Montmartre Museum

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Monday, August 12th, was kind of a lazy, hang-out at the hostel kind of day. We were all just a tad bit tired from all of the explorations around Germany for a couple of weeks. We slept in on the quiet Monday morning and lounged around most of the day. It was nice to kick back and not do anything. Later in the afternoon, however, I wanted to do something even though the girls still wanted more rest.

I remembered a museum close by that I had wanted to visit the first time I visited Paris about 3 years ago – the Musee de Montmartre! It had been closed for renovations on my earlier visit. Now was the perfect time to go and check it out, so off I went.

The museum has a permanent collection of paintings, posters, and drawings signed by Toulouse-Lautrec, Modigliani, Kupka, Steinlen, Valadon, and Utrillo.

The art recounts the history of Montmartre, including the innovative artist studios and the infamous cabarets of the Lapin Agile and the Moulin Rouge.

The buildings the museum occupies were built over three centuries ago as the Hotel Demarne and the Maison du Bel Air. The Bel Air House is the oldest building in Montmartre. In its heyday, it was a residence and a meeting place for many artists, including Auguste Renoir, Suzanne Valadon, and Émile Bernard, who had their studios here. Artists started to move to Montmartre in 1870, and the cafes and cabarets multiplied in the 1880s. The effervescent bohemian spirit and its creative energy soon came to characterize Montmartre.

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IMG_1422The buildings and the grounds surrounding them were worth looking at for starters, let alone the treasures I might find inside. I noticed the map hanging on the wall and decided to explore the grounds first and then tour the rooms inside the museum.

IMG_1434Quite a lovely garden it was too, with various levels and unique little nooks and crannies hidden here and there amongst all of the plants and greenery. It was absolutely delightful. I could easily spend a good deal of time here. I can see how it could lend itself so well to stir the artistic creativity of its inhabitants!

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Here’s a perfect example, The Swing. Renoir painted the picture in this very garden, and this is the swing in the garden that inspired his imagination in 1876! That’s cool.

 

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Montmartre sits upon a hill, and apart from its artistic inhabitants, it has quite a history of its own. In the 15th century, the north and northeast slopes of the hill, there was a village which was surrounded by vineyards, gardens, and peach and cherry orchards. The first wind-generated mills were built on the western slope in 1529, grinding wheat, barley, and rye. There were thirteen mills at one time, but by the late nineteenth century, only two remained.

A flight of stairs in the garden leads down to the remaining current-day vineyard and gardens. Although that area is not open to the public, there is a spot along the fence that you can see the loved and well-tended gardens.

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IMG_1494If you look near the center of the picture on the right, you will see a small terra-cotta colored section of a wall just beyond the grapevines, which are draped with protective cloth in the vineyard. Behind that small wall is a building. (See picture below.)IMG_1492

 

It is the site of the Lapin Agile – a famous cabaret. The mascot, a rabbit, was painted by André Gill, and the rabbit was known as ‘Le Lapin à Gill’ (Gill’s Rabbit). The name was later changed to Lapin Agile (which has the exact same pronunciation) and means Agile Rabbit.  I can just imagine the many artists who lived on this property traipsing down this staircase, past the vineyards and gardens as they headed to the cabaret nearby!

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The gardens and the atmosphere have a certain ‘rustic feel’ to them, making this is an exceptional site in the very heart of Paris.

After touring the gardens, I headed inside and began surveying each of the many exhibition rooms of various artists. The first I came across was George Dorignac. 

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Next, I explored the studio and the apartment of Suzanne Valadon.

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Above right, the studio as seen from the garden; below, the studio from the inside…

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Their apartment was in adjoining rooms.

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In another section, the rich history and culture of Montmartre was presented with numerous old photographs and paintings depicting what it looked like way back when with its cabarets, gypsum mines, and windmills.

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According to the information provided, “theatre, music, circus, and dance have all played an essential part in the make-up of Montmartre and revolved around the cabaret performances. The most celebrated cabaret, the Chat Noir, welcomed several performances of the shadow theatre, which was created in 1866 by Henri Rivière and Henry Somm. At the end of 1887, Rivière managed to transform a small shadow show into an extraordinary technical and elaborate artistic performance according to the displays.”

