Tag Archive: family travel


We went to Scotland at the end of June in 2016. We enjoyed exploring the castles, caves, and stunning countryside. We stayed near Glasgow with our friends. After a few days we went to a cottage on the Isle of Raasay, near the Isle of Skye.  On the way, we stopped at the intruiging castle in the picture above.


After exploring the castle, we drove to the cottage we rented on the Isle of Raasay. My dad and I are sword fighting in the front yard. The people in the house across the valley were our nearest neighbors (besides the cows and sheep)!


Playing in the front yard with my Dad.

More photos of our neighbors! The sheep ran when our car came toward them.

This is a highland cow.  It has extra fur because it is so cold here, even in the summer.


One day, we went for a boat ride. It was a chilly, rainy day.


The Misty Isle Boat trip to Loch Coruisk!

We saw seals on our boat trip. They were chillin’ on the rocks and swimming. I don’t think they mind the cold water and rainy weather.


The boat landed on a small island and we went hiking and exploring. The island had hills and rocks to climb. The boat captain told us that this island was where Bonnie Prince Charlie hid after the Battle of Culloden.

A couple days later we visited Castle Dunvegan on the Isle of Skye. There’s a museum inside and we watched an interesting movie about the castle’s history.


Dunvegan Castle is the home of the Macleod Clan and it is 800 years old. One of the items in the castle is the Fairy Flag; legend says that it was given to the Mcleods by the fairies! The Fairy Flag was said to have magic powers that helped the MacLeods win battles. The castle also has lovely gardens to walk in. We had a picnic lunch there with our friends. It was fun except when we got bothered by the bees.


After that, we explored the countryside. The Old Man of Storr is a fascinating rock formation and famous landmark on the Isle of Skye. Lots of people like to hike up to the rock.


They call this Kilt Rock because….it looks like a kilt!


Next we stopped at the Fairy Pools.  Scotland has lots of folklore about fairies, so it’s easy to imagine them in these little waterfalls.


This next photo is of us hiking like hobbits in Middle Earth…


At the end of our trip we went to visit the Battlefield of Culloden. The Battle of Culloden was fought in 1746 by the Scottish Jacobites against the British.  The Jacobites were lead by Bonnie Prince Charlie and they wanted to restore the House of Stuart to the British throne instead of the German Hanoverians. It was the last battle fought on British soil.  1200 people died in one hour! The museum was fascinating because it was interactive. They gave us a listening guide and there was a man dressed up as a soldier, who showed us the weapons they used in the battle.


Culloden was a significant battle because the Scottish Jacobites (mostly Highlanders) were defeated.  The British executed thousands of Highlanders after the battle and confiscated their lands. The wearing of kilts and speaking of Gaelic were forbidden. Hundreds of Jacobite prisoners were transported to the American colonies.

On our last evening we went for a drive at the end of the day. This was taken on the Isle of Raasay, looking at the Isle of Skye.


I enjoyed our trip to Scotland very much. My favorite memory was visiting Culloden because I love history. You should go visit the amazing castles and countryside of Scotland, you’ll love it!

Can you believe this was taken on November 1st??!!

Can you believe this was taken on November 1st??!!

We have been to Olympos twice, and it’s one of our favorite getaway places! Our first trip to Olympos was last fall. We discovered that we had a very long weekend, thanks to the national holiday, Republic Day (October 29),which marks the creation of the Turkish Republic in 1923. Friday and Monday were declared school holidays due to the elections on November 1st.  So, we headed for the otogar (bus station) and got into a dolmuş (public transport mini bus) and headed for Olympos. The dolmuşes leave from the far end of the bus station about every 10 minutes, so it is easy to get there via public transport.

An hour and a half later, we were dropped at this cafe, where we had some tea while waiting for another dolmuş to take us down the canyon to Olympos. Not a bad place to wait, eh?

Tea and snacks available while you wait. Lots of vans pull up to drop passengers heading to Olympos.

