Monday, July 28, 2008

Europa, Europa, Cont.

When we last left our weary travelers, they were in Florence, admiring the beauty that is Michaeangelo's David.

Next stop... Nice, France! We took the train along the Italian coast to Genoa, paid our respects to Christopher Columbus, and continued along the French coast through Monaco to Nice. Nice is very nice. The water is bright blue and warm, the waves are fun, the antique market is great, and the fountains are pretty. There are better beaches around (Nice's are rocky - smooth rocks, but fist sized rocks nonetheless), and there are less touristy places around, and there is probably better food around (see the "touristy" part), but all in all, a lovely place to spend a couple of days.

We took a day trip to Aix-en-Provence, to see the Provincial countryside and a smaller town in Provence. We missed the flea markets, but did see some lovely fountains.

And then onto Paris!! The train to Paris was wonderful- the French sure know how to run a train system. (President Obama, please take note.) The first thing we did was run straight to the Eiffel Tower. Then, of course, we ate some bread and wine. This cafe looked out at the Seine and the Ile de la Cite.

In Paris, we stayed with a wonderful French family who had been Mike's host family when he studied abroad in high school. Although he hadn't seen them in almost a decade, the family was most welcoming and friendly. We stayed in a guest cottage on their property, and they even took Mike & me up to their vacation home on the North coast on the English Channel. It was very windy and cold the first day (reminded me of the East Coast, Cape Cod area), so we took advantage and flew a kite. A double-stringed stunt kite, even!

On Bastille Day, we took advantage of the Louvre having free entrance, then took a boat ride down the Seine at sunset. We got to see gorgeous light on all the old buildings and bridges. Then, right when the boat got back to its dock, at the base of the Eiffel Tower, the tower light up with sparkles and the fireworks show started! I don't have any photos because my battery was dying and I don't have a tripod, so fireworks photos don't come out very well. But, you'll just have to believe me that it was the most amazing fireworks show I've ever seen!

All in all, it was a magical, wonderful vacation. We took over 1,200 pictures, and I narrowed the show down to 250 over on Shutterfly. Feel free to wander over there if these few photos have whet your appetite for more.

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