Day #138 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Part 2 of the Palace of Versailles!!…

The famous Hall of Mirrors. This project was carried out by architect Jules Hardouin-Mansart and painter Charles Le Brun between 1678 and 1686.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 8, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos.
Stunning artwork is found on almost every wall in the palace.

News is distressing: the explosion in Beirut; the Air India plane crash in Kerala, India; the ongoing increase in cases of COVID-19 throughout the world, all resulting in horrific loss of life, livelihood, and a sense of well-being can easily spin any of us into a flurry of worry and concern.

This is a statue of Marie Antoinette who lived in the famous palace with her children.

This morning, dear friend Kathy (and Don), currently at their home in Oahu, Hawaii texted that the island is going back into extreme lockdown after an increase in cases when only weeks ago their numbers had been dwindling almost down to zero.

In the 40 years it took to build Versailles, thousands of workers were employed to participate in the process. Louis XIV not only lived in the palace but was instrumental in its massive renovation. 

Their previous relaxed lockdown has ended that allowed outdoor exercise and activities along with some restaurant dining has now resulted in a rapid increase in cases. As of today, they are in a full lockdown until the end of the month.

This portrait of Louis XIV.

This has been the case all over the world as more and more reduced lockdown measures have precipitated increases in cases and subsequent loss of life. There’s no easy answer. It all boils down to personal responsibility and caring for our fellow humans.

It was challenging to aim the camera toward the ceilings when there wasn’t enough elbow room for properly aiming the camera.

In our old lives, before COVID-19, if we developed a serious cold or virus, we wouldn’t go to work, to public places or spend time with friends and family. That is to say, most of us wouldn’t, preferring not to infect others. 

We believe this portrait is Louis XIV when he was young.
Why would this virus cause any less concern when it fact, based on its easy transfer from one person to another, you’d think one would tend to exercise even more caution. So, we’d think. 
Louis XIV had this statue made of himself dressed as a Roman Emperor to enhance his image.  He was of a short stature and wore tall wigs in order to enhance the appearance of his height.  Others in his court were forbidden to wear a wig as tall as his.

Well, you’ve heard enough about this today and much more over the past many months, from us, from the news and from friends, family and neighbors. We are all in the same spot, unable to predict what the future holds and how we can best protect ourselves and our loved ones, especially amid varying opinions from medical professionals.

King’s chamber and bed in the King’s apartment.

On another matter…our photos today are those taken from our post on this date, August 8, 2014 at this link. With more photos than we can post, we’ve selected a handful of our favorites from the interior of the Palace of Versailles in Paris, France. If you’d like to peruse the balance, please click the above link.

There were many photo taking tourists in the Hall of Mirrors.

As for today, not much is different than yesterday and the prior days. We’re healthy, safe and relatively content considering these ongoing unusual circumstances.

The Queen’s bed.

Stay safe, stay healthy and stay diligent.

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Photo from one year ago today, August 8, 2019:

Our final photo from Ireland posted on our last day. Goodbye, Ireland. Thanks for welcoming us and for being so beautiful! For more, please click here.

Day #137 in lockdown Mumbai, India hotel…More photos from Paris in 2014…Part 1 of the Palace of Versailles!!…

This is my favorite spot in the gardens of Versailles. We stood in the pouring rain without an umbrella for 90 minutes during the garden tour, keeping our camera in a plastic bag to stay dry. By the time we entered the interior of the palace, our clothes were soaked through. It was worth every moment.

Note: To all of our readers visiting our site via a smartphone, please click the “View web version” tab under the word, “Home” at the bottom of the page to access the web version enabling you to access all of our archives on the right side of the page. We’ll be updating our site shortly, making these extra steps unnecessary. Thank you. 

Today’s photos are from the post from August 7, 2014, while in Paris, France. See the link here for more photos from Part 1, Versailles. Tomorrow, we’ll share photos from Part 2.
Statue of Louis XIV at the entrance to the Palace of Versailles.

