Viking River Cruise- Paris & The Heart of Normandy Day 1 and 2

Monday, June 18, 2018

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After spending a few great days in Amsterdam, we took a train to the Paris Gare du Nord Station. We easily got a taxi to Le Pecq, a small town north of Paris where our boat was docked. One thing to remember about Paris cabs is that they prefer cash. It is so easy to use a card, but don't forget to get plenty of Euros when traveling to Europe. You will need them.

A few weeks before our trip, Viking sent us a welcome packet. It contained a booklet about our trip as well as luggage tags for our luggage.
Welcome Packet!!

Inside the front page of the booklet so we know exactly where we are going. Each page after has detail information about your trip.
When you book a trip with Viking, you gain access to a website about your trip. The website is where you provide them with personal information as well as book your excursions. They added more excursions the closer we got to our trip. Some excursions are included in the price of the cruise, but some are an additional charge.

When you arrive, your luggage is taken and you are invited to eat a light lunch in the dining room. When it is time to go to your room, your luggage is there waiting for you. There must be something in that red Viking luggage tag that tells them where your luggage goes. M hadn't put hers on yet and had to go find her luggage- which was very easy to do.

After lunch, a tour was scheduled for the nearby town of St. Germain en Laye. It is a beautiful suburb of Paris. 

Piano in a field of wildflowers!!

Castle with a German bunker to the left- hard to see in this picture.

The bunker up close. Dr. T had to get an up-close look at everything WWII related.
Our view back at Paris from this "shee shee" suburb!! That is the Eiffel Tower on the left side of the small hill.
By the end of the day, everyone has arrived on the ship, and we got to see all the people with whom we would be spending the next week. 

The next day we were up early for breakfast. The cruise offers a choice of eating a light breakfast off of the lounge or eating a big breakfast, complete with an omelet bar, in the dining room. Everyone usually did their own thing for breakfast. Before you leave the ship or an excursion, you have to remember to take your "listening device" which I liked to call our "hearing aids." You need it to hear your guide on your excursions. 

After breakfast, we set off for a day in Paris. Dr. T and I opted for the official tour while the kids opted to be dropped off to spend the day doing what they wanted.

I learned a lot on our tour so I'm really glad we did it. Did you know that when Texas was a country, it had an embassy in Paris? 

Beautiful Arc de Triomphe. I learned that the tomb of the unknown soldier is at the base. 

A little surreal to look out the window of your tour bus and see your kids walking the streets of Paris!!

Seine River

Notre Dame

When I was here before, we didn't go inside. This tour was fascinating!

My daughter and I made several trips here back in 2012. Glad I got to see it again.

We really weren't' hungry, but you can't go to Paris and NOT eat a crepe. 

The Lourve 
Let me just say something about going to the Louvre. It really is one of those things, like the Eiffel Tower, that needs to be seen in Paris. How can you go to Paris and not see the Mona Lisa? It is extremely crowded and extremely big. When I was here in 2012 with my kids, we went in and were so overwhelmed. We did see the Mona Lisa then as well as some other famous works of art. We didn't even attempt to go in because there just wasn't time. I made a vow that the next time I'm there, I will hire a private tour guide and spend at least a day in The Louvre. We met the perfect tour guide while on our trip. I have contact information for him and will talk about him in a later post.

Of course, we got our kissing selfie- We always do!!

I included this terrible picture because I've always wondered where Princess Diana died. This flame sits atop the tunnel where the car wreck that killed her occurred. 
Life After Loss- The only other time I have ever been to Paris was in the summer of 2012 a few months after R passed away. My son and I met my daughter in Europe at the end of her study abroad. The only other time Dr. T had ever been to Paris was a few months after his first wife passed away. We had only seen Paris with very heavy hearts. We discussed this prior to going. We both wanted to be prepared. Triggers are everywhere in grief. We shared stories with each other and had a good day. The choice to do such a fast-paced and strict on time tour was good for us! Days like this and the emotions that come with them are just the reality of living with grief. It's always there. I don't try to escape it anymore like I did at times, but I do try to prepare myself for times when I know it might be hard. Our day in Paris was a good day!!

We chose the Full- Day Panoramic Paris tour for our day. The kids chose to be dropped off for a full day on their own. Other choices were: Highlights of Paris and the Louvre or Scenic Paris & Hills of Montmartre. As you can see, Viking offers many options for you to choose from.

I really liked a blog post I recently read about visiting Paris for the first time. I agree with so much of what is said.  Getting Paris Right The First Time  

Peak Of The Week- A list of things that piqued my interest this week 6-13-18

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

There is a video embedded in this post. Please go here to the original post to be able to see it.

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It's The Peak OF The Week!! 
Here are some things that piqued my interest- June 13, 2018
I live in an extremely beautiful area of the country! The main street in my hometown always goes all out with the seasons. Beautiful flowerpots are all over downtown right now!!

Unvarnished Truths About Retirement- This list really made me think. I guess I really am getting old when articles like this get my attention. My top three from this list of 21 Truths are:

15- Comfort is overrated- live outside your comfort zone. I guess this spoke to me because I have chosen to write this blog. Sharing my life and thoughts has been rewarding, but it is also very scary. I have had to step outside my comfort zone to do it.

Reminds me of two of my favorite quotes
" There is no comfort in the growth zone, and there is no growth in the comfort zone."
"What people think of you is none of your business."

9- Stop Complaining- No One cares- well, yes, people care to a certain extent. Then you have to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and start moving forward. My daughter and I have talked about this since losing her dad. We realized that although people were wonderful to us, and cared- when it came down to it, people really didn't care after a while. It is just human nature!!

3- Negativity Wastes Life- We all watch how people handle things. I hope and pray that I handle the trials of life with a positive attitude. I have been around way too many people who are negative and it definitely drains the life out of everyone.

Dementia Caregiver's Help
Dr. Mike has quickly become one of my favorite humans. He is a dementia specialist- I believe he is a physical therapist. He puts a short, inspirational video out almost every day on Facebook. I highly recommend following his Facebook page whether or not you have someone close to you with dementia.

His Website 

His Facebook page.

I'm leaving you with something that I hope makes you laugh as much as it did me!!

Praying Over Food--I have wonderful friends who have never had a meal without a prayer. I have a high respect for them. I admit, praying before an everyday meal is just not something that we did in our home. I guess the kids were always so busy. And, to be really honest, I just never really got the "why" of it all.  I guess that's why I found this video to be so funny!!! For me, the bottom line is- pray with your kids and let them know that you pray for them. I don't care when it is!!!

Happy Peak of the Week!!! It's all downhill from here!