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There were so many paintings by numerous famous artists in the various rooms of the two main buildings. I was really enjoying the multiple exhibitions of each.  I have only shared a smidgeon of the treasures it held. For such a small museum, it sure had a plethora of colorful treasures by some very talented artists.

Then there was a whole room dedicated to the can-can! Ooh-la-la! That was fun!

Montmartre Museum is perhaps Paris’ best-kept secret! An art museum that is not crowded at all. I almost had the entire place to myself most of the time, which is hard to say in this city! It is also the perfect size for a museum, with enough things to look at but not so massive you need an entire day to see it! Montmartre Museum has a lot to offer in a quiet and unassuming atmosphere.IMG_1420

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Next time you’re in Paris, you should try to check it out! It even offers excellent views of the big city below and its iconic landmarks!

 

 

 

The Historic Heart of Paris

It was our first full day in Paris, and there was so much to see and do in this magnificent city. It seemed appropriate to start our explorations in the center – at the heart of Paris – to start where Paris did on the big island in the middle of the river Seine. Standing proudly at that center is the famous Notre Dame cathedral.

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Because of the horrendous fire that recently ravaged this iconic treasure, it was totally encased in a protective barrier wall, and therefore, we couldn’t get very close, let alone inside.

While standing near it and looking first hand at the damage it sustained, I felt grateful I had the opportunity to visit it a few years ago and had the chance to see what it looked like inside before it burned. What a shame! What a loss!

At the same time, however, it was comforting to see all of the construction efforts they were making to restore it to its former beauty and that they were already making such fantastic progress.

We wandered around the building, gaping up at the majestic ornate exterior. Eventually,  we reached the south end of it where Pont Neuf juts out into the Seine at the southern end of the island that Notre Dame is perched upon.IMG_1290

I noticed that a river cruise boat was boarding passengers below us at the dock, so I suggested we also climb aboard, take a one-hour cruise, and see a little bit more of the sites of the city from the vantage point of a boat.  The girls liked that idea. 

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We enjoyed views of Paris’ famous attractions as we glided along the water, passing by the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, Musée d’Orsay, and of course, Notre-Dame Cathedral. We also saw a lot of the details of the statuary and carvings on the bridges that you can’t see very well from the street level, if at all, without passing underneath them on the river.

From the boat, we could also see Parisians enjoying all kinds of activities along the bank, including a lively swing dance. It looked like a whole lot of fun, and I secretly wished I could join them!

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Following the river cruise, we began exploring the Left Bank area. To start with, the river is lined with many vendors selling artwork, old posters, photographs, books and maps, and a few typical types of souvenirs in the permanent wooden housings. Each one is like a closet that they can throw open the doors and have everything on display instantaneously. They are chock full of attractive and artful curiosities.

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At the end of the block, we spotted a small park with a rose garden setting and agreed this would be the perfect spot to enjoy our picnic lunch. The park, called Square Rene Viviani, is a welcome oasis in the middle of the city. We enjoyed eating our sandwiches amongst the locals and delighted in feeding the crusts to our sandwiches to the local pigeons as well. 

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IMG_1297After our respite, we wandered further through the square away from the river to continue our explorations.

IMG_1303Being the gardener that I am, the curiosity of the place was undoubtedly the oldest tree of Paris, an acacia planted in 1601. It is kind of a sad, tired-looking old tree, and it has to be supported with cement pillars, like an old man on crutches, but it’s still growing by golly! Imagine being that old…

Just beyond the tree near the exit of the garden is another ancient specimen, a tiny church. IMG_1305Like Notre Dame, it is one of Paris’ oldest religious buildings.

The old church of Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre was located on the Pilgram road to Santiago de Compostela. The church was at the intersection of two Roman roads and was built during the 13th Century. The Gothic facade of the church has disappeared, but it remains an excellent example of the transition between Romanesque art and Gothic art.

At this point, the old twisty lanes of Paris meander through the marketplace beyond tempting us with all sorts of yummy things to eat. It was buzzing with activity and exciting things to look at in the shops.  Errin even spotted a pirate along the way!

