A Sad, Gray Paris

Dear friends,

We are back in Paris after our river cruise on the Danube.  The traffic yesterday from the airport, because of the closing of the expressway by the river, was chaotic and resulted in a very long and expensive cab ride. There has been a prix fix or fixed price fare from the airport but that has been placed on hold as best we could understand from our cabbie.  Everywhere he tried to turn was either closed or so jammed he couldn’t enter, so after many twists and turns we finally made our way down St. Antoine.

I know the first thing on everyone’s minds is the flooding situation so here are a few pics we took last night along our small portion of the river near Pont Marie bridge.  The Seine was 19 feet above normal and expected to crest tonight. This has been the wettest May in France in over 100 years. The area you are looking at below with the metal canopy is a restaurant!  There were flocks of people coming to the river to take a look. Of course, none of the small tourist cruise ships are running since they can’t clear the many bridges of Paris.  image image image image

Now that we are back in our usual nook with pretty good Wi-Fi, I will try to catch up on our pictures along the Danube.

First are some shots from the beautiful Danube Gorge between Passau and Vienna.image image image imageimage image image

Statue of Richard, the Lion-Hearted

Statue of Richard, the Lion-Hearted

Castle where Richard, the Lion-Hearted was imprisoned.

A church made in the image of the famous Miacent china

A church made in the image of the famous Meissen china

Our tour in this area of the Göttweig Abbey was one of our best. Sitting high above the river, it is a working Benedictine monastery with absolutely one of the loveliest churches we saw. It is 900 years old and located in the small city of Krems. Constructed in the 11th century, the abbey was nearly entirely ruined by fire in 1580. In 1728, the monastery burned down and then was reconstructed by Lucas von Hildebrandt, the emperor’s architect. In 2001, UNESCO dubbed the abbey a World Heritage Site. Approximately 50 monks currently live at the abbey. It has 26 hectares of vineyards, and wine-making is its biggest revenue producer along with a divine apricot nectar.

Exterior of the abbey

Exterior of the abbey

Altar of the church

Altar of the church

Church organ pipes

Church organ pipes

Close-up of altar

Close-up of altar

The pulpit

The pulpit

One of the Benedictine monks stopped to chat with us.  We ask him what the monks ate and he coyly said, "We eat from our wonderful restaurant, just like you would do." We were expecting dry bread and water!

One of the Benedictine monks stopped to chat with us. We asked him what the monks ate and he coyly said, “We eat from our wonderful restaurant, just like you would do.” We were expecting dry bread and water!

Tomorrow, we promise more flood pics and a tour of Vienna and Budapest.  For today, a little rest and catch-up time.

A bientôt

L & B