It’s hard to believe it was six years ago that we spent an entire day at the Palace of Versailles exploring as much of the stunning setting and property as we could in the pouring rain.

In the pouring rain, we walked all the way forward toward the palace only to discover we had to go to a side street to meet up with the tour group, another 10-minute walk. Also, the walk from the train station to the entrance was another 10-minute walk in the pouring rain.


We boarded the train across the road from our boutique hotel on a sunny morning with little concern with the weather. The reports looked good for a mostly sunny day.

The ornate gold embellished gates to the entrance to Versailles.


No sooner than we began the walk from the train station to the palace, it began raining. In no time at all, it was pouring and continued to rain for the remainder of the day, including the walk back to the train station and our hotel later in the day. 

Louis XIV had installed numerous fountains throughout the gardens when water was not readily available to turn them on. An intricate system was installed at the time to facilitate the running of the fountains at a huge sum of money. Then again, all of Versailles depicts vanity spending in excesses beyond one’s belief. 

We hadn’t brought along umbrellas, although we were wearing lightweight rain jackets with skimpy hoods which proved to be useless when they soaked through to our clothes.

The gardens went on and on for miles. On a nice day, it would have been marvelous to walk further into the garden on our own.

We’d booked a small group tour through Viator, which would ensure we’d avoid long lines to enter the palace. No doubt, this was achieved when we didn’t have to wait in long queues. 

The flowers were the most exciting part of the garden for me as well as the sculpted gardens shown here.

However, with thousands of visitors at the palace, even on the rainy day, once we entered the exquisite property, it was shoulder-to-shoulder tourists slowing the pace to a near crawl.

The flower gardens were interspersed with neatly trimmed evergreens.


We toured the gardens first, per our tour guide’s instructions for our small group, but literally sloshed in our clothes and shoes for the several hours it took to see everything indoors and eventually get back to our hotel.

Astounding view! The crane in the photo is in an area where the palace is under renovation.

We put aside the discomfort of our heavy wet clothing with water dripping down our faces from our wet hair and relished every single moment.

The colors in the garden were a treat to behold.


In essence, in looking back now, the rain added an element that, now as we look back, made the experience all the more memorable. A sunny day surely would have been more beneficial for the garden photos. 

Various pools adorned areas of the gardens.

We did the best we could under the circumstances, thrilled for the experience which ultimately proved to be one of our three favorite touring events while in Paris in this order: Palace of Versailles; gourmet cruise on the River Seine; and tour of Le Louvre, the most famous museum in the world. 

It took 45,000 workers many years to develop these gardens.

Photos of our other favorites, as mentioned above, will appear in future posts in the next several days. No doubt, Paris was an exceptional experience. Often, our readers assume we’re only enthralled with wildlife and nature. But, over the past almost eight years, we’ve often been in awe of many places we’ve visited without a single animal in sight. 

There were more areas to experience than the rain allowed us.  One could easily spend hours in the gardens weather providing.

Now, on day #137 in lockdown in this hotel in Mumbai, we’d enjoy seeing a tree, a market, or a flower, when in isolation we’re only seeing these four walls and the walls in the corridors.

The tour guide explained that all of these plants in pots are brought inside the palace into one of the largest greenhouses in the world, during the winter months.

A special thank you to many of our readers who sent us photos and stories of their own visits to Paris. We love hearing about your experiences. If we haven’t responded to you yet, please bear with us. We will soon as we work our way through the countless numbers of email messages.

Can you imagine the kings and queens walking this path while chatting?

Today, it’s raining again. The ceiling at the end of one of the corridors is falling down due to constant rain during the monsoon season. They keep repairing it to no avail. Surely, they’ll have to wait until the lockdown ends and construction workers can come to the property to make the necessary repairs. This doesn’t impact us one way or another.

Our tour guide explained that the design of this statue was poorly designed when the marble and bronze didn’t age well resulting in constant maintenance.

