Tuesday, June 30, 2009

24 hours + 24 hours = one very long day

When I look back at where this day started and how much ground I've covered and all the people I've met I'm exhausted and full filled with all the wealth that is in my life. As a new friend told me...this is where our story begins and ends...but I think he was wrong. This is just one chapter that jumps around a lot. The chapter ends but all the characters show up later again in a distant place a and time. So this chapter begins in St Remy with my alarm telling me I've actually slept till 9 and need to get up and pack. I hit snooze a couple of times knowing that even though I have a birth in a train car that doesn't mean I know when I will next sleep. Packing my extra bag for Aunt Beth and stuffing some stuff in nanas bag I'm officially ready to depart my group. Its still quite a while before that happens but at least I'm ready. Mom, Nana, Coleen and Brenna are at cooking class. The girls and I decide to go into town to grab a few more pics and souvenirs before we hit the road. We drove down to the roman ruin excavation site to see what we could see without paying. It wasn't much but I climbed up through the scrub brush and out onto a pillar of rock and WOW! It took my breath away! You could see forever! Not so much right in front of you where they excavated but everything else, villages with spires piercing the centers surrounded by fields and orchards to the next town. I was about to yell to my sisters to join me when I heard the car door shut. They never heard me. Now I'm in a dress pretty sandels on an out cropping of rock and shale and there are stinging nettles and brambles everywhere you look. I try to pick the easiest way down but I realize its lead me to the wrong ravine. This is when Kara finally gets out of the car and calls my name instead of just honking the horn. She was thinking the same thing I was...stranded with a broken leg would suck right now, is she lost or hurt? Anyway, found my way down, went back to the hotel, loaded the cars and waved goodbye. Beth and I in one car, Tawni and Barb in another, the sisters in the van and all the luggage made our way to the train station. We left very early and it was a good thing cause we did get off the beaten path and stuck behind an accident in traffic with weird round abouts (4 lane highway going straight thru the middle) I hailed a non-english speaking semi truck and asked him how to turn around. Thru gestures we got our selves straightened out. One more stop for directions and we were there. Barb Moe and I stayed with the bags while the rest turned in the cars. That's when Coleen started calling frantically. They were lost "okay I followed the signs to Nice and never saw a TGV sign where do I go?" We had followed signs to Avignon so I was no help. Our porter was not worried. "Ah Nice! Its only like...mmm...30 mins away! Plenty of time! Do not worry they will be here!" Our train leaves in 45mins now. I'm totally worried! Needless to say Tawni runs back to collect a cd from the rental car coleens group showed up 7 mins before departure and nana found her train ticket 2 mins before the train pulled up. Tension was high and for the first time I was feeling a little teary. It was hard to let them go. When they took off, the silence on the platform was deafening! My body was buzzing. I was so used to being in tune with 11 other women and now I was just overly conscious of just me...to be continued!

Sunday, June 28, 2009

St Remy

Today is Sunday. We have one full day here so we made the most of it. Breakfast was served at 8am so we made sure we were ready to jump in the car before we sat down to a VERY scrumptious breakfast of granola, croissants, fruit, orange juice and cafe au lait. Then we were off, first to a Market/flea market (antiquing) and then to the lavender fields. The market was amazing, I've never seen anything...no wait, the Alaska State fair on a sunny, non-school day...INSANE! I finally burnt to a crisp, Se la vie! It had to happen sometime. There was so much color and noise and movement! Linens, legumes, jewelry, clothes, trinkets, you name it, it was there. Even a box with a baby pig and rabbits they were wanting you to buy food to feed them! (seriously, everything!) It was a little overwhelming...especially the antiquing, everything was old, and I mean nothing was less than 100 years old! And most of it was over 100 Euro...it was fun to look through the old furnature, linens, crystal, paintings, books, etc. So much to see, so little time. We ventured on to another town (I'll fill in the blanks later when I remember) that was older than anything we have seen yet and built into cliff. It was awesome and got everyone excited! We drove onto the lavender fields only to be surprised at how they were mountain pastures and just small funny shaped fields here and there. The abbey was absolutely stunning just like in the pictures but not at all in the setting you assume...when they say fields, you just don't picture the drive to victory bible camp and end up tucked in a closed valley. Lots of fun pics later we headed to explore that fun village on a cliff, only to find pay parking, being cheap some of us jumped out, while others drove to a different angle and parked in a no parking zone with the rest of the tourists...LOL! So French! We got some ice cream (glace) and headed home (missing the McDonald's!). Back at the hotel we hurriedly got ready for the next venture. Back in the car we drove to the insane asylum where Van Gough spent his final year before taking his life. He lived there for one year and 8 days and painted over 150 canvases and did over 100 sketches! (the beginning of art therapy?) It is still a working hospital. Walking across the street we saw some Roman Ruins that were built around Christ's time. Very cool. THEN WE WENT TO DINNER...(it's 7:30pm, we haven't eaten-minus glace-since 8:30pm)...10:30pm we still haven't gotten the bill...I have to the bathroom but there isn't one...Evie is vacillating between crying and sleeping...we are all so tiered from the fun day that even finding our way home is a challenge. (oh, and I keep loosing stuff!) Arriving home I take a cold shower, felt so good on my burn, and we all went to bed, well, I'm there as soon as I post this! Tomorrow Coleen Brenna Mom and Nana are taking a cooking class offered here at the hotel. I am personally going to sleep in, run some errands for mom and pack. If there is time, I would love to see the excavated roman ruins but I am headed to Italy so we'll see. Tomorrow I have to say goodbye to the family...I'm not ready

