Every morning on the Rhône River offered new delights. At breakfast on morning 4, we saw these elegant creatures gliding through the mist on the river.
After taking no fewer than 50 largely disappointing photos, I definitely had a greater appreciation for wildlife photographers and the images they capture.
Following breakfast, we readied ourselves for a walking tour of Viviers, France. This small walled town with a population of 3400 captivated us with its winding medieval streets, medieval and Renaissance architecture, and quintessential French charm. The crisp autumn weather with azure skies accompanied by the aroma and rustle of fallen leaves completed the scene as we entered the village.
Plane trees (called sycamore in the U.S.) lined the road creating a shady canopy for locals having the time and inclination to sit for awhile. Napoleon had them planted all over southern France to provide shade for his troops as they marched or rested.
The plane tree is also sometimes called a camouflage tree due to the dappled appearance of the trunk caused by the bark peeling in patches.
Notice the narrow lane below with the buildings so close together that the center of the lane is trenched to drain the water.
The clothesline in the next photo was a clever invention to hang laundry out to dry in areas without the benefit of outdoor space on the ground level.
When we reached the Place de la Republique in the center of the old town, our tour guide told us about the Maison de Lestrade, built in the 13th century which today still contains windows installed in the 16th century. For many years it served as the town hall for Viviers.
Located on the same square was the Maison des Chevaliers, built in Renaissance style for a rich salt merchant, Noel Albert. He was executed in 1568 after seizing control of Viviers during the Huguenot Wars. Look closely at the ornamentation on the facade. C’est magnifique.
Leaving Place de la République we headed uphill through the old gate at St. Michael’s Tower to St. Vincent’s Cathedral, the smallest cathedral still in use in France. The tapestries in this cathedral depicting various Bible scenes are especially fine.
I must mention that it was in this cathedral that an old gentleman asked me whether I was American. When I replied in the affirmative, he inquired whether I supported Donald Trump and whether I thought he would win the election. I responded, “Absolutely not!” but he was elected immediately upon our return from this trip.
After enjoying the views from the upper town, we made our way back to lower town and stopped in a couple shops.
When we returned to the ship, it was such a beautiful day we made for the upper deck of the Viking Buri where we tried out the putting green and shuffleboard and checked out the herb garden.
After another superb lunch, we decided to take it easy and stayed onboard for the afternoon. We attended the cooking demonstration featuring Chef Pascal and Maitre d’ Imre preparing Chocolat Fondant and a French lesson before dinner. Parlez-vous Français?
That evening at dinner, we invited Drago, our expert waiter, for a photo with our dinner group. All of the staff were attentive and helpful but Drago’s excellent sense of humor made him a favorite with this crowd. It was the end of another perfect day on our Viking River Cruise. But please come back again to check out day 5 in my next post.
Based on events of November 2016.
Tour guide from the Viking Buri
Viking Cruise Documents