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February 5, 2019

France: Caramet-sur-Mer


A line of decaying fishing boats in Caramet-sur-Mer

Between overnight stops in the Brittany communes of Quimper and Roscoff we paused for a couple of hours in Caramet-sur-Mer. Camaret is a fishing port in the Finistère department of Brittany in western France. (more…)

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January 19, 2019

France: Abbaye de Fontevraud


Abbaye de Fontevraud

The Royal Abbey of Our Lady of Fontevraud (in French: abbaye de Fontevraud) was a monastery in the village of Fontevraud-l’Abbaye, near the commune of Chinon in France’s Loire Valley. It was founded in 1101 by the itinerant preacher Robert of Arbrissel. Robert’s abbey flourished and became the center of a new monastic Order, the Order of Fontevrault. (more…)

January 18, 2019

France: Saumur and the Château de Saumur


Château de Saumur sits in the Loire Valley vineyards.

The Loire Valley is studded with famous châteaux. Indeed, UNESCO has inscribed “The Loire Valley between Sully-sur-Loire and Chalonnes” on its Heritage list, lauding the valley’s historic towns and numerous grand châteaux. Though the towns are interesting, it is the châteaux that motivate most visits. They are truly over the top. (more…)

January 16, 2019

France: Château de Chenonceau


Visitors enter Château de Chenonceau

“We’ve been here before.” (more…)

January 12, 2019

Switzerland: La Chaux-de-Fonds


Buildings like this in La Chaux-de-Fonds served a dual purpose for housing and watch manufacturer.

The last stop on the way to Saint Jean de Losne from Vaduz Liechtenstein was at La Chaux-de-Fonds in the Neuchâtel Canton of Switzerland. La Chaux-de-Fonds is near the French-Swiss border. As the names suggest, Neuchâtel and Jura are in a French-speaking region. It’s still Switzerland but at least we can read the signs. (more…)

January 10, 2019

Switzerland: Stein am Rhein and the Swiss-German Border


Stein am Rhein

The Rhine River and its connected large lakes loosely define the border between Switzerland and Germany. The border here matters for trade. Unlike much of Europe, the countries of Switzerland and Liechtenstein are not part of the Eurozone. Though Switzerland is a signatory to the Schengen Agreement meaning travelers can pass freely across the border without immigration checks, goods don’t pass without import/export restrictions and tariffs. (more…)

January 9, 2019

Switzerland: Abbey of Saint Gall


Abbey of St. Gall

Returning from Vaduz Liechtenstein to Saint Jean de Losne France we made a minor detour to visit the city of St. Gallen Switzerland. The purpose of the visit was to see the Abbey of Saint Gall, a historically important religious complex that is inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage list. (more…)

January 5, 2019

France: Saint-Émilion


The roads leaving Saint-Émilion head through the vineyards.

Saint-Émilion is one of our favorite wine towns. Recently we visited the commune again for our third time. We did not visit alone. Saint-Émilion is a very popular stop for oenophiles from around the world. Usually the crowds put us off but for some reason the throngs of red wine addled tourists are more tolerable in Saint-Émilion. (more…)

December 25, 2018

Spain: San Millán Yuso and Suso Monasteries


The San Millán de Yuso monastery

Leaving San Lorenzo de El Escorial we headed to San Millán de la Cogolla. It was a journey from monastery to monasteries, from the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial to the Yuso and Suso Monasteries in San Millán. Though both destinations are know for their monasteries and are UNESCO World Heritage sites, they are very different. (more…)

December 23, 2018

Spain: The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial


The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial

The Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is an expansive complex of religious buildings about 26 miles to the northwest of Madrid. El Escorial’s buildings have served many functions. They were used as a monastery, basilica, royal palace, pantheon, library, museum, university, school, hospital, and rotting room. Today the Royal Monastery of San Lorenzo de El Escorial is a popular site for day trip for tourists visiting from Madrid. El Escorial receives over 500,000 visits each year. (more…)

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