Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Behind the Photos XIII

Like my last edition of Behind the Photos, this one features family, which I think in is a nice and feel good tribute to my last sixteen days in The LPV (eeeeek!) and my last nineteen days of life in Europe as an expat (double eeeeek!).

In August 2010, my Aunt, Uncle and mother popped over from Dublin for a visit. I was excited, I had been living in France for almost a year and I had yet to really get out and explore. Their visit was my chance to check out the marvels of Provence.
Since they were flying into Marseille, we thought a day in the old port city was in order. We hiked up to the top of the Basilica, Notre-Dame de la Garde, and its beauty blew me away; Byzantine style and grandeur topped with a gold statue of Mary looming large over the city. It's breathtaking.

Not only is the Basilica itself stunning, but the views from the top are the best in the city. Look out on one side and you see building upon building of the rustle and bustle, and out the other is the calming serene of the Mediterranean.

Do you see that small island there? That's Château d'If; the ancient fortress turned prison made famous by Alexander Dumas', The Count of Monte Crisco. We would have taken the little boat over for the tour except we didn't have enough time, and also, I'm a little too chicken to tour ancient fortresses turned prisons. That place must be swarming with bad juju. No thank you. 

While we were up there, I learned a bit more about the role of Provence in World War II history. Sometimes I think we forget that it wasn't just Paris and Normandy that was involved, but the rest of France as well. These bullet holes serve as a tragic reminder. Well, not really, since they helped free the city. German soldiers were blockaded inside and the Allies bombarded them from below. Four days later Marseille was liberated.  Well done Allies, well done. 

And of course we went to Avignon. Even though I had already been to Avignon a handful of times, I hadn't been there, been there. Normally it was a stop at Baby Cousin's shop and maybe lunch but that was it. This time I got to see the famous Medieval bridge, Pont d'Avignon. I didn't sing the song or anything, and I didn't walk across it because the wait time was immense, but I was more than happy to just see it. (I've also only realized that this photo needs to be in frame... note to self: print photo before printer is sold.)

My mother and I got to do one of our bucketlist places... Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Since my Aunt and Uncle had zero interest in visiting the village of wine, we dropped them off at the Avignon tourist train and had Gregory drive like the wind twenty minutes north to heaven. 

Being August, the village was jam packed and we felt quite overwhelmed by it all, kind of like a couple of five year olds at Disneyland. So we found a spot for lunch, and after only made it to a couple of tasting rooms before we left. But Châteauneuf-du-Pape left a huge impression on me, and I vowed that I would be back (which I was). 

We got to see Arles as well, which was another place that exceeded my expectations (seriously, there is A LOT to see and do in the South of France). We walked about the Roman Amphithéâtre d'Arles, followed in Van Gogh's footsteps (half of his footsteps anyway, it was very hot that day), and discovered more tributes to World War II heros.

But my favorite part of the trip was hanging out in The LPV watching my Irish family collide with my Le Petit Village family. Somehow despite either of them speaking the other's language, my uncle and Mr. Honey became best buddies. To this day, whenever I see one, he asks about the other. 

And even though this photo is a big ol' blurry mess, it's one of my favorites... Brother-in-Law, my Auntie, The Honeys, Gregory, Child Bride, my Uncle, Honey Jr and a bit of my mom's leg there (sorry Eilo), all hanging out in my back garden together. It's a moment in time that will probably never happen again, so I'll treasure the memory and this blurry photo forever. 

Bisous!

22 comments:

  1. I just blogged about some of the places I have (and haven't) been in France, and you just added/reinforced a ton on the list! Wow, can't believe there was a huge wait to go on the bridge at Avignon, joys of travelling in summer huh? I have a whole series of photos of me dancing on the bridge (the robot, running man, twist etc.).

    I can't believe you're leaving so soon!

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  2. Great pics. You have some lovely memories to take with you to the US. x

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

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  3. The wonder of exploring new places or noticing things that you've overlooked before is always heightened if you are sharing the experience with those whom you love…….. precious memories that will last forever. Warm regards

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  4. How wonderful, I do love me a good flashback - Avignon we adored.

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  5. Thanks for taking us along on your trip down memory lane. When I was passing through the airport the other day, I saw that National Geographic Travel Magazine had a feature article on Berkshires, MA. It was nice to read about the place you will soon call home.

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  6. So many happy memories! I know that you will have many more to share soon. Hang in there during this transitional time, friend.
    Gros Bisous!

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  7. What a lovely trip back into fun family times. Thanks for sharing it with all of us. We are so going to miss you on this side of the Atlantic, but looking forward to your new little village stories. <3

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  8. Aloha Sara .. a couple of days ago, I posted the following to my own blog and, while looking at your poignant memories today, thought it might "touch a chord" with you.

    http://kauai-to-paris.com/2/post/2014/02/get-over-it.html

    Continuing to wish you the very best in your upcoming transition!

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  9. I love the pictures, Sara! Especially the one with your uncle. :)) Enjoy your time in France! I am thinking of you!! <3

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  10. Aww, sounds like a fab tour! There's a great wee museum in Fontaine De Vaucluse about the Resistance in Provence, although looking at the surrounding topography, it's not hard to see how they succeeded!

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  11. ah so many great photos! i've only been to paris in france but would love to see some of the other cities. one day!
    -- jackie - jade and oak

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  12. Ha! Châteauneuf-du-Pape is on me and my mother's to-go list too! For us, it's because we love the wine, but somehow I suspect that is your reason as well. Is it pricey there too?

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  13. I love these posts. someday I'd really like the chance to go to France and visit some of these places. And I can't believe you're nearing your last two weeks as an expat!

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  14. As lovely as it will be to have you and Gregory back in the States, i will miss touring France with you. That and the adventures of the Honeys. Travel safely.

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  15. Beautiful area!! One of my favorite photos of my kiddos when they were babies is blurry too but I will treasure it forever! Enjoy these last few days!

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  16. I WANT TO GO TO THE MAGICAL WINE LAND!!

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  17. Ahh so close! I hope you have smoother travels back stateside than we did ;)

    Also marseille is one of my favorite French cities!

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  18. What gorgeous photos! I feel the need to visit the south of France now.

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  19. I enjoyed following along on your tour and you have some wonderful memories to take with you to the US. I'm sure you will have to buy more photo frames!

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  20. I love the behind the photos installments! It's always fun to hear the backstory. And I love that picture of you and the hubs. So sweet :)

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  21. WAIT I JUST REALIZED: how are we going to visit you in Avignon if you no longer live in LPV?

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