We’ll Always Have Paris….and Amsterdam……and Italy…..

I really have a serious case of wanderlust! I was talking about our trip to Europe last night and decided I’d share some pictures and stories from our European travels.

My brother is in the military. During 2010 he was assigned to work at Ramstein in Kaiserslautern, Germany. We flew over on a Saturday in October at 2 pm from Dallas. We arrived at the airport in Frankfurt, Germany on Sunday around 8 am. We flew business class. It was better than coach but it wasn’t great.

Our first stop was to stay at my brother & sis-in-law’s house in Fischbach, Germany. Along the way we found ourselves at a castle ruin.

Hohenecken Castle is the ruin of a spur castle from the Hohenstaufen era on the Schlossberg hill above the Kaiserslautern ward of Hohenecken in Rhineland-Palatinate. It is located at a height of 363 m above sea level (NN).
Hohenecken Castle is the ruin of a spur castle from the Hohenstaufen era on the Schlossberg hill above the Kaiserslautern ward of Hohenecken in Rhineland-Palatinate. It is located at a height of 363 m above sea level (NN).

Close up Exterior Hohenecken Castle Ruins

This is a close up photograph of the bricks that make up an exterior wall.

We didn’t spend a whole lot of time in Germany because our plans were packed with other places we HAD to go during the two weeks we spent there.

I’m a planner. I planned this trip down to the hour. I researched and pre-paid for as much of the activities we had planned as I possibly could. I don’t know that if I went again I wouldn’t do the same but I think I’d allot myself more time in each place.

Next stop: Paris, France. Instead of flying to the areas we wanted to visit near Germany we rented a car. My brother drives like a maniac, though I’ll say everyone over there did the same. We left Germany and headed southwest through Belgium to Paris.

We spent roughly three days in Paris. We visited Versailles, did a boat tour on the Seine at night from Pont Neuf all the way down to Notre-Dame. We visited the Louvre, Tulieries Garden, Place de la Concorde, headed back to see the interior of Notre-Dame. We saw a show at the Moulin Rouge. I walked barefoot in Paris (my heels were killing me)! We traveled on the Metro and ate lunch at a sidewalk cafe. We visited the Eiffel Tower and the Arc de Triomphe. We did everything you could possibly do except sleep.

When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancient Régime.
When the château was built, Versailles was a country village; today, however, it is a wealthy suburb of Paris, some 20 kilometres southwest of the French capital. The court of Versailles was the centre of political power in France from 1682, when Louis XIV moved from Paris, until the royal family was forced to return to the capital in October 1789 after the beginning of the French Revolution. Versailles is therefore famous not only as a building, but as a symbol of the system of absolute monarchy of the Ancient Régime.

Palace of Versailles hallway

The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name, which was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, has remained after all of those were replaced. It stands by the western (downstream) point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris.
The Pont Neuf is the oldest standing bridge across the river Seine in Paris, France. Its name, which was given to distinguish it from older bridges that were lined on both sides with houses, has remained after all of those were replaced. It stands by the western (downstream) point of the Île de la Cité, the island in the middle of the river that was the heart of medieval Paris.

 

The Mascarons are the stone masks, each one different, 381 in number, which decorate the sides of the bridge. They are copies of the originals by the French Renaissance sculptor Germain Pilon, The Mascarons represent the heads of forest and field divinities from ancient mythology, as well as satyrs and sylvains. The original masks were made by the French Renaissance sculptor Germain Pilon, who also sculpted the tomb of King Henry II of France and Queen Catherine de'Medici in the Basilica of Saint-Denis just outside Paris. The original masks remained in place until 1851-54, under Napoleon III, when the bridge was completely rebuilt.
The Mascarons are the stone masks, each one different, 381 in number, which decorate the sides of the bridge. They are copies of the originals by the French Renaissance sculptor Germain Pilon. The Mascarons represent the heads of forest and field divinities from ancient mythology, as well as satyrs and sylvains. The original masks were made by the French Renaissance sculptor Germain Pilon, who also sculpted the tomb of King Henry II of France and Queen Catherine de’Medici in the Basilica of Saint-Denis just outside Paris. The original masks remained in place until 1851-54, under Napoleon III, when the bridge was completely rebuilt.

Beautiful Eiffel Tower at Night

The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was eventually opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the French Revolution.
The Tuileries Garden is a public garden located between the Louvre Museum and the Place de la Concorde in the 1st arrondissement of Paris. Created by Catherine de Medicis as the garden of the Tuileries Palace in 1564, it was eventually opened to the public in 1667, and became a public park after the French Revolution.

 

The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid designed by Chinese architect I.M. Pei, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989,[1] it has become a landmark of the city of Paris.
The Louvre Pyramid is a large glass and metal pyramid designed by Chinese architect I.M. Pei, surrounded by three smaller pyramids, in the main courtyard of the Louvre Palace in Paris. The large pyramid serves as the main entrance to the Louvre Museum. Completed in 1989,[1] it has become a landmark of the city of Paris.
Venus de Milo is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BCE, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.
Venus de Milo is an ancient Greek statue and one of the most famous works of ancient Greek sculpture. Created sometime between 130 and 100 BCE, it is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of love and beauty.

 

The Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike. Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. This is my favorite sculpture!
Winged Victory of Samothrace, also called the Nike of Samothrace, is a 2nd-century BC marble sculpture of the Greek goddess Nike. Since 1884, it has been prominently displayed at the Louvre and is one of the most celebrated sculptures in the world. This is my favorite sculpture!

