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Paris

Interrupted by COVID-19 Pandemic

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Paris, France. We had wanted to go to France for some time and were looking forward to this trip. We took the EuroStar over to the continent and it could not have been an easier experience. We picked up public transportation passes upon arrival which were quite expensive, but they covered all zones for several days in the city. Paris, overall, was pretty expensive we found during our brief trip there. We had planned to stay for four days but ended up leaving after only a day and a half. All of the travel restrictions and social distancing policies due to COVID-19 were being announced across the world and we thought it was best to get back to the island. We had planned to go to the Palace of Versailles, the Lourve, the Museum d’Orsay, and take a river cruise as well as see the Eiffel Tower and Arc de Triomphe, but unfortunately we only made it to the Palace of Versailles. The palace is located on the outskirts of the city.

The Palace of Versailles, also known as Château de Versailles, was the principal royal residence of France from 1682, under Louis XIV, until the start of the French Revolution in 1789, under Louis XVI. It is famous for its opulence.

Palace of Versailles: http://en.chateauversailles.fr

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There was a small Ladurée shop inside of the palace...and naturally I couldn't help myself. Who can resist a pretty macaron? Ladurée is a French luxury bakery and sweets maker house created in 1862. It is one of the world's best-known premier sellers of the double-decker macaron, 15,000 of which are sold every day.
Ladurée: https://www.laduree.co.uk
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We were really upset our Paris trip had to be curtailed. We hadn’t travelled in a while and were really looking forward to the Parisian getaway, but we know we made the right decision. Health and safety come before anything else. We have decided we will go back when the travel restrictions and quarantines are lifted and things return to normal.

Pausing for the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 22:42 Archived in France Tagged paris france palace of ladurée versailles macaroons covid19 Comments (3)

Romania Part 1

Bucharest

Greetings! Our next adventure took us to Bucharest, Romania! Like Vilnius, Bucharest was not originally on our must visit list, but again, we had heard from several colleagues who really enjoyed Romania. Bucharest is in southeastern Romania and is the capital city. The city is probably most famous for the Palace of Parliament, which is the second largest building in the world; second only to the Pentagon. Bucharest was a very cheap city to visit, most of our meals were under 80 RON (Romanian leu), which was about was $20. Romania is part of the European Union, but retains its own currency the Romanian leu.

We stayed in a lovely AirBnb situated behind the National Theater Bucharest. We also walked everywhere in the city and used Uber to and from the airport.

AirBnb: https://www.airbnb.co.uk/rooms/plus/15984949?source_impression_id=p3_1572181231_j9Azw27So9aO0IVY

National Theater Bucharest
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Some fun facts about Romania:
-The Romanian language is 1,700 years old.
-The first ever perfect 10 awarded in the Olympic Games went to Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci, for her performance on the uneven bars in Montreal, Canada in 1976. She was also the only person allowed to marry in the Palace of Parliament.
-According to legend, Bucharest was named after a shepherd called Bucur who was in love with a young lady named Dâmboviţa, like the name of the river that flows through the city.
-The name “Romania” comes from the Latin word “Romanus” which means “citizen of the Roman Empire.”

Views of Old Town Bucharest:
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Famous Bookstore in Old Town Bucharest, Cărturești Carusel:
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Food from Bucharest restaurants:
Caru' cu Bere, one of the most famous restaurants in Bucharest.
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Traditional Romania dish of Sarmale (Cabbage Rolls):
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Trofic:
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Boutique du Pain:
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Sushi Room:
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Palace of Parliament. Palace of Parliament took over 13 years to build (1984–97). The palace was commissioned by Nicolae Ceaușescu, the last communist dictator of Romania, for his family to live at, but communism in Romania was overthrown in 1989 and he never used the building. Most if not all, of the materials used to construct the building came from Romania, including all of the marble. The palace has over 2800 chandeliers and cost $3 billion to build. Michael Jackson infamously said, "Hello, Budapest!" from the balcony in 1990. Today, the building is used by parliament and I think spaces in the building can be rented out for events. For instance, a wedding expo was underway while we were on our tour.

Back of Palace of Parliament
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View from Palance of Parliament balcony looking onto the promenade (modeled after the promenade at the Palace of Versailles).
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A few of the many churches around Bucharest:
Kretzulescu Church
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Saint John Chrysostom Church
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Stavropoleos Monastery Church
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Cișmigiu Gardens:
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Izvor Park:
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Memorial of Rebirth (commemorates the struggles and victims of the Romanian Revolution of 1989, which overthrew Communism):
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Onto Siniai, Brasov, and Bran...

Posted by LCP 23:43 Archived in Romania Tagged church palace of national romania parliament cu care theater bucharest bere grandees Comments (0)

Vilnius Day 2

Lithuania

Our second full day in Vilnius we went to the Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights, also commonly referred to as the KGB Museum, and stumbled across a street fair in the main area of Vilnius. We also did some shopping as Vilnius is famous for amber and linen.