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We crossed back over the bridge to start making our way back to the Metro Station we had emerged from earlier that day. Along our route, we passed Saint Chappelle with its stunning stained glass windows, the Palace of Justice, and the massive building next to it, the Prison where Marie Antoinette was held until her execution in 1793.

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There is a striking feature on the outside face of the imposing Corner Tower of the Prison – a massive, fancy, and commanding clock.

Since 1371, the Clock Tower has housed this extraordinary clock. Initially, its primary purpose was to help the people regulate their activities during the day and night. A couple of 100 years later, it was enhanced by gilding, and a multicolored face was also added and surrounded with allegories of Law and Justice.

A Latin inscription is found below the clock, which when translated, says, “This mechanism, which divides time into perfectly equal twelve hours, helps you to protect justice and defend the law.” It’s a fine specimen of a clock,  that’s for sure.

Cite MetroJust across the street from the clock and the Palace of Justice is the plaza leading to the Cité Metro station, where we had emerged a few hours earlier.

In the morning, when we first arrived, we had wandered through stalls that were set up as a marketplace that had all kinds of cute little birds for sale. Grace is enamored with animals of any ilk, so naturally, she was drawn to these sweet small avian specimens that were so close and approachable.

In the early evening hours, once we were back at our hostel and rested a bit from our adventure, we went back outside on the lively streets of Montmarte in search of a gluten-free creperie we discovered was nearby. Just as the map stated, it was only a block or two away, and we were soon cozied up to a sidewalk cafe table, ordering our dinner crepes and enjoying a refreshing smoothie.

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Absolutely stuffed after consuming those lovely crepes, we slowly sauntered back to the hostel, admiring Sacre Coeur and some entertaining graffiti artwork on buildings along the way. 

Yet another satisfying day of discovery in a new environment and culture, just what traveling is all about, the experiences!

 

Triberg Falls & a Fast Train to Paris

During the first week of August, Errin, Grace, and I had been having a whole lot of fun exploring Bavaria and its picturesque villages. We raced down the mountainsides on Alpine Coasters. We climbed to the top of the mountains via chairlifts for spectacular panoramic views of the Swiss and Austrian Alps while working our way further and further in an easterly direction exploring fairy-tale castles and villages filled to the brim with creativity.

We switched course on Thursday, however, and decided to drive in a westerly direction instead.  We had abruptly changed our itinerary the week before. That change had bumped our agenda a day ahead of schedule. Doing so had some effect on what sites we could visit as we made our way to the next destination.  Because we didn’t get our rental car until late in the afternoon last week, we weren’t able to visit a couple of places in the Black Forest en route to Bavaria as initially planned.  We decided to back-track a bit at the end of the week, on Thursday, to check out what we had missed earlier in the week.

oberstaufen to Triberg Falls mapWe drove about 100 miles to a charming mountain hamlet village tucked deep in the Black Forest called Triberg, a charming village that proudly boasts and brags about their intricately hand-carved cuckoo clock collections!  This place is cuckoo heaven if ever there was one. Cuckoos galore! 

Below is a sampling of some of the intricately and beautifully hand-carved clocks that caught my eye! Many of them had a price tag that was well outside my budget, however! 

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The store had one section set aside for demonstrating how they make clocks. Although there wasn’t anyone to conduct a demonstration, we saw the tools and the stencils and patterns the woodworkers use for laying out designs on smooth wooden surfaces before carving. The workshop area included all manner of paraphernalia for cutting detailed images in fine-grained wood and building a unique kind of clock. There were even a pair of little bellows on display that were hand-operated, which demonstrated how they make the cuckoo sound inside the clock. So, that’s how they do that! 

The girls also noticed some incredibly soft bunny rabbits in the toy section of the baby department they wanted to cuddle, and we found all manner of other whimsical giftware and stylish local dress costumes we admired as well. 

