Sunday, February 26, 2017

River Cruise in Southern France, Part III

Distinctive rock formation in Beaujolais region
     We had looked forward to our last full day of touring in France and the only optional tour we had chosen to add to the itinerary, a tour of the ruins of the Abbey of Cluny, the most influential church in the Christian faith in the 11th century. But our morning started with one more delightful included tour, a scenic ride through the rolling hills of the Beaujolais district and a visit to a a beautiful family owned (for many generations) winery, including a tasting with a wine expert.
Winery Entrance

     I'll let a few photos tell the story of the winery and the lovely countryside where we enjoyed strolling at a stop along the way (Viking seems to give careful thought to making the necessary rest stops on longer day tours pleasant).


Our group at the winery

     The Abbey of Cluny was originally founded in 910 AD and grew until it became the mother house for over 1,000 monasteries in the 12th century. Our local guide was charming and exceptionally well-informed--clearly a true admirer of this remarkable medieval abbey and a devoted student of its history. Some of the majestic buildings still stand and are used for, among other things, an architectural school. Eager students dash here and there, adding life and creativity to the mix of impressive old buildings and ruins.

     Sometimes on journeys, I prefer to fully take in the beauty and history of a place rather than to work at capturing multiple photos. The abbey was one such experience: inspiring and moving. So, I have a few photos to show you, but often just listened, watched, and marveled. In addition to the photos of that day, I often savor the many lovely images I have in my memory of our tour of the Abbey of Cluny.
13th century food storehouse for abbey and village
Inside the abbey's Gothic chapel, built around 1460

Courtyard outside the cloisters
     My two previous posts from our Viking River Cruise in Southern France are here. I've enjoyed reliving the journey with you.

Question of the day: How do you prefer to balance experiencing and taking photos when you travel?