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The promised April showers didn’t, thankfully, materialize with the exception of a few brief moments, so our daughter and I had plenty time to walk through various neighborhoods of Philadelphia.  The city is filled with row houses, so doors come fast, furious, and close together.   But there are also other types of doors.  This first one, for instance, is obviously not the main door.  No wondering where the door leads, though!   🙂

© janet m. webb

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© janet m. webb

When you say you’re going to France people tend to think “Paris”, but I go to the Franche-Comté in eastern France, not far from Switzerland and Germany. I also go to the country and a lovely place it is, as you can see.  Right now, much of Europe is in the grip of drought, so we saw lots of brown and lakes much lower than usual.  There’s been only one cutting of hay, which will cause winter to be a difficult time for farmers with livestock as well as for growing other crops.

© janet m. webb

Although my s-i-l and b-i-l live in the country, it’s not far to the city, albeit a city of only about 8,000.  Luxeuil-les-Bains (les Bains meaning “the baths”), has been a hot spot (so to speak) for many years, as far back as Celtic and Roman times, when people came to relax and heal in the thermal baths. In 590, St. Columban founded the Abbey of Luxeuil.  St. Columban (remember that name as you’ll be reading more about him over the next few weeks) was an Irish monk who, during the 500’s A.D., traveled extensively in France and, eventually, into Italy.  Luxeuil was destroyed and rebuilt a number of times, raping, pillaging, and destroying being popular pastimes in those days.  Saracens, Normans, Magyars, and Muslims as well as several other groups all took part in these exciting activities.

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© janet m. webb