Archive for December, 2011

30th December
written by katherine

Upon waking and diaper change, Miss G informed Daddy boldly that today she would like to go “train”….

Guilliana really likes riding trains…which is wonderful since we live 3 blocks from a large train station and there are many wonderful towns and cities (and yes even countries) within an hour or so train ride. The fearless and always adventurous Miss G also gets horribly, viciously car sick (just like her mommy), so if it weren’t for our easy access to rail transport we probably wouldn’t be getting out too much while here!

So there we were with an eager little traveler and no idea where we might go. Bob had done a bit of reading about St. Raphael and its suburb Frejus in the Var region earlier in the week when we were looking for things to do during this week off together. So we headed to the train station and got our tickets to Frejus!

Click for slideshow

Wow, what a fantastic and incredibly scenic ride! I honestly had no idea that there were red rocks similar to those in Sedona Arizona. The homes, ports and beaches along the way were gorgeous and actually a bit different from the areas west of here where we have visited previously.

Upon arriving in Frejus we took a short walk and didn’t see very much. We decided to head back to the train platform to see when the next train would come by to take us the 5 minutes up the road back to St. Rapheal. We discovered that we would have to wait another 3 hours…well, let’s make the best of it! So we followed the signs to the center of town to look for a restaurant to have some lunch and generally check out the little town.

The town generally struck me as more “working class” and definitely medieval, although it didn’t have the same 13th century feel that the incredibly picturesque town of Valbonne does. After strolling down a few streets we discovered the town center all decked out for the holiday season, complete with carousel and food booths. As we didn’t want G to get all worked up before we had a chance to eat, we made a quick detour around the festivities.

We went down another few streets and found what looked like a lovely little place with a decent-looking menu and decided to go in. Well the food at Le P’Tit Encas was really very good, and very reasonably priced! The service was lovely and the entire experience was quite enjoyable.

After we finished our nice, long lunch we headed back into the town center to see what we could find for G to see and do before the next train arrived. Once we got in we saw the cutest thing…PONIES!! There were 4 of the cutest little Shetland ponies giving rides to the little ones. So I quickly got in line and had Bob take G around to the various displays and whatnot while I waited for her turn. Guilliana was quite amped up at this point due to her chocolate Sunday and half of my raspberry & pistachio ice cream with raspberry coulis. SUGAR HIGH!

Train ride sunset on the Mediterranean Sea.

Once it was her turn, Miss G got on that little guy and grabbed the reins like a pro, completely ready to start her ride. To be fair, Guilliana has a rocking horse in her room nearly as big as the Shetland…so this wasn’t exactly her first rodeo, so to speak! Although the ride wasn’t very long, and G didn’t really want to get off, we had to only a short time to make our train for the trip back home. With the 15 minutes we had left, we took a quick tour of the Medieval church in the town center, amazing! We also sampled our first vin chaud (hot wine…we enjoy this in the States as well, it’s usually called mulled wine), not too bad.

We headed to the train platform and boarded within a few minutes, found some excellent seats and settled in. The bright and sunny day quickly faded to a gorgeous sunset over the Mediterranean and then slipped into inky night as we arrived in Antibes. Our little ball of energy was nearly zapped out at this point and ready for dinner and an early bed time.
We live in an amazing place, in an incredibly beautiful part of the world. We are blessed to be able to experience all of this together as a family. Although our road has been anything but easy since arriving here, the struggles make us stronger and reinforce to me that there is nothing I can’t handle while my amazing husband and beautiful little girl are by my side.

Here is the day in pictures…

Slideshow – Miss G takes Frejus!

Au revoir, mes amis!

27th December
written by bob

So…it’s the end of December 2011 and the weather this past week has been unbelievably awesome! This week has basically been about 16C (60F)! Wow, can’t complain for the last week of December.

We decided that we needed to go somewhere we have not been since moving to France. So…the decision was made to take the train to Cannes today and spend the day down at “La Croissette”.

Click for slideshow

We got Miss G all dressed up in one of her “new” outfits she received for Christmas. She looked soooo cute with her little Benetton boots and long sweater dress. We found few open restaurants right “on the beach” that we decided to enjoy lunch with a view of the sea. It was rough…NOT!

After lunch, we walked sea-side and enjoyed the sun and water-view. OH…and we even found a pay-to-use WC (water closet) that was self-washing once you finished your business! It was definitely better than some of the public restrooms we have encountered in the locale. Miss G rode the go-kart train a couple turns to finish off our incredible family day! It was back to the train station to head home!

Here is the day in pictures…

Slideshow – In Cannes with G

Au revoir, mes amis!

25th December
written by bob

Pere Noel is has been a little bit of an elusive fellow to track down here in the French Riviera. Two Sunday’s ago we saw Santa while shopping at the “big” Carrefour Market and decided that we could wait one more week before getting Miss G a picture with Pere Noel! Also…influencing our decision was the fact that G wasn’t really dressed for the occasion. So, one week later on Dec. 19, we figured it was time to get pictures of Miss G with Santa.

G & Pere Noel!

After a 2 hrs struggle to get out the door in order to “beat the crowd”, we arrived at the Carrefour during the downtime of lunch hour (or “hours” here in France).

Much to our surprise (and still being 6 full days before Christmas) one Pere Noel decided he wasn’t going to work on Sunday. We aren’t the only ones in the store that day. There were lots of people especially ones with kids! The entire following week was tough to get out to a place to “find” Santa. We went all around Antibes to find a Santa 3 out of 5 evenings but had no luck. Really? Is Pere Noel that hard to find especially in the last week before Christmas?

Pere Noel, I would like...

On Friday, Dec. 23, we decided to try the local (and only) mall we know of near St. Laurent du Var called CAP3000. We scanned their website and discovered that Pere Noel would be in the mall and available for photos from 1000h-1900h. Perfect! We REALLY didn’t want to miss G’s opportunity with Santa.

We braced ourselves for what we thought was going to be a “zoo” of people but we were pleasantly surprised that not very many people were out despite most of the shops being open! And, after a bit of asking around, we were able to find Pere Noel for G’s photo opp. So…

Merry Christmas! Bon Fetes!

From all of us to ALL of you! Best wishes for 2012!

Bon Fetes / Merry Christmas!

Au revoir, mes amis!

13th December
written by bob

We would like to apologize to all of our followers. We are truly sorry for the lack of recent posts over the past 5-6 weeks. Yes, we are aware that we broke our promise of 1 new post a week. We’re REALLY sorry!

Unfortunately this is a result of a couple of extremely time-consuming challenges that have caught us completely off-guard. Suffice to say, we cannot get into the details but will eventually get back to writing about our adventures!

Please be patient. We’ll update everyone soon.

On a more exciting note with Christmas season upon us, we are definitely looking forward to our first “French” Christmas in France. Miss G definitely enjoyed decorating the Christmas tree last Sunday!

Au revoir, mes amis!