Day 1,677 of Traveling the World | New York City, NY | September 5, 2022

Janis Joplin: Take it! Take another little piece of my heart now, baby! Well, New York City has taken a little piece of our hearts. We started to miss it as soon as we left last October. Coming back has felt like “home,” as we knew where everything was and how to get there. It all came back as though we had lived here for many years, not just a month.

We have been enjoying wandering around, looking UP, as usual, and enjoying all the busy-ness of the city. We did find some new things this time: High Line Park, Chelsea Market, The Vessel, and Hudson Yards. But we also revisited the familiar: Times Square, Central Park, Greenwich Village, and Hell’s Kitchen. And we’re not done! We have several more days for exploring. So here are our photos and impressions thus far – enjoy the color, and the colorful doings, in NYC!

Times Square!! Color – Life – People – Fun – Ever New.
…and more! Everyone who visits New York passes through Times Square. It is very lively and busy, 24/7.
Chelsea Market, today consisting of food and retail venues in the old Nabisco Bakery Building (1898-1958).
A nod to Nabisco as you enter Chelsea Market.
One of the many retailers inside.
Li-Lac Chocolates, Manhattan’s oldest chocolate shop, dating to 1923. The Statue of Liberty, the Empire State Building, and King Kong ($110) are all rendered in delectable chocolate.
In a corner of the walkway is this….fountain???
Pretty light-drapes are part of the walkway.
The framed glance into this shop was picture-perfect.
Another pretty lighted shop, along with “Artists & Fleas.”
This beauty was adorning a back wall.
These Jamaican beauties were doing an amateur photo shoot. We loved the look!
Intrepid Mike stood smack in the middle of 10th Avenue, in between lights, to snap this mural of Mother Teresa and Mahatma Ghandi.
We are quite certain that Hollywood & Vine are in Los Angeles!
High Line Park, with 8 million visitors per year, is built on a former New York Central railroad spur on Manhattan’s west side.
There are sculptures in High Line along the way, like these by French sculptors, the Lalanne Brothers.
Also on the High Line is this stylish apartment building.
Stonewall Inn, birthplace of the modern struggle for gay rights. The Stonewall Riots started in response to a raid by the Morals Squad. One of the most common arrests was of men dressing as women. Good thing they weren’t on the set of the movie “Some Like it Hot.”
…with a little more information.
Near Stonewall Inn was this inclusive sign outside a church.
As with most “areas” in NY, Hell’s Kitchen covers several streets on the west side. Unsurprisingly, most businesses here want the words HELL’S KITCHEN somewhere in their name!
On 9th Avenue, in Hell’s Kitchen, we came upon this cheerful Community Cupboard, which is such a great idea. We looked inside (see next photo).
Sadly, it was mostly bare.
A whimsical tribute in metal to the last three northern white rhinos left in the world.
Two outdoor dining spaces that are substantially more than a wood frame with plastic windows. These two are quite lovely. However, we have learned that NY is looking to close down many (most? all?), as they have created problems of noise, rats, and parking shortages on streets.
In the middle of a drab block of gray buildings, we came across this fire-engine red building!
Wow. Wow! Wow!!!! It is tough (and ex-pen-sive) to own a vehicle in the Big Apple.
The Vessel, an outdoor sculpture in Hudson Yards, with 16 stories, 2,500 steps, and 80 landings, opened in 2019. It closed in 2021 after four suicides, as the glass railings are only waist-high.
The new South Korean luxury car, Genesis. We saw this in The Shops at Hudson Yards. Even though there were car doors showing the colors, and you can sit in the car itself, you cannot buy it there. The man talking to us, Troy, was a “product specialist,” NOT a “salesman.” You must go to a dealer for purchases.
Well, we have ascertained that this mannequin is as Minimalist as you can get!
We liked the angles of this pointy building.
This man laid down in the middle of 9th Avenue, 39th Street, and 38th Street. When people tried to help him, or even give him money, he ended up screaming and cursing at them. We were terrified that a large truck or bus would run over his legs or arms. A bystander next to us said that the man does this daily.
Aaaahhhh – Central Park! It never gets old!
Such a pretty restaurant!
The Dancing Shrimp? According to the internet, Dancing Shrimp is a Japanese sushi delicacy. The sushi contains live baby shrimp that move their legs and antennae while being eaten, hence, “dancing.” That is way too gross to think about!
What a great name!
The Sheraton has gone all out in its flower decorations.
Adjacent to a place we had a Mexican lunch was this Buddha.

