S: Normandy & British Isles cruise - Book 1
BC: We loved the first part of our cruise. Come along as we are on the way to Scotland to visit some great castles in book two..
FC: Normandy | Givery & Rouen | Ireland | Scotland
1: British Isles & Normandy Cruise | We have a layover in Newark. From the Continental Presidents Club we have a view of New York | We're on our way
2: we boarded the plane around 7:30 pm for our long flight to Norway.
3: Our first view of Norway was amazing.
4: The Oslo airport looks very modern. I was surprised to see the wood ceilings and in some places wood floors. We waited for the shuttle bus to take us to the boat. We are tired, but excited to start the cruise
5: We are transported through the city where glass buildings are being built. Then through the outskirts that give way to fields of green. | Of course, we find a McDonald's right away - are they everywhere?
6: After a long travel day/night - we are finally on the boat. Soon we'll be on our way.
7: We have to wait till 4 pm to go in our rooms so we check out the top deck. Many lounge chair wait for us. Wayne settles in and takes a nap. We've been up for 20 hours. Time to explore some more.
8: ...The views of Norway from the ship | We couldn't sit too long so we took in...
10: We had a balcony room that is 199 sq ft. Surprisingly, it was plenty of room. | we finally got the announcement our rooms were ready. On our way, we found some fun places to visit later
11: After the muster drill, we began our journey through the fjord.
13: We stayed on the top deck as we left Norway. Many islands with cute little houses surround Oslo harbor. One couple was flying their flag as we cruised by. They use a ferry to get to the mainland. I did find one road on the island. A seagull tried to hitch a ride as we left. It would land on the boat, rest and then take off again.
14: We were amazed at all the islands and how populated they were. Houses were dotted up the rocky island - each with a good view.
15: We found the locals enjoying the day - jumping in the water
16: We enjoyed the scenery. Then we were surprised to see a family of ducks below us close to the boat.
17: Soon the islands by Oslo were off in the distance. We went inside to explore the ship. We grabbed an early dinner in the Windjammer Cafe and called it a night. Whew! Our day started on May 19 at 5:30am - it's now the evening of May 20th. Time to get some sleep.
18: We woke up on May 21st to the open seas. This is our first day at sea and formal night for dinner. As you can see - I talked Wayne into going to the dining room instead of the buffet!
20: Welcome to LeHavre, France! We watched the town come into view as we pulled into the port. Lots of small fishing boats were leaving the port for the day.
21: We made our way to the theater for our tour sticker and waited for our turn to leave. We boarded the bus for a swift ride thru LeHarve towards Giverny & Rouen.
23: We passed many homes and old buildings. When we crossed over the river, the guide pointed out the castle and the old supports for a 15th century bridge.
24: Our bus made it's way to Giverny a charming town that was home to Claude Monet.
25: We had lunch at a charming restaurant with a watermill from the 18th century.
27: Across from the restaurant was a beautiful tree loaded with flowers.
28: We visited the gardens of Monet and was amazed at the many varieties of flowers. Everywhere we looked we found beauty. No wonder he was inspired to paint.
31: Wayne quickly made his way to the bridge. We could hear the frogs in the pond and the bees enjoying the flowers. Spring has arrival.
34: Flowers everywhere and vines cover Monet's home. | Monet in his garden
35: Behind his home shows the high brick wall and old homes with more flowers
36: Making our way to Rouen
37: Rouen's Cathédrale Notre Dame
38: Rouen's Cathédrale Notre Dame - Built between 1201 and 1514, it suffered severe damage during WWII - restoration has been ongoing for 60 years
40: The Église St-Maclou is a Flamboyant Gothic church built between 1437 and 1521
41: Many timbered buildings from the 15th century are still standing.
43: A curious ensemble of half-timbered buildings, Atre St-Maclou, built between 1526 and 1533, is decorated with macabre carvings of skulls, crossbones, gravediggers' tools and hourglasses. The courtyard was used as a burial ground for plague victims as recently as 1781
45: We walked around to another entrance to Rouen's Cathédrale Notre Dame
47: The restoration includes piecing the many stained glass windows back together. The higher windows still contain plain glass. | Original 14th century statues line the wall once decorated the outside.
48: The front view shows where the statues inside once stood. | The difference between the two towers is another unique feature. The left side St Roman Tower, of primitive Gothic style, is the oldest. On the right side is the Butter Tower, which owes its name to the fact that its construction was financed with donations from wealthy bourgeois allowed to consume meat during Lent, as well as butter and milk, under the condition that they atone for this sin of gluttony with their contributions.
49: Rouen's main street, rue du Gros Horloge runs from the Cathédrale Notre Dame to place du Vieux Marché, where 19-year-old Joan of Arc was executed for heresy in 1431. Rue du Gros Horloge is spanned by an early-16th-century gatehouse and the Gros Horloge, a large one-handed medieval clock.
50: Little more than a shell at the end of WWII, The ornate Palais de Justice (law courts) has been restored to its early-16th-century Gothic glory, though the 19th-century western faade still shows extensive damage. The courtyard of the Palais is worth a look for its impressive spires, gargoyles and statuary.
51: Rouen's Big Clock installed in 1389 above a bridge spanning a street in Rouen. It is one-handed, with just the hour hand, because there really was no need to burden oneself with minutes in the Middle-Ages. A half-black, half-silver ball shows the moon phases. At the bottom of the dial, you can make out divine representations of Antiquity, the Moon, Mars, Mercury, Jupiter, Venus, Saturn and Apollo, God of the Sun. It is a week-to-a-page diary, very useful to pinpoint the days of the week back when a vast majority of the population did not know how to read..
