The charm of the day-5 port stop is the realism of Rouen. Streets bustle with the working class. Old buildings have been restored to function as a city hall, courthouse, or retail shop, not simply as monuments to the architecture they exude.
Five street scenes of Rouen should scroll automatically below.
-Rue de la Republique architecture evoking the Paris “Haussmann” style
-New(er) architecture that is less ornate but similar in height, theme
-Wide pedestrian passage with street cafes,
-Government office building was once a palace,
-Colorful floral shop.
Continue reading Day5: Rouen Realism →
Four score minus six years ago
sons and fathers came ashore
on the beaches of Normandy
to liberate a land
occupied by Nazi forces.
This day is spent on hallowed ground of heroes bordering grainy sands of grief, with monuments to glorify their cause.
60th-anniversary monument to “The Brave” on the sands of Omaha Beach
Continue reading Day4: D-Day Beaches →
In the land of Normandy on the flow of the River Seine, the Avalon Tapestry II continues a northwest heading down-river to our farthest docking point from Paris, Caudebec en Caux.
We are attuned to the hayfields being harvested everywhere, reminders that Claude Monet painted haystacks and cathedrals on the route now journeyed.
Haystacks today are rolled, not stacked as they were in the day of Monet.
Haystacks along the highway with modern art spirals in the background.
Tour guides and ship personnel are fully fluent in English, thus only bits of French language are learned. We gather that Caudebec en Caux rhymes with the English word for the grazing bovines seen in the Norman meadows. I sarcastically wonder if perhaps “Caudebec” is the word for “bus;” it seems everything to be seen from here is via motor coach, often at significant distance. Continue reading Day3: Abbeys, Honfleur →
Our first berth outside Paris is Vernon, where we clawed our way on a road under repair to Claude Monet’s gardens at nearby Giverny. This is his home, the second most visited tourist site in France, where every day people flock to see the magical inspiration that he termed his “greatest masterpiece.”
The “masterpiece” quote refers not to art, but rather the flowering gardens of beauty, color, and light nurtured by his own hand. He worked them as delicately as his canvas creations. Continue reading Day2: Monet, Monet →
Equipping myself for travel goes well beyond packing. The prelude to visiting France and the World War II D-Day landing beaches was a four-hour college professor’s seminar followed by 500 pages of Winston Churchill’s history.
On arrival day in Paris, attention is commanded by the city sights of the Seine, the Louvre, and Eiffel’s icon.
Continue reading Day1: Paris Stroll →
Winston Churchill’s Closing the Ring
- DougInNC book report
- “More than a Review”
Epic with a capital ‘E.’ You are there, in the moments that changed the world, peering out from inside the head of the peerless leader of Great Britain, Winston Churchill. Any review of this book should begin with the author’s name, not the title, because the source makes the material matter more.
“Closing the Ring” is a masterpiece for which my (lengthy) explanation is no substitute for the experience of reading the actual words by the actual man who lead the actual effort against Germany in World War II. If the size of the book is daunting, know that each chapter has its own table of contents so each topic can receive the focus the reader wishes to give it. Continue reading Book Report: “Closing the Ring” →
The Murder of Sonny Liston-by Shaun Assael
Author Assael delivers on two counts. The title suggests this is an investigative work, plus the pages pack a rich story as a complement. Pick your pleasure or appreciate both.
Most readers will pursue this work for the tale’s murder-mystery aspect. The depth and commitment to digging for facts are admirable. There is plenty of meat to chew, served in courses easily digested.
Will you be satiated, comprehending that Charles “Sonny” Liston might have met his fate at the hand of another, just as the writer suspects? The adventure ride to uncover his discoveries is worth the price of this ticket to the roller-coaster life of a legendary sports figure. Continue reading Book Review: “The Murder of Sonny Liston …” →
a Smile in One Eye, a Tear in the Other -by Ralph Webster
This work contains life. Author Ralph Webster puts the reader in the conversation of his father sharing day to day existence in Germany during the rise of Hitler. It is about making-do and the makings of history, about minutiae as well as major moments.
- (a day in the life) “Certain events are remembered for a lifetime. … Father’s fiftieth birthday in 1931 was one of those times.”
- (a historical turning point) “… the events of 1933 sowed the seeds that fundamentally changed our future.”
Hear the history and learn from it. By the 1930s one’s world was not contained by borders, perhaps something World War I delivered in an unkind way. Germany was not just connected to Europe, but now to America, Palestine, and even China. Fleeing did not mean simply crossing one border, making one excursion, or finishing one move. Continue reading Book Review: “a Smile in One Eye…” →
Why see it:
- Tender story
- More engaging live than on film
Waitress delivers a wonderful story. It is dramatic, touching, clever, original, and surprising. It transitions well from film to live action. But why, oh why, is this a musical? Nothing is enhanced by mixing tunes into this good drama.
Dare I be critical? What would the creative team say? Perhaps one would answer via song, or Sara-nade me:
- “Say what you wanna say
- And let the words fall out
- Honestly I wanna see you be brave.”
Continue reading Waitress -Musical by Sara Bareilles →
Children of Italy -by Christine Simolke
- DougInNC book report
- “More than a Review”
Draw me in. Set scenes with senses. Make me want more. Finish the story. This book does all that in wonderful fashion.
Christine Simolke’s “Children of Italy” is about being where you belong, and the journey taken by heart, mind, and body to get there.
The Falconi endeavor crosses an ocean to find their place in America. Family is foremost, with enthusiastic children, coming-of-age women, and adults who look to establish a proper home. Continue reading Book Report: “Children of Italy” →