Part one: Enjoy the charm of the French countryside while partaking of the gastronomic delights of Lyon

Written by eileen on December 27th, 2012

When I decided to write the monastery book on France, one of the cities I didn’t want to miss was Lyon. It is a history-filled city with art, architecture and of course, wonderful gastronomic delights. The Institution where I stayed is situated on the grounds of a verdant 15-acre parkland on a hill dominating Lyon. Conveniently located on the west side of Lyon, the facility is accessible to the Perrache and Part-Dieu high-speed train stations. Once an old estate built in 1680, it is for all intents and purposes a stone’s throw from Lyon.

While on a mission to Gaul in 43 BC, one of Caesar’s lieutenants founded a Roman colony and named it Lugdunum. It became the capital of Roman Gaul and is now the core of present-day Lyon. Its most provocative artifact from the Roman period is the bronze Claudian Table granting citizens the right to become Roman senators. The table is part of the priceless collection of the Musee de la Civilisation Gallo.

A lovely city in the Rhone Alps, Lyon offers a cornucopia of diversions, from its world famous cuisine to its medieval and Renaissance old square. It is organized into nine arrondissements and the best way to explore the city on foot. Fourviere hill, the “praying hill” is defined by the extravagant 19th century Our Lady of Fourviere Basilica, beloved symbol of the city and a revered place of pilgrimage. Mosaics and stained glass opulently fill the interior. Easy access is provided by a funicular railway, la ficelle, which travels to the top of the hill and amazing views of the city below.

The cost of the rooms is quite reasonable with rates starting at about 35E per person/per night including breakfast.

The cost of the rooms is quite reasonable with rates starting at about 35E per person/per night including breakfast. Other meals can also be arranged for an additional charge. Men and women are welcome. Each single, double and dorm rooms have private baths and views of the park. The institute is accessible to the handicapped.

To be continued…

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Goya’s Murals and Mudejar art exemplify the beauty of Aragon.

Written by eileen on July 8th, 2012

The Third of May 1808 (1814) By Francisco Goya, Oil on Canvas, Museo del Prodo, Madrid, Spain.

Enveloped by a verdant woodland, the monastery occupies a mountaintop location. Founded at the end of the 17th century, a Gothic hermitage is all that endures of the very first settlement. The remainder of the complex is Baroque in style. Between the monastery and Zaragoza is the Cartuja de Aula Del, home to Goya murals. In 1774, Goya painted fourteen scenes of the Virgin Mary for a Spanish church used by sequestered Carthusian monks. Until recently, only three women, one a Spanish princess, had seen the paintings. In November 1998, Queen Sofia led a contingent of fifty women on an unprecedented visit to see the murals. Guided tours are available by prior appointment only. Goya served his apprenticeship and painted his first works in Zaragoza. His paintings are exhibited in the Basilica of Nuestra Senora del Pilar and the Provincial Museum of Fine Arts.

Many of the cities, towns and villages of Aragon lay claim to the most characteristic forms of Mudejar art. Between the 12th and 16th centuries, extensive Mudejar communities existed and bequeathed a legacy of bricklaying and decorative arts. The brick bell-towers, often festooned with glazed ceramic tiles, are peculiar to the region. The monastery has fifteen single and three double rooms and is open year round.

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In a setting near Lake Garda, room and half board are an inexpensive $49.00

Written by eileen on May 3rd, 2012

Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, was originally named Garda Benacus by the Romans.

Of Glacial origin, It is distinguished by the intense blue color of its water. Lake Garda, Italy’s largest lake, was originally named Garda Benacus by the Romans. Nearby Moniga del Garda is a quaint village comprised of ancient streets dominated by a castle and bell tower. The crenellated boundary walls preserve lookout towers. The Villa Brunata is poised near the town’s main square, its elegant façade and portico face a century-old park. The parish church of San Michele was rebuilt in the 7th century, its interior reveals a beautifully sculpted Pieta.

The town recently renovated its “passeggiata” and port and increased ferry connections across the lake. On the outskirts of town, Grotte di Catullo are Roman ruins (once a villa) set on a hillside of ancient olive groves.

In the immediate vicinity, Malcesine is a picturesque gem and the locale of the cable car to Monte Baldo with its wonderful views of the lake. Sirmione is noted for its Roman ruins and the Rocca Scaligera. A classic example of a medieval castle, the imposing structure is accentuated by battlemented towers and a drawbridge.

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