Seine River /Paris 2018

September 12-22, 2018

Our adventures took 21 travelers from Paris to Normandy with a return to Paris. On our cruise ship the Amadeus Diamond, many stops and excursions were offered to such delightful ports and cities as Conflans, Rouen, the Abby Trail, Etetat, Honfleur, the Normandy Beaches, fascinating Normandy, the Chateau Gaillard, the home of Giverny and the Palace of Versailles. We concluded with 2 breathtaking nights in The City of Lights, Paris!

Our beautiful home for 7 nights...the Amadeus Diamond of the Lueftner Cruise Lines
Wednesday, September 12 - We depart Schreiner's Parking lot for O'Hare airport
Sue and Dave Peters of Oconomowoc, Bugs Johnson & Mary Jo Keating of FDL, 
are all smiles as they get set to leave. All have traveled with Someday Travel a multiple of times with Mary Jo enjoying her 7th trip with us
Kathy & Bob Rundle, or drive Bob Dille and Sara Drinane of St. Paul.MN help load
Alan & Jeanne Nordstrom of St. Paul, MN with Joni Greenfield and Gary Greenfield in rear talking to Wayne Graczyk are ready for their 8th trip with Someday Travel.
September 13, 2018 - Arrive in Paris
We arrive and take an orientation tour of Paris. Marie Rumage of Mt. Pleasant , WI, in front of the fabulous Arc de Triomphe
First time travelers with us were Greg and Barb Deer of FDL.
Jeanne Pethan of Sheboygan enjoys the Arc. She has traveled with Someday Travel 5 times.
Couldln't miss the most famous icon in the world, the Eifel Tower. Left to right:
Marie Rumage, Bob Rundle, Sara Drinane, Jeanne Pethan, Bill Drinane, Ginny & Jim Gilmore (in white hat), Joan Chiconas of New Berlin, Barb and Greg Deer, Jeanne Nordstrom, Joni Greenfield & Valerie Graczyk
Mary Jo Keating, Sue and Dave Peters
Before reaching the cruise ship we stopped for lunch.
Valerie Graczyk, Ginny Gilmore, Barb Deer. Greg Deer. Jim Gilmore

Our traveling hotel, the Amadeus Diamond was waiting for us at the dock in Paris
Ginny & Jim Gilmore, Bugs Johnson, Joni Greenfield, Sara Drinane,
Gary Greenfield and Bill Drinane

Kathy & Bob Rundle, Jeanne and Alan Nordstrom and Mary Jo Keating
We were on board enjoying the luxury the ship offered while
waiting for  our luggage to be delivered to our cabins.

Jeanne Pethan and Joan Chiconas
Gary & Joni Greenfield, Sara Drinane. Alan & Jeanne Nordstrom, Bill Drinane and Wayne Graczyk
Sue and Dave Peters and Mary Jo Keating
Dave Peters, Mary Jo Keating & Bugs Johnson
As we depart Paris we cruise along the Seine River enjoying interesting sights
Yes there is a replica of our Statue of Liberty along the Seine River. The French honor and recognize America for all they did to liberate them in WW II.
Other cruise ships pass by as we traveled to Normandy
Sue Peters simply enjoyed the view from the back of the ship.

Jeanne Nordstrom, Joan Chiconas, Jeanne Pethan & Joni Greenfield enjoy some wine prior to the traditional Welcome Dinner.
The ship's crew is introduced to the delight of all on board
A toast to the crew. Alan Nordstrom, Bill & Sara Drinane
Maris Rumage is ready to join us for the Welcome dinner
Each meal for the trip were 4 course meals cooked and baked for that particular day
and all were fantastic according to the travelers

But while the meal was wonderful, somehow Bob Rundle and Greg Deer didn't get into the welcome dinner pictures but Barb and Kathy didn't miss it, nor did Bob's camera
And thus ended day one of our fantastic voyage.
September 14, 2018 - Conflans - Auvers-Sur-Olse

Every cruise, whether River or Big Ship begin with a mandatory Fire Evacuation Drill. Here Ginny Gilmore and Valerie Graczyk show their happiness for this exercise. Notice Jim Gilmore trying to avoid the scene in the background.
Be sure to ask Jeanne Pethan and Joan Chiconas to share an absolutely humorous story about the Fire Drill. I promised not to tell it but didn't promise not to mention it.
While some took the excursion to Auvers-sur-Oise, most just took the liberty of walking about Conflans, which means the confluence of the rivers Oise and the Seine. Valerie Graczyk shown outside the historic walls of the Castle of Prieure.
 The town market seems to have some delightful candies that were so hard to resist.
Church Saint Maclou, Conflans

Inside church - being restored completely

Records show that Pope Alexander III wore this vestment to say mass at this site

Bob Rundle, w/Kathy hidden, Greg Deer and Barb Deer walking about Conflans. It was their initial walking adventure of any length in France.
Returning from their short sojourn around Conflans and ready to board ship.
Happy to return to the comforts of the ship, and dinner.
Alan Nordstrom, Gary Greenfield and Jeanne Nordstrom return with a story about a beautiful church that was being restored, St. Maclou, shown above.
September 15, 2018 - City of Rouen  - City has about 111,000 habitants.