52: During the tour, our guide noticed several future grooms and brides in the city. Custom is to dress in costumes and spend the last week with your friends.
53: Place du Vieux Marché is where 19-year-old Joan of Arc was executed for heresy in 1431. The futuristic Église Jeanne d'Arc, with its fish-scale exterior and stark cast-iron cross, marks the site where Joan of Arc was burned at the stake. | Surrounding the square are ruins from the church where Joan of Arc sacrificed herself for the love of a country that she believed in. We were told she requested a large cross and held it out as she burned saying a prayer for her country..
54: We made our way back to the ship enjoying the sites along the way. We were treated to a day moon prior to sunset in the harbor.
55: Cemetery for German soldiers marked with Black Cross on a hill a short distance from the American cemetery in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France | We quickly left Cherbourg behind on our way to the American Cemetery and the Beaches of Normandy
56: The names of 1,557 Americans who lost their lives in the conflict but could not be located and/or identified are inscribed on the walls of a semicircular garden at the east side of the memorial. | A semicircular colonnade with a loggia at each end contains maps and narratives of the military operations. At the center is a bronze statue entitled Spirit of American Youth. | Normandy American Cemetery and Memorial is a World War II cemetery and memorial in Colleville-sur-Mer, Normandy, France, that honors American soldiers who died in Europe during World War II.
59: The cemetery is located on a bluff overlooking Omaha Beach and the English Channel. It covers 172 acres, and contains the remains of 9,387 American military dead, most of whom were killed during the invasion of Normandy and ensuing military operations in World War II. Included are graves of Army Air Force crews shot down over France as early as 1942.
61: Jewish-American soldiers bear the Star of David at their gravesite, rather than a cross.
62: The heavy fog kept the end just out of reach. The more we walked, the more of an impact I felt.
63: We came across the small chapel located in the center just as the magnitude of what the granite crosses represented became almost unbearable.
64: Statues represent the United States and France
65: In the cemetery, we could hear the waves crashing below. We could barely make out Omaha beach.
67: The fog prevented us from viewing much of the beach as we drove along Omaha Beach. The left shows what remains of wooden fences that helped provide some cover as the soldiers took the beach.
72: Sainte Mere Eglise was the first town to be liberated by Allied forces. During the invasion, paratrooper John Steele was entangled around the church's spire. He hung there pretending to be dead for 2 hours. | The Germans were busy pumping water to put out fires around the church after bombs landed around them. Many paratroopers lost their lives as the fire illuminated their descent in town.
74: A closer look at the stained glass windows shows paratroopers in the sky around Mary.
75: Another window shows the appreciation for the Allied forces. The town is below St. Michael ready to battle with parachutes by him.
76: The American flag still flies at the church and in front of Hotel deVille (Government offices).
77: Our day was over too quick and we were once again on our balcony. We had a small group performing to send us off - as well as a high school drummers. Many people moved to the large dock as we pulled away.
78: We pass three forts built to protect the bay. England built them for protection from the French..
79: We went to the top deck to take on more views. I could hear a boat speeding along the side of us. I thought it was funny that he had a pink camera. | We return to the room and Wayne enjoys his favorite past time waiting for me to get ready for dinner.
80: We watched from our balcony as we arrived in Dublin's port. We are eager to start our excursion "Walking Tour of Dublin"
81: Our guide talked about the warehouses being turned into condos and the building boom
83: Trinity College - University of Dublin
84: founded in 1591 by Elizabeth I originally offered eduction to Catholics who adopted the Protestant faith. The rock courtyard dates back to that time. We can see many of the older buildings standing in Parliament Square. .Statues are of former provost George Salmon and the Campanile. .
85: The Library is one of the oldest college buildings with over 2 million volumes. .The 'Book of Kells' is the greatest treasure - an illuminated manuscript of the Gospels dating from the 8th century.
86: We made our way around the block and took in the architecture of many of the buildings
88: We walked through the old town by some affluent condos. A small cemetery was in one of the courtyards.
89: The area contains many old buildings and pubs. O'Doneghue's being the most popular.
90: Previous a college of architecture, it now houses some government offices.
91: We walked by the home of Oscar Wilde before entering the park across the street. As soon as we stepped in the park, the sounds of the city disappeared.
92: St. Stephen's Green - a public garden.
93: At the end of the tour, we walked through a shopping area with an open display of flowers for sale. We left the tour to find our way to St. Patrick's Cathedral.
94: With directions from some wonderful nice Irish people, we found the courtyard. However, the cathedral was closing to tourist for a special service.
95: Christ Church Cathedral is unusually close to St Patrick's due to St. Patrick was once located outside the City walls. It was founded in 1172 by Strongbow, a Norman Baron and Conqueror of Dublin for the English Crown. The crypt is Dublin's oldest structure. | Dublin Castle was first founded as a major defensive work on the orders of King John of England in 1204 | The State Apartments of the Upper Yard, contain the rooms formerly used by the Lord Lieutenant for entertaining during the Castle Season. Today these richly decorated rooms are used by the Irish Government for official engagements including policy launches, hosting of State Visit ceremonial, and the inauguration of the President every seven years.
96: We made our way back to the shuttle bus for a ride back to the ship. The stadium below is their new soccer stadium opened one week ago.
97: We stayed on the top deck till we could no longer see land. Favorite Towel Animal - the Dog.
98: Second formal night and a day at sea.
99: N | Next stop - Scotland