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We took a bus tour of Lyon and got off at a few different places to take pictures and walk around. We explored an outdoor arts market with rows of beautiful artwork, pottery, and sculptures.
It was still damp and foggy. A wet chill clung to everything around us. Our warm breath filling the air with little clouds that burst forth and then vanished. Even the stone buildings looked cold.
This building is a complete mural. There are no real windows on the side. It is all painted on. Quite interesting. Lyon had many buildings with murals. Some had two real windows and one painted to look exactly the same so you almost couldn’t tell which were real and which fake.
We were dropped off in the Place des Terreaux, one of the main squares in Lyon. There were two art museums and this city hall official looking building. The statue to the left was sculpted by Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi who is the same artist who created the Statue of Liberty. The sculpture is called the Fontaine Bartholdi and it depicts France as a female, seated on a chariot controlling the four great rivers of France represented by four wild horses.
From the Place des Terreaux, we walked back to the boat for lunch. We stopped at a market along the way and had baguettes and samosas. By this time the sun had come out and cleared away the fog. It warmed up a bit and we walked slowly back to the boat by the side of the river. Eating our baguettes and soaking in the sun.
After lunch we walked to the Christmas marked and wandered around. It was so crowded. It was so interesting to see all the different foods and crafts. We didn’t buy anything, but enjoyed people watching and looking at all the different booths. I went back to the boat for a silk demonstration. The city of Lyon is a huge producer of silk. They taught us about silk worms and the different production methods. A woman was there from a silk factory to show how the silk is hand painted. It was very beautiful. The scarves were very expensive. The processes is completed at the Hermes factory and Hermes scarves/silk are one of the most expensive brands of silk.
At night we had the Captains Dinner. We dressed up and had escargot, French onion soup, salmon tartar, crispy duck leg, apple tart, and lots of wine. Oh my, it was delicious. I even tried the escargot. Not my favorite thing, but at least now I can say I’ve had it.
Up and early again today. After a quick breakfast we boarded the buses and headed to Cluny. On the way we stopped on the side of the road to look at this castle. Grand and majestic on the top of the hillside it stood, shining in the early morning sun, striking through the dense fog. It is owned by an 80-year-old woman and her boyfriend. Can you imagine living there at 80 years old? Apparently she only uses a few of the rooms.
We arrived in Cluny, Saône-et-Loire, France. Home to Cluny Abbey, and a sweet little village. We explored the abbey first. Most of it has been rebuilt but a few of the original parts are still standing.
Built in Romanesque Style architecture, Cluny Abbey was erected in 1000 AD. 90% of it was knocked down and has been rebuilt over time. Although originally occupied by monks, has been used for several different purposes over the years. It is currently used as a college.
It was truly amazing. There is a woman buried there whose name was Ava (pronounced Ah-vah) So pretty.
The Cluniac Prayer
by whose grace thy servants
the Holy Abbots of Cluny
enkindled with the fire of thy love
became burning and shining lights in thy Church
Grant that we also may be aflame with the spirit of love and discipline
and may ever walk before thee as children of light
through Jesus Christ our Lord
who with the
in the unity of the Holy Spirit
liveth and reigneth
now and forever
After touring the Abbey, we had free time to explore the Christmas market and the village. Cluny was more hilly. We wandered the cobblestone streets, enjoying the colorful buildings, ornate churches, clay roofs, and many different shops. A man sat on the curb playing an accordion so his music followed us along the narrow streets.
The Christmas market had all sorts of crafts and food. We sampled cakes and chocolate and drooled over the fancy French desserts. We stopped to get baguettes at a bakery, and slowly walked back to the busses enjoying the crusty bread.
We got back to the boat just in time for lunch and as we ate, the boat started sailing down the river for the first time! Our river cruise has officially started! We headed to Lyon. It took about 7 hours of sailing. We had to go through several locks and that took a very long time. The boat itself didn’t go very fast. (20-25 mph) It was fun passing the small villages and towns. People on the shore waved to us and got so excited to see us passing by. The hillsides were covered in lush forests and rolling vineyards with skeleton grapevines standing firm in the cold wind.
Sailing was relaxing. We had a lecture about the French Waterways. A French lesson and then another lengthy four-course dinner with amazing food and leisure time sailing until bed. What a peaceful way to fall asleep. Water gently lapping the boat. It didn’t rock at all so I never felt seasick. Just a lovely floating feeling that softly lulled you to sleep.
No rest for the weary! After crawling into bed after dinner last night, a voice over the loud-speaker woke me up at 8am reminding us that there would be a tour leaving for Beaune. As much as I wanted to roll over and go back to sleep, I reminded myself that I might never be here again, and I didn’t want to miss any opportunities. So it was up, a quick breakfast and back to the horrid bus on which it felt like we had just crawled out of after a six-hour journey from Paris. (The busses weren’t really horrid, they were actually quite posh) The frost was still clinging thick to all the trees and plants. Everything seriously looked like a work of art.