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The quaint village also has a stunning set of waterfalls right next to it that you can easily access via a vast network of interconnecting pathways wandering through the neighboring woodland hillside. We spent quite a bit of time following the paths that traced the streams’ course up the ravine, stopping to enjoy the beauty of each set of unique falls as we progressed to the top. It was so peaceful and serene. So very Black Forest. Just how I had imagined it would look when I was a child during bedtime storytime.

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Driving all the way back to the Black Forest to see the sites we had missed earlier in the week was definitely worth it.  It was a bit of a drive, but we were glad we didn’t miss the chance to visit it after all. It really was pretty cool.

By the time the end of the week arrived on Friday, we were a bit worn out from driving, so we hung out at the resort enjoying its amenities during the morning and early afternoon. Grace immersed herself in the relaxing waters of the resort’s beautiful pools at the spa center.

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We also did our laundry since we were just about out of clean clothes once again. Our carry-on luggage only held enough clothes for seven days. The days had flown by while we were in Bavaria. It was hard to believe the week was already drawing to its end.

Once we had recharged our batteries, ate some lunch, and restocked our suitcases with clean clothes, we still had quite a bit of the afternoon left. It was such a beautiful sunny day, so we impulsively decided to go back up the first chairlift we had taken to the highest point to get one last look at the Austrian and Swiss Alps.  It was a gorgeous day weather-wise, and the views were even better than before! We could see for miles and miles with barely any significant clouds obscuring our view.

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Paragliders were even out enjoying the clear, bright skies and the magnificent views from aloft. I’d like to do that!

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Three pictures say it all; the views we enjoyed did not disappoint!

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After our descent back down the mountain, we also couldn’t resist one last ride on the Alpine Coaster at nearby Heundle Activity park!

As much as we hated to leave this beautiful area of Germany, it was time for us to move on. Saturday morning, we gathered together all of our belongings and checked out of the resort. It had been a comfortable and convenient place to call our base while we meandered among the mountains and valleys of Bavaria. But leave, we must – we still had more destinations yet to explore!

So off we went.  We had a total of about 500 miles to travel that day. Half of it would be in the rental car; the other half would be on a train. From Oberstaufen, we drove west approximately 200 miles back to Strasbourg, France, to return the vehicle.

We arrived in Strasbourg with time to spare, returned the car, and leisurely strolled through the train station in search of the platform where we could catch the afternoon fast train to Paris. It was so handy to have the rental car agencies right next to the train station!

The train arrived on schedule, we climbed aboard and settled comfortably in our designated seats. We then proceeded to relax and enjoy a 2-hour (and 288-mile) journey across the French countryside to Paris. Luckily we had a decent-sized table between us, making it a perfect venue for eating the picnic lunch we had packed for the day. It also had convenient wifi connections and charging stations for our electronic devices. We were set!

We arrived in Paris at about 6 p.m., just in time for dinner! We checked in at our hostel a couple of stops on the local Metro from the train station. Le Village Hostel is in the Montmartre district, conveniently located at the base of the famous church, Sacre Coeur. I stayed here a few years ago with some friends so I was quite familiar with our surroundings. I knew where we were going and how to get there easily. Its a great hostel in a great location.

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Once we got our luggage stowed in our private room upstairs, we climbed the tourist-laden steps in front of the massive church, Sacre Coeur.

sacre coeurWe were headed to the heart of the Montmartre district of Paris. I thought Grace might really enjoy a meal in that artists’ historic haven since she is an artist herself. In the center of the square, nestled among artists creating one-of-a-kind portraits and whimsical caricatures of passers-by, we enjoyed our first taste of French cuisine and funky artistic culture.

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Montmartre and Sacre Coeur offer up spectacular views of Paris from the hill where they sit. The views put into perspective just how big Paris is when splayed out before you like this.

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The night was beginning to fall, so we strolled back down the multitude of steps to the bottom of the hill and returned to the hostel to relax. Just outside our room was an upstairs outdoor terrace perfect for what we were desiring – chillin’ for a while – after a long day of traveling from one country to the next!

We spent the next 3 days in Paris, exploring several iconic sites. Stories about those adventures will also be forthcoming as you might guess! Stay tuned! In the meantime, I hope you are also enjoying an adventure or two yourself!

