Reflections From 2022

My annual review in words and photos from an incredible year of travel.

Wow! I have been so very fortunate to have had the most incredibly memorable year for travel! And what a difference 12 months can make!

It’s taken me a while to write this up as it was a very, very busy year, but I am continuing my annual end of the year post tradition by reflecting on where I’ve been in 2022 – and sharing some of my reflection photos in the process.

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An Intimate European Waterways Loire Valley Barge Cruise on the Renaissance

A week long Loire Valley barge cruise with European Waterways was a truly relaxing and slow paced journey with intimate service, gourmet food and wine, and visits to out of the ordinary sights in the French countryside.

Before there were planes, trains and automobiles, France developed a vast network of canals that were used to transport goods from one part of the country to another. These canals connected to the major rivers and also to the Mediterranean and the Atlantic. The canal network made it easy to move all manner of goods from one part of the country to the other, and in particular, allowed Parisians to easily taste the delicacies from all corners of their realm.

Today, the canals and their many locks are used primarily for recreation.  European Waterways expertly manages a fleet of 12 luxury barges that ply the many canals of France on a variety of itineraries. I had already experienced a wonderful cruise along the Burgundy Canal on the La Belle Epoque and was quite familiar with this unique way of touring France’s less visited countryside.

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My France Canal Cruise – Quiet Luxury in the French Countryside

Luxury barging in France on the Burgundy Canal with European Waterways has been one of my most memorable travel experiences. Discover why a France canal cruise should be at the top of your bucket list with this detailed review.

To have unique experiences is at the heart of why I travel. Recently I was privileged to have one of the most extraordinary luxury travel experiences that I have ever had. I was invited on a France canal cruise on the barge La Belle Epoque with European Waterways. For six days on my Burgundy, France Canal cruise, I had the ultimate slow travel cruising experience that included gourmet meals, amazing wines, impeccably attentive service and uniquely curated excursions.

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A Paris to Chartres Day Trip – Exploring One of France’s Greatest Cathedrals

I discovered that a Paris to Chartres day trip was an easy escape to see the historic Chartres Cathedral with its beautiful stained glass windows. I also enjoyed discovering the quaint and not overtly touristy town of Chartres.

If you are not “churched” out after a visit to Paris, then take a Paris to Chartres day trip, to see one of the greatest Gothic churches still in existence, along with a quant French town that will not be overly touristy.

The Chartres Cathedral is considered the pinnacle of high Gothic architecture and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1979. As one of the best preserved Gothic churches, it is still adorned with most of the original sculptures and numerous beautifully detailed stained glass windows.

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A Day in Versailles at a Golden Palace Designed to Impress

Louis XIV’s palace and gardens at Versailles are a popular excursion from Paris. If you have the time, I suggest spending a day in Versailles to have enough time to explore the palace and vast gardens. I share my impressions of Versailles and also trips on how to get there and how to make the most of your time.

For King Louis XIV of France, size mattered. There is nothing small about the Palace of Versailles and its gardens. Along with size, there is also lots of bling. He built it purposely to impress and overwhelm, feelings that are as much a part of a visit today as they were 350 years ago when the palace was built. Spend a day in Versailles and let yourself be awed by the experience. Continue reading “A Day in Versailles at a Golden Palace Designed to Impress”

Impressions of Monet – Spend a Day in Giverny in Monet’s Garden

A day in Giverny is an easy trip from Paris for all those that are fans of Clause Monet impressionist paintings. I am sharing all the information you need to make this an easy excursion by train from Paris.

If like me, you like impressionist paintings and gardens, then a day trip to Claude Monet’s home in Giverny is a must. Giverny is about 50 miles northwest of Paris and can easily be reached by train for a relaxing scenic break from the busy Paris scene. Continue reading “Impressions of Monet – Spend a Day in Giverny in Monet’s Garden”

My Memories of the Eiffel Tower – Is the Eiffel Tower Worth Visiting?

Is the Eiffel Tower worth visiting? After visiting this famous icon numerous times over the past 20+ years, I would definitely still say yes!

For about 4000 years of so, the tallest man made structure was the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt, with an original height of 481 feet. A few European cathedrals eventually topped out a bit higher than the pyramid, but they also didn’t reach heights much above 500 feet. Even the Washington Monument built in 1884 was only 555 feet high and only held the tallest structure title for 5 years.

Then, in 1889, Gustave Eiffel built his tower as the entrance for the Paris World’s Fair, and in one fell swoop, almost doubled the height of the tallest building in the world with his tower topping out at 986 feet. The Eiffel Tower has since become one of the most recognizable buildings in the world and the defining icon for the City of Lights. For me, the Eiffel Tower is also  entwined with many memorable visits to Paris over the past 20+ years. Continue reading “My Memories of the Eiffel Tower – Is the Eiffel Tower Worth Visiting?”

Famous Churches in Paris – Gothic at its Best

The French invented Gothic architecture and Paris is one of the easiest places to experience it. Within a twenty minute walk of the Cathedral of Notre Dame are a number of other historic and famous churches in Paris that should also not be missed.

There are many beautiful and famous churches in Paris, France, but the grand dame Gothic Paris church is without a doubt the Cathedral of Notre Dame. And while visitors flock to see it, within a twenty minute walk are a number of  other lovely historic churches that also should not be missed. Read on to discover some of the other churches of Paris at their Gothic best. Continue reading “Famous Churches in Paris – Gothic at its Best”

Reflections from 2019 – An Epic Year of Travel

This was an epic year of travel for me – the best ever. I was very fortunate to be able to go somewhere special each month.

I visited National Parks in the US  as well as a few new places in my home country. I had a completely unique experience as a volunteer citizen scientist in Kenya. And my feet touched the soil of South America for the first time. To top it all off, I was totally spoiled on a one of a kind barge cruise on the Burgundy Canal in France. I don’t think any year in travel can get much better.

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