Egyptian Antiquities at the Louvre

Sarcophagus box of Ramesses III

The two fountains in the Place de la Concorde have been the most famous of the fountains built during the time of Louis-Philippe, and came to symbolize the fountains in Paris. The south fountain, closer to the Seine, represented the seas, with figures representing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean; harvesting coral; harvesting fish; collecting shellfish; collecting pearls; and the geniuses of astronomy, navigation and commerce.
The two fountains in the Place de la Concorde have been the most famous of the fountains built during the time of Louis-Philippe, and came to symbolize the fountains in Paris. The south fountain, closer to the Seine, represented the seas, with figures representing the Atlantic and the Mediterranean; harvesting coral; harvesting fish; collecting shellfish; collecting pearls; and the geniuses of astronomy, navigation and commerce.
Notre-Dame de Paris also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. Construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.
Notre-Dame de Paris also known as Notre-Dame Cathedral or simply Notre-Dame, is a historic Catholic cathedral on the eastern half of the Île de la Cité in the fourth arrondissement of Paris, France. Construction began in 1163 and was completed in 1345.

Interior of Notre-Dame de Paris

Interior Photo of Notre-Dame de Paris

Northern Rose Window at Notre-Dame de Paris

Northern Rose Window at Notre-Dame

The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It was named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower in 1889.
The Eiffel Tower is an iron lattice tower located on the Champ de Mars in Paris, France. It was named after the engineer Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, whose company designed and built the tower in 1889.

View of Paris from the Eiffel Tower

This sculptural detail on the pillar of the Arc De Triomphe is La Paix de 1815, by Antoine Étex and commemorates the Treaty of Paris, concluded in that year.
This sculptural detail on the pillar of the Arc De Triomphe is La Paix de 1815, by Antoine Étex and commemorates the Treaty of Paris, concluded in that year.
This photograph is shown for scale. In a lot of photos of the Arc de Triomphe you can't tell how extremely large this monument truly is!
This photograph is shown for scale. In a lot of photos of the Arc de Triomphe you can’t tell how extremely large this monument truly is!

Detail Work at the Arc de Triomphe de l'Étoile

Abbesses is a station on Paris Métro Line 12, in the Montmartre district and the 18th arrondissement. Abbesses is the deepest station in the Paris Métro, at 118 feet below ground, it is located on the western side of the hill of Montmartre.
Abbesses is a station on Paris Métro Line 12, in the Montmartre district and the 18th arrondissement. Abbesses is the deepest station in the Paris Métro, at 118 feet below ground, it is located on the western side of the hill of Montmartre.

Moving on to Amsterdam. From Paris we drove north to the Netherlands. We spent the same three days in Amsterdam. Again……no sleep! Our hotel allowed us to use some bicycles they kept on-site. This was of course after my brother sliced his hand open trying to adjust the seat height on one of them. Anyways off we go. We toured a lot of the city by bike. We saw the Heineken factory from our seats. We toured Anne Frank’s house. Sorry! No photos were allowed but if you ever go this is a MUST SEE! We visited the Red Light district for a very short time. (Very uncomfortable!) We ate dinner at a restaurant owned by Jamie Oliver. We rented a pedal boat and spent a few hours touring the canals. We visited a “flea market” and the Bloemenmarkt (Flower Market).

Pedal boating the canals of Amsterdam

Tiny Sailboat in an Amsterdam Canal

From Amsterdam we headed back to Germany. After an overnight recuperation we hopped on a flight to Venice, Italy. From Venice we took a train to Verona and spent a week in an apartment. We slowed down and visited the town, lived like a local hitting up the local markets every day for fresh fruit & veggies. We found a supermarket where we guessed what exactly each item was because we don’t speak or read Italian. Luckily for us they put pictures on the meat or we’d have probably eaten rabbit and horse. We ate authentic Italian pizza but don’t bother asking for pepperoni. They don’t know what you mean. We visited the third largest arena in Italy, saw Casa de Giulietta.

City Wall in Italy

 

Verona is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, the Arena, found in the city's largest piazza, the Piazza Bra. Completed around 30 AD, it is the third largest in Italy after Rome's Colosseum and the arena at Capua. It measures 139 metres long and 110 metres wide, and could seat some 25,000 spectators in its 44 tiers of marble seats.
Verona is famous for its Roman amphitheatre, the Arena, found in the city’s largest piazza, the Piazza Bra. Completed around 30 AD, it is the third largest in Italy after Rome’s Colosseum and the arena at Capua. It measures 139 metres long and 110 metres wide, and could seat some 25,000 spectators in its 44 tiers of marble seats.
In Verona, an early 14th-century house at Via Cappello no. 23, claiming to be the Capulets' has been turned into a tourist attraction but it is mostly empty. It features the balcony, and in the small courtyard, a bronze statue of Juliet. It is one of the most visited sites in the town. The metal of its chest is worn bare due to a legend that if a person strokes the right breast of the statue, that person will have good fortune and luck in love.
In Verona, an early 14th-century house at Via Cappello no. 23, claiming to be the Capulets’ has been turned into a tourist attraction but it is mostly empty. It features the balcony, and in the small courtyard, a bronze statue of Juliet. It is one of the most visited sites in the town. The metal of its chest is worn bare due to a legend that if a person strokes the right breast of the statue, that person will have good fortune and luck in love.

After two extremely full weeks in 4 different countries we were exhausted and ready to head home. We used our frequent flier miles to upgrade to First class and believe me when I tell you it’s the way to go! It took us a few days to get used to being in our “normal” time zone and from the trip in general but I’d go back in a heartbeat. Especially Paris.

Please take the time to click on each picture to see them in full-screen view! I didn’t have my good camera but I’ll admit the photos from the camera I did have at the time did a good enough job!

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