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Day 1,661 of Traveling the World | London, UK – Part 4 | August 20, 2022

This post will wrap up our doings in London. It felt so luxurious to stay in one place for over three weeks, rather than moving every few days. We are planning to spend more time in London next year, since we enjoyed it so much. We will then visit more of the places and things we didn’t get to see this time!

As we always tell people, when you are traveling 365 days/year, you can’t treat your life as a vacation and fill every day with sightseeing. While here, we mostly just picked one thing to do. Sometimes it was a local attraction, sometimes a movie. Yes, we go see movies on the road. If we don’t, we don’t ever see them! The good thing about Great Britain, of course, is that we don’t have to ask what language it is in. In many other countries we find many movies in English with foreign (i.e., local subtitles), but we always have to ask. By the way, one day we didn’t go anywhere, other than our daily walk, was yesterday. The tube (subway) and bus drivers held a one-day wage strike, so we couldn’t travel very far. We felt bad for those who rely on public transportation to get back and forth from work. It is a major inconvenience for them, but minor for us.

So today, you will see a quirky find that we discovered – Sir John Soane’s Museum. Soane was a neoclassical architect who died in 1837. Years before, he had arranged that upon his death, his home would be granted to the government so as to bypass his son inheriting it, as he disliked him greatly. The museum is filled with artwork, statuary, and all sorts of curiosities. It is almost like walking through an antique shop, but of really cool – and valuable – stuff. There is artwork by Canaletto. There is the 3,000-year-old sarcophagus of Seti I. You wander from room to room, floor to floor, at your own pace. Every turn is like a “Eureka!” moment. Admission is free, but donations are encouraged and accepted (of course!).

Novelty Animation is another quirky place. It is filled with old novelty games that you can actually play for 1-2 pounds. These are not pinball machines, nor are they very sophisticated. One machine is a pair of “hands” that fill with air to frisk you! Another is Bicycle Pong, where you pedaled hard to be sure you are in the right place to hit the ball and play pong! People were laughing and enjoying all the silliness.

We expected Kensington Palace and Gardens to be spectacular, but the drought has yellowed and withered green spaces all over London. You can see in the photos how barren and dry Kensington Gardens look, when due to abundant rain, England is generally very lush and green.

One day, and one day only, it sprinkled all day long. It was too unpredictable to walk any distance, so we visited the Tate Modern Art Museum, a walk of about three minutes from our hotel. Like many of the national museums, admission is free, while exhibitions cost a few pounds. It was quite crowded inside, and like all modern art, some of it was interesting and some of it was befuddling. A canvas painted the same, one shade of blue is “art.” A lopsided wooden structure with ripped white fabric hanging from it is “art.” Our photos show two things that we found enjoyable, however. There is always something, somewhere, for everyone wherever we travel.

A busy room with a great skylight in Sir John Soane’s Museum.
A different kind of light!
One of the many interesting ceilings.
There is amazing, historical stuff…..everywhere!
And downstairs is the 3,000-year-old Egyptian sarcophagus!
More of the Golden Room.
Looking out to the inner courtyard.
An interesting sculpture fragment, just hanging on the wall near the sarcophagus.
Just a “bio” building we spied while walking.
Sicilian Avenue, which looks amazing.
We kinda like this guy peering out at us behind a fence. (A few days ago, this building was all over the news, as black smoke was billowing from the roof, and the subway nearby was shut down for the day.)
There was nothing around that identified this piece of art…he was just standing on a random corner.
The “Prudential Assurance” building: large, red, and proud.
A pub called the “Cittie of Yorke.”
…and its hanging shield.
She practices medicine at Novelty Automation.
These hands fill with air and frisk you – for a price – at Novelty Automation.
Fishcotheque has some of the best fish and chips in London. It looks tiny from the outside, but has a surprising number of tables inside.
A walk down the famous Carnaby Street of the 1960s.
On Carnaby Street is this pub, Shakespeare’s Head, serving food and drinks since 1735. It was once owned by a relative of Mr. Shakespeare. The figure of Shakespeare overlooking Carnaby Street has only one remaining hand, as the other was blown off in the London Blitz and never replaced.
Walking by this lovely scene, we had to capture it. It looks photoshopped to us, but is people sitting and picnicking outside the Natural History Museum.
Queen Victoria commissioned this memorial for her husband, Prince Albert, after his death in 1861. In today’s dollars, it would cost well over $10 million.
Kensington Palace, former home to William and Mary, Queen Anne, Princess Margaret, and Princess Diana, who raised her sons William and Harry here.
Memorial to Princess Diana in Kensington Palace’s Sunken Gardens.
One of the lovely tree tunnels surrounding the Memorial.
Sadly, these are the Kensington Palace Gardens, dried up and yellow due to Great Britain’s severe drought.
This is the only occupant of one of the rooms at the Tate Modern Art Museum. The piece is titled Babel (Cildo Meireles, 2001) and consists of hundreds of radios all playing different stations at the same time, so no two experiences are ever the same. It was like walking into a sci-fi movie!
“Alpine Ibex” (Jimmie Durham, 2017), made from a real ibex skull and wood, plastic, glass, and other materials.
We passed this structure on our way to the National Theater, which you can see between two of the “domes.” Do we really need the warning? – “Keep off this roof: falling from or through this roof could result in fatal injury.”
A mounted frog’s head. It was the most interesting animal head in our hotel restaurant, only because at this scale, the frog would have to be as big as a horse!

