September 19, 2015

Rhone Cruise: Beaune

After pointing out some fortress remnants and the place where women gathered to wash clothes, our guide took us to Hotel Dieu des Hospices de Beaune.Nicholas Rolin and his wife built this charity hospital in 1443 after the Black Plague and when 75% of residents were destitute. The last patient checked out in 1971. 
Patients were two to a bed which helped greatly to stay warm. However, Rick Steves writes that until Louis Pasteur, the basics of infection and hand washing were not understood. He thinks that during periods of infection your chances for survival were better outside in a ditch. 
You could pray from your room, a river ran under the bulding for cleaning, a well provided drinking water, and one of the first woman pharmacists knew how to use newt eyes and other special potions. 
The Last Judgement altarpiece by Weyden and commissioned by Rolin is still magnificent. 
Saturday market was packed and I finally got my crepe - delicious!

After our van ride from hell (the van's GPS confused our driver and we returned to our starting point several times, he didn't know how to roll down the window and pay tolls, and the aisles were filled with overflowing luggage),  we embarked on Avalon Tranquility II on the Rhine in Basel Switzerland.  Switzerland and Germany are new countries for Richard - the "country hunt" is contagious!

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