Eric found a carousel of holiday slides from 1981 at Goodwill. It is always fascinating to see what changes and what stays the same. Often it is only the clothing that would give away the date of the photo.
Arriving at Centraal Station.
Always a familiar sight
Ravensbrück Memorial, Museumplein.
Despite traversing the Museumplein surely hundreds of times I’m embarrassed to say I never noticed this monument.
A Willy Blees sculpture.
Fishing? I know there are fish in the canals, but…
In the late 1950s film jukeboxes were all the rage in France. These jukeboxes, called Scopitones, were supposedly made from surplus WWII airplane parts and played 16mm film reels. The Scopitones made it across the pond in 1964 and made their U.S. debut in the late lamented Ambassador Hotel.
This early French Scopitone from 1958 takes us to the Porte des Lilas Metro Station in 1958 and Serge Gainsbourg acts as the poinçonneur or ticket puncher.
It’s lots of fun and even shows the first and second class cars that are no longer in service. —Eric See
Bucharest, Romania is an ancient city that combines a rich history, communist era urban renewal, and 21st century capitalism. It is a city of many faces and most definitely a city in transition.
Centuries of religious architecture are embedded within the 20th century city.
However, much of the city was rebuilt with rather stark communist era apartment blocks.
With the arrival of capitalism an overlay of sometimes exuberant advertising adorns the city.
Parliament Palace (formerly known as the People’s Palace) is the world’s second largest building and dominates the Bucharest landscape. Dictator Nicolae Ceausescu demolished a large sector of the old city for this 1980s era modernist-rococo mash-up, it’s grounds, and sprawling parking lots.
Bucharest’s surviving 19th century buildings are getting a make-over as hip cafes and shops move into the neighborhood.
With limited public transit and an explosion of traffic, taxi drivers get around with a little help from their friends—the Saints.
A truly wonderful way to experience the Loire Valley is to stay in one of the magnificent Chateaux. Fortunately, a number of these take overnight guests, and one of the best is the Chateau de La Verrerie. Located on the easternmost edge of the Loire near the small village of Aubigny-sur-Nere, it’s a gem. You drive deeper into the countryside until you reach a private road with a gatehouse. And there, at the end of a long road, sitting in splendid isolation at the edge of large lake, stands this ancient chateau.
The chateau is quite magnificent and the bedrooms rather grand. The rooms are large and elegant, but also quirky—seeming very much like bedrooms in a grand manor house rather than hotel rooms. Most of the second floor is given over to large high-ceilinged guestrooms with expansive views, while the main floor contains the historic rooms and art treasures. The owners live in a wing connecting the main house with the chapel. The chateau is mainly of a renaissance style, with some bits of leftover gothic—a grand gothic private chapel and fortified front wall with gate. There’s a large lake to one side, and the fortified wall on the lakeside collapsed some time ago and was not rebuilt—affording the courtyard a charming view. Your hosts are the Comte and Comtesse de Vogüé. You may see the count out strolling with his black Lab behind the family wing of the house. He might even host a pre-dinner cocktail.
While at the Chateau you can stroll the grounds, or borrow a bicycle, or even take a rowboat out on the lake. You can drive to Sancerre and sample the famous wines and spectacular views from this hilltop town. There are also charming villages quite nearby, or you can enjoy a game of Cluedo in the one of the comfortable lounges filled with books and board games (TV reception is non-existent and although wifi has been installed, it’s no match for the chateau’s thick stone walls.)
Dinner is at La Maison d’ Hélene, the little restaurant in a cottage on the chateau grounds. They serve quite good, seasonal, regional fare, and dinner gives one an opportunity for a look at the other guests of the chateau, where those with a flair for the imaginative may get the feeling of having been cast as minor characters in a gothic murder mystery!
Nighttime brings total darkness and silence to the Chateau. It is remote enough that there are no lights on the horizon and the stars are incredible–the brightest stars are dazzling and you can even see the bands of the milky way.
Morning brings croissants and homemade jam amid the antiques of the breakfast room while the resident black lab begs for scraps. You can also opt to take the guided tour of the Chateau’s main rooms and treasures.
We’ve stayed at the Chateau de La Verrerie several times over the past decade, and never failed to be enchanted each time.