Paris was the first city in Europe that I ever visited, way back in 1986. Since then, I’ve spent countless days and nights in the “city of light”, and even had an amazing opportunity to “live” in Paris for a month on University business. It has remained one of my favorite cities in the world.
Evening along the Seine, with the glow of Notre Dame to warm our hearts
Despite the fact that I am not Catholic, Notre Dame has long been one of my very favorite landmarks in the city. The Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, the Pantheon, and the Hotel de Ville are all charming, but all of them combined don’t measure up to Notre Dame. Its impressive facade towers over the Seine, and dominates this whole area of the city. I’ve sat quietly inside, awestruck by the rose window and the the grandeur of the Cathedral’s interior. I have climbed the perilously claustrophobic, crowded and winding stairway to the top of the towers to commune with the gargoyles that stare out across the city from up there. I’ve spent a few warm summer days reading a book on one of the shaded benches at the back of the church. listening to her bells ringing out to let me know another hour had passed.
This past week, I watched the TV coverage of the horrible fire that claimed much of “Our Lady.” It was agonizing to watch and I couldn’t keep myself from crying as the intricately carved spire and roof surrendered to the flames. As painful as it was for me to see this, I can only imagine what Parisians felt as they watched helplessly while this treasure that is the soul of their city was destroyed.
I’m sure that the cathedral will be rebuilt and restored to its former glory and that its story is not over, but still, it’s going to take awhile for me, and for the world to come to grips with what has happened. At least I can take some comfort from the memories I have and the photos I’ve gathered over the years.
A one of a kind view
A warm summer day along the Seine
Fair skies over “our Lady”
The front entrance to the cathedral
Close up of the intricacies of the church
One of the contemplative gargoyles atop Notre Dame
Dusk along the Seine
Even more lovely by night…
Looking across the River from the Latin Quarter
When planning for my Spring Break trip this year, I searched the Internet for hours to find the best travel bargains on my airfare and rental car. I could have flown round trip to Boston and rented a car for 10 days and spent over $1000; instead I discovered that if I flew to Newark, spent a couple days in New York, took the train to Albany to visit friends, and then rented a car in Albany that I could return at Boston, I would save about $400. And on top of the saved cash, I got to experience several different places, making for a much more diverse vacation!
Who says winter isn’t a great time to travel?
Come along for the ride…
Before my annual pilgrimage… pun intended… to New England for the Thanksgiving holiday, I made a stop in frenetic Manhattan and on a peaceful farm in upstate New York near the town of Coxsackie. Take a brief trip with me, first eating my way through Manhattan like a culinary King Kong, then down of the farm hanging out with some gorgeous animals.
First stop: Billy’s Cupcakes
I ONLY had two… dinner was 4 hours off
Walking the High Line… and urban garden built on an old elevated railway trestle.
Pasta with calamari and shrimp
Dinner in the Village
Good setting for West Side Story
Another interesting sculpture on the High line; if only it would play Quentin’s Theme from the old TV show “Dark Shadows”
Roasted Vegetables and bread
The stunning Chrysler Building
The World Trade Tower from 7th Avenue
The most AMAZING ricotta cheesecake
Unique view of the Empire State Building
The World Trade Tower
Christmas cheer along 6th Avenue
View from the High Line
Chelsea, New York City
The walls at Doughnut Plant, Chelsea
Christmas comes to the West Village
The “Friends” Building setting in the Village
Scary sculpture on the High line
Bet you can’t pick just one doughnut…
I had to pick FOUR: blood orange, chocolate blackout, wild blueberry, and cranberry-orange. Breakfast of the insane!
Two and a half hours north of the Big Apple (or is it the Big Doughnut?)…and just south of Albany lies Lime Kiln Farm… check it out if you are anywhere in the area!
My friend Brent, the heartbeat of Lime Kiln Farm in Coxsackie, NY
Lime Kiln Farmhouse
Now THAT is a regal cow!
Pigs with personality
She was quite a conversationalist
The happiest and best cared for animals you’ll ever see!
Brent’s cat… they always know when they have found an allergic visitor…
and he stalked me all around the farmhouse… maybe because we are kindred gingers!
I’ve always loved fall in those places where there’s a definite change in the seasons, and there’s probably no better place to be than New England at that time of year. The cool, but sunny days and chilly nights, the explosion of a palette of colors that have always been my favorite hues, the reflections of what’s happening above that can be found in any still body of water, and the heady smell of wood fires, damp leaves, and hot cider donuts… These are the things that make me return to New England every October with the determination of a salmon swimming upstream to return home!
Before Winter sets in, let’s take a last, fond look at the Autumn. All of the photos below were taken in New England, mostly Massachusetts and Hew Hampshire.
Go to the photo gallery…
Venice… In my opinion, the most beautiful city in the world.
I first visited Venice back in 1999 and that first time started a love affair with what has become my favorite city in the world. Come with me for a tour of “La Serenissima” (the most serene one) and you’ll see why I love it so much.