Wayne Graczyk with Gothic Cathedral of Rouen (Notre Dame Cathedral) which was completed over a 300 year period. Claude Monet lived for a time opposite the cathedral.
 Joan Chiconas
Greg and Barb Deer
Bugs Johnson and Mary Jo Keating standing under the famous astronomic clock which lays on a Renaissance Arch in the old town of Rouen.
Jeanne Pethan - The arch has spanned the street since 1527
Greg and Barb Deer. The dial's diameter is 2.5 meters. A single hand ending with a depiction of a lamb shows the hour.
Valerie & Wayne Graczyk. The moon phases are indicated in the center above the clock  face, in a sphere of 90 centimeters in diameter
Sara & Bill Drinana, Alan and Jeanne Nordstrom, Joni & Gary Greenfield. It completes a full rotation in 29 days. There is also a hand showing the week. The mechanism of the clock is one of the oldest in Europe.
Church of St. Jeanne d' Arc stands in the Old Market Square. It does not seem to fit in with the half-timbered houses of the square. Built in 1979 is was not well received due to its too modern look in the square.
The architect moved in stain glass windows from the church of St.Vincent which was destroyed in 1944. As a result people warmed up and have accepted it now.
Just outside the church is a monument commemorating Jeanne d'Arc who was burned here in 1431. Her remains were dumped into the River Seine so the river is called the
burial plot of St. Jeanne d'Arc.
Right across from St. Jeanne d' Arc is the LaCouronne, the oldest restaurant in France
Bugs Johnson and Mary Jo Keating standing in front of the LaCouronne restaurant

Excursion continued to the Abby Trail - We  visited the Jumieges Abbey and Saint Wandrille de Fontenelle which is still an active abbey.
Our guide explained that the purpose of an Abbey was for people seeking sanctuary from the temptations of the world. The Abbey of St. Benedict was most popular since there was no hierarchy, all monks were equal since on the outside there was a world of nobles and those on the bottom with no chance to be equal to others above them.
Vikings didn't believe in their God so destroyed all.  One point the guide made was the Norman's never destroyed or got rid of anything useful, no matter the age.

Our guide was an interesting dresser but sure knew his history.
Valerie standing in front of the entrance of the remains of the Jumieges Abbey
Mary Jo Keating inside the destroyed Abbey
Valerie Graczyk, Ginny Gilmore and Mary Jo Keating
Jim Gilmore and Wayne Graczyk waiting outside the gift shop

The monks at the active abbey prayed and vowed if their Abbey was not destroyed again they would build a church by hand, which they did
Dave Peters and Bugs Johnson walking across what had been the living quarters
for the monks at St. Wandrille.
September 18 - Etretat and Honfleur

Our group separated into two groups going to 2 different sites, both overlooking the English Channel. Our group took these little Cho Cho trains to the top. The cliffs steal the show at Etretat. Erosion has created extraordinary arches in the chalk. They were breathtaking and enjoyed by all.
Valerie and Wayne Graczyk overlooking the arches from above.
Barb & Greg Deer, Joan Chiconas, Jeanne Pethan and Valerie Graczyk
Bugs Johnson & Mary Jo Keathing

From down on beach at Etretat. See the green on top of the cliff?  That is a golf course which seems rather tough if you get too close to the edge.
Honfleur Tour - Newest building in the town was over 100 years old.

Kathy & Bob Rundle, Valerie Graczyk. This shop sold spices from Madagascar
Seems like a church service but only in a church listening to our guide in Honfleur. Gary Greenfield, Alan Nordstrom, Joni Greenfield, Jeanne Nordstrom and Jim Gilmore.
Bricks and stones of different shapes and colors the result of reusing the stones. Remember that the Normans would always reuse things if possible.
The old harbor, where Samuel de Champlain sailed from in 1608 and founded Quebec
September 17 - NORMANDY - We think this day was the reason most went on this trip. Two options were given: One was touring Fascinating Normandy and the other was full day D Day Battlefield tour. 
D Day, June 1944. Words could never describe what occurred that infamous day. Some thoughts gleaned from this visit were:
*Normandy was chosen by Allies since it would be least suspected by the Germans.
*General Patton was assigned away from Normandy since German's felt he would lead any attack
*Allies had fake air attacks to miss lead the Germans.
*Spies were sent in with fake information meant to be captured by the Germans.
*Mini Subs from  Britain explored the coast of Normandy to find most suitable place to attack
*Only 16% of the ships deployed at Normandy were American
*Tide a critical factor. Had to attack when tide was out.
*225 rangers were deployed early to take-out the canons on top of the ridges. Only 95 survived
*32 armored personnel carriers were to land but only 3 made it to shore.
*Without the  knowledge of the Allies a new division of German soldiers arrived the day b4 attack
*Due to inclement weather the bombers missed the beach area and bombed a nearby village.
*Rommel said that if the Allies set foot on soil they would lose the war.
*and on and let's see some pictures.

