The city of Bayeux, in the province of Normandy, France, has three main tourist attractions. The first is a famous tapestry that tells the events surrounding the Battle of Hastings in 1066, William, Duke of Normandy’s successful campaign to invade and take over England. William became king of England, later passing the throne to his son Henry. This tapestry is about 68.3 m/224 ft long and no photography of the actual tapestry is allowed. I was able to take photos of reproductions of sections of the embroidery in the gift shop.
A more accurate description is that the Bayeux Tapestry is “narrative embroidery” – it was hand embroidered on linen by various embroiderers in the late 11th century. It contains 9 panels of linen cloth joined together, containing text as well as pictures. It was commissioned by the Bishop of Bayeux (and William’s half-brother) for display in the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, consecrated in 1077. (More information about the Bayeux Tapestry can be found at The Bayeux Tapestry: the epic adventure of William the Conqueror in 1066.)
The cathedral is the second main attraction in Bayeux, with its beautiful stained glass windows, a variety of interesting embellishments and details, and its variety of doors. Below are photos of the Cathedral of Notre Dame of Bayeux, featuring the doors for Norm’s Thursday Doors.
The cathedral was built in the 11th-12th centuries in the Gothic style, and was dedicated in the presence of William the Conqueror in 1077. It was the first home of the Bayeux tapestry.
Approach to the front entrance:
William and his beloved wife, Mathilde, are carved on the cathedral’s main doorway. The main entrance from the inside:
One of the smaller doorways that flank the main entrance:
Spectacular stained glass windows:
Interior gate leading to the gift shop
There are many carvings and interesting Norman-era embellishments in the nave. These were completed at the beginning of the 12th century.
Across from the cathedral is a small square.
More doors and a gateway that we discovered on our walk back to our car.
We passed this old-fashioned water mill.
We parked on the edge of Bayeux’s beautiful botanic gardens, and it is possible to reach the city’s center via walking trails through the gardens, but we were unable to spend the time to admire them, because we were on our way to Mont St.-Michel.
Tonight was to be our last night on our lovely dahabeya, the Aida, so there was a celebration. When we returned from the Daraw livestock market, of course, the steward had cleaned our room as he did every day. Anyone who has been on a cruise knows about towel art: you come back to your stateroom to find a creation on your bed using towels. Today mine was these lovely swans, whose heads bent together form a heart.
Dale’s was different: The towels were in the shape of an ankh, to match the one he had received from the crate maker the previous day.
It also seems to be standard practice to make an ape on the last day. The ape was hanging in the hallway! Ahmed, the towel artist (our steward) poses with his creation here, with toilet paper hanging down – maybe to represent a sort of tree rope?
The cooks had made a special cake and other special desserts for us on New Year’s Eve.
Tonight the crew prepared a fabulous dinner (as they had every night!); not to be outdone on New Year’s Eve, this was our dessert tonight!
During dinner, they came in singing and dancing, accompanied by tambourines.
Everybody loved the crew – they had been so nice and friendly, not to mention efficient in making us comfortable for the last five days!
It was sad to have to leave the next morning, so on our last afternoon and evening, we enjoyed the view.
We were up early the next morning, and were greeted by this beautiful sunrise.
Now we looked forward to the last days of our journey to Egypt – Aswan and Abu Simbel!
I was looking forward to the next portion of our trip – a 5-day cruise on the Nile, aboard a 16-passenger dahabeya – in other words, a private ship for our OAT group of 14 people including our guide plus 14 crew members! This dahabeya, called Aida, is one of only two such boats owned and operated by Overseas Adventure Travel. Aida is the newer of the two and has only been in operation for a few months.
You know how a new car has a “new” smell? Well, the Aida had a “new ship” smell – primarily of the wood used to build it. It was wonderful! Even more wonderful was that shortly after we boarded, we were served lunch in our private dining area!
Before lunch, we had time to freshen up in our staterooms – there are only 8 or 10 of these and each is named for an Egyptian goddess. Our stateroom was #4, named Hathor.
I had not slept well in either hotel we’d stayed in up until then (this often happens to me in hotels) so I was very tired. First thing I did when we got into our stateroom was curl up on my bed and take a nap!
Within a half hour, it was time for lunch. Aida has a small dining area with a panoramic view of the Nile and surrounding countryside.
We cruised for a few hours to el Hegz Island on the Nile’s east bank, where we docked and went ashore. Here are some views from Aida‘s deck while we were cruising.
El Hegz is an island with mostly farms, but there is also a small village. We were given a tour by one of the farmers.
Transportation on the island is by bike or donkey, although there are a few motorized vehicles.