Tea and snacks available while you wait. Lots of vans pull up to drop passengers heading to Olympos.

Olympos is well known for its rustic charm, with dozens of tree house and cabin pensions. We stayed in Saban’s, recommended by a friend. We loved it!  Half-board was included, and the food was delicious. We had a little one room cabin, surrounded by fruit and pine trees, nestled by the hills. We left our gear and headed out to explore the ruins that everyone comes here to see.

The sound of silence was fabulous to this city-dweller's ears:).

The sound of silence was fabulous to this city-dweller’s ears:).


Saban’s has fruit trees all around; these are pomegranate trees.


This was breakfast! Dinner was a buffet meal of delicious home-cooked Turkish food, including mezes and salad.

Andy first visited Olympos with a friend.  Here’s the tree house he stayed in!

Turkmen's Tree Houses

Turkmen’s Tree Houses


Be sure to try some fresh-squeezed juice!




Kadir’s Tree Houses is said to be the original tree house/bungalow pension.  It has a very artistic, hippie-like feel to their cabins, and it’s still very popular with the younger, backpacking crowd.

From Saban’s it is a ten minute walk to the entry of the ruins.  If you live in Turkey, be sure to get an annual museum pass; you won’t have to pay the 20 TL fee, which also allows you access to the beach. Those  of you don’t live in Turkey can get a pass for 10 entries for 7.5 TL. You need to pass through the ruins to get to the beach.


The ruins to the right of the creek bed are “untamed” but are worth the hike. It’s the “Indiana Jones hike”.

Olympos  was founded during the Hellenistic Period, and became a prominent city of the Lycian League by the second century BC.


The city was built inside the river valley, behind the mountains, to conceal its wealth from pirates.


However, this strategy didn’t work: Olympos was later used as a base by  a powerful group of pirates. There was an infamous pirate called Zeniketos who operated from Olympos.


After the ruins you arrive at the sea!

A Roman commander of Julius Ceasar conquered the city in the first century BC to neutralize the threat from the pirates.


People continued to live in Olympos until its decline in the 1400’s.


This was a lovely October day. Notice my twin on the right.

We returned for a quick weekend trip in May. This time we stayed at Olympos Orange Bungalows, which also was a good place to stay: nice food, clean rooms, and a lovely garden area.


Orange Bungalows garden area

One of the “must-do” things to do near Olympos is something we haven’t done yet: visit the eternal fires of Chimera which are natural gas-fueled flames that are never extinguished. It’s a popular place to hike up to at sunset or after dark.  North American visitors are known to bring marshmallows and other ingredients to make smores:)  We are told it’s easier to get there if you have your own transport, but you still have about a 3 kilometer hike up (then back down) the mountainside (in the dark), so be sure to wear good hiking shoes and bring a flashlight.  So we are told!  Nate has been three times; twice while camping with his class, and once while he was at summer camp.


Instead, we roasted marshmallows by the fire at Orange Bungalows; we substituted graham crackers with tea biscuits (cookies) and it was GOOD!!

Since most of the pensions in Olympos provide half-board (breakfast and dinner) in their rate, it’s fun to try the little restaurants for lunch.  Here’s one of our favorites, not far from the entrance to the ruins:


You said you wanted a close up on our plates? Ok!

So, what are you waiting for? Come and see for yourself why Olympos is a great getaway place!


Sumela Monastery, founded in 386 AD!

This fascinating monastery is nestled in a steep cliff at an altitude of about  4,000 feet. It is located in the Altındere National Park, and is surrounded by lush, green coastal mountains. Don’t miss it if you go to the Black Sea region of Turkey!

The Bay of Kotor

The Bay of Kotor

We stayed for four days in Herceg-Novi, in Montenegro.  One day we decided to go for a drive around the Bay of Kotor.  Think Norwegian fjords, Hawaiian lush landscape, spectacular bays and crystal clear water…stunning!

We felt as if we were at a lake, because we were surrounded all around by mountains.

