Monday, May 31, 2010

Photos from Chartwell, England

Final set of scrapbook photos which we took at Chartwell (Day 14).

In Love with Afternoon Tea in England

Meggar has fallen in love with Daphne--as I knew she would. We drove into town for Afternoon Tea, where the tea cakes were arrayed under glass. I cannot remember when the tea was so stout and the cakes so delicate. The scones had plenty of cream, for Meggar's sake. So we were in heaven (again). There was a book shop nearby and I was pleased to snatch up a photo biography of Churchill. I'm already planning a World War II unit study on the intelligent and principled leader of Britain whose home we have just toured.

Monday in England

Our last day before departure is spent back in England, where we are guests of my Rotarian's wife Daphne Hoyles. I haven't seen her for 10 years, yet she looks as good as she did 20 years ago. Her home in Kent is just south of London and closer to the airport, which will be convenient for us tomorrow morning at the crack of dawn. Daphne is an octogenarian but no one could ever guess by her independence and style. She drives us over to Chartwell, the home of Sir Winston Churchill. The English houses all have been named, which I find quite charming. And Chartwell does not leave us disappointed. Purchased for £5,000, the estate was refurbished in his early married years and Churchill himself built the brick garden walls. We walked down to his painting studio (more than 70 works there) and we tramped through the rose garden (his family planted 50 golden rose bushes in honor of the couple's 50th wedding anniversary). There is also a butterfly garden, which is rearing butterflies again for the first time in many years (won't Winger be so pleased?). And we found a nice sun-dial (to add to Polar Bear's scientific collection).

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Scrapbook from Paris

Here are all the photos we took in Paris (Days 10 & 13).

Sunday in the City

Mass at the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur (Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Jesus) is phenomenal. Another in the list of cathedrals where we have knelt to pray in awe. The parking on Montmarte is definitely difficult on a Sunday, yet we managed to snag a spot quite close up and arrive in time for a good pew. The Society of Jesus (called Jesuits) was founded here--I learned this today and am mindful of the prayer we've memorized back in homeschool by St. Ignatius Loyola! A nice unit study tidbit to share with the boys. The view from here is tremendous and gives a 360' look at all of Paris. Afterward, we enjoyed lunch in the artist district and a tour of the stalls with painters and silhouette cutters. Au Revoir, Paris! The whole Frechet family drops us off at the airport, and we are sad to leave this city of food and culture. We promise to make plans to see them again--in America and in France!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Photos from Giverny

Here is a link to see all the photos from our scrapbook taken in Giverny, France (Day 12).

Giverny--Home of Claude Monet

Wife's one request was to visit Giverny, the home and studio of Claude Monet for over 40 years. It is not far from Frechet's house, because they live on the western side of Paris already. It proves to be a short drive by car, and we are overwhelmed by the flower gardens out in front of the house (a dozen long paths). During a tour of the house, I was happiest in his blue kitchen and yellow dining room. These are pictured in my cookbook "Monet's Table," which was obtained from a quaint little French restaurant in Atlanta by Captain for our 11th anniversary. Good memories and good introduction to the Giverny. Next, we went across the street to Monet's Japanese gardens to see the water lilies, which only bloom if the water is kept warm for 30 days continuously. I'm sure gardeners must work hard to keep it visually appealing to tourists year-round. There are actually three Japanese bridges, but the famous one is covered with wisteria (here). And the paintings are everywhere in the studio. Breath-taking. And some even brought tears to my eyes!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Full Scrapbook of Versailles

Click on this link for a full scrapbook of our photos at Versailles (Day 11).

Dining with a French Family

Meggar was right about how French people give more importance to food and dining! Patrick has given us St. Joseph Wine (in honor of our hometown) and now Macon Wine (in honor of the town nearest Truman State). Both French names obviously come from the time when Missouri was part of French territory. That was before Thomas Jefferson's presidency. Aliette's meals this week follow the classics of authentic French cuisine: Quiche Lorraine, Filet of Beef, Roast Duck, Gateau, and Crepes. They are practicing their English for my benefit, and Meggar is picking up on the French phrases when they are tired of thinking in English. How easily we are made part of the family. The lovely yellow dining room and living room are soon to be abandoned. They have just sold the house one day before we arrived and will be moving further into Paris, near a Metro station, to accomodate their daughter's university studies and for easier access to the city.

Versailles Palace in the Sunshine

Although we met some American students in the line outside the Chateau de Versailles, nothing could squelch our enthusiasm for being in these gardens on a sunny day. The place is quite large, as you can see from the view at the base of the steps to the gardens. The walking paths are lined with lemon and lime trees, but there are other gardens just as large beyond the camera's view created around labyrinth paths, or decorated with statues and fountains. Elaborate! And inside the Palace you can see the Hall of Mirrors and all the furnishings from King Louis XIV's time.
The roses are everywhere--for Marie Antoinetee. Their fragrance is everywhere--probably because of the morning dew. Later we walked into the town to explore the churches, antique stores, and cafes.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Scrapbook of the Louvre

Click on this link for a full scrapbook of our pictures in the Louvre and around Paris (Days 10 and 13).

