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Sunday, 4. October 2009 16:57

Phew! It’s getting busy around here. This past week has been a swarm of activity with confirming movers, listing furniture for sale and figuring out logistics for hotels, etc. both in France and the US.

So our trip to Corsica already feels like it was ages ago even though we just got back on Tuesday!

Corsica Ferries

We took the car on the ferry from Nice to Bastia. Those ferries are HUGE. On the return trip, we got to watch them unload the ship and counted 5 or 6 tour buses and at least 15 semi-trucks before any of the passenger cars came off. The trip is about 5 hours long and we were rewarded with this sunset over Cap Corse on the way.

Sunset over Cap Corse

We stayed at the Dolce Notte hotel in Saint Florent and spent part of each day on the beach. The La Roya beach near Saint Florent was perfect for the kids. Check out how far out they are and the water still only comes to Joe’s knees.

Plage La Roya

We took a driving tour of the Nebbia region on the first day we were there. The plan had been to drive to the first town on the list and stop for lunch. We had been warned that driving in Corsica was of the twisty-turvy type, but figured that is couldn’t be too different from what we’re used to here in the Alpes-Maritimes. We were wrong, it takes a long time to get from one place to the other in Corsica. Add in a kid who gets carsick and, well, we didn’t do as much exploring as we thought we would.

Anyways, we stopped at the first town. Got out at a bar and asked about lunch. They had no food and when I inquired as to the nearest place to get lunch the woman said, “I don’t know. Maybe in Saint Florent.” Since that was where we had come from, we kept on driving. Each town was smaller than the last until we finally gave up and ate what I had packed as a snack for lunch. We stopped by this lovely little church near Murato.

Eglise St Michelle

Oh, and we passed this cow on the road.

On the Road

In addition to exploring Corsica, we got to meet up with Cara and her family for dinner. The kids had a great time and Sophia has since been asking if Ayva, baby Ayva, Daddy Ayva and Mommy Ayva can come to our house to play with her toys (their daughter, Ayva, is about a year younger than Sophia).

Category:France, Hotels, Moving, Travel, Travel: France | Comments Off | Autor: Erica


Friday, 26. September 2008 9:58

I didn’t get around to posting about our trip to Provence back in February. I had hoped to do it before our camping trip in August, but that didn’t happen. I’m also feeling a bit brain-dead in terms of what to post these days, and want to redesign and update the blog, and, and, and,……I think I’ll get these posts written and see if that frees me up for any creative observations.

Arles, France from the Arena

We chose Arles as our starting point for our trip to Provence. It’s pretty central to all of the other places that we wanted to see and on its own has some great sites.

Arles boasts a Roman arena that is still in use today and a Roman ampitheatre. It is also known for being the subject of many painting by Van Gogh since he lived there for a little over a year and it is here that he really started to develop his signature color style.

The Arena in Arles, France

The town center is very easy to walk since it isn’t very big and many of the roads are closed to vehicle traffic (great for traveling with a toddler). There are also several walking tours to do with markers paved into the streets that you can follow. There are four themed walks ranging from Roman Arles to Van Gogh’s Arles that take you throughout all the monuments that the city has to offer.

We stayed at the Hotel d’Arlatan in the center of town. Just trying to find it was a bit of a challenge. Since a good portion of the roads are closed to vehicle traffic, we had quite a time trying to figure out which roads we could drive on. At one point a woman stopped us to ask where we were going and then good-naturedly gave us directions that took us back to where we had started outside of town.

Since we were traveling with an infant, I don’t think we made it out of the hotel before noon the entire trip. Joe made a comment that we used to run at half-speed with Sophia and that now we were running at quarter-speed with the two of them!

Sophia running through the garden at Espace Van Gogh.
Van Gogh Garden in Arles

One of the things that I loved about this part of the country is that you can really get a feel for the Spanish influence. We live near Italy which you can tell from the food and the accent of the French speaking. In Arles, you’re more likely to see bullfighting in the Roman Arena and we were able to sit down to tapas one night. Things that you just don’t find once you drive just two hours away.

Category:France, Hotels, Travel, Travel: France | Comment (0) | Autor: Erica

Ali, Tyler & Italy

Friday, 23. June 2006 11:18

Via Garibaldi in Genoa, Italy, originally uploaded by emorris1.