We felt as if we were at a lake, because we were surrounded all around by mountains.

We drove along the bay and decided to stop at the entrance of the town of Perast.

Ok, this was the view from the parking lot!!

Ok, this was the view from the public parking lot!!

We walked toward the little town of Perast, and found an area to go for a swim.

The water was clear and wonderful!

The water was clear and wonderful!

We dried off and visited the little town of Perast. It has a long and colorful past, dating back to 3500 BC with evidence of a Neolithic culture found in caves above Perast.  Other archeological finds include evidence from Roman and early Christian periods.



This little city has changed hands frequently over the centuries. It was part of the Byzantine empire in the 10th century.


It was a free city of medieval Serbia in the 1100’s.


Perast enjoyed a brief time of independence between 1395 to 1420.



It changed hands from the Venetian Republic of Venice and Hungarian control between the  1400’s and the 1700’s.


Perast was under French occupation in the 1800’s until 1914.



It was then ruled by Austria from 1914-1918. Perast became part of Yugoslavia in 1918.



Mussolini annexed the territories around Kotor to Italy in 1941. Perast later became part of Yugoslavia again after WWII.

Perast has been part of Montenegro since its independence in 2006. What a past this little city has!

The modern Perast has a sleepy, relaxed vibe with lots of character.  Perfect for a day trip to include a swim, a boat ride to one of the little islands, and a meal at one of the outdoor cafes!





Good-bye, Prague!

My favorite European city!

My favorite European city!

We left Prague two days ago, after three wonderful years here as expats.  Global Nomad Family is doing what our name says…we are picking up and moving.  For the next five months, we will be traveling…with no home base until January 2015.  Where will we be moving?  Follow along, and you’ll find out!

Leaving Prague has been. really. DIFFICULT.  I have really loved living here.  People save up their money to Prague for a vacation. The city is flooded with tourists year round.  We had the amazing privilege of living in this beautiful city. For example, this is my view as I take the tram to the dentist!

Prague=eye candy

Prague=eye candy

However, most of all, it will be the people and the friendships that I will miss the most. We have been blessed to develop friendships with Czechs and expats who are really fascinating people.

We will miss Riverside School: the teachers, the staff, the students and our fellow parents.  If you are moving to Prague with kids, do yourself and your kids a favor and enroll them in Riverside School.  It’s truly a special place with outstanding teachers and staff, great kids from dozens of different countries, and a wonderful community of parents where all feel welcome.


Nate waiting for the bus on his day of school.  I was choking back the tears!  Notice the castle in the background.

Nate waiting for the bus on his last day of school. I was choking back the tears! Notice the castle in the background.

June was an an extremely difficult month for me. It was a month of  good-byes.  The reality of leaving hit hard. I was absolutely dreading June 26th, the last day of school. It’s always a half day, with an end of the year assembly in which each child who is leaving is called up to the front by their teachers; the teachers tell why the child will be missed, and the child is given a class-made good-bye gift.  The moms sit in the back with dark sunglasses on and get all weepy…even when it’s not their child leaving!  Expat kids have to move often due to changes in their parents’ work circumstances, and this ceremony is a really healthy way to give the leaving children closure.  It’s also good for the children who aren’t leaving as it gives them a way to say good-bye to classmates.

However, I’ve always dreaded the day that Nate would be one of those kids up there, being the one said good-bye to.  It was really, really hard for me.  I was also afraid of how Nate would do…would that be the moment he’d realize the finality of the fact that we were leaving, never to return as anything more than visitors? Would he burst into tears like a little boy did last year when he was called up there?

The last day assembly.  This is the moment I had been dreading ever since we made the decision to leave Prague.

The last day assembly. This is the moment I had been dreading ever since we made the decision to leave Prague.

Thankfully, Nate was completely fine!  He sailed through it with smiles, and even spotted me in the back and gave me a big thumbs up!  He is such an amazing kid; so flexible, adaptable, and excited for new adventures.  He’s still at the age where we are his life and he trusts us completely.  Friends haven’t yet usurped the most important place in his heart.  We’ll enjoy that #1 spot for as long as possible!