Finally -- The Louvre and Mona Lisa

Meggar's No. 1 priority for Paris was going to the Louvre and seeing the "Mona Lisa" because last year she only saw the Musee d'Orsay after they discovered the National Museum was closed for Bastille Day. So, we left the house early with Aliette (teacher) and her daughter (student), which was just as well as we could avoid the crowds. Once the Metro tickets were sorted out, we arrived in good time and visited an Au Marche for breakfast croissants. Then we bought a neon red Eiffel Tower to clip onto Meggar's new red bag. Then we went inside the heavenly palace of artistic beauty. Of course, we rented the audio tour!
The 45-minute guided narration took us 90+ minutes--but we were thrilled with Venus de Milo statue (shown), and Michelangelo's two slaves, and finally (!) Leonardo's "Mona Lisa." After pushing through the teeming throng we retreated to the opposite wall an met Veronese's "Wedding Feast of Cana" measuring an incredible 22' x 33' (if I have converted the metrics properly). Staggering size and amazing detail/color! Fun.
I became giddy with the Renaissance works such as Botticelli and all the Madona paintings, which are featured annually in the Catholic Arts Calendar which Uncle Clint gives me every year for Christmas! To see the real pictures?! was like walking around in a dream-come-true.
Lastly, we visited the French masterpiece area which included three enormous paintings by Delacroix, whom Domitille mentions as her favorite artist. A full day of art, but you cannot see everything in every gallery or you will die--of happy exhaustion.
We ended in the Gift Gallery and bought "Madeline" children's book in French for Meggar to read aloud to her charges, future students, and future children.
In an old house in Paris
that was covered in vines,
lived 12 little girls
in two straight lines.
They left the house
at half-past nine,
in rain or shine;
the youngest one
was Madeline.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Reunion with Domitille

Domi and her mom met us at the Du Nord train station. What a joy to see our exchange student again and to meet her family and stay at their home. Here is the "Parly2" shopping mall near La Celle St. Cloud. The girls wanted to spend some time and money here: Megan bought linen slacks, blue ruffly cami, and Pink Panther PJs.

Leaving Germany & Travelling to France

Here is a scrapbook of our photos from Germany (Days 6-9). We decided not to hire a car for this next portion of our holiday, and that turned out to be a good decision. It was raining all day, so we let Thalys do the "driving" from Cologne to Paris. Later, Megan posted her new Facebook status as: "Megan is home--in France."

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Cologne Visit to the Cathedral

Everyone is going into Cologne today. Meggar and I enjoyed morning mass at the Koln Dom (Cathedral). It is the tallest cathedral I've ever seen and all its Chapels were stunningly beautiful. This city is built on the ancient ruins of Colonia (from 50 A.D.) with several open places where you can see what the archaeologists discovered. Another favorite stop was a tour of the Lindt German Chocolate Factory, complete with samples! At the train station we bought delicious pastries, and at the local grocery store we purchased cookies to mail home, more Greek yoghurt, and various cheeses (there are miles to choose from). Don't find foods like this in Missouri!

Monday, May 24, 2010

At Home with the Sutherlands

Having a big family means plenty of piano music and books to share, conversations over cups of tea, and time outdoors with the little ones. The weather continues to be sunny and warm at this half-timbered German house in a quiet village. George is an excellent shot with his new bow and arrows. Our afternoon was spent with giggly girls who wanted to play the
"Pride and Prejudice" board game with us. And we all took a walk down to the River Aggar to try our hand at skipping stones. Still no rain, though a few clouds caused us to take along our new umbrella. Supper was followed by another dose of wonderful breads and cheeses. Ahh... it's good to be with all nine of the Sutherlands again.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Near Dusseldorf, Germany

The Sutherland family has been living in Germany with an Air Force assignment for three years. We wanted to visit them before they return to the States in June, and we wanted to celebrate their oldest daughter's graduation from homeschool, too. Elizabeth and Megan started homeschooling together, with a co-op preschool when they both were 3 years old. They are all grown up now!
The whole family travelled to Rittenberg today for a Historic Festival at the Castle there: complete with jousting, music and dancing, and flatbreads cooked in wood-fired ovens.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Photo Album of Ely

Here is the full scrapbook of photos from Ely (Day 5). This was our last day in England with Jutta and family. Sad to go.

