Sunday, October 28, 2007

Vacation ramblings

Again, I'm lacking greatly on my blog posts...... We've been back from vacation for over a month now. Back to a busy life.

Let me finish telling you about our vacation.
After our trip to Marseille, we finished out the week in Fréjus, then headed to my parents' house in the Loire valley. I had limited internet access there, so really no opportune time to blog. My parents live in a tiny tiny (did I say tiny?) village. Their internet connection is by phone! No DSL or cable!!! Super duper slow when you are spoiled like we are here.

But, the good part is it's sooooo relaxing at their place. You're in the middle of the French countryside, surrounded by corn & wheat fields, lots of cow pastures, and the occasional quaint village. We spent most of our time relaxing.

During our stay there, we did make a couple of side trips. The first was a 2 day trip to Normandie. The drive was only about 2.5 hours away, using mostly "national roads". In France, the highway system revolves around the big cities, so if you are going to Paris, Lyon, Marseille, etc, you can hop on a highway (I won't call them freeways, because they are NOT free!!! You'd better have some money for the tolls!). But if you are not going to a big city, then "National" roads are the way to get around. Let me tell you, for those of you used to nice big US roads, keep dreaming. We're talking small 2-lane roads that slice through little towns and big towns alike. No skirting cities... It's a whole different ball game.

We did have my mother's trusted road map book! It came in very handy. Things are well marked, but if you don't know exactly where you are, it can be a little confusing. With the map book, it was really easy. Whew!! (Matt does NOT like getting lost).

We started our Normandie visit with the quintessential Mont St-Michel. Oh wait, before we get there, we had lunch in a really really cute restaurant. It was called the Montgomery. For 10,50 Euros, we had charcuterie (cold cuts), a main course (choice of veal kidneys or turkey --- I chose the veal kidneys, haven't had them in years!! Matt went for the safer turkey), pasta, cheese plate, chocolate mouse, all the bread you can eat, wine and hard cider, and coffee (espresso). After a week on the French Riviera, we got used to paying 10 euros JUST for desert!!! Anyways, this was one of the best meals we had. Nice place, nice folks, great food!

On to the Mont St-Michel (look it up, it's beautiful --- if I had my camera with me right now, I'd upload some pictures, but I left it at home.... will have to remember to bring it and post pics for you guys to see). Anyways, we had a great time there. My mom told me I had been there before when I was 4 or 5, but I don't remember of course.

Then, we headed to St. Mère Eglise. Our main reason for wanting to go to Normandie was that Matt is a big military buff and he really wanted to see where all the D-Day stuff happened. History lesson: St. Mère Eglise is the town where the FIRST paratroopers landed at 2AM on June 6th. Watch the movie "The Longest Day" or "Band of Brothers" and you will see what I mean. In the movie "The Longest Day" there is a scene where a paratrooper chute gets hung up on the church tower as he is landing. Well, that really happened. They guy's name is John Steele and a dummy with a parachute STILL hangs on the church tower to this day. He is truly the town hero.

In St. Mère Eglise, we visited the museum, of course the church (which now has beautiful memorial stained glass depicting the landing..... again, I will have to upload pictures later). We stayed at the Aubèrge John Steele (everything is named after him there!) and the next day headed out to see the beaches where the water landings occured (Omaha Beach, etc). We also went to the US cemetary. This was a very emotial trip. The people in that part of France will never forget what the US troops did for them. I'd like to go back some day and see the many other museums and sites we didn't have time to visit.

Another side trip we made was to the Chateau de Chenonceau. Very beautiful! Not as big as you would think, LOL!! I really liked it.

During our trip, I had the pleasure of meeting many of my French customers. Béa from Toulon, Marjo from Marseille, Sofy from Fréjus, and Sylvie (Fée) de Parpeçay. (Super de faire vos connaissance!!!)

And there you have it. Now it's back to work.....