I’ll also miss our wonderful flat, up on a hill overlooking the city.

We LOVED this view.  We are so gonna miss it!

We LOVED this view out of our bedroom and guest room windows. We are so gonna miss it!

Sunrise, from our window.   That's the Crown Plaza Hotel, built in the 50's during Communist times.

Sunrise, from our window. That’s the Crown Plaza Hotel, built in the 50’s during Communist times.

We initially came on a two year teaching contract.  We arrived with just six suitcases and three carry-ons.  We found this flat on our fourth day of looking, and immediately knew it was the one for us.  It was completely unfurnished, so we had to start from scratch.  As most expat teachers do, we went to Ikea and purchased the least expensive furniture. We didn’t want to invest in “the best” as we didn’t know if we’d be leaving in two years.  It was fun to start over; two years turned into three, and little by little our empty flat became a home.

Lots of good meals and fellowship around that table.

Lots of good meals and fellowship around that table.

We sold or gave away all of our furniture and household goods.  We kept only what would fit into six suitcases and three carry ons.  On June 30th, the movers came to take the remaining furniture to the new home of the teacher who will be replacing Andy. We worked hard to complete our packing and to clean the place to make it ready for the next people who will enjoy the flat on the hill…

Good-bye living room and kitchen!

Good-bye living room and kitchen!

We have had more than a hundred guests during our three years in Prague!  We love hosting people.  We’ve had lots of friends, family, and even people we didn’t know come to stay with us. We gave guests the biggest room with the spectacular view of the city!

Now the blue sofa is in the Riverside Boys' Dormitory!

Now the blue sofa is in the Riverside Boys’ Accomodation!

Better to dance than to cry!

Better to dance than to cry!

This was our room… European beds are always low to the ground, and the duvet sits on top like icing on a cake.

Most of our furniture was purchased by the teacher who will be replacing Andy.

Can we say IKEA?!i


Ljudmila helped me clean the flat.  We would have been cleaning 'til the wee hours without her help!

Lijdmila helped me clean the flat. We would have been cleaning ’til the wee hours without her help!

And Nate’s room…

The maps on his wall are from places we visited during our school holidays.  They are the only personal decoration items we are taking to our next living destination!

The maps on his wall are from places we visited during our school holidays. They are the only personal decoration items we are taking to our next living destination!


Good-bye, Nate's room!

Good-bye, Nate’s room!


July was a very busy month of packing up, selling all of our furniture and household goods, and working on a seemingly endless list of things to do.  It was stressful!  I like unpacking and nesting, but I don’t like packing and moving.  Finally, it was all done on July 30th.  We left it spotlessly clean, thanks to help from Lijdmila…and completely devoid of all evidence of the love, life and laughter that was ours here, in this lovely home.

We were so tired after cleaning and packing all day!  The built in closet was the only place to sit down besides the floor.

We were so tired after cleaning and packing all day! The built in closet was the only place to sit down besides the floor.

Prague will forever be in our memories: our amazing three years in this beautiful city, our precious friends, Riverside School, and our home on top of the hill.  Good-bye, Prague!  You will ALWAYS have a special place in our hearts!

Stay tuned for our upcoming adventures in Slovakia, Croatia, Montenegro, and Slovenia…

Old Town Square

Old Town Square

This is our third Christmas season in Prague.  There are Christmas markets that spring up all over Prague in December, and the most beautiful one of all is in Old Town Square.  When I first came here, I was used to the US Midwest hibernation…when the temperature plummets, people stay indoors.  I was used to going from the house to the garage to the car to my destination.  It isn’t uncommon for people to circle a parking lot several times to find a spot closer to the mall entrance, or wherever it is we need to go.

During my first winter here in Prague, I was surprised to see how many people walk all over the city, particularly the center and shopping areas.  They go not just to accomplish shopping errands, but also to walk, talk with friends, and enjoy the atmosphere. The cold temperatures don’t seem to deter the crowds; people just bundle up, and walk !!