Beaune. Our first city to explore. As we drove out of Macon I got excited. The buildings were so old, and so beautiful! I could not wait to see all the quaint towns we would be visiting. When we arrived in Beaune, we walked the uneven cobblestone streets to the city center. Cobblestone streets and a leg brace that keeps your foot at a right angle are not exactly friends. I had a hard time. But Rebekah, on crutches, had an even harder time. We started off with a guided tour of the Hotel Dieu. An exquisite example of 15th century French architecture, this building was actually a hospital built for poor people in 1443.
When we left the Hotel Dieu we had free time to explore the town. We went into several bakeries and shops before it was tine for lunch. We met with the group again and headed over to a local restaurant to our very first real French meal. In the true style of Julia Child we had Boeuf Bourguignon. I was so excited. Fresh and crisp French rolls with chewy soft centers,
chilled French red wine that was smooth and rich, Boeuf Bourguignon with tender meat, creamy sauce and cheesy potatoes
and the finishing touch a French Apple Tart that just melted in your mouth.
After a perfect lunch. We walked over to a wine shop for a wine tasting. The shop was small and we actually went downstairs into the cellar. Completely made of stone with arches and old wine barrels it was like stepping back into time. We sat on benches and tasted reds and whites while instructed by our tour guide. It was so well explained and I really felt like I learned a lot about smelling, tasting, and experiencing new wines.
After the wine tasting we had a little more free time before heading back to the ship. We went to an antique shop which probably had antiques older than the United States. It was crazy. The shop owner followed us around the whole time. We poked into a few more shops and ended up in another patisserie. I bought a bag of macaroons. People. French Macaroons are to die for. I love them. I couldn’t get enough. YUM!
Back at the ship we gathered in the lounge for a French lesson. I am by no means any more gluten than I was before, but it was fun to learn better pronunciation and some other etiquette tips. Still tired from the time change, I barely could keep my eyes open through the two-hour four-course dinner.
Dinner and bed was the third day.
Our trip started at 4:30am on a Wednesday morning. We drove the snowy roads in Rochester to the airport. We flew through the cold morning to Boston and left our luggage at a hotel while we went out to spend the day in the city with our cousin Bob.
(flying into Boston)
Our flight to France was overnight and we had about 8 hours to kill. It was freezing in Boston so we hurried to a pub for lunch and then to a cafe for some espresso. After visiting a hidden bread shop down a tiny alley in the North End, we returned to the airport to catch our next flight to London.
(Bob with his loaf of bread getting on the inbound T)
We arrived in London after a LONG flight over the atlantic. Tired, hungry, and a bit cranky, we waited in forever long lines to go through customs and security in order to get to the gate for our flight to Paris. There was a Starbucks right next to our gate. Thank goodness! I got a Flat White. (it is similar to a macchiato) I sipped the deliciousness and watched the people walking by in the busy Heathrow airport. It was decked out for Christmas and resembles more of a busy shopping mall than an airport. High end stores line the corridors and kiosks and restaurants fill all the other spaces. We were not there too long before they started boarding the plane headed to Paris, France! I was so excited! From the air we could see the London Eye and all the other beautiful buildings on its skyline. Off to France!
(Mom in the Paris airport)
When we arrived in Paris, we waited so long for our luggage, and customs, and then waited for the other Boston Heroes to join our group. Lenni, a tour guide, met us at the airport and informed us that we would have a six hour bus ride to take us to the boat. SIX HOURS! Oh man. We knew we would have a bit of a bus ride, but had no idea it would be that long. One girl was sitting on the floor of the airport crying. Oh boy! It was a long bus ride and we stopped at a rest stop for lunch. My first meal in France was a cup of plain yogurt purchased at a rest stop. Awesome.
(Lenni our tour guide)
(mom & dad after 2 days of traveling on a 6 hour bus ride to the boat)
When we finally arrived in Macon it was 7pm France time Thursday evening. Which would make it 1pm Thursday our time and thus make our total travel time 39 hours. We were EXHAUSTED! How exciting that once we got on the boat Kim, Colton, Peter, Rebekah & Rebeka’s parents Tim & Tina were already on the boat! They had been on different flights so it was so good to see them! It was cold and foggy and the river looked so erie. The trees looked like pale ghosts lining the edge of the cool grey water.
Frost clung to the tree branches creating a beautiful white display. I’ve never seen anything like the frost in France. I think it must be because of the dense fog. So much moisture in the air creates heavy frost on all the branches. So beautiful!