Goodbye Villa in the Vinyard - Hello St Remy

Today we said goodbye. It was so sad because we were just feeling comfortable and brave and could have stayed there another week without running out of things to do. Mom and I went out to Chateau Verez for one last bottle of vin while the girls lazed around the pool one last time. They met us in Vidabaun at another winery where I got my wine glasses and carafe. Thru town this semi rode two inches from moms bumper laying on his horn as if we could go any faster than the car in front of us! This place is crazy! (I personally love it!) The plan was to head to the lavendar fields. There were toll boths and highways and round abouts, dodging across 9 lanes to stay together. We decided to skip the fields and find our hotel first. (This ended up being the best idea) We drove around for hours, or so it seemed, in and out and thru St Remy. We even stopped at the office of tourism to ask for directions and still got lost! Driving around we met a guy in a truck who flagged us down by yelling Tawni's name. It was our hostest. He was going to the market and when he noticed 4 cars full of women driving around. He figured it must be us since a group that big especially all women is an extremely rare sight. It was a good thing. We only had coffee that morning and it was 4pm. We were all tiered and hungry. After settling in and getting the intro to the house and grounds and town we went to town for dinner...only to find that no one serves food till 7pm! It is a beautiful town with tintsie wintsie alleys and the old arches to the old walled city still standing between buildings. There was a huge church and while paying for parking we saw three different sets of brides and grooms leaving their weddings! (More soon)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Johny Depp aka Stinky Cheese

This morning we woke up and the 'Morris' girls made breakfast. We had potatoes and onions again with ham this time and scrambled eggs! It was so yummy and nice to have everyone together again on the veranda. I must say our meals have been amazing. Salads with lots of stuff in it. Cherries and nectars. Cheese and bread with balsamic vinegar and oil. Coleen made a yummy chicken noodle thing one night. Beth made a yummy ham noodle salads. And tonight Coleen is making fettecini with our yummy expensive cheese and Beth is making sauteed vegetables. Oh and lots of vin!

Anyway today we went to La Plan De La Toure. Home of our favorite pirate Johnny Depp (aka Stinky Cheese). We found parking and walked the streets looking for stinky cheese. It was a very cute and very nondescript. Extremely small we didn't dare mention his name so stinky cheese became the code word. It had a fun boutique. I bought an extra suitcase to send home with the ladies and french fries. We looked all over for stinky cheese but never found him. We saw what we assumed was his house but nobody really knows. From here we all decided to do different stuff. Lu's car went to the sea and shopping in St Maximes. Tawni's car went home and to the turtle preserve, which ended costing an arm and a leg so we declined going inside and to the butterfly caves, which ended up being a beautiful winery under construction, and to go horse back riding. YES, I, Jen Morris, rode a horse and did fine! It was very uneventful which was perfect in my mind and we rode down to a crick and up through some vineyards, up where you could see over the valley. We even saw 2 turtles (very lucky our guide said). Coleen said they even gave us real horses, not the retired trail riders but competition horses that jump and race! It was very lovely and my horse Ferrell did very well. The guide wasn't so bad either even though he didn't speak very much english and I even less French between our gestures we carried on great throughout the ride. Mom's car went to La Garde Friene and visited a cemetery and went home for a swim then back to our "butterfly cave" and to the super market.

