10 Aug 2015
We have spent the last couple of days in Honfleur, in Northern France. It is a beautiful, quaint, seaside town on the English Channel. This whole area is about tourism, centering on Normandy and WW II.
There are many museums and galleries here because for centuries painters have settled here to paint the local beauty.
If you like mussels, this is the spot for you.
07 Aug 2015
Finally, on the last day of segment one, we had a beautiful day. Jersey is a beautiful island with lots of history and quite a unique political situation.
It is independent, being a British Crown possession, called a Baliwick. It has open trade with the EU, but is not a member of the EU.
Nor is it a member of the UK, but uses their currency and passports. If it needs defense, Britain protects them.
The largest of the Channel Islands, it is closer to France than England. It has significant French customs and names, yet 90% of the people here have British background and only 1% French.
Our guide Michelle Hervieu was terrfic. Here she is explaining La Pouquelqaye de Faldouet a 6,000 year old grave sight.
This is the path to La Pouquelqaye de Faldouet.
Even the market is lovely here.
06 Aug 2015
I, for one, never heard of Portland, England before this trip. Today we docked there. It is located on the south coast of Great Britain towards the middle. I was thinking of investing in a bus company.
We took a car around a visited the countryside with its pastoral views.
There were several old, charming towns; quaint, but quiet.
The beach reminded me more of New Jersey and Brooklyn than Europe.
We’re going to miss Arlene. She seems to be picking up some of Allyn’s habits.
03 Aug 2015
Belfast is by far the most walled segregated city in the world. They have 45-foot “peace” walls all over town (Berlin was 14 feet) to keep people out not fence them in.
The “Troubles” lasted for about 30 years starting in the late 1960s. Many people (mainly Irish Catholics) in Northern Ireland wanted to end British rule and join the Republic of Ireland.
Over 3,500 people were killed during that period. An uneasy truce came about with major compromise on both sides – but the killing did stop. Much of the hatred did not, to this day.
Most of Northern Ireland Catholics didn’t move though because economic life is better being part of the UK.
Over 90% of the kids attend segregated schools and cannot even play together in the park. Catholics and Protestants don’t even know each other.
Allyn writes "Shalom" on the wall - Legally.
The problems started in 1553 when Henry VIII taking over Catholic Ireland and gave Protestant privilege. It has always been more about community and privilege than religious observation.
01 Aug 2015
We have been here three times now and really enjoy it. The people are friendly; love their food, Guinness, and especially love to joke.
All about Ireland in fewer than 160 words:
Ireland is an Island. Since the 1920s it has been split legally. The Republic of Ireland (aka Ireland) is an independent country, member of the European Union and whose currency is the Euro. Dublin is its capital. It occupies 5/6 of the island.
Northern Ireland, whose capital is Belfast is part of the UK along with Britain, Wales, and Scotland. Therefore the British Pound is their currency.
For centuries there has been struggling between Irish Catholics and Protestants because Irish Catholics were treated as second-class citizens in many ways due to the British Church.
At Independence individual counties were allowed to opt out. Northern Ireland opted out, kept it allegiance to the King, and that is why the island is split now.
The Great Famine of the 1840s caused the deaths of one million Irish people and over a million more emigrated to escape it. During that time half of the immigration to the U.S. was from Ireland.