It’s time to get back out in the corridor for my next walk when most days I’m sticking to my 5-mile, 8-kilometer goal.


Have a pleasant day!

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Photo from one year ago today, August 7, 2019:

In Connemara, Ireland, as we wound down our 89-day stay we spotted this pretty cow and her horns. For more final photos and tally of total expenses, please click here.

Part 1…Versailles…A view inside another era…Another kind of life…Today the gardens…Tomorrow the interior…

This is my favorite place in the gardens of Versailles. 

The visit to Versailles was challenging, not for the faint of heart. It was pouring rain when we left the hotel on foot to walk a few blocks to the train and the rain continued long into the day and evening. 

The train station where we waited for the train to the Palace of Versailles.
Statue of Louis XIV at the entrance to the Palace of Versailles.

Since it was our first metro ride in Paris, we were slightly apprehensive and on the alert to be aware of potential pickpockets at the station. Once we boarded the proper train for the direct trip to Versailles with several stops taking approximately 25 minutes, we sat back and relaxed, certain we were on the correct train.

In the pouring rain, we walked all the way forward toward the palace only to discover we had to go to a side street to meet up with the tour group, another 10-minute walk. Also, the walk from the train station to the entrance was another 10-minute walk in the pouring rain.
The ornate gold embellished gates to the entrance to Versailles.

As we peered out the window of the train, it was evident that the rain wasn’t about to stop. Tom had read the weather report, with a 90% chance of rain. We have no idea why we forgot to bring an umbrella. Having pre-purchased the tour, we had no choice but to go to avoid losing the US $107, EU $80 we paid for the tickets.

Seeing the gardens of Versailles proved to be worth the over one hour of standing in the pouring rain.
In some ways, I wished we visited the palace at our own pace. We may have stayed for the same period, but we’d have been able to take better photos.

The rain was pelting down on us non-stop during the long waiting period to begin the pre-arranged tour when a few people hadn’t shown up.  Later, we discovered they’d been ripped off by a pickpocket at the entrance to the train station and had gone back to their hotel to cancel all of their credit cards. The man told Tom he’d had his wallet in his back pocket, a definite “no-no.”

The palace itself always created a stately backdrop to our outdoor photos.
Louis XIV had installed numerous fountains throughout the gardens when water was not readily available to turn them on. An intricate system was installed at the time to facilitate the running of the fountains at a huge sum of money. Then again, all of Versailles depicts vanity spending in excesses beyond one’s belief. Tom said, “That’s not unlike the governments of most countries.”

As a result of their late arrival, we waited outside in the rain over a period of no less than 20 minutes when Versailles was too packed to enter. The crowds were unreal. Our guide explained it is getting out of control when now over four million visitors come to Versailles each year, an increase of one million from only a few years ago.

The gardens went on and on for miles. On a nice day, it would have been marvelous to walk further into the garden on our own.
Raindrop on the lens as I shot this photo of the great expanse of the gardens.

Crowds? We always cringe at the thought of crowds. It was so crowded as we slowed made our way from one room to the next in the massive palace, where we spent over four hours, it was literally body to body, at times not moving at all. 

A few parts of the garden were plain and unassuming. The remainder was opulent.
The flowers were the most exciting part of the garden for me as well as the sculpted gardens shown here.

Add the soaking wet clothing, hair, and water running down our faces, it was not an ideal scenario. Luckily, Tom had suggested we bring our hooded parkas, but even they couldn’t keep us dry especially around the head and face when our hoods wouldn’t stay up easily. We had no umbrella

Flower gardens were interspersed with neatly trimmed evergreens.

Tom and I held wet and dripping hands on the hour-long walk through the gorgeous gardens, still lovely in the rains. I’d quickly remove the camera from my pocket, take a few fast photos, try to dry it off on the inside of my jacket putting it quickly back into the pocket to avoid getting it soaked as well. 

Astounding view! The crane in the photo is in an area where the palace is under renovation.
We can only imagine how much more appealing our photos would have been on a sunny day.