If not, you should! Travel and adventures are so good for the soul, they help develop an open mind and foster creativity,  and, you can gain compassion and understanding of people from other places around the globe. It’s such a fantastic experience! Besides, it’s just good, plain fun!

 

The Beginnings of Yet Another Great Adventure

This time of year, as the temperatures cool and the days shorten, I often find myself daydreaming about the wonderful memories I made traveling this past summer in Holland and in my favorite place on this planet – Scotland. I relish the beautiful memories of the places I visited and learned about and I yearn for more.

Now that I’ve finished recording those exquisite travel experiences in my blog from last year, “Claudia’s Travels 2018,” it’s time to turn my thoughts to what I would like to experience and see next summer! Where will my daydreams take me now?

I love to daydream, but some people think daydreaming is a waste of time. I find that it can be quite helpful actually – encouraging and inspiring; a fun and creative endeavor which eventually proves to be quite fruitful for me. Once images of possibilities form in my mind there’s no telling where they might take me. Sometimes, there are so many possibilities I have to stop the creative juices; write the ideas down so I can remember them all, and review them later in a pragmatical manner, evaluating which ones really stand out and particularly resonate with me.

Last year, I dreamed up a wonderfully delightful trip to Holland on a Bike & Barge excursion aboard the Magnifique III & also spent a nice while visiting Scotland for the sixth time following back country roads with my cousin Lindsay to areas we hadn’t traveled to and explored together yet.

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After planning that trip this time last year, I shared my plans with my youngest granddaughter, Grace, showing her my map, the itinerary, and some pictures of places I looked forward to discovering for myself. She seemed quite interested and excited about my trip and shared (somewhat wistfully) that sometime she would love to be able to go along with me somewhere.

“Would you now?” I asked. “If you could go, what is the first place you would want to visit the most?”

Now it was her turn to let her imagination be ignited. Being a creative artistic sort of person as well, she immediately went into her own version of “creative daydream” mode easily. It didn’t take her long to strike up an image in her mind’s eye.

“Germany!” she replied without hesitation.

“Well, then, let’s just do that, ok? Let’s take a trip together! How exciting! I’ve never been to Germany before and I am so pleased that you want to travel with me. I would love to have you along. We could have a great time exploring a new land together! Okay?” I affirmed.

“Really Grandma!?! You’re serious? Wow! That’s so cool! Thank you! You mean it? You really mean it? Mom!!!! Guess what?…” she gratefully replied as she gave me a great big hug and ran off to tell her mother the wonderful news.

Having decided where we wanted to explore, the planning stage ensued; a vital step in making our dreams turn into reality! First, we started doing some research about Germany to decide what part of it we wanted to focus upon. Rick Steve's Germany guidebookI turned to one of my favorite travel experts, Rick Steves, and ordered his guidebook on the subject.

His guidebooks very handy and informative and he’s my kind of traveler – I’ve been learning from the best! I also received other excellent suggestions from various friends, family members, and fellow bloggers.

After doing the initial research on the subject, I started building a “google travel map” made specifically for this trip as I usually do. I really like having a visual representation of the places we will visit, what route we will take, etc., which is all conveniently displayed on a map I can reference over and over again.

It helps me to solidify it in my mind and helps me to stay organized too. If I read about something in particular that we want to be sure and see while we’re there I can create a “placemark” on the map.

To create a placemark: I ‘search’ for the sight I’m interested in. Google finds it and automatically marks the spot on the map with a placemark. If I am satisfied with the results it has provided, I can then choose to “add it to my map” that I have created in order to keep the placemark there permanently.

Once it is added permanently I can edit that placemark, adding information, changing its color and its iconic shape. It’s very handy. I end up creating my own personalized travel guide to make use of while we are actually traveling and it’s all right there on my iPad or iPhone for easy access.  I don’t have to carry around guidebooks we’ve purchased nor a bunch of paperwork where we originally found the information because we extracted the necessary information and then typed it right in the appropriate placemark on the map.