Day 1,654 of Traveling the World | London, UK – Part 3 | August 13, 2022

We have been taking in a lot of London. This post is a hodgepodge of different places and sights. The Royal Observatory at Greenwich was outstanding, as it something we have all heard of, and all depend on for living according to clocks and time as a way of ordering our lives. At different times in history, other countries declared that the Prime Meridian (0 Degrees Longitude) was in their locale. Eventually all others agreed to drop their claim in favor of Greenwich. Since then all temporal and east/west measurements have begun here.

Flamsteed House housed the Astronomers Royal (the first of whom was John Flamsteed, hence the name). One of the astronomers who lived there was Edmond Halley, of Halley’s Comet fame, which made it thrilling to be there, walking where he walked. Just down the hill from the Observatory is the Royal Maritime Museum, which had interesting exhibitions and artifacts.

We went by Buckingham Palace, saw the guard doing his walkabout, and took some photos. We were surprised that we didn’t remember that the gates and fence are highly, highly decorated – but the palace itself is gray and plain. There is a lot of fun street art (as there is everywhere nowadays) on the streets of London and loads of beautiful buildings, from the ultra-modern to the much older structures.

For our health, we always like to have berries every day. Across the street from our hotel is an Amazon Fresh store. If you haven’t yet been inside one – it will blow your mind! You display a QR code in the Amazon app to enter, put items in your bag, and, as Amazon says – “Just Walk Out.” It is so weird not to checkout. In about two hours, an email arrives telling you how long you were inside, how many items you bought, and the total – and they are always correct! Once we got the hang of it, and knew we only wanted berries, our receipt would note that we were inside for 49 seconds and bought strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries, along with the total charged. (By the way, we have never gotten fresher or nicer berries than in Amazon Fresh, which is really saying something.) It is a great experience. If you have one near your home, try it!

