Chateau Royal d’Amboise and Chateau de Chambord

While in Tours, France, I took two tours with a company called Touraine Evasion to see Azay le Rideau, Villandry, Amboise, Clos Lucé, Chenonceau, Cheverny and Chambord Chateaus. If you missed the first two listed you’ll find them here. These first five photos are of Amboise and the remainder of Chambord.

Unfortunately, Chateau de Chambord was being renovated and had scaffolding surrounding it.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Azay le Rideau and Villandry Chateaus

While in Tours, France, I took two tours with a company called Touraine Evasion to see Azay le Rideau, Villandry, Amboise, Clos Lucé, Chenonceau, Cheverny and Chambord Chateaus. I had tried to make reservations with a different company called Acco Dispo Excursions (they have the best reviews), but they weren’t able to book me although I reached out months in advance. I think because I was only one person. Anyway, these are photos of Azay le Rideau and Villandry Chateaus.

The first four photos are Azay le Rideau.

We only toured the gardens at Villandry Chateau, but they were stunning!

p.s.  If you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

5 nights in Tours, France

I decided to have a taxi pick me up through the FreeNow app (it’s not free) for the ride to the Montparnasse train station for my departure from Paris to Tours.

The train ride was only 70 mins. and reached speeds of 300 km per hr. I couldn’t check in or leave my bags at the Airbnb in Tours until 4pm, which I knew about ahead of time, and they didn’t have storage facilities at the train station, so I found an app called Nannybag, reserved a spot at a library which was a 10 min. walk from the train station in Tours and lugged it there so I could explore.

Then I stopped to have lunch and went to a hair salon for a new doo.

Tours also has half-timbered architecture.

After all of the walking I’d done in the past five weeks, I decided to have a massage (my masseur below) and it was wonderful…90 minutes of heaven!

I had to try some escargot. It had been at least 30 years since I’d had them.

I’m usually not one for sweets, but the french pastries were just as good as the Italian ones.

I explored the Les Halles de Tours (the foodie market) and purchased some Vouvray wine, Brandade de Morue (for lunch), and some pastries.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Paris to Versailles, France

My day trip from Paris to Versailles was difficult. I’ve had some traumatic life-altering events in the last few years and don’t do well with crowds. Trying to capture photos without people’s heads popping up in the bottom of the photo and dodging people in the garden, in the subways, and on the streets wore me out, not to mention it was another 8 mile walking day. I had been doing this for almost a month with a day break here and there and only averaging 5 hours of sleep a night with a nap every couple of days. But I was determined to capture some of the opulence and beauty.

The gardens were magnificent. I should’ve rented a golf cart.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Paris to Rouen, France

Rouen, France was my favorite town of the four day trips I did. It’s located 90 minutes by train from Paris. I had a pre-planned walking route but veered off of it often.

I love the half-timbered architecture. It’s like a storybook town. Some times I purposely want people in my photos to give perspective.

You can tell this lady liked that I wanted a photo of her cute doggie.

My pasta salmon lunch was delicious!

If you choose any town to visit from Paris, and are taking the train, I definitely recommend Rouen.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Père Lachaise Cemetery

During my nine day stay in Paris, I visited the Père Lachaise Cemetery which opened in 1804. It’s Paris’ largest cemetery and with more than 3.5 million visitors annually, it’s the most visited necropolis in the world.

I found Jim Morrison’s and Oscar Wilde’s graves. I mainly wanted to capture some of the peace and beauty there. Give yourself at least a couple of hours to explore.

Once I left, I passed this restaurant named L’ami Justin, which means Justin, the friend. My deceased son’s name is Justin.

I stopped for a delicious cappuccino.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Paris to Chartres, France

Located 75 minute by train from Paris, Chartres, France is a great option as a day trip from Paris. The countryside was pretty to view from the train.

I love street murals.

This park reminded me of a Monet painting.

Reflections are magical.

The Notre-Dame de Chartres Cathedral is massive.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Paris to Troyes, France

Located 1 hr. 45 mins. by train from Paris, Troyes, France is another wonderful city to visit. It’s also filled with half-timber architecture.

