A Mystery Revealed

Spain Collage 2

The Cascada Fountain in the Parc de la Ciutadella, Gaudi’s Parc Guell, and the Sagrada Familia 

My husband Danny, daughter Courtney and I survived the Wild European Ride! 3 countries in 17 days. Whew…

Courtney took her final exams in two business classes the day we arrived, then she toured us all over the Barcelona, Spain. I have never been to a place where one artist has made such an impact. Gaudi’s art was everywhere!

This was the first post of the Where in the World Contest. The winner of this leg went to the most specific answer. Jeremy de Laroche used Wikipedia to find the exact location  of the Park Guell and the Sagrada Familia. Way to go Jeremy!

Collage Cote d'Azur 1

Boulangerie Paul in Montpelier, ocean view from Eze Gardens, the entrance and bougainvillea growing on the side of a stone building in Saint Paul de Vence

Danny rented a car in Barcelona and we drove to the Cote d’Azur, France. To avoid the “hangries” (*hungry + angry) we stopped at Paul.  They are like Starbucks in number, but ooh la la delicious and a feast for the eyes.

*Note to self:
Pack a box of breakfast bars in your purse next time.

Yogaleigh guessed Eze and Saint Paul de Vence. Woohoo! You are the winner of this round.

Collage Paris 1The Hotel de Sens, Jardin des Tuileries, the lock bridge overlooking the Seine, the Tour de France, and an artist in Montmartre

After rocking out at a concert in Lyon, we drove to Paris. We discovered the Hotel de Sens in the Marais district down the street from our flat. The  Disney-like hotel originally housed an archbishop. Queen Margot lived there after her marriage to King Henry the IV was annulled. Don’t feel sorry for her. Apparently, she had some poor sot beheaded for giggling at one of her companions. She chopped down a beautiful fig tree because it was in her carriage’s way. A fig tree was planted in her memory. **snort** Now it is home to a library which hosts art exhibitions.

In the shadow of the Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the Montmartre didn’t disappoint. Each artist captured the likeness of their subject. We escaped the stifling heat by walking in the shade of the Tuileries Gardens on the way to the Tour de France. I know! During our last night in the City of Lights, we took a bike tour. It was  Courtney’s second time. She left a lock on the same bridge when she visited Paris a few weeks earlier. She couldn’t find it…

Clay Watkins nailed this leg of the contest. Woohoo!

England Collage 1

Clopton Farm Shop, Kensington Palace and Gardens, The London Underground, St. James Park, Hidcote Manor Garden

From Paris we took the train to London. After settling into our 6th floor flat (in Europe it is called the third floor – LIARS!), in Hyde Park, we cut through Kensington Gardens and Palace which is Kate and Wills’ pad. They had just returned home with their new baby, boy George. Tents filled with paparazzi from all over the world lined the park. My blogging friend Pegoleg was there at the very same time! We probably walked right by each other. Sheesh! She wrote about it here.

We rode The Tube after paying a king’s ransom for a cab ride to Picadilly Circus to avoid another bout of the “hangries.” I loved the sky light and interior gardens at the Bayswater Station.

The little cottage was situated in the middle of London in St. James Park. It was built for the Dutch bird keeper who tended the flock inhabiting the pond.

We found the maze-like hedge at Hidcote Gardens outside of Stratford-upon-Avon. Yes. Danny drove. On the wrong side of the road! I was in the suicide seat, but I lived to tell the tale.

Why include the obscure farm stand in the Cotswolds? I chose the picture with the huge clue, “Follow us on Twitter, @lowerclopton.” No one saw it.

Mary D. Pierce won the fabulous trinket bought at the tourist trap across from Tower of London. How did you ever guess Hidcote Gardens? That was the toughest photo of the whole series!

Jeremy, Yogaleigh, Clay and Mary, please email your addresses to me so I can send out these fabulous prizes. susielindau@gmail.com


Don’t get all excited. You each get one trinket, not the whole kit and kaboodle. Gee. I wonder if that expression hails from Jolly old England…

Grab your wig hats, the next USE ME AND ABUSE ME DAY will be Thursday, August 22nd. Be ready to dance! For all you new followers, it’s a virtual blog party where you can meet, mingle, and pick up some new followers!