Thus, our outdoor photos aren’t of the quality we’d expected when rainwater was running onto my contact lenses causing my vision to blur. Also, the wet lens automatic lens cover didn’t open fully resulting in dark edges in some of our photos. We could edit these but, with all of our daily plans and postings, we don’t have time.

The colors in the garden were a treat to behold.

After over an hour in the garden, we finally made our way inside the palace into the mob. Many comments we’d read online suggested different times of the day or days of the week best to visit Versailles but, we couldn’t imagine that any time would be better than the other. It’s always mobbed.

Various pools adorned areas of the gardens.

Our French tour guide spoke reasonably good English as we followed her raised pinkish flower from room to room in the palace. We wore earbuds attached to a small receiver to pick up the sound of her voice which we kept inside our pants during the time we spent outdoors.

45,000 workers spent many years developing these gardens.

At times, we were too far away to hear our guide when the crowd literally moved us along. Overall, she did a great job considering the circumstances. Had it not been a rainy day, it would have completely changed the nature of the tour. Then again, had it been a hot day, that may have been as equally trying.

There were more areas to experience than the rain allowed us. One could easily spend hours in the gardens weather providing.

Aside from that, the palace is beyond one’s imagination. We’ve seen snippets of Versailles in various shows such as “John Adams” which was presented in a series a few years ago on HBO and also in other period piece movies. In any case, it still was all the more magnificent in person.

The tour guide explained that all of these plants in pots are brought inside the palace into one of the largest greenhouses in the world during the winter months.

The gardens? Oh, my! Awe-inspiring. Then on to the palace, its bedrooms, the Hall of Mirrors, and many other rooms, hallways, and stairways, all of which presented their own unique presence and ambiance. It was a joy to behold.

At a distance, some of the fountains were running although difficult to see in this photo.
We longed to be able to walk this area on a sunny day.

Today, we’ll share a portion of the photos. Tomorrow, we’ll finish with the balance. There simply are too many photos to post on one day. Yesterday’s presentation of the museum photos was challenging when I tried posting so many at one time. It’s tricky manipulating more than 10 photos in a single post especially with the slow Wifi signal such as we have here in Paris at our hotel.

Can you picture the kings and queen walking this path while chatting?
Our tour guide explained that the design of this statue was poorly considered when the marble and bronze don’t age well together resulting in a lot of maintenance.

So, here we are, dear readers, Versailles in its full, albeit rainy, crowded glory. Who knew this quiet couple from a sleepy town in Minnesota would have such stories to tell?

There were many fences and decorative items that included real gold finishes.
As we left the palace to make our way back to the train station.

                                           Photo from one year ago today, August 7, 2013:

On this date, we heard the news that there had been a huge fire at the airport in Nairobi, Kenya. We had a long flight scheduled to travel to Kenya on September 1, 2013, with two layovers, luckily neither of which stopped in Nairobi. We were apprehensive about the risks in Kenya and this incident exacerbated those concerns with the rampant political unrest. We arrived safely without incident. More on this harrowing flight when we post details on September 1st.

9/2/13 – Departure   2 stops
Total travel time: 15 h 25 m
custom air icon
Venice
Istanbul
2 h 25 m 
VCE  10:45am
IST  2:10pm  
Terminal I
 
Turkish Airlines 1868
Economy/Coach (S) | Confirm seats with the airline *
Layover: 4 h 5 m
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Istanbul
Kilimanjaro
6 h 55 m   3,110miles
IST  6:15pm
JRO  1:10am +1 day  
 
Turkish Airlines 673
Economy/Coach (S) | Confirm seats with the airline *
Layover: 1 h 0 m
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Kilimanjaro
Mombasa
1 h 0 m   180miles
JRO  2:10am
MBA  3:10am   , Arrives on 9/3/13
 
Turkish Airlines 673
Economy/Coach (S) | Confirm seats with the airline *