Bill Drinane standing by memorial marking the landing of American Troops
An original canon from 1944. Actually built in 1917 but still effective and
could fire shells from a distance of 7-12 miles.
Our touring group standing in front of a bunker above the beach where  American soldiers landed.
Left to right: Wayne Graczyk, Kathy/Bob Rundle, Jeanne/Alan Nordstrom, Jeanne Pethan, Dave Peters, Sara Drinane, Marie Rumage, Greg Deer, Sue Peters, Jim Gilmore, Barb Deer, Joni /Gary Greenfield, Bill Drinane and Bugs Johnson

Bob Rundle overlooking tunnel entrances that connected all the bunkers
Bomb craters were left as is from the war
Sara and Bill Drinane
Joni and Gary Greenfield on point overlooking where American troops landed on Omaha Beach
This is the actual bunker from which a scene was shot for "The Longest Day" movie. This movie was only one about D Day that was actually filmed in Normandy.
The actual bunker where the movie showed a German soldier looking out on D Day and  reporting to his superiors that he was seeing hundreds of  ships on the horizon
Outside view of the same bunker
Sara Drinane and Bob Rundle at point of attack at Omaha Beach
Greg Deer just pondering this fantastic site
Sobering picture of three of the frontal attacks made in Normandy, Omaha and Utah the American points of attack. There were 3,774 casualties out of 38,000 troops. In all the beach was captured in 3 days mostly because the Germans ran out of ammunition.
Entrance to the American cemetery in Normandy. There are 9,386 buried in the cemetery.
Bob and Kathy Rundle in American cemetery
 This part was very sobering.
Alan and Jeanne Nordstrom at the overlook that housed a canon in the war. Omaha Beach in background to left.
Bill Drinane and Bob Rundle walk amongst the many gravesites. Only the name of soldier and the state he came from were on cross. DOB were not included since there were hundreds of soldiers that lied about their age and entered at ages 14-17 so discretion was used in identifying them
Maris Rumage on the overlook at the American cemetery
Bugs Johnson on the overlook
We stopped for lunch at the Omaha Beach Golf Course and Alan Nordstrom had the urge to hit a ball so this cooperative golfer lent him his club. Nice form Alan!
Bill Drinane couldn't resist walking on the practice green.
Back to the ship for a special surprise dinner, at least for Kathy & Bob Rundle

A surprise 50th Wedding Anniversary cake with a rocket as well.
This night we had a ship wide raffle and a show put on by the staff themselves, including the captain signing a solo. Barb, Sara and Valerie got into the spirit of France
Joan, Jeanne and Alan whooping it up
More subdued are Bill and Greg. Probably sharing golf stories
Jeanne,  Mary Jo and Joni just relaxing from a day's touring
September 18 - Giverny and Palace of Versailles




At the day's end we enjoyed a special Captain's Gala Dinner with toasts for everyone and introductions of all staff making our trip so enjoyable. 

 Our lst Captain sang beautifully and joined his excellent crew and staff in presenting us with a very relaxing and fun filled evening.
Barb and Greg enjoyed it as well
Jeanne, Bugs and Mary Jo joined it with plenty of applause
Ginny, Joni, Gary and Alan show their appreciation
Almost forgot Jim in last picture
Joan, Valerie and Jeanne were just a pleased with the festivities
A group toast from us to our captain, 7th from left
A special thank you to our ship's cruise director and associate on right.
A group picture for memories for years to come.

Our final day on board was a free day in Paris then an evening Night Illumination cruise along the Seine


September 20 - Leave ship for tours of the Louvre and then Montmartre before going to our hotel, just blocks away from the Eiffel Tower.



On Montmartre for a relaxing 2nd stop in Paris
An art center at top of Montmartre

Everyone went their own way. Barb and Greg and Wayne went off to visit Notre Dame and go to the top of the Arc de Triomphe
From the top of the Arc de Triomphe, with the Eiffel Tower behind them
We walked up and down. Greg counted 294 steps up but only 274 on way down. Umm? I had a similar count in my last visit to Paris.
This is what it looked like going down from the top of the Arc
Valerie had a bucket list visit. We ate up in the Eiffel Tower restaurant, a long time dream come true after 4 previous visits to Paris.

September 22, 2018 we ended our sojourn with tons of memories and new friends or renewed friendships. There were so many, many pictures so we will end with a compilation of pictures that hopefully capture the experience we had.









Au revoir
We hope you join again on a future trip.
Valerie and Wayne

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