We were good friends in high school and lovers for a bit after that, and still enjoy her company. We danced at our 50th high school reunion, just us for a bit, silly and fun, a bit of swing dancing thrown in, as seen in the second painting.
This is our summer ‘home’ for the next few years. It’s a 12 meter Dutch motoryacht built in 1996 with a beautiful interior crafted by the original owner from whom we purchased it. We have not been to Dokkum yet with this boat. I used a photo of our first Dutch boat Caprice which we did sail to this small town in Friesland.
Vernon is in Normandy on the Seine downstream from Paris. It’s castle, built in 1204, served to protect Paris. The mill ground flour, which could then be readily transported on the Seine. It is a very short distance to Giverny, where Monet established his studio and residence. There is also a museum of Impressionists.
The first mention of the town dates to Roman times. The town was referenced circa 750 by Pepin the Short. The name might be Latin or Celtic in origin. In French today ‘verne’ is a speckled elder tree. In English it is a proper name. (I add this as non-native English speakers read my blogs).
There is a small dock for pleasure crafts, as you can see in the photo. The mill sits on a bridge destroyed following the D-day invasion. A new bridge crosses the Seine to town center, a charming village.
Dating from the 11th century, Notre Dame is a good example of a Gothic church. The lead glass windows are impressive modern pieces, replaced also as a result of WWII bombing. The rose window is flamboyant thus of later Gothic origin. The stained-glass windows are contemporary. The originals were replaced after World War II bombing raids. The many half timber buildings are mostly from the 16th century.
We had lunch in a picturesque restaurant with some good examples of Normandy cuisine. Andouillette is tripe in a sausage casing. I stuck with steak pomme frites, however. I asked for it medium and they got part of it right. They grilled it a bit more but it turned tough. The frites are the best I have had anywhere ever! Peg ordered fish delightfully grilled, and a side of polenta with a bit of cheese.
We walk to museums, to look at buildings of particular interest, to lunch or dinner. I can not help but look at the people. Ukraine was part of Russia for hundreds of years but the area has been inhabited for over 30,000 years. Who are they? The ethnic group called ‘Ukrainian’ is Slavic, as are Russians, Poles and parts of the old Yugoslavia. They do not seem in general to be quite as blond with super light skin tones as I noticed in Russia, but close enough.
We flew with friends to Dar Es Salaam, the capitol of Tanzania, to go by train to Zambia. The train trip was an adventure of its own. Our destination was a tiny village where our nephew Travis worked as a Peace Corps volunteer, helping the locals build a damn for their fish farm.
Saint Sofia, dating from the 11th century, is one of the most important churches of Kiev. It is named after the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul, an amazing structure dating from the 3rd century Roman period, when Istanbul was called Constantinople after the Roman emperor Constantine. The buildings bear no resemblance to one another, however. Saint Sofia’s origin is in the Kieven Rus period, when the region was governed by a loose federations of Slavic and Finnish people. It has the impressive golden domes you find in Poland and Russia. The art decorating the interior has the same Byzantine look as well.