East of Paris Bookstore

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Moscow

St. Basil's Cathedral
That old Beetles song "Back in the USSR" is running through my jet-lagged head.  Actually, we're back in the Russian Federation in Moscow.  It has been a gap of more than a dozen years.  After one long, long walk from our hotel to St. Basil's and beyond, I can't help but notice how much this city has changed, grown, and developed.  Even arriving at Sheremtyevo airport was an unexpected pleasure: the physical plant, the passport control and the whole arrivals process were so much better than in my past experience.  People and things look bustling and rich.  Good for them!

But, shock of shocks, my iPhone does not work.  I never doubted that it would ... it has worked seamlessly (if expensively) in Western and Eastern Europe. I gather this is an example of bad ATT Wireless, which does not have contracts with the local cell phone carriers.  It was easy to find a store selling Apple products and another selling all kinds of mobile phones. They are more expensive here than back home ... sometimes a lot more expensive.  I ended up not buying one -- each of the nice young salesmen recommended I use Skype via the wireless at my hotel because that should turn out a lot cheaper.  Nice guys.


Entrance to Red Square


Saturday, June 23, 2012

Summer Reading

We're off tomorrow.  So I am spending time today downloading books to the Kindle App on my iPad.  Typically, Mr. Wonderful and I take a stack of books to read on our trips and we end up buying more wherever we land.  This time, however, I want to avoid the space that books take up in my luggage, not to mention the extra weight.

Here is my list so far:

How Will You Measure Your Life by Clayton M. Christensen

Istanbul Passage by Joseph Kanon

The Power of Habit by Charles Duhigg

The Templars by Barbara Frale

Mission to Paris by Alan Furst

Trans-Siberian Express by Warren Adler

As usual, I am taking a combination of mystery & intrigue plus self-improvement books: something fun and something serious.


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Travel Bug

Mr. Wonderful and I are leaving on another adventure in less than 10 days! I am thinking about packing -- packing light for a change. But I couldn't resist splurging on a new passport holder. Instead of stodgy black, I opted for shocking pink at One Kings Lane, my morning email temptation.

Since our trip will be a combination of exotic and "roughing" it, I am thinking about taking old clothes that I can get rid of along the way since laundering one more time will not be worth it. I'm justifying this idea with the thought that it will give me space for souveniers and I won't have to buy another piece of luggage (as seems usual).

Stay tuned.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

StairMaster

I have not been blogging much since coming home from Paris. I wrote a post with lots of photos from a fabulous lunch at the Hotel Meurice, then one day the whole thing just disappeared -- text and photos but not comments.  It made me wonder, why bother?  Why not just eat bonbons at home and not share my adventures.

The bonbon eating, not to mention travel eating, got a bit out of hand.  Mr. Wonderful  positively threatened me with a "StairMaster" and with bikes.  Yikes!


But then he made it all better with flowers at my favorite hotel, the Georges V.



P.S.  The post about that fabulous lunch has been resuscitated.  The photos are just as good as they were before, the text less so.  Please go here to check it out.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

D-Day



Pointe du Hoc
June 6 -- the Normandy Invasion -- never to be forgotten, always to be admired.

Visiting the battlefields of Normandy should be on everyone's Bucket List.  Today the land is peaceful and lovely.  Signs along the coastal roads clearly mark the way to the legendary Omaha, Utah, Juno and Sword beaches.  Small museums preserve photos and uniforms, and helpful guides explain the hour by hour events of so many years ago.
The whole experience is moving and informative -- especially for diehard history buffs like Mr. Wonderful and me.
Omaha Beach
From the American cemetery  at Coleville-sur-Mer you can walk down to the beach that saw so much heroism, so much death.  The very symmetry and white marble of the markers is chilling, dignified and peaceful.
American Cemetery at Coleville













We stepped closer to see a name on one of the crosses and read: "Here rests in honored glory a comrade in arms known only to God."   We thanked him as tears fell.

Eglise Ste. Marie












The nearby village of Sainte-Mère-Église was the first town to be liberated.  It is featured in the film The Longest Day, which shows paratrooper John Steel getting his parachute caught on the church steeple and hanging there while fighting went on below him.  A silk chute still flutters of the steeple in remembrance.


The coastal town of Arromanches-les-Bains has the largest local museum and is a good stop for lunch.


The museum shows a film, houses old uniforms and weapons and models of the Mulberry bridges that were so important an setting up the artificial harbor and supply lines.












And, in Bayeux, famous for its magnificent tapestry, we found the British cemetery.

The inscription on the top of the entrance is particularly ironic and evidence of both dry Brit humor and of a long memory.  It references the conquest of England by William of Normandy in 1066 at the Battle of Hastings and says (translated from Latin):  We who were conquered by William have now liberated the country of the conqueror.  Double-click on the photo below to see a close-up of the inscription.

British Cemetery at Bayeau:
NOS A GUILIELMO VINCTI VICTORIS PATRIAM LIBERAVIMUS

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