I use yellow “bunk bed” placemarks to denote where we will be lodging, turquoise “exclamation mark” placemarks to denote special towns to visit, blue “crosses” for cathedrals or churches, and blue “splats” to denote points of interest. When we travel we’ll just reference the map each day to refresh our memory about where we’re spending the night and what we want to see while we’re in the vicinity! It works really well.2019 travel map

Grace and I figured out that the part of Germany we wanted to see the most was the area along the Rhine River. Our plane will land in Amsterdam and then we’ll head in a southerly direction toward Switzerland.

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I started looking for lodging possibilities.  I have a timeshare unit that I can stay at for a 7-day week every two years in Hawaii.  I bought it years ago. Since I’m not as young and active as I used to be, visiting Hawaii doesn’t hold the same appeal it once did. Now, I always “bank” my week instead of using it. Once it is “banked” I can use that week elsewhere at other places worldwide instead.

I had a “banked” week saved up, and when I checked online for availability of places in Germany I got lucky – and was extremely delighted – to find a very nice resort in Bavaria where I could use it at the beginning of August! I love it when things come together like that! I reserved it straightway and now had a solid date to work around.

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Once we knew where the resort was located and when we would be staying there, I created a placemark on the map for it and added all the pertinent details, such as the date of the stay, contact info, etc.

Before we started looking for more lodging between there and Amsterdam, I started looking for airfare.  I had enough air miles saved up for my ticket so I started with my ticket first.  Since award flights can be a bit restrictive and not readily available I checked first to see what was currently available if anything.

I found a great flight leaving the middle of July from Portland to Dublin and then Dublin to Aberdeen, Scotland. Perfect! Then I checked to see if I could buy another ticket for the same flight for my granddaughter, Grace.

“What?!! Wait a minute… Scotland? I thought you said you were going to Germany!” you might be asking. Allow me to explain…

Back to the act of daydreaming and all those possibilities I wrote down that had popped into my head. One of the ideas was that I would love to share my adventure this year with my some of my family instead of traveling by myself as I often do.  When Grace expressed a desire to travel with me I was delighted. Dream come true! Tra-la!  Then, later this summer after I returned from my trip this year, I started daydreaming again about the next trip and my daydreams came up with yet another great idea I couldn’t resist!

I surprised my daughter, Errin, by telling her that since I was already taking her daughter, Grace, I thought it would be really nice to invite her as well so that the three of us could have a grand old time altogether!  Why not?! Errin was absolutely dumbfounded, as you might imagine, and agreed that it was indeed a GREAT idea!

When I looked for available flights that used my award miles for my airfare, I was searching flights that flew into Amsterdam or Frankfurt. I couldn’t find anything, however, that felt right or really met my needs.

Also, since this is the first time Errin and Grace will visit Europe, it might also be the only time they get to visit, so I wanted to make sure they saw and experienced as much as possible that I could afford.

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While looking at the map I realized Paris isn’t very far at all from where we would be in Germany. We could take a fast train there and spend a few days. Then we could take another train north to Amsterdam and spend a couple of days there as well!  It would be a nice loop! That would be fun!

The distance we would be traveling would be equivalent to driving around the perimeter of the state we live in – Oregon – (roughly speaking).  That’s totally doable for us!

The size of most western European countries are much smaller than a lot of the states are here in the US. For instance, if you combined Scotland, England, and Ireland as one country, moved the landmass around a bit, as if it was a piece of clay, it would basically fit in the shape and size of California! Initially, I had envisioned the UK and Ireland to be about the size of the whole western part of America (California, Oregon, & Washington). Instead, Ireland, Scotland, and England combined have about the same amount of landmass as all of California!  That’s a huge difference!

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It took me a while to get used to that when I was first traveling there. I had it in my head that it was a lot further than it really was because I had the proportions wrong. Once I was able to compare more accurately, and put it in proper perspective, it made it a lot easier to estimate how far I could travel in a more realistic manner.

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When I looked at the new map and looked at the distances, I realized I could take Errin & Grace to not only Germany but a bit of France and the Netherlands as well. I decided that would be really great. It was close enough to include that, and since we were soooooo close to Scotland…why not go there as well!

