After a full year’s worth of planning, we took
our first trip to Europe
in June. The real purpose for the trip was the wedding of Maureen’s close
friends in southwest France. So,
for three weeks, it was the L’Oravec Tour de France. We flew into Zurich
and began our vacation in Alsace,
France. We spent a couple of days there doing some
Masevaux, the home of
Denni's ancestors. Then on through Lorraine and the WWI
battlefields, the Champagne region (mais
oui!) and Moët & Chandon (of course!), the immense gothic cathedrals
(Strasbourg and Reims) and finally
to Paris for six nights.
Despite the cool and cloudy weather, we
marveled at all the famous landmarks (the Arc de Triomphe, Eiffel Tower
(it's really brown, not gray), the Place de la Bastille, Versailles,
etc.) and museums (the Louvre, Museé D’Orsay, Museé Rodin), and of
course the churches (Notre Dame de Paris and Sacrč Coeur).
Paris is as beautiful as everyone says.
and Sam arrived for our last two
days in Paris and then the four of us were off for a day in Normandy to
visit the WWII beaches and pay our respects
at the American cemetery. Then
we went to the Loire Valley to see
some of the grand chateaux on our way to
the wedding in Brive.
The wedding was a magical,
three-day affair. We had a room in
the oldest tower of the chateau built in the 12th century. From
the rehearsal, to the wedding in the country stone church, to the elegant
reception at the chateau, to midnight fireworks
display, to the Sunday morning brunch by the pool, it was just amazing and
wedding, we headed south for
the next week and visited
the Mediterranean coast. Provence was beautiful and
fascinating with the ancient Roman ruins in Nimes (a coliseum), Orange (the
original Arc de Triomphe, and Roman amphitheater) and the Roman aqueduct
Pont du Gard.
We spent an
interesting night in the walled city of Avingnon ("inside
the walled city" translates to "there ain't no #$*% parking places")
and then were off to Cannes for the afternoon and two nights in Monaco
(I won money at the Casino in Monte Carlo!).
we cut through the northwest corner
of Italy, went through the Mont Blanc
tunnel (7+ miles) into the
French Alps at Chamonix. We spent our
last full day driving through the Swiss Alps back to Zurich. The vistas and
glaciers were astounding.
We have wonderful memories and,
of course, over 2,100 digital
the next few weeks as we add pictures to the website.