It was a lovely day. We ended with the best fettechini and sauted vegetables I have ever tasted. A nice blanc from Chateau Verez. The sun went down as big storm clouds threatened to rain in us. We ran to the vineyard to get pics before our light was gone. Brenna found the biggest spider, I didn't go look, she had already danced and spat and stood speechless for long enough and that was good enough for me :)

Back inside the packing began. More piano playing and dragging of feet. We didn't want this week to end. One last skinny dip and 3 falling stars and tons of satellites. A perfect ending to our villa in the vineyard.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Mediterranean Sea!

Today we got up early and drove to the sea! I cannot do this day justice as this is a public blog. You will have to ask for each individuals account of this day in person. Each will have their own story to tell.

We picked up Saraphina around 9am and drove on the tiniest road we have seen to date on the steepest ravines we have seen to date. It was awesome minus poor Aunt Beth who couldn't hardly keep from crawling out of her skin she was so scared to be on the down hill side and the other two drivers who were cursing the French and their skinny little roads. Mom seemed to handle it very well :) I'm so proud of her! Oh did I mention there are tons of bicyclists on these crazy roads? Then we hit the sea! It was just like the pictures (accept in the picture your the one sitting on the beach not the one stuck in round abouts wondering why all the entrances to the parking are exits and you can't actually get to the beach like everyone else knows the secret but you!) We finally found the perfect beach with shade for me and sun for everyone else and jumped in. WHOA! IT WAS COLD! Okay so in my mind the water is perfectly warm almost like a bath but this was SO not the case. We snorkled a bit and saw a couple varieties of fish and a flounder and lots of sea grass. Mom dove over and over for what looked to be a cool shaped shell but ended up being a burried piece of sea weed! We spent all day reading, sun bathing, swimming, walking, staring at nudes (hey they stared at us, 11 women and a baby! We just stared back), napping, repeat. When we finally tore ourselves away from the beach we decided to visit the city of Borme. Okay I can't say enough about this village. It is the top best place we have visited thus far! I could have lived there for a year! From the moment we came around the hill and saw it perched on the side of the mountain craig with the sun going down casting that orangy glow we all love so well WE FELL IN LOVE! Why do we find all the cool places just as they are closing up for the night! We were all very tired so a quick walk through town we grabbed some glacier (ice cream) and headed home.

I do have one funny story from this little piece of heaven. I was carrying Evie in the car seat, taking pics etc when she woke up. Tawni took her out of the car seat cause she is so much easier to carry that way and we put our purses in it with the blanket over them. As we were heading back to the car park I noticed a little steep alley and dove down it to take some pics.
As I was multi tasking: carrying stuff, walking down a hill with stairs, taking pictures I tripped on one of the stairs and barley caught myself from falling face first pell mell down this steep skinny alley. I heard everyone gasp and run reaching for the car seat when I realized they thought there was a baby in it! They were looking at me mortified as I shouted "No bebe! No bebe!" Then the looked confused and disbelieving so I said "Avec mama!" And this little old lady gasped with relief spouting off a bunch of French while clutching her heart. I quickly tucked my camera under the blanket and raced away red faced. I'm just really glad it wasn't worse.
Thinking I would wind my way around and head them off at the car park I was very mistaken. I ended up at the bottom of a little neighborhood
looking up a big cliff at the car park above. A little French man started following me grinning ear to ear. I think he was amused to find me lost and flustered at least that's my story (This is getting to be annoying, frenchmen and their blatent appriciation for women!)

After dropping Saraphina back at home, mom Beth and I went back to the lookout to grab a couple picks of La Garde Freiner in the sunset light. Then home for dinner and...bed...wait a minute! I don't know who started it but there was skinny dipping too! Kara and I saw the coolest shooting star and we spotted lots of satellites before finally going to bed.

Wednesday - La Garde Friere

Next day we went to market in La Garde Friere. It was supposed to be a quick trip. (The girls slept in after their long adveture up north). We met a women over olives who promptly invited to show us the town, a fountain, a lookout, and her friend Kate's "typical french house". Saraphina came to visit and swim in the pool. She stayed for dinner and then at sunset she and I walked to the top of this hill (everyone else drove) and had "sun-downers." It was an amazing view and the wine was splendid too. Sorry so short. Trying desperately to catch up!