Local fishermen…

I believe every city had a carousel…

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

9 Nights in Paris

I had visited Paris for one night back in the late 70’s when I was in the military and once more for a week when I took my niece in 2007. It hadn’t changed much, other than the metros seemed a little seedier, but I had changed a lot. I purchased a 7-day Navigo pass (you need to have a passport photo for it) that covered all forms of transport within a certain area and is the best value for your money. I visited most of the main sites a tourist goes to…the Eiffel Tower

Sacre Coeur

The Louvre Museum

Don’t remember the name of this bridge

Arc de Triomphe du Carrousel

I had to try the croque monsieur (a hot ham and cheese sandwich)

The rue Crémieux, know as the most colorful street in Paris

The expressions of the people are interesting…

I forget where I was when I took this photo

Luxembourg Gardens should definitely be on your list of places to visit!

This was my favorite French meal, but I can’t remember the name of it. It had fish and vegetables in it.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

From Florence, Italy to Paris, France

I took a flight from Florence to Paris and walked from the metro stop which was located a few minutes from my Airbnb. I was staying in Josephine’s home for nine nights. She was the sweetest lady and rented out her two spare bedrooms. There was a young girl staying in the other room. We all shared the same bathroom.

It was five flights up (no elevator) so I got my exercise.

During my nine night stay Josephine cooked some and her bean soup was delicious! She didn’t speak English and I only knew a few French words, so we would either babble at each other in our own languages and use sign language or use Google translate.

Her baked goods were sinful!

I asked her for a pair of scissors so I could trim my hair and she somehow communicated that she used to be a hairdresser and wanted to do it for me. One day I did laundry in her washer and she wanted to help me hang it to dry. When I returned from exploring she had already folded it for me.

One day I brought her flowers which are in the photo above. She helped with the loneliness of traveling solo and I’ll never forget her kindness.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022. Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Florence to Lucca, Italy

Lucca is only 80 minutes via train from Florence and makes a perfect place to visit as a day trip from Florence. I walked 7 miles exploring this beautiful city. I walked a portion of the 4 km completely preserved wall that surrounds the city.

More sidewalk cafes…

and Italian architecture…

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022.  Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

The Boboli Gardens

While researching what I should see during my 8 night stay in Florence in April of this year, The Boboli Gardens which date back to 1766, was a place I wanted to experience. It’s filled with beautiful vistas, cool sculptures, and a peaceful vibe.

I asked this young man if I could photograph him…he looked so Italian and handsome.

The light filtering through the trees caught my eye.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022. Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Florence to San Gimignano, Italy

To visit San Gimignano from Florence I took two short bus rides. As you can see from the photos, San Gimignano is a beautiful town with views of the tuscan hillsides. Taking photos was the main source of entertainment on my trip and my souvenirs. Time doesn’t stand still except for when you snap a photo.

I love anything whimsical.

The shops were filled with lavender, ceramics, and lots of other things that wouldn’t fit in my luggage. I did purchase some jewelry and a wooden wine bottle holder for friends and my brother.

I loved taking a break with a cappuccino or a glass of wine to rest my feet.

Why do we love seeing laundry hanging to dry? Perhaps it takes us back to simpler times.

Italian gelato is the best in the world!

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022. Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

What to do on a rainy day in Florence, Italy

Of the 11 weeks I spent in Europe, I was blessed with good weather for 10 of them. One of the rainy days was in Florence, but I took my umbrella and went exploring. A wonderful place to visit rain or shine is the Mercato Centrale. The inside is huge with lots of produce, meats, wines, just about anything you can think of. There’s also an outdoor market.

It is difficult to take photos in the rain when you’re traveling solo holding an umbrella, but I managed.

I stopped for a delicious meal of pasta and the famous Steak Florentine. Back in 2001 there was a 5 year ban of this steak because of Mad Cow Disease.

I walked across the Ponte Vecchio bridge…

Rainy days sometimes make for good photography…

I’m happy the U.S. has more outdoor cafes like you find in Europe.

I stopped at a bakery and couldn’t decide on just one.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022. Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.

Day trip from Florence to Siena, Italy

I took an 80 minute train ride from Florence to Siena on Easter Day. The Piazza del Campo, dating back to the 12th Century, was beautiful! Siena was one of my favorite cities in Italy.

The tuscan hillsides are gorgeous.

The Duomo di Siena is a masterpiece.

I love to capture people living their lives.

Sidewalk art can be so beautiful!

I asked this couple if I could take their photo looking out at the Piazza del Campo.

My love of architecture began in 2010 when I took the Architectural Foundation’s boat tour in Chicago, Illinois.

p.s.  In case you’ve just began reading…I planned an 11 week, 5 European country, 21 accommodations solo trip from April – June of 2022. Photos were taken with my LG Velvet Android phone.