengers traveled through Charles de Gaulle Airport. This is pretty amazing to me as we had a pretty difficult time maneuvering through this airport.

 

After leaving Beaune we made a stop at Guelelon Castle.

IMG_0441In northern Burgundy, a team of fifty master-builders are building a castle using medieval techniques and materials. It is unfortunate that we did not have adequate time to do the tour but we plan to return when we have an opportunity to do so.

So, on to Paris on the A77 to A6. Both toll roads, moving at very fast speeds until nearing Paris, where things slowed down. This is when Google Maps really comes in handy; she alerted us to a alternate route with less traffic. The whole trip went well until entering the Charles de Gaulle Airport, where we had a hotel reservation and it was time to return our little Fiat.

IMG_3687There are three main terminals, a train depot and a pretty large bus station. And overpasses, underpasses, round-abouts and very little signage. Which way do we go?

We asked our Google maps lady to find the hotel. We only had to go completely around the airport three times to find our Ibis Hotel.

At the same time, many speedy Parisians in a hurry to get somewhere were flashing their lights and giving us their impatient, frustrated, dirty looks. Not to be intimidated, Bill proceeded on to the hotel, entering the parking lot against the traffic! We parked. Success.

0C594B65-BD4F-4A10-8F31-8C53147E007BThen we unloaded the 20 plus bottles of wine we had purchased along the way and our baggage.

Next it is back in the car, to find the rental return Fortunately, due to our vast experience finding the hotel, the rental return seemed pretty straight forward after we did a u-turn at the cargo terminal.

A hotel bar never looked so good. Hello Aperol Spritzer.

IMG_3693Our next challenge, bomb threat. We are waiting for our neighbors in arrivals; at the moment they exited the international area, the police closed off all arriving passengers from all of us waiting for them. A nice young man explained that there was an abandoned bag in the terminal of grave concern to the police. We are told, “they will bring in a robot and possibly destroy the bag.”

Meanwhile, our friends have been sent one way and us the other. After a bit of confusion, we were reunited. Threat avoided.

EFDD09EA-FD37-4E43-9426-7EFBD32BBDF1We happily departed the Charles de Gaulle Airport and headed to Paris for lunch and red wine on the RER train. Later, returning to the Ibis Hotel by train, guess what?

We missed our stop and ended back at Charles de Gaulle Airport!

Beaune – The Heart of Burgundy

We have traveled from Annecy to Beaune, located in the heart of Burgundy. Burgundy is rich in history, traditions and wine culture. Some of the most expensive vineyard land in the world is located in this area.

C39016E2-0981-4B8D-B130-315CF52B8AEAThe grape varieties here are Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, which is widely produced in the Oregon Willamette Valley. But there is much to learn about the wines of Burgundy. I happen to be lucky to be traveling with Bill Fuller, Consulting Winemaker for Willamette Valley Vineyards. He is the perfect guide to help me sort through Grand Cru, Premier Cru and Village wines.  E277A651-892D-4F84-85E0-0E455E20F1A4

 

 

 

Beaune and the surrounding villages are wonderful to visit. One village we visited is Santenay and the winery “Prosper Maufoux”. We were greeted by Joanne, from Great Britain. We enjoyed her discussions of the wines we tasted and some current history on the winery. They have a really nice tasting facility and also have beautiful rooms to rent.

There are many options for staying at a vineyard vs a hotel room in Beaune. We chose to stay in the Beaune Hotel and were happy with the friendly staff, clean rooms and proximity to the sites of Beaune.

 

Make sure you have a good travel guide to help you through the burgundy area. The roads are narrow and the choices are many.

In the small village of Nuits-Saint George we found an interesting opportunity to improve my wine knowledge called L’Imaginarium. There was a excellent display of how vines are worked and historically, the many threats hanging over them. At end  is an great opportunity to taste local Grand Cru and Premier Cru wines. The total experience was well worth our time.

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Then almost across the street we found a Cassissium. This tour lead us through the world of black current (Cassis) with an interactive museum and a tour of their production facility. They offered a taste of everything they made! Yum.

Sadly, we bid au revior to burgundy as we head off to Paris to meet our good friends, Larry, Lynn and Kathy.

Route de la Chèvre-Pacific Girl travels tips

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There are many choices to make when traveling. It has been our experience, when going by car, to avoid the busy truck filled freeways; where the traffic moves at a minimum of 72 mph (120 mph) mostly with a Mercedes so close you can only see a hood ornament in your rear view mirror.

On the small, national or local roads you will pass through villages and round-abouts, winding you way to your destination.

 

IMG_0367I affectionately refer to this as the “route de la chèvre” (road of the goat). And just once, we actually found the goats. In the south of France, driving above the Ardech river about 15 wild goats came bounding onto the roadside. We knew then we had selected the right route!

The Goat road and map from here to there.

And so we continue on our trip, on some very crazy roads from Chamonix to Anncey and then on to Beaune.

To follow these very rural routes you should plan to have a very good map, an off line map program or GPS. Even with these aids, the trip can be a challenge. It is just part of the adventure unless you let the anxious driver behind you intimidate you. Be cool.

Of course a good navigator in the passenger seat will keep the trip moving forward.

We don’t always make hotel reservations but when traveling into a busy town you are unfamiliar with such as we are today, a confirmed room can be a good thing.

DAFA0CF9-BDC4-4EDC-B33D-0705097E6BA1Other things to remember:
Electric plug adapters
Hair dryer with 220v option – we burned up a couple of dryers not using the appropriate voltage
A good travel guide for the areas you are visiting. We use Rick Steves. Be sure to read it before you leave home, it will enhance your experience.
Flash light – we were in Sorrento, Italy when a lightening storm took out the lights and power of the entire town. Yes, a flashlight would have been handy that night!!

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And if you really want to blend in as a local in France, wear a scarf and get a dog.