It’s a whole new way of life here in Prague, and I really enjoy it.  In the US, we had two cars and drove everywhere.  A car is a necessity in the vast majority of US cities, suburbs  and small towns (although I’ve never lived in New York or other cities with good public transport).  Here in Prague we don’t own a car.  We go to school, work, the grocery store, errands…everything…by public transport.  And we love it!  The public transport system is excellent: prompt, easy to figure out and navigate. I often feel like I’m a Disneyland tram, riding through the beautiful streets of Prague!


I’ll admit, there are days where it is really cold, and I miss the warmth and convenience of having a car.  But we have no desire, nor need, to buy a car.  If needed, taxis (from a reliable company) are quick and inexpensive: 150-300 crowns for a ride across town ( $7-$15).

Old Town Square is always bustling with life throughout the year; it has an especially festive atmosphere when the Christmas markets go up.

Jan Hus presides over the festivities, as always.

Jan Hus presides over the festivities, as always.

For the past three years we always head to the US to spend Christmas with family, so I’ve never experienced what Prague is like right at Christmas.  I’ve heard that there are buckets of fresh carp that appear all over the city as it is part of the Czech traditional Christmas meal.

Early December is always filled with lots of events at my son’s school, Christmas parties, and last minute gift buying. I guess that’s the same regardless of the country! Some day I’d like to go to a Christmas concerts in one of the lovely churches. I’ve also heard that the New Year’s Eve celebrations are wonderful. We often see fireworks out our window throughout the year (we live on  a hill); I can imagine that there must be many spectacular displays of fireworks on New Year’s Eve!

Tomorrow we are off to the US to spend time with family.  We are looking forward to it!  Good-bye, lovely Prague.  See you next year!


Stylova Restaurant

Stylowa Restaurant

Nowa Huta was founded in 1949 as a separate town next to Kraków.  It was built on land taken by the Communist government, and was intended to be the ideal “proletarian city”. It was built for Communist propaganda and settled mostly by steel workers. We decided to visit this town when we went to Kraków in February 2012.

What are they looking at??

What are they pointing at??

Plac Centralny, or Central Square was intended to be the center  of the visionary socialist city of Nowa Huta.  We arrived here on public transport, and started looking for street names, so that we could find our way to Stylowa Restaurant.  We squinted to read the street sign from the far end by the tram stop…im Ronalda…Regana….WHAT??!!  We laughed when we realized that Plac Centralny was renamed after President Ronald Reagan!!

How ironic!

How ironic is that??!!

I later learned that there used to be a giant bronze statue of Lenin here, until 1989…when it was removed and later sold to Sweden!

The city plan

Nowa Huta means “New Steelworks”.

Hmmm, I wonder if the Proletaryat Koncert advertised below is organized for the tourists? Perhaps a little capitalistic use of the Communist past?


What exactly is a Proletaryat Concert??!!

We found Stylowa Restaurant not far from Plac Centralny.  Apparently it has been here since 1956.  In the communist heydey it was a high class (can I say that of a communist restaurant?) where the elite of Nowa Huta met: the party bigwigs, lawyers, engineers, and professors.

Stylowa  Restaurant has been renovated over the years, but they have tried to keep it like it was in the 1970’s.  Their website boasts: Socialist Realist interior is takeing our guests back to time of “Polish glory of socialism”…typo is theirs, not mine!



Nowa Huta and Stylowa Restaurant are definitely worth the visit…be sure to visit when you are in Kraków!



Andy is standing in front of the Pegasus fountain, where the “Do Re Mi” song was filmed.  Just to the right you can see the arched hedge where Maria and the children ran and sang.

Lazy travelers that we are, we arrived in Salzburg for a day trip from Munich around noon.  Our mantra when traveling is to have as few early mornings as possible! We found a great free iphone app called City Walk Salzburg Lite that helped us decide what we wanted to see in the short time we were there.  We also purchased a Salzburg Card for 23 Euros (11.50 for Nate), which allowed us to use all public transport and covered admissions to all the sights in this lovely city.


