Loire Valley: Princess for a Weekend

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My obsession with Mary Queen of Scots dates back to the month before we moved to Geneva, when I boarded a plane with my dear plant Nigel to relocate him to his co-parent’s home in Cleveland, Ohio. It would turn out that the co-parent’s cat would try to eat Nigel and he would have to be relocated yet again, but that’s a story for another day. The main point is that my friend got me hooked on a CW show called “Reign” about Mary Queen of Scots during that visit, and thus when Gui made our itinerary for the Loire Valley of France he knew that visiting the castles that Mary had lived in was a necessity.

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Munich & Neuschwanstein Castle: Fairy Tale Bavaria

What a difference 10 minutes can make — That was my big photography lesson last weekend, when we got off the train to find Neuschwanstein Castle in southern Germany completely enveloped in fog. It persisted for a couple of hours while we explored the castle grounds and then, just as we were boarding a bus to catch the train back to Munich, we saw a few rays of sunlight filtering through the clouds. By the time we got to the train station 10 minutes later, the sky was a bright, sunny blue and we were flagging down a taxi to take us back to the castle for a second take. Was it worth it? Well, here’s one of my favorite photos from the trip captured on our second visit:

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And here’s what the same view looked like during our first venture up the mountain:

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Carcassonne: Quite the Castle

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Guillaume has had the medieval walled city of Carcassonne on his travel wish list since we moved to Geneva, but the logistics of getting there from our perch on the opposite side of France are a bit complicated. Luckily, I stumbled across bargain plane tickets to the nearby city of Toulouse one day during my regular sweep of travel sites and snatched up two for the first weekend in March. At the time, I didn’t know that March falls comfortably within Carcassonne’s off-season, but that turned out to be a real blessing: The normally tourist-ridden city (according to our guidebook) had only a trickle of visitors during the day — and after dusk we had the place gloriously to ourselves. We also got lucky with the weather, as it was originally forecasted to be dark and rainy all day, but turned into a beautiful, mild, sunny afternoon. You can see the change in the photos 🙂

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