AIMG_2365irfare between Aberdeen and Amsterdam is quite reasonable and is a very short flight as well.  Since I love Scotland so much, and there is oh-so-much of our ancestry there to share with the girls, I couldn’t possibly imagine not stopping to visit our cousin Lindsay when we were oh-so-close!

So…back to the fight searching…

I managed to find 3 airline tickets (1 using award miles and 2 that I purchased) heading to the same place! It’s not exactly the same flight, however. We all leave Portland about the same time, but I fly to Dublin via Chicago and they fly to Dublin via San Francisco where we will meet up again and all fly on the same flight on the final leg to Aberdeen.  This is working out nicely! I wished that I could get them on the same flight as mine, but it was cost prohibitive, so I went with the next best option.

We’ll spend about a week in Scotland; I’ll take them to our ancestral home of Dingwall straightway to experience and see that most important destination, and also visit a castle or two and a lovely garden along the way to and fro from Aberdeen.

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At the end of the week, we’ll fly to Amsterdam and start working our way south to Bavaria along the Rhine, circle around over to Paris and then back up to Amsterdam for about 3 weeks’ time total. We’ll catch a flight back to Aberdeen to spend another glorious 2 weeks unveiling other treasures I’ve discovered in Scotland during my previous visits which I really want to share with them.

One daydream idea which pops up year-after-year is the fact that I want to stay for a really long time, in fact, as long as I possibly can! The three of us will be gone about 6 weeks; 3 on the continent and 3 in Scotland, but when they fly home at the end of August, I’m going to stay on with Lindsay for another month until the end of September! This daydream that has turned into a trip is definitely going to be really great for the three of us and one that I’m sure we’ll long remember.

My next step in planning is to secure the rest of the lodgings we will need.  I have 6 weeks to fill.  The second week we’ll be on the continent is already scheduled at the timeshare resort in Bavaria and the time in Scotland will be spent at Lindsay’s and a couple of B&B’s I know of that I can reserve, but I needed to find lodging for 2 more weeks while we’re in Amsterdam, Cologne, all along the Rhine River, and don’t forget – Paris!

I really enjoy staying at the YHA Youth hostels and the girls want to try it a try as well. You meet the nicest people at them; travelers like yourself from all over the world. It’s quite an experience in itself and I think they are particularly looking forward to that unique aspect of staying in hostels. To find hostels in Germany I went online to Hostelling International and Hostel World, as is my usual practice, and started to search.

The hostels can fill up fast, especially in very desirable locations, like major cities which are quite popular with the younger travelers, so it’s advisable to book them in advance and they reserve them for you for a nominal deposit.

When I looked at the websites’ maps of all the hostels there are in Germany and what I had to choose from, I was astonished how many there are. If my memory serves me correctly, Germany was the country that came up with the idea in the first place. The map view of the hostels looked as though there was one about every 5 miles!

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To my satisfaction, I easily found one every step of the way along my desired route and also had the pleasure of selecting from several choices at each location. After a short while online, I had them all booked and reserved for the first week between Amsterdam and Bavaria.  One of the hostels I found is even an old castle!  How cool is that?  I’m really glad we were able to book that one in particular! Now for Paris!

One of my favorite hostels, Le Village in Montmartre at the foot of Sacre Coeur, was also available like I was hoping it would be.  I think the girls are really going to love that location! It’s the perfect spot to explore Paris from and it’s up on a hill so you can get a great view of the city spread out before you from there.

IMG_9925I also found a room at another great hostel in Amsterdam, one that I stayed at this year right next to Vondelpark – a perfect location! It all worked out just great!

Now that I have all of the lodging and airfare booked I can start filling in details of places to go visit in Scotland, & add sights of interest to our map.  We will keep doing our research adding things to be sure to visit as we find them over the course of the winter. It will be a fun project filling up our summer holiday plans with all kinds of exciting stuff!

An attitude of Gratitude ~ I am ever so thankful to have Errin & Grace to share my next adventure with me. I look forward to sharing all the fantastic treasures in Scotland I’ve discovered on past excursions and then also discovering new places and things together in Germany. Afterall, that’s what it is all about – making lasting memories together!