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Un Télégraphe de Chappe

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Un Télégraphe de Chappe
This is just so cool. I think I have a couple readers who admit to being technology nerds, or steam-punk enthusiasts. I’m not sure if this qualifies as steam-punk, because it might just be too authentic.
I’ve been listening to The Count of Monte Cristo through Craftlit. If you read this blog last August you might remember I said the same thing then. Yeah, at a chapter or two a week it is taking a long time to get through this book, but that’s okay. I’m learning more than I did the first time I read/listened to it.
In about chapter 61 or 62 the Count manages to convince (pay off) a telegraph operator to transmit a false message, which then causes someone he knows to sell some stocks at less than their value and lose money. The first time I read this book, I just assumed it was an electric telegraph that sent Morse Code. I was wrong, because this happened (fictionally) in 1838, which was before the electric telegraph came into use in France. Also in the book Mon…

Lake Bled, Slovenia

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We decided to take a trip to see some of Slovenia and Croatia. Our sons visited there in May and sent some fabulous pictures, so we thought we'd go to some of the same places they did.
Our first stop on this trip was the lovely Lake Bled in the mountains of Slovenia. 
After we got settled in our hotel in town, we needed lunch. We found this lovely restaurant right on the lake,
Where we had a couple salads for lunch.
After lunch we walked around the lake. It looked like a long way, but we'd read that it should take about an hour and a half, which sounded fine, so we started out.
There's an island near the far end of the lake that has a church on it. It's quite picturesque, so I took lots of pictures of it. There are also a number of possibilities to rent a boat or ride across the lake. On the left in this photo you can see the castle on top of a hill. The white church steeple is quite close to our hotel in town. 
. About 3/4 of the way around the lake we saw a stairway…

Festival Weekend in Gronigen

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Our son James has been living and working in Groningen for the past 3 1/2 years. He is moving to St. Louis, Missouri this month. We wanted to visit him in Groningen once more before he left. So we drove up there from our house in Normandy. It was a somewhat difficult drive with lots of traffic in Belgium and the Netherlands, but we finally got there.

With a population of over 200,000, Groningen is the largest city in the northern Netherlands. It's also an old Hanseatic League city, but predates that period with its first major settlement being traced to the 3rd century CE. 
The Saturday we were there was a holiday celebrating a victory over the bishop of Munster in the siege of Groningen in 1672 and also one of the warmest days of the year. As far as we could tell everyone in Groningen was out that day. We spotted two brass bands on the streets.
Here's the second one.
We happened on this dragon boat race that was just getting started. 
The bridge ahead is the finish line. 
The…

Quick stopover in Reims

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We stopped one night in Reims on our way to Groningen to visit our son.

I think it was the hottest day of the year in Reims. It was in the 90's. (36C) Much too hot to do much walking around, which is too bad, because it is an interesting city, full of history. Reims is the place where 34 French kings were crowned. I'm not sure if that's all of them, but it is a lot. The main problem with the city is that its name is hard for non-French to pronounce. I don't think there is anything in English that rhymes with it, but if you say "Rants" without pronouncing the n or t, you are pretty close.

We walked from our hotel to the cathedral and then enjoyed the cooler temperatures inside. The cathedral has a variety of stained glass windows from different periods in history, including one set by Marc Chagal. I find my phone isn't the best at taking pictures of stained glass windows, so mostly I don't try. I just have this one of a more modern window that I took a…

Monte-Cristo / Saint Germain-en-Laye

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Le Chateau de Monte Cristo (and two historic royal chateaux in Saint-Germain-en-Laye)
We spent our first night in France in the suburb of Paris called Saint-Germain-en-Laye. It's west of Paris about 45 minutes from the airport and on our way to Normandy. It's also near the Chateau de Monte-Cristo, which is why I chose it. I am listening to the Count of Monte Cristo with Craftlit
Saint-Germain had two royal chateaux. Here are some photos and notes about them.

I didn't get a photo of the chapel, but I thought this was interesting, so have included it. The chapel is on the back side of the chateau. We walked past it on our first trip into town, but then we discovered walking on this side through the gardens was a shorter way from town to our hotel.
As a part of the old royal chateau in Saint-Germain-en-Laye, the Gothic Sainte-Chapelle, built in the 1230’s, housed the relic of the crown of thorns purchased by King Louis IX (Saint Louis) in 1239, until the Sainte Chapelle in …