The Victoria Memorial outside Buckingham Palace.
The gates to the Palace are certainly impressive.
The Victoria Memorial, Buckingham Palace, the vibrant red flowers, and even two construction cranes (which are just everywhere in London!).
We made it to the Royal Observatory, Greenwich! It was very cool.
Flamsteed House and Harrison’s Sea Clocks at the Observatory. The red ball on the roof drops every day at 1:00 pm to inform boats on the Thames River that it is 1:00 pm! (It is not needed today, but remains a tradition.) In fact, at one point in the early 20th century, it was removed as being unnecessary. That is, until the astronomers found that the workers were using it as a soccer ball! Then they ordered it to be put back up. It is quite dented from being kicked around. By the way, that is where one of our common expressions arose. Captains of ships on the Thames would assign a sailor to watch when the ball fell to synchronize the ships clock prior to sailing. That sailor had to pay close attention and was “on the ball.”
Everyone was doing this…one foot in the Western Hemisphere, the other in the Eastern Hemisphere. THAT is what we all paid 16 pounds for!
This is the pretty Octagon Room at the top of Flamsteed House, designed by Sir Christopher Wren, and used for presentations and receptions.
The Great Equatorial Telescope, one of the largest refracting telescopes in the world.
The world’s largest ship in a bottle. It is Admiral Nelson’s flagship, the Victory, by Yinka Shonibare, 2010.
Dating from 1732, this stunning barge was the 18th century equivalent of a limousine, cruising London’s busiest street – the Thames River. Built for Frederick, Prince of Wales, it continued in use for over 100 years, and was last used by Queen Victoria’s husband, Prince Albert.
These are some of the eclectic ship figureheads in the National Maritime Museum.
A figurehead of Tipu, Sultan of Mysore, dating from about 1819.
Gotta love the Brits – due to its shape, they call this building the Boomerang or Vase.
We love that this seems to be the official symbol of London, as we see it on streets and bridges everywhere we walk.
…and here it is on London Bridge (which, contrary to vicious rumors, is apparently not in Arizona but right here in London, spanning the Thames).
So many storefronts and restaurants are just filled with wildly gorgeous flowers.
What does gluttony have to do with the Great London Fire of 1666? (See the next photo!)
Apparently, the fire began in Pudding Lane and ended here, at Pye (Pie) Corner. Since both locales are food-related, the fire was ascribed to…gluttony!
This plaque is erected near Smithfield Market and St. Bartholomew the Great Church. William Wallace (remember Braveheart??) was dragged behind a horse from the Tower of London to Smithfield, where he was hung, drawn, and quartered. See the next photo for more scandals!
Yep – it was also here that men set up “wives auctions” to sell their unwanted wives along with other goods. It says divorce was very difficult, but didn’t King Henry VIII lead the way 300 years earlier by divorcing twice?? What’s good for the goose…
A blast from the past! These looked pretty grungy inside, so we didn’t attempt using the phones to see if they worked, but all had pay phones inside. Around London, some of the booths said, “Get Wi-Fi here,” and others said, “Defibrillator inside.”
St. Paul’s Cathedral, know for Diana and Charles’ wedding, but also the site of Henry VII’s son, Prince Arthur’s wedding, in 1501.
The Seven Ages of Man sculpture (Richard Kindersley, 1980), based on Shakespeare’s “All the world’s a stage.” We start in infancy, on the bottom, and end up in old age.
The Shard, with its sister glass buildings, all taking advantage of views of the Thames and Tower Bridge.
Tower Bridge, magnificent! It certainly stands out from all the other bridges as you walk across the Thames. Named for the nearby Tower of London, it opened in 1894.
Walking across the Tower Bridge, this is the view UP, between the two towers.
A restaurant called “The Glass Rooms on the River.” They are a dozen individual dining pods, but we read reviews that said they are exceedingly expensive and exceedingly hot!!
The infamous Tower of London.
We love the name of this candy store!
“What’s in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell just as sweet.” We have seen Rubbish, Litter, Trash, and Garbage. Just don’t throw it on the floor!

Day 1,650 of Traveling the World | London, UK – Part 2 | August 9, 2022

The medieval Priory Church of St. Bartholomew the Great, an Anglican Church – Oh, my! It is London’s oldest surviving parish church and was built in central London north of the Thames (in Smithfield) during the reign of King Henry I in 1123, meaning that next year it will celebrate 900 years! Founded by Augustinian monks, they brought free healthcare to London, as they constructed St. Bartholomew Hospital at the same time. We found the church extraordinary, in that parts of the remaining church are the original construction. Half of the church was demolished in 1543, after being ransacked. But what remains is definitely unique. We decided to devote this entire post to St. Bartholomew Church, as we found it so evocative of an ancient time.

There are fascinating angles, arches, lighting, and views, as you will see in the photos. The last photo shows a few of the movies that were filmed here, but there are several others. The beautiful pipe organ “stopped working” several years ago, but replacing or refurbishing it will cost more than a million pounds. A sign asking for donations said that it costs approximately 1,000 pounds per day to keep the church up and running. We learned this from church volunteers working as greeters, who were very welcoming.

So take a peek into this extraordinary and atmospheric place. It is our hope that you will get a sense of how it casts a spell through its shadows and angles.