Saturday in Ely, England

We spent a few hours with Jutta's family in Ely, near Cambridge. The Cathedral is more than 1,000 years old, and it hosts the bishop's residence as well. Martin and Jutta could get us in for free since they are Anglican clergy. I love old, old churches and prayed for all the special intentions on my list.
We stopped for an ice cream first as Luke was hungry. The church had beautiful ceilings, which could be easily viewed from the rolling mirror. And an ancient chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary that was desecrated and hollow feeling. It shows how far reaching one man's actions can reach.
After our tour, we stopped for a nice Italian lunch. We will never forget Anna's sweet voice and Luke's pesky questions. All in the finest British accent, without a trace of German, and so very endearing!!
Jutta and I had a long talk on the drive, then she dropped us off at Stansted Airport so we could meet Elizabeth Sutherland for the next portion of our trip. Tears...
Ryan Air was--an interesting experience--in cheap.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Photos from Bath, England

Here is the full scrapbook of photos in Bath Spa (Day 4).

A Day Trip to Bath

For Jane Austen fans like us, the necessity of a trip to Bath is undeniable. So we woke at 6:30 a.m. and said good-bye to Luke. We booked tickets for a train to London, then took the tube to Paddington Station (yes, we bought the bear), and then boarded another train to Bath. Luckily we have an audio book of "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" and enjoyed our 3 hour's ride together. It's tempting to quote that book, but I shall stick to the goal of the day: All things Austen. We posed with Mr. Darcy in front of the Jane Austen Centre. And we enjoyed the film and narratives they offer about her life and novels. Jane's home at #4 Sydney Place is on the far eastern side of the town. So we stopped for a little pastie at lunchtime overlooking the River Avon. Then we hiked uphill to see The Royal Crescent, as seen in "Persuasion" and other BBC adaptations of Austen. No running Anne spotted today. Our final stop in the afternoon was the Pump Room, complete with "taking the waters" and a full Afternoon Cream Tea. Of course, we wore our hats! That would be the proper, British thing to do. And the pianist in the Pump Room did a very fine job.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Photos of Cambridge and Jutta's Family

Here is the full scrapbook of photos from Cambridge (Day 3). We are lucky enough to be staying with Jutta's family--she was my maid of honor 20 years ago. It has been delightful to catch up and to meet Anna (9) and Luke (7).

at Evensong and a Baptism

Tonight, Jutta escorted us to front seats for "Evensong" at King's College, with its famous all-boys choir. Then we returned to All Saints Church for Martin's weekly Eucharist and a baptism. Everyone stayed afterward for supper. The English gardens seem at their peak this week. Meggar held baby Astrid, who spit up on her shoulder. "That's a normal occurrence" Meggar joked.

Cambridge Tour - by the River Cam

I don't think I've ever been to Cambridge before--lovely, lovely weather we're having. Martin took us around Jesus College, his alma mater built in the 12th Century, and offered us lunch at the refectory. Then, Jillian was pressed into service as our tour guide for the afternoon. We walked for miles and miles--all the way around the colleges. No wonder everyone is much skinnier here. Of course, we saw the Bridge of Sighs (this picture shows Queen Victoria's favorite spot), Heffner's Book Shoppe, and bought a ruffly dress at the market stalls. We spent a good deal of time at St. Catharine's College. She was a persuasive saint from the early years of the Church--St. Catharine of Alexandria. Meggar chose her as her confirmation saint name, and enjoyed taking notice of all the wheel symbols in the gate and in the chapel.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Photo Scrapbook of London Sites

Here is the full scrapbook of our sightseeing day in London (Day 1).

Landing in London

Meggar and I flew all night and landed in London about noon, their time. We are glad we took eye patches and caught a few hours of sleep on the plane. When they serve supper at midnight and breakfast at 5:00 a.m. there's little time for resting. We enjoyed "Sherlock Holmes" before our meal and felt acclimated to the accents we were about to encounter.
First stop, Trafalgar Square and the London Double-Decker bus tour. Because this is Meggar's first time in London, she is keen on seeing all the major sites. The weather is good enough for pictures from the top deck, where we were seated next to a junior-high class from France. Meggar had fun listening to their comments while taking her first 200 photos on my camera.
The tour drove us right passed LSE, and I could see the new buildings at my alma mater. The London Eye was new to my eyes, and the docks have been expanded greatly. Nice to see Big Ben and the series of bridges, as well as Buckingham Palace, St. Pauls, Blackfriars, etc. etc. So CROWDED today in the city, and everyone is noticably skinnier than in America.
We hopped off at Oxford Circus and found our way to "Liberty of London" store. Meggar couldn't believe the expense of their scarves and patterned purses. We bought souvenirs from the street vendor instead. Back on the tube to Kings Cross and caught the next train to Cambridge. Jutta met us at the station at 6:30 pm, but we are not thinking about the time difference. Just delightful to meet her Luke (age 7) and Anna (age 9) and to see Martin again. They ordered in fish-and-chips from the delivery shop, and it was excellent with a Guiness. As comfortable as home!

More Fishing and Golfing

The boys didn't catch as many Northerns on their second day, but good weather made the fishing outing just as enjoyable. Today they are golfing 18 holes, and Dorito got to drive the other golf cart!?! He was thrilled. The Beauty Bay Golf Course is accurately named, and their voices were filled with awe for the scenery and their fine shots.