17 April 2008

The South

And we're back. We just returned from the South of France and we had so much fun. We got to stay with Jonathan's uncle for a good chunk of our visit and that made all the difference. We got to explore a ton of little villages and towns, which was awesome, and we wouldn’t have been able to do that if it had just been the two of us.

We started out our visit in St. Tropez, which is a town that is often frequented by celebrities (but not in April, unfortunately.) The Mediterranean is amazingly, almost shockingly, beautiful. It is so blue. On a clear day, you can even see the Italian Alpes across the water. It was very nice. St. Tropez is a pretty town right on the beach, but very expensive. There are yachts everywhere. Huge yachts like I’ve never seen before. It’s fun to wander around and examine all the extravagance.

We spent the rest of the day in little villages looking around. Our favorite was called Grimaud. There are castle ruins perched on top of the hill in the middle of the town and you can just go up and wander around in them. It was awesome.

We visited the following villages/towns during our stay:

St. Maxime
St. Tropez
Port Grimaud
Les Arcs sur Argens
Moustiers Sainte-Marie
Le Thoronet

Some of these towns were obviously better than others (Moustiers Sainte-Marie is on the list of the prettiest villages in France, and it deserves it.)

We also got to visit Monte-Carlo, Monaco. The weather that day wasn’t great, but the city was nice. We saw the palace and went to the Musée Océanographique de Monaco, which was really cool. It is supposed to have one of the best aquariums in the world and it made me think how a certain little boy I know would have loved it. There were so many weird fish.

When we left Jonathan’s family we headed to Nice. Nice is so nice. It was warm and beautiful. We got to just loaf around on the beach and wander around, which was a nice change of pace from our usual go-go-go vacations.

We also spent one night in Italy, just over the border. We ate gelato, pizza, and pasta, but other than that there wasn’t a lot to do in Ventimiglia. The waves were nice.

So that was our little vacation. We took a ton of pictures (over 600, but we’ve deleted a lot) and had a ton of fun. I can't upload pictures the way I usually do now, but I will try to get some more up in the next couple of days.

Pictures from the South

05 April 2008

Pardon the Interruption....

We will be out of town and out of contact for about 11-12 days. We're heading down to the south for some sea and sun. We'll post lots of pictures when we return!

03 April 2008

There'll be bluebirds over the White Cliffs of Dover....

We spent a great day yesterday in Dover, England. We got up really early and took the train to Calais (it took like an hour and a half) and then took the ferry to Dover (also, about an hour and a half.) The port is sort of far from the train station and we were sort of confused about how to check in as foot passengers, but we made it in the end.

The main reason I wanted to go to Dover was the see the famous white cliffs. We've decided that we like to go and visit cliffs now, I guess. :) These were so cool though. There are trails that run along the top of them and they just go on forever! Happily, the weather yesterday was beautiful too. We actually took our coats off and walked around... that was the first time in a while!
Dover also has a huge castle. Unfortunately, it costs over £10 and, perhaps more unfortunately, for two of us that is about $40. So we didn't go into the castle. We did walk around it though and got some great views.

I thought the city of Dover was also very quaint. Overall we really had a great day. Near the end we decided to go back to the cliffs for a little while because there was a lighthouse I wanted to try and go see. It ended up being too far however and we had to turn around because we had to go catch the ferry.

SeaFrance's policy is that foot passengers need to check in 45 minutes before departure. In Calais we arrived about 30-35 minutes before departure and checked in just fine, we went through customs and then waited for about 10 minutes for the bus that took us to the boat. In Dover we arrived about 30 minutes before departure (admittedly, that's a little late) so the woman told us we were too late and put us on the next ferry, but didn't charge us anything extra. That would have been fine if 1)we had known and could have continued to the above mentioned lighthouse, or 2) the next ferry into Calais did not arrive 15 minutes before the last train to Lille left.

When the ferry landed we knew we were going to have to run for it. The train station was not close. So we bust out of the ferry terminal and start high tailing it. Well, Jonathan more than me. I had to stop and rest. The train station seemed even further away then I remembered it and I was thinking the whole time about having to stay the night in the Calais train station. Short story short, we made it with about 2 minutes to spare. I think Jonathan thought I was going to pass out or something because he kept asking me if I was alright (maybe I should start running more...) We were both pretty tired by the time we got home, after walking all day and then running 1.91 km (1.2 miles) through the streets of Calais. Oh well, we had a ton of fun.