I have returned home now, and no matter what my connections, that trip back to Hawaii is l-o-o-o-o-o-o-o-n-g! (over 24 hours). The only thing I regret is that I left my jacket at Charles de Gaulle Paris airport security, and didn’t realize it until I started getting cold on the plane. By the time I got to San Francisco, my nose was frozen solid and I ended up buying a sweater in the SFO airport.
So far I have only shared a few of my hundreds of photos from this trip, and as I was looking through my camera roll, I realized that there were still some that I would like to post on this blog. For example, one cannot go to France without savoring every bite of French food, and of course, I took photos of many of my meals. I already shared pictures of what we ate at the group dinner, but here are some photos from other meals. (Yes, I did eat quiche lorraine at several meals—after all, we were in the Lorraine region!)
We encountered a number of graveyards adjacent to churches, and I was most interested to find marble memorial plaques sitting loose on top of the graves, labeled “À notre tante” (To our aunt), “Notre frère” (Our brother), “Souvenir” (Memory), etc. At the Église Saint Georges in Taintrux, we saw many graves supposedly abandoned and in very bad shape, even the ones made of stone and marble! Apparently, it is the responsibility of the families to maintain the graves, and if the family line dies out or moves away, there is no one left to care for these memorials. One of them even was a “Leaning Tower of Pisa!’ because it was practically falling over.
The flowers we saw planted by the roadside were simply amazing. Bear in mind that these were just flowers planted in public places—I wonder who takes care of them?
I had trouble in France posting some of my very short videos, many of them under a minute each, of some of the organs we heard and other scenes (you Facebook users saw a few of these already).
In just about every single church we went to, in order to get to the organ in the gallery required that you give up your claustrophia and fear of heights, and climb up the steep spiral stairway. Here’s an example of a short climb (most of the organs had twice or three times the number of steps).
The reception we got from the local townspeople was simply amazing, which included visits from the local town mayors and newspaper photographers. I had mentioned in a previous post that the local schoolchildren were so excited at the sight of our tour bus, seemingly a rarity in those small towns. At Domgermain, they even rang the church bells at our arrival, which were not part of the church service which was long over.
Here’s a short clip from Talange Église Jésus-Ouvrier where you can hear the Italian-style organ and its wild tuning. It’s part of Christophe Mantoux’s demonstration of the organ for us.
Here you can see the beautiful countryside as seen from the church in Deneuvre.
Christophe is demonstrating the Église Saint Maximin in Thionville in two short videos here.
And here I’m playing Couperin at the Collégial Saint Rémi in Fénétrange.