Tuesday a day of rest - for some!

I wish I could get one of my sisters to blog their adventure driving to Monico and back! They arrived home exausted and grinning from ear to ear. I think they had a good time but enough driving in France for a bit! They made good time to Nice but couldn't find parking. I guess the traffic was bumper to bumper all the way to Monico! They got there just as the palace was closing so they only got to see the grounds but one of the guards finally explained to them why Evie was getting so many looks. In his broken very limited english he told them that the sun is so much stronger here that you don't take babies out. Its too dangerous. That explains why we haven't seen a baby younger than walking age out and about!

As for the rest of us, we slept in and took a swim in the pool. I made breakfast of fried potatoes onions and sausage with fresh garlic, rosemary and olive oil! It was yummy! Pretty much just laid around the pool and painted and pooled and painted again! Around 5 we decided to go "chauteau hopping" as Aunt Beth calls it. We sampled wines and bought our favorites. I'm going to try and sneak a few bottles home...we'll see. One beautiful place we wittnessed a mother and daughter have a little spat right in front of us (not typical french behavior!) The mother could speak english but wanted her daughter to have the chance to practice. The girl asked if we wanted to "try" any wines and her mother said no its "taste.". The girl rolled her eyes and responded "try taste all the same in english eh?" Mom argued daughter slapped her hands and shooed her away then refused to speak till her mother left the room. "I know English but I no like her correcting me all the time!" She said. It was hilarious! Another beautiful dinner together on the patio. A dip in the pool and stories shared as the Monico group arrived back late. It was a good day!

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Monday was an elusive market day

So on Monday we got up early again, coffee croissants with chocolate again for breakfast, loaded in two cars this time (less getting lost and separated we hoped) and headed for a market in St Tropewe drove for an hour and dove back into the crazy confusing costal towns again. Back and forth, up and down, round and round. We finally gave up and went back to a huge super market we saw before we hit town. It was heaven! A little bit like america and a little more predictable than anything we have done or seen yet! I found an atm and an adapter and chips and mineral water in bulk and ice tea! Shampoo and conditioner and sun block and "after sun" and medicine for my head! We finally made it back home by late afternoon and dove right back into the pool. Some of us decided we weren't going ANYWHERE tomorrow!

Sunday was Market day

Vidabaun was a cute little town. After arriving late after a crazy departure from fast paced Paris and getting lost going in circles in those crazy little coastal towns, it was nice to go at the slow country pace for once. Some of us still feeling the push and rush of Paris, tried to stay together. Others feeling the freedom of a small town went to explore. As you can imagine, this was a bit like herding cats. It didn't take long to find the market...we just followed the empty baskets! The full baskets were coming from this tiny hole in the wall which turned out to be a pedestrian alley where we were met by the biggest wheel of cheese I have ever seen! The lady there had all 11 of us taste testing goat cheese and sheep cheese and goat/sheep cheese and cow cheese (yuck!) And compte 3 months old and compte 2 years old...it definately gets better with time! I definitely love old compte. Anyway, after we had our fill, picked our favorites most of us moved on down the lane while Coleen picked out portions and paid. The lane opened into a square (if you could call it a square) maybe twice as wide as the lane where farmers sold fruits and "verte legumes." We tried to figure out what a kilo was by buying very yummy cherries. Then Coleen caught up to us with huge eyes...she was speechless. When speech returned we learned that the cheese had cost 98 Euro ($150) and that we had 2 Euro left in the pot for dinner. Live and learn I guess (it was really good cheese!) I found bread and bought a loaf of olive bread and a loaf of multi grain bread. I also bought a liter of olive oil. While getting these purchases (unbeknownst to me) the bell in the church tower above me rang for mass and was deafening. People flooded the streets and then it was quite empty. Good for us shoppers :) It was awesome! It was fun looking thru all the linens and shoes and clothes and jewelry. I found a peach tea I like much better than their water. We all gathered at a fountain as we finished and made our way back home. I am not used to the way men openly appreciate women around here. With 11 of us its quite an oggle fest. We jumped in the pool and had a restful rest of the day at our little villa in the vinyard! That night Nana played on the baby grand and we sang while making dinner. We ate on the veranda at twighlight. I love it here...

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Saraphina!

