Wednesday, April 5, 2017

France & Italy

We found some cheap tickets so decided to go to France and Italy over Spring Break. We stayed one week in Buis-les-Baronnies in Provence, and then another week in Finale Ligure, Italy. We got in lots of climbing, ate many pastries and gelato, gained 5 pounds, and then tried to lose it walking around many villages and castles. Our GPS sent us down as many one way streets and too-narrow lanes as possible... we saw a lot of back roads, olive groves, and vineyards, and only got stuck and almost drove off a cliff once. It was a pretty ideal vacation and we're already planning our future winter home there.

We stayed in a quaint stone house in France. The owner didn't speak English so I got to test out my rusty French.

Inside our stone cottage

Our first climbing day was at St. Legere

At the crag in St. Legere

Finally got everyone in one picture!

Logan climbing at St. Legere while the storm moves in

Headed home for the day

Our first rest day was rainy but we persevered.  Here we are walking through Vaison-la-Romaine's medieval village up to the castle. And then we went to the bakery.

Roman amphitheater in Orange. We had it to ourselves-- the up side of rain. And then we went to the bakery again.

Maximizing fun in the rain at the Sautadet waterfalls in La Roque sur Ceze.

A castle in Suze-la-Rousse. We had it all to ourselves so we hide-and-seeked our way through. This was our last stop of our maximizing fun day.

Our next climbing day, we went to Baume Russe
Amelie got to do a giant swing. Looks terrifying to me but the kids love these.

And then another village rest day.  Hiding in trees in Menerbes

Village walking in Gordes

Menerbes (I think)

We visited a ruined castle in Les Baux de Provence. These trebouchets inspired Mark & Logan to build their own at home

Here we are back at St. Legere. We did lots of swings on this trip!

St. Julien, which overlooks Buis-les-Baronnies

They had 4 via ferrata routes on St. Julien, including this beginner route.  Logan loved it!

He was a little short for this part.  He started out holding the top rope but ended up crossing by holding tight to Mark's leg.

Finishing the via ferrata. Ama and I hiked up and met them at the top.

We left France and stopped at a walled city called Entrevaux on our way to Italy

We also stopped at Dolceaqua, a medieval village in Italy, on our way to Finale Ligure

We got a painting at this shop

Our house in Italy.  It was an old villa with orange and lemon groves.It was a challenge figuring out how to meet the owner to get the key (it involved going to the local trash/recycling center, obviously), but once we figured that out it was great.

We ate pizza for 5 straight nights in Italy... I perfected how to say pizza please.

Our Italy house

Italy house

In the gardens

Ama loves LoLo these days. A total change from a few months ago when she would hit him every time I told them to put their arms around each other for a picture.
Racing through the bougainvillea

Our Italy house had a pond outside with a pet turtle.  If I'd known I would have brought Pudge.

We walked from our house up to a church and castle on the other side of the valley and then down into town for dinner. Mark and I thought it was pretty awesome.  Not sure about Logan.

One of the best parts of Europe-- the cafes

Finale Ligure beach

There was a giant ferris wheel on the beach in Finale Ligure, and Logan's number one objective of the trip was to ride it.

Climbing in Italy.  This crag was approached through a cave.  When you emerge from the cave, you find yourself in a big cylinder of rock.

Caving to the crag

Logan lowering off his climb/swing

Mark resting on his route, inside a little cave

Cinque Terre.  We walked from Monterosso, through Vernazza, to Corniglia, reliving my college trip there 18 years ago. It was more crowded than I remembered, but still just as beautiful.

Picnic on our Cinque Terre hike. I had to recreate a tomato & mozarella picnic from 21 years ago in Capri. Apparently all my memories of my previous Europe trips revolve around the food.

Wading in Cinque Terre

Paris! We only had one day there, but it was a beautiful spring day with lots of flowers blooming.

Logan's Eiffel Tower souvenir. He was very insistent that he needed this.

Chocolatier with all their Easter goodies

That sign Ama is pointing to says Rue Amelie

Amelie's Eiffel Tower souvenir

Jardin des Tuileries in Paris

Overlooking the Seine

The Eiffel Tower at night. We were lucky to have a hotel near by so we went back at night and walked/rode up to the top.