Archive for January, 2011

missing france_Provence Roadtrip 2

January 25, 2011

After our major rest stop at Lyon, it was another 3hrs drive down south to Provence. After checking into Le Mas de Miejour, we rested for the night and set off for Gordes the next morning. It was breathtaking.

We visited the Sénanque Abbey famed for its lavenders. Unfortunately, the lavender only blooms in July and I’ll have to contend with these beautiful pictures.

Next up is the drive to Roussillon with its signature red buildings. I love the food in Provence. This restaurant La Treille serves amazing food and was recommended by our B&B for lunch.

Yup, the French eat frog legs too. Eeks! (Bottom right picture below). It was pretty freaky watching W eat them!

Of course, stopping by chateaus and vineyards to buy wine.

Checking out another village (can’t remember the name!)

I wished I had a porch like that, overlooking the hills.

 

This is another town that we stopped by for dinner.

Checking out Avignon. At the Palais de Papes.

Lunch at the spectacular Château des Baux. Within its walls, Château des Baux shelters the last remains of the old town of Les Baux, conjuring up images of daily life in Medieval or Renaissance times. The houses and dovecotes, chapels and caves are typical of the high hill-town habitats of Provencewhere lords and craftsmen lived in close harmony

The fort is simply spectacular and almost surreal. I can just imagine the wars that had happened before and lives lost in the dark crevices of the fort. Scary. J had wanted to witness the catapult used to ward off invaders, which Les Baux is so famous for. Unfortunately, it rained and the session was called off. Did I mention that Provence is usually sunny and rain is rare. However, we got stuck in the rain for almost 60% of the roadtrip! Argh!

Part 3 coming right up!

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missing france – Provence Roadtrip 1

January 25, 2011

Gosh this post is seriously overdue. Not to mention tonnes of others waiting to be edited and uploaded. But as part of my 2011 resolutions, I will try to blog as much as I can before my memory fails me further.

This was our roadtrip in May 2010 during the Insead’s P2 break. We decided to do a roadtrip to the south of France and thought it was the best time to do so before the hordes of tourists arrive in July for summer. We decided on the roadtrip only 2 weeks before so it was pretty tough booking the B&Bs that we wanted. They were mostly booked up despite it being off season. Only then we realised that it was popular to travel during the long weekends for the French! I simply love their work life balance! I guess that explains the high fertility rates that France enjoys.

The trip down south would require a 7 hour drive which was too taxing on W. We decided to stay 1 night in Lyon located 3 hours away from Fontainebleau and of course, we couldn’t miss the great opportunity to visit Burgundy on the way to Lyon.

I wasn’t suppose to take the wine due to the pregnancy but I really couldn’t help it and ended up tasting just  a little of the wines that W liked. Pictures above – You pay a fee, walk through the cellars underground and get to taste the wine on display. There is tiny vineyard just outside for the wines.

The pictures below show some of the amazing goodies sold in the boulangeries.

Lyon finally. After checking in at the hotel, we went in search for dinner at 9pm. Lyon is known as the gastronomic centre of France and I was eager to try out the food. Unfortunately, most restaurants were closed. But my survival instincts took over. Popular French restaurants usually have 2 seatings and we decided to check out Le Nord. We weren’t disappointed. I had the best French Onion Soup ever and developed a taste for Andouillette!

We stayed in a B&B located outside of Lyon. It was a really interesting place filled with quirky vintage toys though the dolls in our room freaked W out. Haha. The owner’s father was an architect and the B&B was beautiful with landscape windows framing the wonderful gardens.

Checking out Lyon. Unfortunately due to our tight schedule, we missed out the arcades that Lyon is famous for! The picture below shows us taking the Funicular to Basilica of Notre Dame de Fourviere. Amazing view from the top.

Walking through the streets of Lyon. Some quirky puppets and a musuem showcasing miniatures along the way. You must must try Bernachon when in Lyon. Especially the Caramel Chocolate Bars.

Part 2 coming right up!

2011

January 1, 2011

The fireworks just ended. 2011 has begun!

2010 had been an amazing year filled with challenges and changes. I fulfilled the dream of living abroad in Europe (France), had new understanding of the French culture, made new worthy friends, travelled to Sri Lanka for W’s grad trip (I am a coward- think car bombs). W just graduated with distinctions and is deciding on his first job after Insead. But most importantly, it was becoming a mother that had the greatest impact.

I remembered during this time last year, both W and I had just arrived in Fontainebleau battling the cold and my 1st trimester symptoms. I walked 15 mins in the snow to the public hospital to check that nadia was ok. No one speaks English and we were trying to navigate the French system despite my urgency. Fortunately she was fine. I remembered the relief when I hear her heart beating strongly. She appeared so tiny on the ultrasound then. Today, she is nearly 5 months, weights 6.7kg and is sleeping soundly next to me as I type this entry.

It had been a good year for both W and me. Despite the stress that I inflict upon W. Haha. He never once complained but listened to all my whinings regardless of how ridiculous it can get. Despite the immense pressures of 2010. W takes it calmly in his stride and never once flinch. He had been my pillar of strength and my 2010 was great because of him. In fact, my dreams were possible because of you. Thank you W. You’ve been awesome.

I think no words can describe the beauty of changes. More are bound to come and regardless of its nature, my resolution for my little family is to strive to embrace them positively and keep moving forward.

Happy 2011 to all and may all your dreams be fulfilled in the New Year!!!