The residents are very proud of their water sanitation and storage system which provides them with always fresh water. The water is piped onto the island and then goes through a sanitation process before it is stored in large tanks.
The vegetation is lush and there is a canal and irrigation for crops.
They grow bananas, sugarcane and other crops. The bananas and sugarcane are cash crops. Others, such as vegetables, are for consumption by the local population.
Scenes of village life
We made our way back to Aida as the sun was about to set.
Although we got back on board, the ship moored for the night off the island.
Another dahabeya came along. This type of boat does have sails, but usually the crew of Aida did not use them, because that would require a lot of tacking – zig-zagging across the river, which would have delayed us. For this reason, usually we were towed by a tugboat, because dahabeyas do not have motors.
The sunset over the west bank of the Nile was gorgeous!
Nancy Merrill’s A Photo A Week Challenge this week is to show “live music.” Music is a very important part of my life. I love all types of music and am especially fascinated by “world” music – music from different countries and cultures.
Our favorite orchestra in the Chicago area is Chicago Sinfonietta. Every concert they play is unique and inclusive. They specialize in diversity, in honor of the founder of the orchestra, Paul Freedman, an African-American conductor and classical musician. They focus on a theme for each concert which includes performers from different genres and cultural groups. In this photo of their May 2018 concert, they invited a well-known professional gospel choir to perform with them.
Last November, they had a Day of the Dead themed concert, which included such works as Mozart’s Requiem, including a choir from Roosevelt University that wore skeleton costumes and masks during the performance. During the intermission, there were cultural dances and music from Mexico.
Music evokes such emotion and nostalgia in me. When we took a cruise to the Panama Canal in March-April 2017, we stopped at a small port in Chiapas, Mexico, where some of us took an excursion to Tuxtla Chico (I have blogged about this), a charming small town where music and dances were performed for us. Within a short time, I didn’t want to leave – all my emotions associated with past trips to Mexico were brought to the surface by the cultural atmosphere and the typical music. Here some women dressed in beautiful flowered dresses danced to music played by a marimba band.
Back on the cruise ship, some Mexican performers came aboard for a couple of days and performed for us by the Lido pool. This included a male singer and a couple of dancers, who performed dances from different regions of Mexico.
Steel pan music was also a feature of that cruise when we passed through the Caribbean, and Chicago Sinfonietta later that year featured steel pan music in one of their concerts. Here my husband Dale samples playing a steel pan, supervised by a professional steel pan player, leader of a steel pan band from Northern Illinois University, before the concert. NIU is possibly the only university in the country where music majors can specialize in steel pan music.I could continue with more examples of the music in my life, but this would become a very long post! So I’ll end with some “batucada” (percussion) from Flamengo Beach in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (recorded in November 2016).
Today was Day 1 of our cruise from Boston to Montreal. We left Boston on Saturday in late afternoon and by the time we woke up this morning, we had anchored off Bar Harbor. People who weren’t taking tours could obtain tender tickets to go ashore, and the first numbers were called just after 7 a.m. I kind of wish we had done that, because we waited to go until our tour was called and didn’t get back until the last tender was going back to the ship, so we didn’t have time to walk around Bar Harbor on our own or use a local Wi-Fi.
We had signed up for a shore excursion called “The Best of Both Worlds.” The tour guide used a lot of humor and told us that by the end of the tour we should figure out which “3 things” were true among everything he told us!
First, we went by bus toward Acadia National Park, the guide narrating about what we were seeing along the way. There were many beautiful vistas but although he told the driver to slow down, we didn’t stop at many of them.
Our first stop was about 40 minutes, where there was a small nature center (mostly about how climate change will affect the area’s future), a wigwam, and the Acadia Wild Gardens. The gardens were divided into several ecosystems and I took a brochure to help me interpret what I was seeing. It was pretty but most of the flowers were already gone and many plants were dying or getting ready to hibernate for the winter.
Sign for The Wild Gardens of Acadia
Reflections in a stream
Acadia celebrated 100 years last year (this was one of the true things the guide told us!), because it was also the national park system’s 100th birthday. Acadia was one of the first national parks to be established in 1916. Most of the land had been privately owned, mainly by the Rockefellers, and Rockefeller gave most of it to the federal government for the park. There were several stone bridges he’d had built. We also saw the “shacks” (as our guide called them – they were actually mansions) that were the summer homes of rich people such as J. P. Morgan, Martha Stewart and Rockefeller.