On to the next adventure. Surgery on the 28th. Yeeeehaaaaa!

Are you skipping out-of-town during the waning days of summer?

84 thoughts on “A Mystery Revealed

Add yours

  1. Well of course you were in *mumble mumble* and *mumble* and *mumble mumble mumble*
    I mean, it was so obvious. Sheesh.

    Glad you all had a great time! Did you find the pace too much?
    And glad to see that you’re way back in the swing of things and making the world your playground!


    1. I know! *mumble mumble*
      It was so incredible, I didn’t want to slow down. Every day we started at about 9:00 and got out of the apartment by 10 or 11, then didn’t come home until midnight or 1. We went to bed at 2 almost every night. It took a week to get over the jet lag, but looking back I always got a second wind around 8:00! I have been crashing out at 10:30 every night like usual and don’t know how I did it! There was some serious motivation going on….
      Thanks so much!


      1. Yes we have. I loved walking through the village. I have a great picture of Linda as she was walking through one of the archways. We bought a bottle of Tattinger at the wine store in Eze. We paid more than we would have at hone but hey we were in France. 🙂


    1. I LOVED Eze and the whole Cote d’Azur, but would avoid tourist season. The timing wasn’t great because Courtney finished her semester July 12th during the peak!
      Thanks for playing along!


    1. Clay went to Paris with his father’s ashes and his family explored all of the amazing city! I think he should write about it!
      Thanks Renee! Living is exactly what we did!
      Please do keep me posted… call anytime.


  2. Wow, Susie! What an incredible trip!! Good thing your daughter was there to translate while in Spain – or I would have offered my services and invited myself to be your interpreter! 🙂 I hope you ate a lot of goodies! I’m sure you savored every minute of being away with your family and taking in all the experiences – after the rough couple of months you have had. So happy for you.


    1. Courtney did translate what she could. Most speak Catalan there which is a mixture of French, Spanish and made up words. Luckily, many of them know English. Everyone was very patient with us.
      I ate so well and am so spoiled. None of the bakeries here process simply like the Europeans. You can taste the butter in everything and no preservatives! Yum!
      Thanks so much! It was a very nice break. I would love to go back!


  3. Amazing trip! My dad went the wrong way down the Champs Elysees once with a caravan on the back – fun times! Best wishes for your op x


  4. That was quite the whirlwind trip with wonderful sites to see. Your contest was lots of fun…congratulations to all the people who knew the answers. It was fun to just read all the submissions. Looking forward to what you have in store for us next.


  5. Love your photos. What a fabulous vacation – thanks for sharing!

    And now that you mention it, we walked by that cottage in St. James park and had a picnic not far away – the heat must have addled my brain.


    1. Thank you Peg! I was surprised you didn’t jump into the contest! It was hot in London. It was “lovely” in the Cotswolds only an hour away, but the temperature dropped 10 degrees everywhere by then.
      Was it your first trip to Jolly old England?


      1. It was. We’d gone to Ireland 3 years ago. Next time Scotland. Then Wales. Then Northern England, Northern Ireland, the Hebrides….

        It was beastly hot, but even worse at the beginning of the week when we were in Brighton and Bath. Everyone kept saying it was record-breaking, which made me feel extra special.


  6. “Follow us on Twitter, @lowerclopton.” No one saw it.” I saw it too haha, and googled it and answered it, right at the same moment my internet crashed or something…
    Anyway, it looked like an amazing trip, I guess you’re happy to be home now, it’s a lot to take in 🙂


    1. Oh noooooooooooooooooooooooo!
      My computer ran out of memory which caused all kinds of problems like loading 5 silly photos! Argh. I can relate to the frustration. It is a lot to process, but I loved this vacation!
      Thanks so much!


    1. We loved Antibes! We met your friends at Choopy too! They say “Hello!” We were only there for two full days. We motored!!!! The concert in Lyon hemmed us in.
      I will be posting photo blogs soon. I love my new camera and looked like the typical tourist everywhere we went!
      Thanks again for all your help! We had so much fun.


  7. Now, that is an awesome adventure! Great pics of each spot. That’s how to enjoy life.

    I agree with others here that the pastry pic is amazing. I can almost taste them!