The Mirabelle Palace was constructed and the gardens were laid in 1606 for the mistress of the Archbishop!!

Next, we walked to Mozart’s Residence, where Mozart lived from the age of 17. It now houses a museum with important family memorabilia; including their library, portraits, and letters written by Mozart’s father. Mozart composed many of his works here!  There’s even some silly stuff…

Young Mozart

Young Mozart…hmmm, looks like a little boy I know:)

Next, we headed to Residenzplatz, where you can find the Residence Palace and Salzburg Cathedral.


The Residenzplatz

Later in the movie,  this square and its buildings are covered with Nazi insignia, after Nazi Germany annexed Austria. The story told in the Sound of Music was based on Captain Von Trapp’s strong opposition to the Nazis, and his decision to leave all that he owned and flee with his family to Switzerland.


Inside the Residence Palace, one of the most important historical buildings in Sazburg.

The Residence Palace started as a small bishop’s palace in 1120, and was enlarged over the centuries. The royal family of Austria and the Hapsburg rulers of Tuscany used it as their residence.


There is an art gallery where you can see paintings by Rembrandt, Ruben and Brueghel.

In The Sound of Music, Maria and the Von Trapp children ride one of the horse carriages for part of their journey across town, while singing “Do Re Mi.”


Looking out of the window from the Residence Palace.

Next, we went next door to Salzburg Cathedral.

my boys

My boys in front of Salzburg Cathedral.

This stunning baroque cathedral was built in the 17th century on the site of a Celtic settlement and part of the ruins of a Roman city! Excavations under the cathedral have unearthed mosaics and ancient artifacts.


The cathedral was consecrated in 1612.


Mozart was baptized in this cathedral, in a 14th century baptismal font which dated back to the earlier cathedral built on this site .

Next, we took the cable car up to the Hohensalzburg Fortress.


Hohensalzburg Fortress

This fortress is one of the largest medieval castles in Europe!  Construction began in 1077!!  It was built to protect the city during a conflict between the Holy Roman Emperor and the Pope.  It was under siege in 1525 when a group of Protestant peasants unsuccessfully tried to depose Archbishop-Prince Matthaus Lang.


The fortress is one of Europe’s best preserved castles.

When Napoleon occupied Salzburg, he used the fortress as barracks for his army, a dungeon, and storage depot.

It has an interesting museum of World War i artifacts.

It has an interesting museum of World War I artifacts.

Below is the view from the castle ramparts!


Beautiful Salzburg!

Next, we walked a little further to see Nonnburg Abbey, where the real Maria Von Trapp was a novice.   It was also where she married Captain Von Trapp (in real life, not in the movie).

Nonnburg Abbey

Nonnburg Nunnery is the oldest functioning convent in the world! It was founded in 713.

The Sound of Music scenes shot here include the opening part where the nuns are going to mass and singing “How do we solve a problem like Maria?” The performance for the song “Maria” was staged in the courtyard of the abbey. Later, the Von Trapp children came to the abbey’s gate to ask Maria to return to their home, but are turned away. The escape scene, with the cars parked outside the Abbey gate, was also shot in the original spot.

The courtyard of the abbey.

The graveyard of the abbey.

Andy and Nate are horsing around in the photo below, while I took photos of the stunning views.  Two days later we watched the Sound of Music together and geeked out when we saw the scenes filmed where we had just been!

My boys

This is right in front of the abbey, where escape scene took place!

We had the place to ourselves as it was getting towards sunset.


This is the view just behind where the boys are sitting in the photo above.

Next, we walk to St. Peter’s Church, the oldest functioning monastery in Austria. It was founded in 760 by  a Franconian monk! The present church dates back to 1125.

St. Peter Church

Mozart’s sister was buried in the St. Peter Cemetery!