The main entrance to the church, a half-timbered, late 16th century frontage placed on a 13th century stone arch. It was uncovered when a bomb in WWI blew off the brick hoardings!
View from the main entrance. You can see two tomb markers on the floor. You can also see that there was still incense smoke in the air from a service that had just ended!
Stones to build the church were gathered by servants and child laborers from all over London.
An intriguing passageway. We think it may lead up to the organ loft.
London’s only indoor oriel window, a kind of bow window, took the place of a set of arches in the 16th century. Look at the close-up in the next photo.
This is the oriel window, installed in the 16th century by the Prior (Abbot) at the time, William Bolton, in order to spy on the other monks. The middle section of the stonework below the window is a pun on the Prior’s name – it shows a bolt from a crossbow piercing a tun (a barrel) – thus, Bolt-tun, or Bolton.
A statue of St. Bartholomew, by Damien Hirst. One art reviewer said he seems to be radiating light rather than reflecting it. This is a typical depiction of St. Bartholomew, who was skinned alive in Armenia, holding his skin over his arm. The statue is from 2006, with more info in the next photo.
Some information on the artwork.
A view of the side of the main aisle – arches atop arches.
The tomb of Prior Rahere, the founding father who built the church (behind the candles).
One of the tombstones on a wall.
Looking toward the entrance.
A photo taken behind the main altar. The column on the extreme left is original, but the others are reproductions.
An art installation, with more info in the next photo.
Until we read this, we didn’t realize that all of the glass pieces were inscribed.
A view of the other side of the main aisle, with the oriel window.
The pipe organ and beautiful illuminated panel of eight saints.
This depiction of the crucifixion was created in 2003.
…and here is some information about the painting.
A bench that looks positively medieval – and check out the heater underneath to keep your seat warm!
Some of the movies filmed here.

Day 1,643 of Traveling the World | London, UK – Part 1 | August 2, 2022

With our hotel in Bankside, London – south of the Thames, near London Bridge, and roughly between Westminster Abbey and the Tower of London – we are in an up-and-coming area undergoing gentrification and lots of renovation. It is one of the oldest areas of London, and feels a bit gritty (but safe and pretty cool) with lots of trains and old train tunnels. We are a few steps away from the Tate Modern art museum. It really feels like life is happening all around us. There are lots and lots of tourists in London right now, so everything is busy and crowded. We are discovering why we used to travel in the spring and fall! Summer is crazy.

Even though we did okay with the language in France, able to read menus and signs in French, and say a few phrases to locals – it sure is great to be in a place where English is spoken! We can speak without our brains going through a translation process, sometimes trying to answer in French, but with Spanish coming out (“Oh, you speak Spanish!”), and we can once again order food with items “on the side” and be fully understood.

There are statues everywhere we look, with some shown in our photos. We have walked through Chinatown and past a lot of famous landmarks, including Big Ben. Westminster Abbey charges a hefty 25 pounds ($30.53) to walk inside, but we attended an organ recital on Sunday and so entered for free. But as soon as it was over, the staff was very insistent on everybody leaving right away. Whenever we go into a church for free (none in France charged admission), we always leave a donation, since we feature them in our blog, and since we realize that they incur costs such as electricity and maintenance. Still, we don’t ever donate $61 for two of us to walk through!

Our favorite activity here, as everywhere, is just wandering the streets aimlessly and seeing what we stumble upon. We get to see fabulous architecture, street decorations, statues and monuments, and the other day we came upon Borough Market, with all of its lights, smells, and colors. There is lots here to discover! We still have almost three weeks to continue our life here, and we can’t wait to see more!