One place we slowed down, but didn’t stop, was a spot where beavers had dammed a pond and built their houses. On the other side of the road, a tree had fallen where beavers had been gnawing away at it! Our guide told us about a huge forest fire that spread through much of this area in 1947. Before that, these hills were all pine forests. After a forest fire, the first trees that grow back are deciduous trees, with the evergreens eventually crowding them out. This probably takes generations. Our guide said the way to see which areas were unaffected by the fire, within the park borders, is look for the areas that are covered with deciduous versus pine forests. In town, the way to tell is by looking at the thickness of the tree trunks. The trees that survived the fire have an extra 70 years growth, so they are quite a bit thicker.
Some of the hills within the park borders are still covered with fir trees, not touched by the fire. In addition, some of the hills are “bald” on the top, with only bare granite. This is due to ancient glacial activity. Maine has a lot of granite. (I thought maybe it was called the “Granite State” but when I looked it up, I found out Maine’s nickname is the “Pine Tree State,” named for the white pine tree that grows here.)
Our next stop was 15 minutes, a “photo opp.” The bus pulled over to the side of the road but cars continued to go by so our guide placed himself in the middle of the road to stop cars when we wanted to cross. I took several pictures at this stop, but I didn’t go down to the rocky beach, because I was afraid of negotiating the rocky descent to get there.
Just outside the park border, we came upon this rural scene, which the guide said looked like a “Rockwell painting.”
Next we went to the Maine Lobster Museum. Mostly it was some live lobsters in tanks and a place where we could buy snacks, water and a few souvenirs. It was noon and no lunch was included on the tour, so Dale got Oreo cookies and I bought a bag of popcorn and a bottle of water.
We crowded into a room set up with metal folding chairs in long rows to listen to an old former lobsterman tell us about lobsters. Lobster traps have a hole in them big enough to let small lobsters (not fully grown) escape. The best bait for catching lobsters is herring. Someone asked why all the lobsters on display have bands around their claws. This, he said, isn’t because they could pinch humans, it’s to prevent them from pinching each other! In a confined tank, they can become cannibalistic, although they do not each other in their natural environment.
Lobsters can live up to 100 years! I wondered how old the big lobster in the tank we saw as we were coming in was. Lobster eggs take two years to hatch. They store up to 100,000 eggs, which are the size of the head of a pin. The first year, the female has the eggs inside of her body, and the second year, they are down near the tail on the outside. Therefore, she can have two batches of eggs developing at the same time!
Normally, lobsters are brown or green in color. (They become red when they are cooked.) Their shells make pigments in the primary colors (red, yellow, and blue). Occasionally, though, one might come across a blue lobster – and the old lobsterman held a blue lobster up for us to see; this is the result of a genetic mutation in which the lobster is unable to produce the red and yellow pigment which make its normal color. Other than its color, this lobster is like any other.
When we returned to Bar Harbor, we went to the campus of College of the Atlantic, which our guide said has only one major – human ecology! (This is true – I looked it up. It’s one of those experimental, “design your own curriculum” colleges.) Graduates typically earn less than high school graduates, according to him. About 200-300 students attend the college. It is notable for being completely carbon neutral – they literally recycle or compost everything they use.
We went into a building called the “Turrets” (the administration building), because of its castle-like turrets or towers. We were allowed to look around the first floor of this strong stone building, built in 1895 and because of its construction of stone, it was the only building not damaged in the 1947 fire that ravaged this area.
Decorative railing, stairwell and ceiling.
Lovely flowers and views on the back porch.
Finally, animal curiosities: jawbone of a whale leaning against a building, and the typical tourist picture of Dale and me staring out the belly of the sculpture of a buck!
I will have to return to Bar Harbor someday, as we were told about several interesting things about the town but there was no time left to stop. When we returned to the pier, there was only enough time to line up in a very long queue to take the last tender back to our ship.
Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge this week are things that begin with the letters Ap. In my archives I have photos that are appropriate and aptly suited to this challenge. I hope they meet with your approval!
Appliances: Old fashioned refrigerators (Bonanzaville, West Fargo, ND)
KODAK Digital Still Camera
KODAK Digital Still Camera
Appetizers: (Oh, so appetizing!)
Appetizers and sides buffet at a Brazilian churrascaria (steak house), Curitiba, Brazil
April: They say that “April showers bring May flowers” but there are flowers to look forward to in April too!
My church’s huge rummage sale, called Second Time Around Sale, always takes place in April:
APL: apparently cheating 😉 !
I end with a picture of my brother, Allen Perry Lovejoy IV. OK, using initials is cheating a little, but Allen had hoped that he and his wife would have a son that would be APL V, but they only had girls. So each of their three daughters was given a name using one of the initials (Allie, Paige, Leslie)! When we wanted to refer to that family group, we often say, “the APLs.” Our uncle was APL III, his father APL Jr. and his grandfather APL Sr.