Dusk was close approaching and we had to hurry back to the train station to catch a train back to Munich, which takes two hours.  We hurried down Getreidegasse, the most important shopping street in Salzburg.  Andy was happy that we didn’t have time to shop:)

Tall, medieval baroque houses line the street.  Mozart was born in one of the houses on this street!

It's fun to think that Mozart walked down this street!

It’s fun to think that Mozart walked down this street!

A day trip certainly was NOT enough for this beautiful city.  There are several must-sees that we missed. So, we hope to go back to this lovely city some day! For those of you who have been to Salzburg, what do you recommend?

Venice...or is it?

Venice…or is it?

On Thursday we surprised Nate with a trip to Legoland, a day trip from Munich.  He was delighted, to say the least!  Besides lots of fun rides, they had lego replicas of several famous cities, Venice being one of them.  Compare with the photo below!

The real Venice:)

The real Venice:)



The best part of traveling for me isn’t the cool historical sights or beautiful nature….it’s the people we meet along the journey.   This past July, we had just finished a busy nine days of seeing many beautiful towns in Germany and Italy: Dinkelsbuhl, Fussen, Lake Garda, Vicenza, Verona, and Venice.  Then we packed up, and drove four hours to stay with our friends Brigitte and Louis, who live in a lovely home at the foot of the Alps, just outside Grenoble, France. We arrived just before sunset, and were treated to delicious home cooked French food with champagne.

The garden

Nate was delighted to have a garden to play in!

The next day we just wanted to chill out and hang around the beautiful garden and take in the views all around us.

The front gate

The front gate

Who needs to go sightseeing when this is out your front gate?  Just going for a walk down the street is “sightseeing”.  So that’s just what we did: Brigitte, Nate and I went for a walk.

Going for a walk

Our street

Just a few doors down, Brigitte’s neighbor has goats, chickens, donkeys, dogs, and rabbits.



Brigitte’s neighbor wasn’t home so we continued on our walk.





What a beautiful place!  Brigitte and Louis are very blessed to call this place home!  We headed back to their house, and stopped by the neighbor’s house who was now home.  Nate got to play on the tractor…..


and pet a donkey…which was quite exciting for a city boy!


We ran into Andy just as we arrived; he was heading out for a bike ride.

This is just outside the front gate.

This is just outside the front gate.

Brigitte and Louis invited us to eat lunch with them in their garden.  They thought we were a little crazy because as the week went on we wanted to spend a large part of it just hanging around their lovely home and garden.  Can you blame us?!!

Life is good here!

Good food, good cheese, good wine, good company…life is good!

We slept in every day, and rarely left the house before noon.  We went for a picnic next to a monastery that was just a short drive away.

We found a shady spot with a view.

We found a shady spot with a view.

The view!

The view! We were the only ones having a picnic, so we had it all to ourselves.

We shared the view with these friends:)

We shared the view with these friends:)

The monastery

The monastery

Just below the monastery.

Just below the monastery.

More stunning views as we headed "home".

More stunning views as we headed “home”.

We also enjoyed a couple evenings together with Brigitte and Louis’ next-door neighbors, with more great French cuisine and wine.  We had a great time talking, playing pool, and enjoying French beverages of all sorts, late into the night:)  Andy and Louis relaxed the next day, watching the Tour de France on TV.

The summer "dining room".

The summer “dining room”.

All meals included French wine, and were followed by French cheese.  My favorite quote (from Brigitte’s father, I think) I heard was ” a meal without cheese is like a beautiful woman with one eye!”

While staying with Brigitte and Louis we also did day trips to Grenoble, Annecy and Mont Blanc.  I’ll post photos in future blog posts.

It was difficult to say good-bye to our wonderful hosts and leave this beautiful home.

It was difficult to say good-bye to our wonderful hosts and leave this beautiful home.

If you get the chance to visit this part of France, take it!  You definitely won’t regret it!! Thank you, Brigitte and Louis for such wonderful hospitality!