First an Apology
At last my late, late post! We are back home in Townsville staying at Karen & Stu’s place to house sit over Xmas. I still have Milan & Versailles to post (this blog post) then there’s the Western Front battlefields before we have R&R at Bali. Settling in here has thrown out our routine so instead of catching up I have fallen further behind. Hopefully I will regain momentum with this post. Sorry.
Regretfully we had to move on from Mantova but we did so with a heap of genealogy leads and a great friend in Luca. Further on we really didn’t see much of Milan as it was never meant as anything other than a halfway stop to Paris. As usual once we got there we wished for more time and heaps more energy. Fatigue was catching up with us so we limited our sight seeing to a location recommended by Luca.
Once in Milan we ‘trammed’ it to the Piazza Gae Aulenti, a modern centre of business with curved buildings, fountains and off to the side a pair of ‘green’ apartment buildings that look like a vertical jungle. Apart from morning coffee and a peek from the tram that’s about all we saw of Milan.
Scenic Train Journey
Milan was our last Italian city on this tour. From here we boarded a train for Paris via Lusanne, Switzerland. The route is very scenic. Vineyards cover some ridiculously steep slopes in the many valleys. There are several lovely lakes (think Lake Como and George Clooney) and to our surprise so many castles. But mostly it was the rugged beauty of the Swiss Alps that will stay in my mind. Once in Paris we checked straight in to our hotel at the airport where we were to pick up our hire car the next day.
Palace, Not Paris
Having visited Paris several years ago we had just one goal for the French capital this trip. The Palace Versailles has been on my bucket list for some time and that’s where we went. Regrettably we had arrived on shoulder season and the Palace itself was not open to the public. Just the same the Gardens were open although the fountains were being shut down for winter and the statues that adorn the gardens were mostly covered.
Huge Beautiful Gardens
In particular Apollo’s Fountain was being dismantled for a major restoration but it was still a magnificent sight. We hopped on a tourist ‘train’ to see some of the highlights simply because the gardens are too expansive to see on foot unless you have days to visit. There is one pair of selfies in this gallery both taken from the same spot. One shows the Palace in the distance the other the direct opposite direction looking down the Grand Canal. These should give you an idea of the size of the Palace grounds.
The Excess of the Aristocracy
Even with the partial closures the gardens are glorious. Then there’s the Palace where the excesses of Marie Antoinette and the French aristocracy bred the contempt of the French population. Shane and I thoroughly enjoyed our visit. We need to go back to see this wonder in full bloom. It was sunset to soon and we had to go but this is a brilliant location and another excuse to revisit Paris.
So that’s one more post done. I hope in my rush it makes some sort of sense. Keep an eye out for the next blog post when we hit the west coast of France and call in to see the battlefields of the Western Front. As usual I’ll leave you with the warning to watch for more posts to come.
That’s all for now
Garry & Shane