Monday, July 7, 2014

What I Did on My Summer Holidays #MFRWauthor

I just got home from a wonderful vacation. The last two weeks in June, my husband and I travelled to Europe and took a river cruise on the Rhone River in France. We extended the seven day cruise by adding three days in Barcelona, Spain to the beginning of the trip, and three days in Paris at the end of the trip. We had a fabulous time!

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona

We started our vacation in the beautiful, vibrant city of Barcelona. Barcelona has wonderful architecture, some of it quirky and unusual, like the Sagrada Familia Church which doesn't appear to have a straight line within its massive structure. I loved the friendly people and the exciting rhythm of the city.

Roman arena in Arles, France
After leaving Barcelona, we travelled to the mouth of the Rhone River at Arles, France where we boarded our ship for the river cruise. This area of France had been occupied by the Romans some two thousand years ago and they left behind evidence of their time here, with structures such as this arena in Arles which still hosts bull fights, and this amphitheatre in Vienne, France which holds eleven thousand people and was being readied to host a jazz festival when we visited. It's amazing to me that these structures are so ancient, but are still being used today.


Roman amphitheatre in Vienne, France 

Though it wasn't built by the Romans, the bridge at Avignon is an iconic structure. Did you learn to sing "Sur la pont, d'Avignon" when you were in French class back in the day? I did!

The bridge at Avignon, France

A lavender field in Provence

Serge & his wonder dog Emme
We sailed up the Rhone River through Provence, past terraced vineyards carved into the hills, and fields of ripening grain and blooming lavender in the countryside. So beautiful! We had a chance to visit an olive grove and a truffle farm in Provence. Serge, the owner of the truffle farm, uses his dog Emme to hunt for the truffles, a fungus/mushroom much prized in French cooking, though from the example Serge passed around, I couldn't get excited about them. Serge and Emme demonstrated how they hunt for them. Since the truffles grow underground at a depth of about four inches, Emme must use her sensitive sense of smell to locate them. Serge buried a few truffles and Emme found them and dug them up without any trouble. She was adorable!

Truffles

After our wonderful, pampering cruise was over, we took a high-speed train from Lyon to Paris. Paris is almost overwhelming in its beauty. Everywhere you look you find another piece of impressive architecture. No visit to Paris is complete without a trip to the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame Cathedral, or the Arc du Triomphe.

Eiffel Tower

Notre Dame Cathedral

Arc du Triomphe

Our summer vacation went by very quickly, and we had a wonderful time, but I'm always glad to get home. What about you? What did you do this summer? I'd love to hear all about it!