Millicent Fawcett’s statue, near Big Ben. She was an author, and Britain’s leading fighter for women’s suffrage in the early 20th century.
Yet another memorial to a woman! Edith Cavell was a British nurse who tended to wounded soldiers of both sides in WWI. She helped 200 Allied soldiers escape from German-occupied Belgium, and subsequently was captured and executed by a German firing squad.
Also near Big Ben is this monument to Winston Churchill – it needn’t say more, right?
This is Churchill’s memorial stone, near the entrance inside Westminster Abbey, although it is not his burial place.
Westminster Abbey in all of her glory!
A view of the exterior.
The beautiful rear window panel.
Also near the front entrance is this beautiful memorial to the Unknown Soldier, decorated with lovely red poppies.
Above the entrance to Westminster Abbey is this array of 20th century martyrs, dedicated in 1998. Some we have heard of, some not. The key is in the next photo.
Here is the Key!
Big Ben, in all of his glory!
A view of Ben from the other side, with the London Eye peeking through.
The London Eye again, plus the River Thames, plus a tour boat, plus Big Ben in the distance, way over on the right side.
We liked this warrior-type man, holding up a building!
The Sherlock Holmes pub is just one of many that we saw just like it: a gold-detailed building bedecked with flowers, filled with people eating, drinking, and talking.
A pretty Art Nouveau facade above a doorway.
London’s Chinatown is very festive!
Here, the ferocious-tiger Bun House is adjacent to the Hippodrome Mansion, an award-winning gay bar.
Another pretty restaurant in Chinatown, Waxy’s Little Sister, with gorgeous flowers working their way UP.
Southwark Cathedral – with “The Shard” on the left. (Bet you can’t pronounce Southwark correctly! We had a heck of a time. It is – are you ready?? – SU therk.)
Yet another woman! This statue of Minerva, Roman goddess of poetry, medicine, wisdom, crafts, commerce, and strategic warfare, proudly stands just outside Southwark Cathedral.
The Borough Market delighted every last sense we possess. It was bright, cheerful, fun, aromatic, and packed with people eating, drinking, and buying wares.
Some would say Jan has a Big Mouth – but even hers pales in comparison to this big boy!
RIGHT???? (Although we LOVE our veggies!)
Such a pretty display from The Gated Garden.
Doesn’t this oyster bar worker look like a character?!!??
We had dinner here at The Charlotte one evening – cute drawing!
A British pub, part of a chain. The founder gave all of his pubs nonsensical names!

Day 1,638 of Traveling the World | Dijon, France | July 28, 2022

Our last full day in France was partially spent in Dijon, which was just an overnight stop as we made our way back to Paris to catch the Eurostar to London. We only had an hour or so to explore the city, so we walked around the old town and got a few photos. We had the opportunity for a home-cooked meal here, as our “hotel” room had a full kitchen with everything we could want, and even a washer and dryer.

You likely known the name Dijon from its famous mustard. Even though it is sold here, of course, it is not made here! The most striking attractions in the city are the half-timbered buildings and the 13th century Church of Notre Dame.

Atop the church is an clock with an automaton that strikes the hour called a Jacquemart. Nobody knows the origin of the word, just that it was being used from 1458. The Jacquemart was sacked from Belgium in 1382, and it was a marvel of its day. A second automaton, depicting a woman, was added in 1651 to alternate with the Jacquemart to sound the hours. The people of Dijon named her “Jacqueline.” (Who says life was hard back then, and people had no sense of humor?) In 1714, a Dijon poet asked the city to provide Jacquemart and Jacqueline with children (even though she was now 63 and he was 332 years old!). And so, Jacquelinet was added to sound the half-hours. In 1884, Jacquelinet received a sister – an automaton named Jacquelinette was added to make the family complete, as she strikes the quarter-hours. Phew! Is that complicated (and cute) enough for you??

France threw us one last curve ball as we returned our car the next day just outside of Paris. When we rented the car in Strasbourg, the agent mentioned the city where we were returning the car and didn’t say anything about it. When we looked at the address the night before, Google Maps showed that the location was “temporarily closed.” We tried calling the corporate office and every branch we could, only to get automated responses and to be hung up on. So we drove to our drop-off address, but the location had been closed for some time. It looked ramshackle, with bugs and flies in the dirty windows and mail piled on the floor. A sign on the door had an alternate address, so we drove there. It was a small back alley filled with rental trucks. We walked around and discovered a yard where men were washing vehicles. They said it was the place to return our car! There was no sign, no office – just a man who completed our paperwork on a table adjacent to cars being washed. The silver lining was that they offered to take us to the subway station and advised us as to how to get to Gare du Nord in Paris to catch the Eurostar. We made it with two hours to spare!!! Lucky us. We were on the last day of our allowed 90-day Schengen Area stay. If we had missed our Eurostar train, we might not have been welcomed back to the Schengen Area (i.e., most of Europe) for quite a while. Disaster averted!

We look at this experience as a positive occurrence, giving us the opportunity to build up more brain cells. Whenever we have to figure out something that is blowing up our plans, we get creative and start thinking out loud about what we might possibly do and how we can solve the problem. We have, so far in our travels of 20 years, averted everything in our paths that could have slipped us up, from trains not running to the city where we had hotel reservations, to train tracks under repair and torn up in entire countries, to being lost (!) countless times, to walking for an hour only to discover it was the wrong way, to missing stops on trains or subways. We’ve also been tricked in Barcelona, where the names of streets in our trusty tour book had all been replaced – Spanish names for Catalan names!! We couldn’t figure out how we were exactly where the map indicated we were, but the street names were wildly different! All of this makes us stronger and wiser, and gives us the experience we need to travel better in the future.