I'm sorry I haven't blogged in a bit. I've been busy being lazy. I will catch up I promise. (I tried a bit today and then it got erased before it posted. Bloody blackberry!) Sorry dad no pics as I still haven't found wifi. Monday we went to market Tuesday we stayed home (well half of us did) the others went to Nice and Monico. Wed we went to market again but in La Garde Freiner this time and met a lovely women over olives. She promptly invited us on a tour of the town and her friends "typical french house" and we took her home for dinner and pool time. She then took us to this lookout above the village to watch the sunset and have "sun downs" basically a night cap. Its been lovely, relaxing and down right unbelievable. How can I ever go back to normal life after this! Tomorrow we are headed to the sea. Then Friday staying home and horse back riding. Saturday we have to check out early and head to St. Remy. I will be sad to leave this place. You should have seen Coleen Tawni Mom and Brenna biking through the vinyards this evening. Surreal!

Monday, June 22, 2009

Catching up by the pool in Provance

Okay so the night before we left Paris we arrived home to find mom and nana just arriving. (They hadn't made it to the church) They had closed the Louvre at 9 only to find that the metro station had closed too. They spent 3 hours walking home!

The next morning we were up, packed and checked out by 830am. Good timing we thought! We had rented a shuttle to get all of our bags and nana, barbie, mom kara and evie to the train station and we took the metro. Splitting up for coffee and other purchases we lost a little time. Arriving at the station there were 15 mins to spare but we couldn't find the shuttle. Then the machines would only stamp half our vouchers. A man handling our luggage stuffed it in a side door and told us to get on the train before it left us. Mom almost didn't make it trying to give him a tip. He was very helpful (and very cute) and didn't really speak english. Luckily the train left 5 mins late. We sat down harried high strung and ready for the 4 hour ride. I had bought bread and fruit so at least we had food! There was a very nice gentleman in our car who decided to play tour guide host and coleen became an inquisitor. We learned a ton of stuff about the train how to get around what to avoid etc. The land started to change from flat and green to hilly and green. Then we crossed a river and everything turned yellow and dry. Then we saw the sea! This is what I have always dreamed of...vineyards and red roofed, white washed houses with green shutters and flowering vines next to the sea. All was well till it was our stop. We got off and realized our bags were in a locked room behind our car. The train whistled its warning and Mom and Beth opened the engine compartment in a desperate attempt to look for our bags which promptly got the attention of the non existent coach men who yelled for them to stop. If this had not happened the train would have left us standing empty handed. Relieved we packed our stuff to the car rental agency only to find that (two drivers down) everything was going to be more expensive then we thought. A lovely women who knew as much english as I knew french tried to help us understand that we had to insure the cars. Either decline their insurance and reserve 50,000 Euro on your credit card OR "la petite" insurance for 14 Euro a day plus reserve 1600 Euro on your credit card (who has that kind of limit?) An hour and a half later we had 4 cars, 4 drivers and a car seat. Now if you think, whew its finally over you are regrettably wrong. Who knows where the map went that the helpful man gave us while teaching us how to drive our Euro cars. Try 4 american drivers trying to find each other on tiny streets, lots of traffic and pedestrians and bicycles and motor cycles splitting lanes and all the cars look the same! We finally put the bright yellow safely vests in our back windows and drove around and around the round abouts till we were all together and the lead car would figure out where we wanted to go. My car was me and mom. We basically just giggled the whole time. Lu's car had music pumped up real loud. Tawni had Barbie and Nana I guess there's had a bit of gasping with each entrance and exit of round abouts and splitting hairs with cyclists. Coleen and beths car was the lead car...so you can imagine how relieved we were when 2 hours after we left the rental car garage we finally left the little town of St Raphael! We followed the sea to St Maximes and headed inland. Here is were Beth slowed down and we caused a traffic jam. Imagine one lane divided into two with a steep cliff on one side and rocks and trees on the other as curvey as you can possibly imagine climbing up up up! We passed thru a beautiful town of La Garde F...something at sunset and we feel in love with Provance even after its not so welcome welcome. Arriving at our house we were welcomed with the customary bread wine meat and cheese platter which made us all melt onto the patio over looking the vineyard cheering and laughing about the entire escapade! Then we all changed into swim wear and jumped in the pool. I am still fighting a sinus headache so I went to bed after that.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Goodbye Paris!

