The Rainy Church

For the two weeks we were in Europe, it only rained hard one day. Even then, most of that time we were returning from Normandy, back to Paris. Traveling through the French countryside, I could have napped (I could have used it too), but it was so pretty that I didn’t want to miss any of it. Each small village would have a church that would be the tallest and oldest building. You could see the steeple above the trees and roof tops as you entered and it was always on the main street through town.

I hear the church in Europe used to be the center of each community, but now many sit empty, except for tourists that visit. If that is true, then the raindrops and stormy clouds around this small church seem to represent that trend. Trying not to fall asleep, I took this photo through the coach window as we passed through Creully, Lower Normandy, France.
  

For the two weeks we were in Europe, it only rained hard one day. Even then, most of that time we were returning from Normandy, back to Paris. Traveling through the French countryside, I could have napped (I could have used it too), but it was so pretty that I didn't want to miss any of it. Each small village would have a church that would be the tallest and oldest building. You could see the steeple above the trees and roof tops as you entered and it was always on the main street through town. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

 

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The Same, Yet Different

It’s odd how two things can be so similar, yet so different. These two classic hotrods are alike in that they have been customized with body modifications, paint, engine, suspension and more. Yet their tastes vary in color, fenders, even down to the mirrors. Both reflect a different taste in style, yet both show great style in the quality and outcome of their restoration.
  

It's odd how two things can be so similar, yet so different. These two classic hotrods are alike in that they have been customized with body modifications, paint, engine, suspension and more. Yet their tastes vary in color, fenders, even down to the mirrors. Both reflect a different taste in style, yet both show great style in the quality and outcome of their restoration. Tim Stanley Photography.

 

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Inside Marine One

Most people will never have an opportunity to travel inside a helicopter. Those who have will tell you it’s loud and cramped. That is, of course, unless you are the President of the United States. The Marine helicopter he travels in is called Marine One and you can bet it’s not your run-of-the-mill ride.

This restored Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King was used to ferry Presidents Nixon and Ford before it was retired. Not a bad way to beat the rush hour traffic when you had to get somewhere fast. You can find it at the National Naval Aviation Museum.

An interesting note… When the President travels, there are several helicopters. He travels in one and his security detail,  staff and the press pool travel in several others. From the ground, there is no way to know certainly which aircraft he is in.

This restored Sikorsky VH-3A Sea King used to ferry President Nixon, then Ford before it was retired. Not a bad way to beat the rush hour traffic when you had to get somewhere fast. You can find it at the National Naval Aviation Museum. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

 

Paris from Above

Like many older cities, Paris has its historical part of downtown and the more modern sections. This view of downtown Paris is from the Montparnasse Tower. At 59 stories, it’s the only modern building in the historical part of Paris, which stands out from most other buildings at six stories. We were told that after they built it, it seemed out of place, so no other tall, modern buildings would be allowed. With its 360 degree view on the roof, it does have a great view of the Eiffel Tower and the modern office district in the background. Though it was late in the afternoon when we arrived, it was still hours until sunset. The backlight made it difficult to shoot a cityscape with my wide-angle lens, but I did my best.

 

Like many older cities, Paris has it's historical part of downtown and the more modern sections. This view of downtown Paris is from the Montparnasse Tower. At 59 stories, it's the only modern building in the historical part of Paris, which stands out from most other buildings at six stories. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

The Lion Guards at Versailles

Versailles has to be seen to believe. Extravagant is too weak of an adjective to describe it. Every room has something more than what you expect in the way of paintings, architecture and furnishings. With the addition of modern add sprinkled about, you never know what to expect.

Gardes are two warlike lions in white lace napkins by Franco-Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, the first woman to exhibit in the garden rooms of Versailles. Much of the modern art there seems out of place at times. Although these lions are covered in white lace, at least they are still lions.
  

Gardes are two warlike lions in white lace napkins by Franco-Portuguese artist Joana Vasconcelos, the first woman to exhibit in the garden rooms of Versailles. Much of the modern art there seems out of place at times. Although these lions are covered in white lace, at least they are still lions. Photo by Tim Stanley Photography.

 

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Christ Church Gate

Canterbury is very much the typical European town with it’s narrow streets and old buildings. As you approach the old town square, you notice a very old stone entrance, several stories tall. This is the main entrance to Canterbury Cathedral. Known as Christ Church Gate, it has a large statue of Jesus above the entrance, surrounded by smaller statues of angels. 

The Norman gateway was built in 1517. The christ figure and the original gates were destroyed around 1642 and the original turrets were taken down in 1830. The carving and artwork of the gate was restored in 1932 and the turrets rebuilt in 1937. You have to wonder what it would look like if all the carvings were painted and not worn by time and weather.
  

 

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Oxford Proud

I’ve never been one to purchase a lot of souvenirs when traveling. Maybe a T-shirt once or twice, or a cap. But if I went to Oxford University, I’d probably have a shirt or two to brag on the school. You see, the University of Oxford is the oldest university in the English speaking world. It is also one of the most famous and prestigious higher education institutions of the world. 

The architecture there is incredible, with several buildings used in such movies as Harry Potter. For the tourists, many small shops line the streets surrounding the campus selling all types of Oxford propaganda.