Kutna Hora Czech Republic

While in the Czech Republic in June, we went to Kutna Hora. We stopped at the Cathedral of our Lady to try to find more information about the town, or at least a plan of the town. So we went toward the cathedral and I guess I was kinda of lucky and passed under the radar of the “entrance lady” so I didn’t have to pay my entrance.

I was very surprise in Prague about the fact that most of the church/Cathedral and Chapel have entry fees. I mean I understand if you are a huge known church like the Vatican or like that. but even Notre Dame doesn’t have a entry fee. WTH?

Well anyway. I thought this church no matter the fact of entry fee, was beautiful. So much light, huge beautiful space and the colors where beautiful! St. Felix Remains. The Sedlec Ossuary: It is believe to contain the skeletons of 40000 to 70000 people.

Because of the Black Death in the mid 14th century and the Hessian Wars in the early 15th Century the local cemeteray had to be enlarged to make room for the newly deceased. A church was build on the cemetary ground and on the lower level of it, the ossuary was build and the task of exhuming and stacking the bones started.
In 1870 a woodcarver was employed byt the Schwarzenberg family to put the bones in somekind of order. An incredible and macabre artform is the result.
And then there is Saint Barbara Church, one of the most famous Gothic churches in Central Europe and is part of the UNESCO world heritage site.
Again a beautiful sight. Just gorgeous ceiling.

Beautiful Prague Czech Republic

OH, How I love Prague. For those of you who haven’t had the chance to go… GO. Do you planning and GO!!

You won’t be sorry you did.One day I told one of my friend who was not sure where to go between Paris and Prague with a visiting friend, that she should go to Prague.

Reasons were: It is smaller, there is less cars, less expensif, and the architecture is beautiful. Every corner you turn there come another gorgeous building or scenery. Just amazing.

I mean, I am French so maybe the fact that it was only my second time in Prague made it so special, but… I doubt it. In order Prague is before Paris in my viewpoint but… Venice is before Prague!One of the things that I mention earlier is that no matter where you are in Prague you will turn a corner and see something different. The details in the architecture is amazing. I love the colors, the different kind of building. The balcony, the windows, everything is just gorgeous.

Hardware on doors are also amazing
Another part of town that is well known and visited, is the Jewish quarter.
It has a sad history. Apparently the Jewish community were ordered in the 13th Century to leave their home and settle in one area ofd Prague. The area was the only place they were allowed to live. Even thought the area changed under a large redevelopment between 1893-1913 most significant building from previous eras were saved.

There is still 6 synagogues remaining, the town hall and the old jewish cemetary which is an amazing site on its own. The old cemetery is amazing. When you walk in it you will just wonder why it look like that. During our visit, I learned that because the Jewish Community were ordered to live in a small part of town, they didn’t have the luxury of expending their cemetery. So they used their small graveyard to the fullest. And I mean the FULLEST! The result is somehow poetic. If I may say so. A new Jewish cemetery was build later accross town, it is half empty because obviously the generation it was build for all died in Nazi concentration camp.

Terezin Czech Republic

Terezin fortress is located N.W of Prague. I didn’t go to that outing, because I didn’t feel that good that day. So Matt’s parents, the kids and himself went there. I am glad to not have gone, because I have issue with place that saw lots of suffering. Damien took all those pictures, and I believe he did a very good job at it! Don’t you think so.

Well here is what I learn after they came back from their time in Terezin and also by researching the subject.

Terezin was constructed as a Fortress in the 1780/90 time. It was never fully finished, and in 1940 the Gestapo took over and set up a prison for “Priviledge Jews”.
What is being a “Priviledge jews” you may ask, well apparently it was for people who had some kind of education(Artist, Writers, Scientist, Jurists, Diplomats, Musicians…etc…). It was used by the Nazi on their Propaganda and was (probably the only) the camp that was mostly visited by Red Cross. The Barracks of the Fortress were build to house 7000 individual. During the “Working Camp” in 1940-1945 it accomodated over 50000. Some survivors claimed it reached 75000.
Terezin camp was a source of free jewish labor (slave) for the Germans. Prisoners were assigned different tasks: Mining mica, manufaturing boxes or coffins, spraying military uniforms with white dye. According to ex-prisoners, it was also a sorting re-distribution center for clothing items confiscated from Jews. The baggages were taken away and send to Terezin where it would have been sorted out and send out all over Germany for the people who were bombed out.
Married couple were given a single room and were able to stay together in their sleeping quarter. Because Terezin was design to house “Priviledge” Jews, it did have the cultural life that most camp didn’t. Jazz ensembles, Chamber Orchestra Groups, education for children etc…They also overcame a lack of water by building water pipe system and water supply system.

USO Paris July

This visit to Paris was going to be one of my latest visit with the USO tour. So… I did something that I have always wanted to do.

Just cruise.

