Oradour, Centre de la Memoire was a village that on June 10th, 1944 two hundred Waffen SS plundered and set fire to the village killing 642 people including 193 children. The village apart from some tidying up and making the buildings safe, has been left just as it was on that terrible day. We visited the cemetery and could see how whole families down to the youngest child of two months had been killed. It is a credit to the community that the building of the new town is completely out of view and once inside the old village the outside world felt a long way away. Oradour is a reminder that we must never forget the people whose lives were sacrificed in such a horrific way. We arrive in time for dinner at St. Severin D’Estissac. We are introduced to four other people, three of whom are there for the painting course and one who is there to fish! One more person will arrive tomorrow and then we are complete. Our host and hostess run this school from their home and their son is our teacher. I have done a drawing course but Guy has not done any art since he left school. We decide that we want to do Watercolour. Our first attempts are very childlike but I think we both felt that we learnt a lot about techniques and how to create “layers” of colour. We had several outings during the week, one to the Chateau Montreal and the other to Perigueux. Meals provided daily were delicious, the company interesting and many topics were regularly discussed at the table. Sometimes when we are with a group we see in people some things that others might miss on that subject I would only say that love was blossoming in a way that was perhaps a big surprise for those involved….. We stop at Chateauroux for one night and then on to Bastogne. The battle of the bulge took place here and so this whole area was of great interest to Guy as an American and certainly Americans are held in high esteem here. One night in Bremen and then we arrive in Copenhagen. We hire bicycles and spend two very happy days there. We visit the Rosenberg Palace and see the Crown Jewels we also bike down to the “Mermaid” which is one of the hallmarks of the City. There are millions of bicycles in the city and so people look fit and healthy and why wouldn’t they be, such a wonderful way to get around, why don’t more cities have this as the main source of transportation? From Copenhagen we go to Northern Jutland and stay the night in Frederikshavn. Next day we travel to Skagen which is the furthest point north in Denmark. We travel by ferry to Gothenburg where we spend one night and decide that next day we will drive to Norway and visit Oslo. The castle there and the Viking Museum are of interest to us. The Castle was disappointing as castles go. Many times it has almost been totally demolished but was saved by the government however it is a mish mash of new and old and little or none of the original furniture or tapestries are there anymore. The Viking Museum on the other hand was wonderful. Back to Sweden, Jonkoping for the night and then on to the lovely city of Kalmar where we spent a very happy sunny day, the hotel we stayed at was the Torneby which had two teddybears on the sofa in our room and beautiful Japanese bath robes, a very comfy warm inviting place, with a dog and cat to greet us when we arrived. Next we travel to Stockholm…the journey there is quite beautiful but also there is little change from mile to mile. There are many pine forests and wide open fields but it is all very “samey”. We had arranged to meet some friends there who were en route to a cruise and it was great to see them and catch up with our news. Stockholm was easy to walk around but EVERYTHING is so expensive that it seems unreal. A BLT and a prawn salad with two glasses of wine was $100. To park our car in the street was $30 for the day and the hotels are outrageously expensive. In many ways this tarnished my view of the place but it is quite charming and the architecture is interesting. We went to visit Drottningholm Palace where the royal family still live much of the time. We took a boat there and saw the inland portion of the archipelago, many little uninhabited islands. We also went to see the Vasa Museum with the famous ship that sank twenty minutes after its launch in 16 A p.s to this is that I don’t know if it is the long winters in this part of the world or what but I have not in any other country seen as many pregnant women as I saw in Denmark, Sweden and Norway….all about to pop which nine months back would be Xmas and mid winter! From Stockholm we drive to Helsingborg and catch the ferry to Helsinger (Denmark) we travel through Zealand and on down to Flensburg (Denmark) where we spend the night. Next day we travel on to Amsterdam where we have been once before. What a great place to just chill and “chill” we did!! Next to Paris and on the agenda a trip to Versailles. We stayed in the Marais district and had a very jolly five days with Clara and Joey who arrived on the Eurostar from London. Time to reunite with family again and fortunately the weather was very kind and we visited the Louvre and many other sites. We drive from Paris to Calais and travel in the Eurotunnel with our car which has now turned over 15,950 kilometres…. Our week in England is spent visiting friends in London, Richmond and Kent and being thoroughly spoilt by them all. The week ended with a celebration of Clara’s birthday and a very overindulgent “tea” at Claridges…Now we are off to nine countries in Africa and much excitement and many challenges ahead….not sure how much we can get access to the internet but hopefully enough to keep the blog going….