In June of 2019, I went on an adventure of a lifetime. I saw it through my grandfather's eyes, through the eyes of countless people who suffered. I felt the aged wisdom and tasted aged wine! I traveled to Paris, Normandy, and Amsterdam to attend the 75th Anniversary of D-Day and learn more about history and World War II. On this trip I experimented more with framing and architecture photography. I took many photos so I would never forget the landmarks I had dreamed of seeing-The Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, Utah Beach, and more...oh, why don't you just see for yourself?! A picture speaks a thousand words, they say, and there is no amount of words that can describe this experience.
After a 10 hour flight across the Pacific, we were all ready for bed. But in Paris, the day was just starting, and so was our adventure. We had a rest stop to drop off our luggage, and then we boarded the Metro to Fifth Avenue. There we saw the Arc de Triomphe and shopped the most famous street in Paris. We walked 8 miles our first day, all the way to Montmartre Church, at the top of the hill. We passed through the Painter's Square where Van Gogh visited. After admiring the view, and fastening locks with lover's name on the fenceline, we had white wine and dinner, even treating ourselves to icecream after. We walked at sunset across the Seine River to see the burned Notre Dame and pay respects. We would come back to Paris 3 days later after visiting Normandy, to see the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, featuring Mona Lisa. Finishing our last day there with a sunset Seine River cruise. A complete dream. I tried escargot and had the best pasta and macaroons I have ever tasted.
The most meaningful places I have ever gone are in Normandy, France. Beautiful, rich farmland holding victory and honor, kind souls and freedom. We spent four days in Normandy. Our first was spent driving through beautiful countryside, visiting Monet's Garden. I walked inside his house and saw his view, his muse of water lily ponds, geraniums and bamboo. We settled in at the resort, watching wild hares jump, and eating baguettes the size of tables. I miss the feeling of warm rain and spontaneity. The next day we visited Omaha Beach. D-Day American Cemetery we listened to the Presidents honor our warriors and survivors. I learned the French adopted American graves. So much bloodshed and loss, I could feel it as I stood with my feet in the sand, in still sun. It was humbling to stand near the long, flat ocean, where the tide had once run red, watching soldiers reenact the war scene. We shook a hand of someone who had watched all of his comrades fall. I will always remember every piece of courage in every place, the bunkers I ducked into, and friendly, wise people who had survived sights most unimaginable.
A city full of life and adventure. We did a city walking tour, through the Red Light District, past the Tulip Market. We learned about Amsterdam's deep history and their progressive, artful, modern future. In Amsterdam, life is vibrant and lush. It's compassionate and insightful, moving with the air, the canal. The King and Queen make fun of themselves and would stop to talk to you in a supermarket. They believe in their children, that every person is capable. They don't want their people to just survive, they want them to live. They live life loud and buoyantly. I enjoyed seeing many street performers, playing music, acting, even controlling flocks of pigeons! Amsterdam has something new at every sun soaked corner, whether it be windmills, a laugh, or a question mark. I found a new love for architecture and photographing it. I felt like I could be anyone I wanted, changing with the day. We visited the Holocaust Museum, and my heart broke once again...I remembered the true depth of this city's history, the grief it still carries. I would like to go back someday and go to even more museums, like the Anne Frank house, try more food, and go to an art show. We were only in Amsterdam for a couple days and I didn't get all the pictures I wanted, but the ones I did take are magical.
Through California, Oregon and Arizona in 3 days transporting horses to their old homes and new homes with my uncle. After our final dropoff of two horses in Phoenix, we drove on to the famous Grand Canyon for a day of hiking and versatile, complex weather; cloudy, overcast, thunderstorms, then a beautiful double rainbow. Not to mention all of the beautiful sights we got to see on the way!