I'm a little behind so I'll combine yesterday and today in one blog. Yesterday was pretty darn sweet. Besides the fact that I finally had my own clothes to change into, we all over slept and spread out doing different stuff. Brenna and Coleen went to the Champse le Sey to go shopping, my sisters and I went to the Arc de Triumph, Barbie Nana Beth and mom got on a "hop on hop off" tour bus that drove them around town to different sights and museums. We all met on Pier 7 for a lunch cruise on the Sein. I think that was a high light for all of us. Ill write more later...need some sleep. More about funky round abouts! Stay tuned

I am sorry. I had a really bad head ache andI fell asleep last night in the middle of blogging, woke up and realized I hadn't posted it. SO! Lunch tour was awesome, we all dressed up, ate fancy food, I played historian since we couldn't understand the tour guide over the pa system, there was a lovely violinist and piano player playing live music. It was awesome! Then we split up again with the intention of meeting together just after 9 at the highest point in Paris, Sacre Coure. Morris girls went back to Arc de Triumph to climb to the top (very breezy, awesome views, evie needed a nap) then we went back to the hotel. Mom, Nana, and Beth continued to do the hop on hop off tours. Tawni, Coleen, and Brenna continued to shop. Everyone but mom and nana ended up at the hotel before leaving for "soccer cracker". Barbie wanted to stay home and keep Evie. Mom and Nana had decided to hit the Louvre one more time 6-9 and meet is at the church. Coleen bought cheese and baggets. I bought wine tomatoes and straw berries and the rest of us set off for the Bastille. There are many stairs to get to the top! It was fun and felt never ending but the top was amazing and the view was surreal. There was a consert going on outside and they were holding a mass inside so we sat on the steps eating our dinner while partaking in both worlds. It was beautiful. On the way back we had planned on stopping to see Moulan Rouge but in the subway this guy tried to take my phone out of my hand and then proceeded to kick a vending machine till it gave up all its euro. Everyone in the station was nervous and upset. We left for home instead. Margaret and I broke off from the group to watch the Eiffle tower sparkle. That was worth coming to Paris for. Then we walked home and had an Irish Coffee before going up to bed. It was fun to watch the little restaurant next door close up shop. They have 7-9 people close. Everything, tables chairs and benches get stuffed inside the little shop and then they sweep the street! They are so efficiant and so fast. I had already packed so I was ready for the next mornings departure...I'm going to take a nap and then I will tell you more ;-)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Giverny and Versialles

What an overwhelming day. I'm exhausted. Its midnight AGAIN and I can hardly process all the stuff I saw and the stories I heard. I learned more about Monet than I have ever learned in an art history class room. (Probably a good thing. I didn't need any more amo to use against my teachers) Dude! He painted pure colors. He didn't mix them on his pallet. He also didn't care to learn the names of his flowers. All he cared about was their color. They were his pallet! There is 7 minutes between changes in light so working fast and on many paintings at once is a good thing. His water lily pond series numbered in the 200's! Oh and he loved cooking. What is not to like about a painter who loves to garden and cook! There is something to say about immersion being the best way to learn something. Actually experiencing the places he saw and painted...awe inspiring! Oh! And our tour guide was exceptional and hilarious! And our skillful driver scared the living day lights out of the Austrailian couple as he weaved our double decker bus in and out of these tiny 1/2 lane wide villages chasing their little cars onto sidewalks or to stop dead in their tracks only to reverse all the way thru town to the nearest side street! There were houses built into the smooth white stone cliffs because originally if you didn't have a man made roof in France then you didn't have to pay taxes. The Sein Vally was beautiful and the poppies and bachelor buttons were in full bloom. Then to top it off the Palace of Versialles! It only took 49 years to build it but it made me feel so small and insignificant! Louis XIV aka the sun king definitely had an appreciation for Roman mythology, Etiquette, and of course himself. Keep your friends close and your enemies closer! Amazing! That alone was enough to give a person a month to study and explore to scratch the surface and we only had 3 hours! We didn't even hardly touch the 2000 acres of gardens, lakes, and Marie Anntionetts little village! It was grand and my feet were sore. Upon returning to the hotel aunt Coleen realized someone had swiped the wallet from her zipped purse and re zipped it! Money, cards, drivers license gone. Not only are we two drivers down now (since I left mine at home not thinking correctly) we were hungry tired and pissed. We went to the corner cafe and had dinner. That definitely helped. A little wine, bread and cheese and good food including creme brule and the best Irish coffee I have EVER had served by the cutest french guy I have seen so far. Kara says I can't take him home cause he makes this annoying rooster sound. Back at the hotel my bag still had not arrived. We went up to our room to get ready to head to the Eiffle Tower to see it sparkle in the hour and our phone rang. My bag had FINALLY arrived! I was so excited tired and decided to stay home with Evie and go to bed. I had planned on going to Sacur Coure early tomorrow before the sun rose but I think I will let Paris wake me up instead (or Evie which ever comes first!) Maybe the next morning right before we leave...