After a quick exploration of the ship we sat down to a delicious four course meal in the ships elegant dining room. I don’t remember much about it. I was exhausted. They served delicious French wine and impeccable service. The waiters/waitresses would soon become friends that we would joke around with and enjoy seeing at every meal. Dinner was always a two hour affair. So European. So delicious. So relaxing. And what a perfect end to two days of traveling chaos. Off to bed. Floating on the Saone.
I am in Texas. I have been here since the 27th. I may never leave. No. I will. Texas is not my favorite place. I’m going home in a week. Next monday. Back to the snow and frigid temperatures. We came down for my cousin’s wedding and I decided to stay to escape the winter for a little while. I’ve become a snow bird. I always thought those people were weird. But I get it now. It’s mostly because its hard for me to walk on ice and snow and it makes me nervous to drive left-footed on snowy roads. So, I stayed in TX with my Aunt, Uncle, Grandma, & 4 boy cousins.
December 11th we left Rochester for Boston and then left Boston for France. It was such a great trip and I am working on blogging pictures/stories so look for those in the next few days! We were home for 4 days and then jumped on a plane again and headed to San Antonio, Austin, & Dallas. (Which is where I am currently)
Overall. I feel like I have been gone from home forever. I miss my bed and my dog and my church and my friends! (not necessarily in that order) I have had some requests to know how I am doing and how my leg is, so here is a little update.
I have been away from PT for almost a month so I feel LAZY and like I haven’t been making very much progress. My scar is slowly fading. I am slowly gaining feeling down my leg. I have tingles all the way to my fourth toe. The three big toes have no tingles, but 4th and baby get a little. That’s only if I tap them repeatedly. My feeling is mostly normal about halfway down my calf. It’s not perfect, but I can tell if something is touching me at least. I have better movement in my ankle and toes. I can move my foot up and down and out to the right. I can’t move it inwards at all. My third toe curls pretty well but none of the others really do. I’ll try to attach a video to this post so you can see the progress. Keep in mind that at the beginning I had absolutely NO movement of my foot/ankle/toes. So any movement is a positive thing.
I still wear a brace that goes almost to my knee, but I walk around the house without it as long as I’m not standing for a long period of time. I can balance on my bad foot for about 3-4 seconds which is huge. When I first started balancing I couldn’t even put all my weight on it and that was only at the beginning of November. So I am gaining strength, mobility, and feeling every day. I still have pain. My good knee bothers me a lot because it has been taking a beating for the past 8 months. My back bothers me a lot. I think this is residual from being on crutches for 6 months and also my limp throws it off all the time. The medicine I am on makes me so tired. So I feel lazy and lethargic all the time. I just want to take a nap! My bad leg still has nerve pain, but it’s not as intense as it has been. It is mostly when I go to bed. It starts zapping me like crazy and won’t let up for a while. It also gets really sore if I walk or stand a lot. But I usually try to push through within reason. It needs to get stronger!
I do PT 3 days a week still when I am home. About 2 hours each time. I started working with a personal trainer right before we left for France so I will start a weight lifting/swimming program when I get home the other 3 days of the week. Hopefully I can get my strength and energy back! I think that’s about it! Quick update on me. France trip blogs to commence asap!
I made this pie yesterday at my Aunt’s house and it was delicious! Everyone raved. YUM! I can’t remember if I left the butter out or melted it in the pan with the sugar and eggs. Sooo…my pie didn’t exactly follow the recipe I guess. But I can’t exactly remember. I also made a pecan pie and forgot the butter, so I’m on a roll of forgetting butter I guess. I also made my own pie crust. I’m not a fan of store-bought pie crust.
- 1 sheet refrigerated pie pastry
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/3 cup butter, softened
- 2/3 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons confectioners’ sugar
- Whipped cream and chocolate curls, optional
Cut pastry sheet in half. Repackage and refrigerate one half for another use. On a lightly floured surface, roll out remaining half into an 8-in. circle. Transfer to a 7-in. pie plate; flute edges. Line shell with a double thickness of heavy-duty foil. Bake at 450° for 4 minutes. Remove foil; bake 2 minutes longer or until crust is golden brown. Cool on a wire rack.
In a small saucepan, combine sugar and eggs until well blended. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until mixture reaches 160° and coats the back of a metal spoon. Remove from the heat. Stir in chocolate and vanilla until smooth. Cool to lukewarm (90°), stirring occasionally.
In a small bowl, cream butter until light and fluffy.(I definitely skipped this. I may have put the butter in the saucepan, but I can’t remember) (Where is my brain??)
Add cooled chocolate mixture; beat on high speed for 5 minutes or until light and fluffy.
In another large bowl, beat cream until it begins to thicken. Add confectioners’ sugar; beat until stiff peaks form. Fold into chocolate mixture.
Pour into crust. Chill for at least 6 hours before serving. Garnish with whipped cream and chocolate curls if desired. Refrigerate leftovers. Yield: 6 servings.