    1. The pastry was heaven. We don’t have bakeries in the west like that. The high altitude and dry air messes them up and I think they all rely on cheaper ingredients without butter. I have three cookbooks out and just need to buy a couple of pounds of butter and I will be ready to bake!
      The French and Spanish really know how to enjoy life. I will be writing about it. Joie de vivre!
      Thanks Phil!


      1. I live in NYC and we have some amazing bakeries here, especially over in Brooklyn too. We have one called Glasers that is around the block from me. Family owned for over 100 years. Just amazing. Yes, the aire and water are key.


    1. Thanks so much Nia! I remembered the kid’s show, Where in the world is Carmen San Diego and thought I would be able to post a few photos while I was away. I posted one blog and gave up. The last thing I wanted to do was to sit in an internet cafe for hours editing photos!
      I was so happy to see everyone joining the fun!


  8. What an awesome trip. How do I get to be a part of your family??

    We have a Paul outpost down here in Miami and it is amazing, but very very dangerous to have right in my backyard. I somehow always seem to think up a lot of errands to run on the same block so that I “just happen to be” walking by there when I need a snack.


  9. Susie – thanks! I enjoyed reading your posts and following your adventures. France is an amazing place. My dad lived in the Paris from the early 80s until he retired in 1998. I got to visit many times and before our trip in 2010. My blog was in its infancy when we were there and I wrote every day. Occasionally, I go back and re-read (and edit 🙂 ) to remember the trip. Here is the link for the Wednesday in our trip and taking my dad’s cremains


    My wife and I were in Nice for a couple of days in ’97 – beautiful beaches and love the sun and sea….

    As for patisseries, boulangeries, and chocolatiers…. or for that matter any food shop in France you can add pounds just looking!


    1. I will check out the link! Congrats on winning!
      We chose a few ancient villages and will have to really explore Nice next time! The story about your dad sounds amazing. How wonderful that you were able to travel to France many times.
      I know what you mean by just looking at the treats. They are so rich that one was enough for me. Although sometimes it was bigger than my head, like the pastry I ate at the Farm Stand! Hahaha!


  10. WOW – What a Wild European Ride INDEED!!! Great Captures – thanks so much for sharing and keeping your readers guessing – “Where is Susie!”. I just got back recently for a 9-day tour/trip of Oregon and have some wine events coming up this Fall too. Happy Hump Day:)


  11. Woo! I won, I won. A major award! (That’s what my husband said – we’re nerdy fans of “A Christmas Story.”) Thank you, Susie!!! Reading the posts of your fabulous trip and drooling over the gorgeous photos was so much fun. Winning something on top of that is icing on the pastry.

    I’ve actually been to Hidcote. Several years ago, I planned a trip to England and Paris for my mother, my two sisters, and myself. I booked rooms at a lovely B&B near Stratford-on-Avon and we stumbled upon Hidote Gardens. It’s amazing, isn’t it?

    As for the waning days of summer, my husband and I are headed to jolly old England ourselves. Visiting friends and attending our beloved annual Fforde Ffiesta: http://www.ffordeffiesta.co.uk/ That’s where I’ll be for your next UMAAM party, so I may just show up in a wig for that! 😉


    1. Well there you go! Wig hats rule!
      I bet that was a “lurvely” trip as well. I loved Hidcote. The horses and the sheep all seemed to be waiting for a photo op. I will check out your link!
      Don’t forget to email me your address and I will send out the trinket! Thanks for playing!


  12. What a fantastic getaway, Susie! Milton and I are going to be in Queens on Saturday. For us to leave Manhattan island, it’s almost as if we’re traveling to Europe … Okay, not quite. The food and foliage look much better where you were.


  13. I’m so jealous! I louvred the intrigue of a guessing game. You are so imaginative and creative. Was it great traveling with kids all grown up?? I love pies and some sweets like cinnamon but never went for the creme filled eclairs, love jelly filled. Thanks!!!


  14. Hey! I know this is sort of off-topic howsever I had to ask.
    Does managing a well-established webzite like yours require a large amount of work?
    I’m brand new tto writing a blog but I do write in mmy diar daily.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can share my personal experience and thoughts online.

    Please let me know iif you have any kind of suggestions or tips forr brannd new aspiring
    blog owners. Thankyou!


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