Monday, December 30, 2019

July 21, 2019 River/canal boat in France

We had another nice breakfast before leaving at 8:00.  Torben, AnneMarie, Dave and I were driving to France to rent a river boat for 10 days.  Everything is so close.  We were in Luxembourg by 10:30 and in France by 11:00. 
We had lunch at a small French cafe, Chez Lulu, in Pont-à-Mousson.  Our appetizer was a zucchini gazpacho. 

the restaurant was on the second floor.  this was their outdoor seating
walleye tomato risotto

zucchini gazpacho

We were in Jean de Losne, France by 3:30.  We found the rental boat company, Le Boat, to check out our boat for 10 days.  It took 2 hours for the paperwork, instruction, tour of the boat, and taking the boat out with an instructor. 

our 35 foot boat, Tango
from the galley, there were a couple steps down to our 2 separate cabins, the head and a shower

the salon, the table could be moved and another bed could be made

the galley and stairs to the upper outside level

rented bicycles

the captain's chair
the upper deck

loading our luggage
We were all set to head out, but it was Sunday, and the grocery stores were closed.  We moved the boat out of the marina and onto a dock in the town.  There was a nice waterfront with several restaurants. 
The first place we went to only served drinks, no dinner.  AnneMarie and Torben introduced us to our new favorite drink, Pastis.  It is a licorice liquor, like Pernod, served as a healthy shot over ice.  You add water to your taste.  It was very refreshing.  We ordered ablette for dinner.  It is a plate full of small fried fish.  We saw it in several places, but ordering it once was enough.

public book exchange

ablette-little fish
great desserts, but no refills on the coffee

outside restaurant, the wine was in a cooler bag

July 20, 2019 Hattingen and Wülfrath, Germany

We had an awesome breakfast outside on the beautiful property of Alex’s parents outside of the city of  Wülfrath. 

Dave, Mirjan, Paul

Alex with Renate's apple dish

breakfast on the patio

the walk to the house from the garage at the road

gardens behind the house

gluing Dave's sandals

We went to the nearby town of Hattingen.  Many of the timber-framed houses were built between the 14th and 16th centuries. 
 Paul, Mirjan, Dave and Alex
tools of the trade on side of building
beautiful artwork on the wood
the building behind Dave is referred to as the "iron house",  shaped like an iron

the old city wall built in1396

love the vines on the buildings
that's an old door

love looking down side "streets"

reconstruction shows the layer that was covered

fair warning
We then went to Wülfrath to tour the town.  The first settlement was thought to date back to 713. 
the original part of the church dates back to the 11th century.  it as enlarged in the 15th century
the houses circled the church

many of the old houses had numbers and names

Alex, Paul and Dave

Back at their home, Renate made Hungarian goulash and spaetzle for dinner.  Torben and AnneMarie, from Denmark, arrived in time for dinner and to spend the night.

July 19, 2019 Cologne, Germany

Alex and Mirjam (pronounce like Miriam) picked us up by car this morning.  They took us to see their apartment nearby.  We had brought them a wedding gift from Georgia. 
Dave, Mary, Mirjam, Alex
Mirjam and Alex with their future wedding gift, a Georgia pine needle trivit

Then all 4 of us drove to Cologne.  We toured the Cologne Cathedral and walked along the Rhine river.  This cathedral is the largest in Germany and one of most important in the world.  It was constructed between 1248 and 1880.  It is dedicated to the Three Wise Men whose bones are preserved in the gold shrine above the High Altar.
The gold shrine containing the bones of the Three Wise Men

Locks of lovers on the bridge over the Rhine, actually adding stress from the weight

nice coffee stop until someone started smoking

great lunch
"dry and sexy on the Rhine"
 When my father visited us in Germany in 1979, we celebrated his 63rd birthday on the Rhine river.  63 in German is drei and sechzig, so he said he was "dry and sexy on the Rhine".  Now we're 63

Next we drove to Wülfrath, where Alex’s parents live.  We all met at a Restaurant for a fun evening.  After eating, we went to their home for the night.
Alex, Paul, Renate Surminski, Mirjam and Mary