I enjoyed just checking out Shop windows. Street Vendors, etc…

This one was kind of cool. A Tableware shop diplaying a new Plate design (of Paris monuments) and showing it like you were looking at it from above, but it was in a window (wonder if they used super glue?)

Laduree Store. It is a place where you can go and eat some sweets. The “Macarons” are one of their creation that they are well known for. But apparently it must be pretty good! Look at the line!

Walking around Paris, you can find lots of street performance like this guy. I thought it was kinda cool the way that he stand all day long on the column and be!

This was taken on the “Champs Elysees” not too far from the American Embassy. Did you know that you can’t take picture of the Embassy? I was surprised and disapointed, It is such a pretty building, and to be in Paris and seeing the Stars Flowing next to a very old building. Make me want to shoot it. However, I was stopped by a Police officer (yes French) who made sure that I didn’t have ANY pictures of the building! Bummer!!! What a party pooper!!

I also went, and that was the place I have been looking to go visit for a while. On the outskirt of Paris, in St. Denis. To go visit the Basilica of Saint Denis (funny because the French call it the “Cathedrale Royale de Saint Denis”)
This is the place where most of the French Kings are buried. Nearly every King from the 10th to the 18th Centuries are there.(All but 3 kings are now buried here) Also most Queen were crowned there (King were in Reims)

 

 

 

 

 

The last King of France: Louis the XVI and his wife Marie Antoinette, his 2 daughters and his sister are buried here since 1806 (Time of Napoleon’s exile and the “restored Bourbons” reigns.) The heart of the Dauphin de France (son of Louis XVI) is also there.

Sailing Lesson Drama

We went to my mother for a week in August, and Damien was to take some Sailing classes. Well he did the first day, and the weather was so bad (wind, waves, rain) that he got scared. They were on a pretty fast sailing boat and the guy that was with him was an instructor decided to race the other boat. So it was a pretty fast first introduction to the water/sailing. It was too bad because he was really looking forward to be learning to sail, guess we’ll have to go and visit our friend in Nebraska with the lake house and make him learn on the lake. (so much calm water) So Matt went for the rest of the week, as we couldn’t “possibly” ask for our money back (even though they were the one scaring the crap out of him) And he enjoyed it a LOT!! See… All smiley!!

 

Strasbourg Outing

Summer time is the perfect time to go visit Strasbourg. It is a beautiful town with lots of things to see and to do. So when Charmaine’s family Pam and Vidhu came to Heidelberg, I took the 3 of them to Strasbourg for some visiting and some shopping. We stopped at a local restaurant and had some nice traditional food. Lots of little shop in the center near the cathedral. And beautiful little house!!!

Strasbourg Cathedral
Needless to say that it was a beautiful and fun day. With beautiful and fun ladies.
It was great. Thanks Charmaine, Pam and Vidhu… we just need to do it again!

Riding on Tricky

So Matt decided to go on a ride and for once I agreed to accompany him. First we had to fill up. It was a beautiful evening. The funny part was that his bike got overheated and we had to stop and stay for a while on the side of the road. The nice part was that we had a gorgeous view of the sunset on the Neckar River in Heidelberg.

This is one of the reason we love leaving in Europe. It is so nice to just being able to pop in and go enjoy the view of a beautiful town.

Brittany France

During our vacation in Brittany we went to the family farm.
When I was a little girl, we went on vacation there, and spend a lot of time on this shoreline. The kids had some fun. Playing in the sand, Rafael was very couragious and went in the water on his own, walking all the way to the water up to the top of his arm.

Needless to say that I was kind of worried, but thought that since nothing ever happened with us children during all those years, there were no reason why something will happen to him!!

One evening we went out and took a little time to cruise the sea shore. You can see the town of Quiberon (oh, and I know it is blurry, I didn’t have my tripod with me) This is honeysuckle, this remind me so much of my youth. It was always there around the farm, so this is always special when I see and smell those!

Rothenburg ob der Tauber Germany

Rothenburg ob der Tauber is the picture of the typical medieval german town. If you ever had a vision of what a Traditional German look like, you are seeing Rothenburg!

We went to visit it on the weekend of the “Imperial City Fest”.
It was a beautiful day to do so.

This view above is the most pictured part in Germany. I thought it was pretty funny on that pictures as you can see lots of people taking the picture of it!

Every year the town of Rothenburg Ob Der Tauber celebrate their “Imperial Festival”. It was cool to go and visit this beautiful medieval looking town and seeing the history come to life. Music group, the Royal Riflemen parade.

But they also had tones of peasants showing of what a peasant use to do at the time.

The celebration start on a Friday until the Sunday. The first night they have a Torchlight procession and fireworks with music along the facade of the Town hall mark.
And on Saturday they have another Fireworks in the Tauber Valley.

And just for the beauty of it, you can visit the Franciscan Church and when we did, they just had a wedding celebration the day before. The decoration were still there.