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

We made it to Paris!

That's the gist of it. All of us are here and I'm the only one who's bag got lost. Hopefully it will show up tomorrow evening. For now I'm borrowing clothes. The gentleman who helped me process my lost luggage has met Larry Kroon at a convention. I must say this world gets smaller and smaller. All day I kept looking around expecting to see someone I knew after that! Margaret and I went on quite the adventure while most everybody took a nap. We walked non stop for hours! Saw the outside of almost every museum/monument and had crepes with nutella and our first cafe and bought 2 paintings from this guy who was painting near the Sein and learned the metro system in 7 hours. My feet were bleeding by the time we rejoined the group under the Eiffle tower for wine and pizza. (My walking shoes and everything else is in the lost bag) now its late. My roommates Evie and Kara are crashed out as I should be. Early morning to Guverny and Versilles! (Please ignore misspelled words) Good night!

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Reminiscent of A Lavender Field

As I lay here, mind spinning, I'm wondering what all needs to get done before I head out on Tuesday. My check list is getting longer instead of shorter and my free time committed to packing and planning is getting much much shorter! I did finally get around to changing my address today. (A week late, oh well) I got a chance to talk to my Alaska family which was definitely a perk for me. It almost feels real! Work is picking up and details are slowly getting nailed down. I'm taking too many pictures to process so I'm not sure what to do with them all. Dragon boat races, Angel's Rest hike, moving, etc. I did post some lavender to remind myself that in a very short future I will be transported from the lovely lavender in front of my aunts house to the fields of lavender in the hills of Provance France. I can't wait!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

150 Kindergardeners at a Pig Farm

European Itinerary

People keep asking and so here it is! I will be updating it constantly since hardly any of it (except some travel/tour dates) are set in stone!

Monday June 15th Happy Birthday to me!!!

Tuesday 16th travel to Paris

Wednesday 17th Hotel (1pm?), Catacombs??? (10am-4pm) Rick Steves Historical self guided walking tour of Paris ending at Notre Dame (5:45pm Vespers)

Thursday 18th Giverny-Versialles Tour(9am-6:30pm)
(Arc de Triomphe and Champs-Élysées and Eiffle tower at night)

Friday 19th Sacre Coeur (7am), Eiffle Tower (9am), Seine Cruise (12:30-2:45), Shopping???

Saturday 20th Travel to Provance

June 30th My first over night train ANYWHERE!!! (just like the movies)

July 1-5 Florance

July 2 Siena

July 5-6th Rome?? Bologna?? Lucca??

July 7-8 Cinque Terre

July 9th-17th Northern Italy (the lake country)

July 18-19 Venice

July 20th Fly out of Paris

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Stress Level Has Dropped One Notch








Well folks! I'm officially moved! (and spread between 4 locations) I celebrated with a nice long nap today instead of continuing on with the never ending "to do" list before June 16th arrives.

Final Book Edits (check)
Move (check)
Find Passport (check)
Learn how to use camera (check)
Buy a bikini (check)
Forward Mail
Pack!!!
Turn 32 (do I have to???)
etc...

Tomorrow I am volunteering at Sara's school on a field trip to a pig farm...should be a good time, good pics and hopefully no swine flu outbreaks! That has been Sara and my favorite diagnosis for everything. "I can't move anymore I think I have the swine flu" "don't touch my stuff you might have the swine flu" instead of "bless you" after a sneeze it's "I think your coming down with the swine flu" Never gets old.

I am wanting to celebrate my birthday this year...I'm thinking Andina's (I think that's the name) for happy hour then spaghetti at Jacquie's the night before I leave for a European Adventure! I had a fun lesson on how to use my new Cannon Rebel XSi. Mckay, Sean and I met for coffee at the near the Beaverton Farmers Market and took some really fun shots. I'm ready to practice some more tomorrow with the kids. HA! Good times.