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The Weather Is Not-So "Nice" In Nice

Our group began another soggy day in Nice by walking the local flower market─here was another chance to purchase herbs de Provence, local artwork, olive oil and other treats. Lunchtime was spent in the medieval village of St. Paul de Vence. Several tour members have received official proclamations of appreciation, and honorary citizenship, from local merchants and government officials due to their on-going efforts to boost the French economy─we are literally buying (and eating!) our way through this place! We visited a charming monastery, touring the museum and grounds, and ended the...

Cinema Veritae

Caution: Several, contrived film references ahead! How many can you find?? We started off this morning by leaving Nimes (It's a little town, a quiet village─every day like the one before . . .) and boarding the bus to make The French Connection to Marsailles. No, we weren't seeking for our (Bourne) identities ─we went to retrieve the recovered bag lost yesterday on the TGV. Lunch was spent in the village of Aix, beloved city of Cezane. Aix truly marked the spot─for the start of a mostly rainy day. (Sideways rain, big-fat rain, ice-cold rain, sometimes it even seemed to rain upside-down...

Classy American Tourists!

What has Paris taught us? Real men eat quiche. And crepes. Dee Eisner (Instructor at Notre Dame College's STARS Summer Camp) likes to fall "head-long" into history at the Louvre . . . The Louvre makes a mean le Big Mac! Parisian pick-pockets have nothing on a Cleveland, Ohio, school teacher! The TGV, the high-speed train of France, travels at speeds of over 300 mph─and that can result in a high-speed chase to Marseilles, to retrieve a suitcase. Well, they say the good and the bad come in 3s─so it seems we are in the clear! We enjoyed a lunch break in Avignon, the seat of the popes during the...

Twilight in Paris

Our first truly sunny day in Paris─and how appropriate, as we spent the morning touring Versailles, palace of the "Sun King." (Some guy named Louis─there are umpteen of them, so it's tough to remember which one exactly.) Apparently, #14 built extensions to the space by adding rectangular lakes, planting conical trees and circular gardens. He allegedly said, 'Geometry is second only to God.' Well, this all looks great, Lou, but I was told there'd be no math. Hello, Marais District! Welcome to "the swamps!" We stopped for lunch, did a brief walking tour and passed the longest falafel lines any...

C'est Comme Ca'...

Meaning, "It's all good." And in Paris this Saturday, it truly was. Many of our group began the day visiting a typical Parisian market─purchasing fresh fruit and perusing fresh flowers and other wares. We then hopped on le autobus for a city tour led by our British-born guide, Julian Brown (No worries─he spoke impeccable French and shared some most interesting tales about the remains of Napoleon!). Google it. We saw the Arc de Triomphe and made our first visit to the Eiffel Tower (And we can't wait to get back Sunday evening for our journey to the top!). The tour also included the Pantheon,...

Bonjour From Paris!

Salut! We made it! Before we talk France, let's talk international air travel... Listen, United Food Services: Many of us visited Italy last year. We've had meatballs. What you just served... NOT meatballs! Hmm.. And we wonder how this "croissant" will measure up to the real deal from a Parisian patisserie? Ah, there's nothing quite like watching the sunrise from your airplane window seat, as you touch down in Paris... Exercise caution when approaching the crazy treadmill/escalator hybrids to get to baggage claim! (And when a man passes by, eating a baguette and says "Pardon," he's not...

On Our Way... As Fast As We Can-Can!

Get it? France... Can-Can??? Start chuckling now; the jokes won't get much better! Greetings from Newark! Parlez-vous "Jersey Shore"? After a quick-and-easy checking-in at Hopkins, we enjoyed an equally quick-and-easy flight to Newark and will be boarding for our overnight flight to Paris within the hour! It appears that Roz, our intrepid leader, has done it again. Several members of our group enjoyed some fine, American cuisine (cheeseburgers, fries <Hey, those are French!>, chicken & waffles and milkshakes) at the Garden State Diner─what a way to cleanse the palate for some more...

A Once-In-a-Lifetime Experience

Yesterday and today were been jam-packed. We loaded the bus and left Florence very early yesterday morning and started our trek to Rome. On the way, we stopped in the beautiful city of Assisi. Here we toured the Basilica of St. Francis, ate the best pizza I have ever had and marveled at the beautiful views. The town of Assisi is situated on top of a very high hill, which offers the best view of the landscape that surrounds the town. After about an hour in Assisi we made our way to the Cooperativa Ditrevi, an olive oil factory. Here, we toured the factory and sampled tons of delicious oil...

Michelangelo, Ticky Tackys & Leaning Tower

Sadly, today was our last day in Florence . I have thoroughly enjoyed my time here. Today was especially outstanding due to the educational experience at both the Galleria Degli Uffizi and the Galleria Dell Accademia. We had to take this photo. Here we were able to gaze upon the works of Boticelli, Leonardo da Vinci and most notably, Michelangelo’s David. The afternoon was reserved for further sightseeing. Kristin and I went to “the market” which is exactly what you’re picturing - an outdoor market where you can buy gold, leather and, as our tour guide Markus would say, “ticky tackys.” Later...

Firenze & Sienna

The last two nights in Firenze, as the locals call Florence, were amazing! When we arrived, I was taken aback by the beautiful Hotel Roma. Shortly after, we took a guided walking tour of the city during which we saw the city’s famous cathedral. The following day we went by bus to Sienna, a truly wonderful medieval city. Known for a yearly horse race around the town center, the city also boasts grand churches and cathedrals. One had the most beautiful marble design I have ever seen. However, the highlight of the day was a delicious and filling Tuscan-style lunch. Michael

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