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Choose to Live Your Life in Abundance in the after--- after the spouse dies, after the marriage ends, after the kids leave. Join me on my journey of CHOOSING LIFE in my after. This day I call the heavens and the earth as witnesses against you that I have set before you life and death, blessings and curses. Now choose life, so that you and your children may live- Deut 30:19

June 18, 2018

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

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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  
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