The Museum of Occupations and Freedom Fights is located in the former KGB headquarters in Vilnius. Tourists are able to see the prison within the complex (which was in the basement) and where executions were carried out as well as learn about the Lithuanian people's fight for independence from occupation. It was interesting to see how the building was designed especially how the KGB wired the building to conduct its activities in Lithuania. The museum also pays tribute to Lithuania Jews who were killed during World War II. It was an overall very impressive museum!

Museum website: http://genocid.lt/muziejus/en/

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Some of the placards describing the prison conditions:
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After the museum, we stumbled across a street fair that ran through the main thoroughfare from Cathedral Square. It was really cool. There were local artisans and food tents and live music, such a great experience. We also did a bit of shopping for amber and linen, which Lithuania is known for.

Vilnius was absolutely fantastic and I would go back in a heartbeat. It is a neat city, with a lot to do, very walkable and economical. Vilnius was not initially on our "must see list" in Europe but we are so very happy we made it to the city. The city is definitely one of my favorite places we've visited so far.

On to the next adventure!

Posted by LCP 23:29 Archived in Lithuania Tagged churches and of museum vilnius freedom fights occupation kgb Comments (2)

Vilnius Day 1

Lithuania

On our first full day in Vilnius we hit the ground running. We managed to see the Gate of Dawn (which was just outside of our AirBnb), Cathedral Square (Vilnius Cathedral and Palace of the Dukes) Gediminas Tower (which provided great views of Old Town Vilnius and the New Town area), the National Museum of Lithuania, St. Anne's Church, Bernardus Park, and The Bastion. We also managed to walk through Užupis, which is a Bohemian, artsy area of Vilnius.

But before we get to all of that, we ate breakfast at Gusto Blynine, which was right outside of our AirBnb and specialized in pancakes and crepes. It was a really cute restaurant, take a look at the fun decor!
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Walking right outside of our AirBnb was The Gate of Dawn. It was built between 1503 and 1522 as a part of defensive fortifications for the city of Vilnius, the capital of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania. Of ten city gates, only the Gate of Dawn remains, today. The Chapel in the Gate of Dawn contains an icon of The Blessed Virgin Mary Mother of Mercy, believed to have miraculous powers. For centuries the picture has been one of the symbols of the city and an object of veneration for both Roman Catholic and Orthodox inhabitants.
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We took a stroll through Town Hall Square and made our way to Cathedral Square, where we went to Vilnius Cathedral, Gediminas' Tower, the National Museum of Lithuania, and the Palace of the Dukes. Cathedral Square was very cool and laid out quite well.

Vilnius Cathedral, the Cathedral Basilica of St Stanislaus and St Ladislaus of Vilnius, is the main Roman Catholic Cathedral of Lithuania. The coronations of the Grand Dukes of Lithuania took place within the church and many famous people from Lithuanian and Polish history are buried inside its crypts and catacombs.

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From the Cathedral, we did a short hike up the hill next to the church to reach Gediminas' Tower. The Tower is the remaining part of the Upper Castle in Vilnius. The first wooden fortifications were built by Gediminas, Grand Duke of Lithuania. The first brick castle was completed in 1409 by Grand Duke Vytautas. The three-floor tower was rebuilt in 1933 by Polish architect Jan Borowski. There are spectacular views of Old Town Vilnius and New Town Vilnius from the tower.
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These are some views from the tower of Old Town and New Town which are separated by Neris River.
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Next, we looped around to the National Museum of Lithuania. This was a fantastic museum and the docents were really friendly. There were some great displays and artifacts here. The museum also had great information on this history of the Lithuanian people.
Museum website: http://www.lnm.lt/en/
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After the National Museum of Lithuania we stopped at a really cute bagel shop for a quick bite before walking to St. Anne's Church, which is a beautiful red brick church.
Bagel shop
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St. Anne's Church is a Roman Catholic church in Vilnius' Old Town, on the right bank of the Vilnia River established around 1495-1500.
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St. Francis of Assisi (Bernardine) Roman Catholic Church is co-located next to St. Anne's Church. The Church of St. Francis and St. Bernard is a Roman Catholic church in the Old Town of Vilnius.
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After touring Bernadine Church, we took a casual stroll through Bernadine Park, near the church.
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We rounded out the day by strolling through Uzupis, the Bohemian part, of Vilnius and finding The Bastion.
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The Bastion is part of the Vilnius Defensive Wall, often called “barbican”. It is a Renaissance-style fortification characterized by its original construction. It consists of a tower installed in the city defence wall, underground gun ports and a connecting corridor, which turns into a 48-metre long tunnel. The Bastion was built in the first half of the 17th century by the German military engineer, Friedrich Getkant.
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Onto Vilnius Day 2...