13th century Church of Our Lady (Notre Dame) of Dijon. The modern chandelier over the main altar made the front of the church just sparkle.
Underneath the beautiful organ casing sits a tapestry called “Terribilis,” created by Dom Robert, a Benedictine monk, installed in 1950. It is very modern for its time, and shows the Virgin Mary warding off attackers in the form of various animals. The tree trunks are inscribed with the dates, “September 11, 1513,” and “September 11, 1944,” both indicating French liberation milestones.
The facade is planar, that is, flat, and includes 51 gargoyles, representing animals, humans, and monsters, BUT the gargoyles are dummies (i.e., they are not spouts to drain water).
A close-up of the Jacquemart. You can see the clock along with a few of the figures.
The fun side view of the church that is very “spired!”
The 15th century Maison Milliere certainly looks its age – in a good way! Parts of the movie Cyrano de Bergerac starring Gerard Depardieu were shot right here in front of the building.
Some of the city’s famous half-timbered historic houses, with the Church of Notre Dame lurking in the background.
Most of the streets we passed looked just like this!
…oh, and a few more!
A pretty arched entry way, protected by two lions.
An orange timbered house, with two painted medieval figures peeking out of the window of the building on the right.
There are many roofs with patterns like this in Dijon.
The owl sculpted into the Church of Notre Dame, above the woman’s head. Rubbing it with your left hand is supposed to bring good luck…but not for the owl! He (or she) is shapeless after many centuries of rubbing. You can hardly tell what it is!

Day 1,635 of Traveling the World | Avignon, France | July 25, 2022

Avignon is famous for the Avignon Papacy of 1309-1377, wherein seven successive popes reigned from Avignon, France rather than Rome. The fabulous Palace of the Popes is actually two buildings that were joined in the 1300s to centralize the administration of the Catholic Church. When the papacy returned to Rome, the palace lost much of its former glory. However, its grandeur and immortality have captured the imagination of people over the centuries. We walked through the interior, but sadly for us, much of it has been taken over for the annual Festival of Avignon, an arts festival, and bleachers and hundreds of chairs have been placed inside, which obscured the openness and views. In addition, there is an exhibition on the Amazon (of all things), so several of the great rooms are not recognizable. We visited here 20 years ago, but today it is nothing like it was then.

The city is one of the few left in France that has retained its old walls surrounding the old town. The wall runs for 2.7 miles and encloses 370 acres. Originally, there were 12 gates that controlled access, but today there are 11 pedestrian entrances and 15 vehicular entrances. Inside the walls, it is vibrant with people drinking, eating, and attending theater shows, and it just has a vibrancy and sense of joy. There was a lot of activity! For us, it was a one-day whistle stop, as our 90 days in the EU Schengen area are up in a few days. Our last several locations were to be a bit longer, but we had to cut back our days in each after we did the math!

Life! Life was happening as we walked inside the walled city. It was hot, hot, hot, and people were drinking – lots! – and enjoying the day.
It was so busy as we walked the streets!
A different square, five minutes from the previous one – and it, too, is just jammed with people.
The Opera d’Avignon, dating from 1847.
Built in 1619, this gorgeous facade by Florentine sculptor Bertolucci is the most Italian building in Avignon. It has served as a barracks, Town Hall, fire station, and most recently, the Hotel des Monnaies.
A close-up! Look at that rich detail!
The Palais des Papes. The enormity hits you as you turn the corner. Can you believe….this palace can fit four Gothic cathedrals???
This is the former Guard’s Room, now the ticket office!
A bit of ancient mural.
You can see that a lot of the sculpture has gone missing from the arch above the doors – but so has the head from the statue in between the doors!
Walking toward a passageway of arches.
Some rooms have artwork that remains!
Positively, the most beautiful room in the Papal Palace!
A peek at the other side of this great room.
We aren’t sure of their age, or when these wooden panels appeared in the palace.
One of the palace rooms, untouched.
Some of the ceiling vaults, like this one, are in beautiful shape.
A view of an outside corner, with loopholes, for defense.
The “ramparts” – the ancient walls that enclosed the City of Avignon, built in the 1300s.
Walking through one of the gates into the old city.