Ali (Joe’s sister) and her son, Tyler, came down from Jolly Old England last week for a visit. We had a good time touring around the Côte d’Azur while they were here, but I think the highlight of the trip was a weekend in Italy.
Our main stop was in Genoa, most famously known as the birthplace of Christopher Columbus (although some now dispute that), and only a little over 2 hours from our house by car.

We spent the night in Savignone, a small town outside of Genoa. Our hotel, Palazzo Fieschi, was built during the XVth century and had a great garden area in the back. It seemed like a good portion of the town was out that night in the bars and cafes to watch the Italy – USA game from the World Cup. Ali and I had visions of sitting in the back of the bar and cheering every time that Team USA scored, but Joe said he wouldn’t acknowledge that he knew us and we all opted for a nice dinner at the hotel instead. For the record, the game was a tie which has been considered a pretty respectable showing for the USA underdogs.

We spent Sunday cruising around Genoa. The photo above is from the Via Garibaldi which is a street lined with some amazing palazzos. It seems like the rich just tried to outdo each other with their homes. I was mesmorized by the trompe l’oeil painting on so many of the buildings in Genoa. You can take a look at some great examples by looking at my flickr account.

Genoa is also known for its pesto, which is one of my favorite sauces. The pesto here is made from a type of basil that apparently grows very well in the area. Knowing this, we all sat down to lunch and had to have the pesto – Joe and I with pasta and Ali with gnocchi – and yes, it was probably the best pesto that I’ve ever had. Sophia really liked it, too. Unfortunately, since we were touring around on a Sunday, none of the shops were open because I had been planning to stock up! (But good news, I just found a website that will ship it to me!)

Tyler and Sophia got along very well, and Sophia is now learning to share. OK, she only shared her cold, and that meant that Ali got to meet our French pediatrician. I don’t know that we properly warned her before the visit, but while we have decided that we like this doctor medically, sometimes she leaves a bit to be desired on her bedside manner. So after telling Ali that socks are forbidden in the summer and admonishing me to go out and buy a thermometer in Celsius, we were able to learn that Tyler had tonsilitis, and that that must have been what Sophia had been complaining about a few days before. Sophia is now healthy, and we were able to at least calm Tyler down before his flight back home, but I still need to get an update on him.

Category:Hotels, Travel: Europe | Comments Off | Autor: Erica


Thursday, 2. March 2006 12:10

Aunt Meg, Sophia and I took a quick trip to Avignon to see the Palais des Papes. It’s about a 2 and a half hour drive from here so we took off and spent a Thursday night there and came back Friday evening.

Avignon is in Provence along the Rhone river and was the center of the Catholic church with the arrival of the Pope in the 14th century. Civil war was waging in Rome, so it was too dangerous for them to stay at the Vatican. They arrived in 1309 and settled into Avignon for about 100 years.

We stayed at the Hotel d’Europe. It was built in 1580 as the city home for the Marquess of Gravezon and became a hotel in 1799. The hotel was very nice, and the staff was very accommodating. They were able to serve us a late lunch, made us dinner reservations and let us keep the car there while we toured around on Friday.

The Palais des Papes was, of course, where the popes lived during the 14th century. Since that time the building has seen revolution and served as army barracks, so there is not much inside of note, but the building itself is impressive and they have a very well-documented audio guide.

Admission into the Palais des Papes also gets you onto the Pont St. Bénezet. Several people in Avignon had proudly told us that it’s the bridge from the famous song. So of course Aunt Meg asks me, “What famous song?” I have no idea.

Next to the Palais des Papes is the Petit Palais. This building has one of the largest collections of religious art, mainly Madonna and Child, that I’ve ever seen (outside the Vatican, of course). I couldn’t help but think if they had taken just a few pieces out of this collection and put them into the Palais des Papes…..

Dinner on Thursday night was outstanding, and very Provencal. We ate at Le Brigadier du Théâtre. I had a Caviar d’Aubergine (an eggplant caviar served on a bed of tomatoes) to start and a Tian de Legumes á la viande de Canard Confit (a gratin dish of legumes and duck). Followed by a Crème Brulée that was served on top of a chocolate granache. Yum!

I don’t think we actually spent enough time in Avignon, so I’ll be going back. And next time I’ll hopefully have some time to explore the Rhone Valley wine region while I’m there. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is not that far away.

Category:Hotels, Restaurants, Travel: France | Comments Off | Autor: Erica