Posted by LCP 01:08 Archived in Lithuania Tagged of town square new cathedral old st dawn gate hall bastion vilnius lithuania gemeninas annes Comments (2)

Chatsworth House

Duke of Devonshire's Home, Derbyshire

One must see in the Peak District is Chatsworth House. Chatsworth is the seat of the Duke of Devonshire and the house has been in the Cavendish family since 1549. Something to note, the Devonshire name is not necessarily the last name of the Duke and his family. For instance, the Duke of Devonshire's family's last name is Cavendish and the Duke of Rutland's last name is Manners. There is a Kennedy connection to Chatsworth. The sister of John F. Kennedy, Kathleen Kennedy, married William Cavendish, Marquess of Hartington, the elder son of the 10th Duke of Devonshire in May 1944. He unfortunately died in action in Belgium in 1944 and Kathleen died in a plane crash in 1948. Currently, the family is on the 12th Duke of Devonshire, Peregrine Cavendish.

Elizabeth Cavendish, later Elizabeth Talbot, Countess of Shrewsbury also known as Bess of Hardwick, was cunning lady who married strategically (she had four husbands) and is often associated with Chatsworth House. Sir William Cavendish (her second husband) and Bess of Hardwick originally started construction of Elizabethan Chatsworth in 1552; however, little evidence remains of the original house. Elizabeth I found Mary, Queen of Scots, to be a threat to the throne and held her captive under the watchful eye of the 6th Earl of Shrewsberry, Bess's fourth husband. Bess teamed up with Mary during part of her captivity at Chatsworth and the two created the Oxburgh Hangings, which are on display in Oxburgh Hall.

Chatsworth House: https://www.chatsworth.org

Side of Chatsworth:
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Our tour started just outside of the North Entrance Hall, where we received a brief talk on the history of the house. We then passed through the North Entrance Hall into the North Sub-Corridor and into the Painted Hall.

Painted Hall:
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Grotto:
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Chapel Corridor:
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The Chapel was constructed between 1688 and 1693:
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The Oak Room apparently used to be called the Summer Breakfast Room by the 6th Duke.
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Great Stairs:
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Great Chamber:
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State Drawing Room:
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This chair was apparently the Coronation Chair of King George III.
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The State Music Room was one of the most interesting rooms to see. For starters, the violin on the door is actually a painting using the "Trompe l'oeil " method which uses realistic images to create an optical illusion. The 6th Duke was apparently very wealthy and very vain. He installed gilded leather walls...yes gilded leather walls... and had his portrait carved into the wooden busts at the top of the walls all around the room. When talking with the docent in the room, he mentioned a story that the Duke purportedly wrote in his diary perhaps he had gone too far with that...you think?
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Gilded Leather Walls:
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The bed in State Bedchamber was originally made for Kensington Palace. George II supposedly died in the bed. The bed was given to the 4th Duke as a gift for serving as the Lord Chamberlain.
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State Closet:
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The Cabinet Room isn't an official room in the house. It was created in 2012 to display some of the many works of art and furniture in the house. The family was hit hard by the inheritance tax in the 1950s. In all, the family owned at least five homes and they all had to be sold off to pay the tax and all of the items in the houses were consolidated in Chatsworth. Many items go on loan to various places for exhibitions. For example, currently Sotheby's New York galleries has "Treasures from Chatsworth: The Exhibition" on view from from 28 June through 18 September 2019.
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Sotheby's link: https://www.sothebys.com/en/series/treasures-from-chatsworth-the-exhibition

Guest Bedrooms:
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Oak Stairs:
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The Library was my favorite room in the house.
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Ante Library:
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Great Dining Room:
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Vestibule:
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Sculpture Gallery:
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The House puts on different exhibitions every year (as well as spectacular Christmas display, I'm told) and this year's theme was The Dog. I really enjoyed how The Dog theme was worked into every room we went into and not just set off at the end with everything in the exhibition in one room. There were paintings, statues, modern works of art, etc. So, here is one of the pieces. Meet Bashaw, The Faithful Friend of Man...he was created by Matthew Cotes Wyatt, 1831-1834. Bashaw is made of marble and headstone. His eyes are topaz, sardonyx and black lava. The snake is made of bronze and has ruby eyes, the mount is made of gilt bronze. The piece was on loan from the Victoria and Albert Museum.
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Capability Brown left his mark on the Gardens at Chatsworth:
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I enjoyed Chatsworth and I would absolutely return. The weather wasn't very cooperative and the house was crowded. There was also construction happening on the grounds and it appeared there was some sort of event being set up, so all of that kind of took away from the grandeur of the house in some regard. The land surrounding the house was all farm land with lots of grazing sheep all over the hills. I hope we do get back to the Peak District and to Chatsworth at some point. That concludes our trip to the Peak District!

On to the next adventure...

Posted by LCP 11:35 Archived in England Tagged dog the of queen house i mary elizabeth devonshire duke brown hangings chatsworth capability scots oxburgh bess hardwick Comments (1)

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