A Few Photos from My Travels

I love to travel. It is a big passion of mine. Whenever I can go anywhere out of town I become excited. I prefer to leave the state of California, but with the kids being so young it is hard to hop on a plane to Europe, especially when you need $6,000 just to begin your journey in the summertime. With that being said California has a lot to offer too! I still have not seen all of the central and eastern parts of the state. One day I hope to travel more outside of the state- but for now I plan on going to visit that last “local” California mission (San Gabriel) before the year ends.

Below are a few photos from my two favorite cities – Paris and San Francisco and a country that I have grown to love and appreciate even more since meeting and marrying Max- Italy. I am proud to say that that I have been to 38 states and 19 countries at the age of 41. I hope that by the age of 61 that I can raise these numbers including visiting another continent or two with Max and the kids who also love to travel!

Monet

Notre Dame

Tour Montparnasse

Paris

Chinatown

North Beach

Golden Gate Bridge

Fisherman's Wharf

San Francisco

the beach

Tribunale Ordinario di Firenze

Lucchetti dell’amore

Ponte Vecchio

Italy

(day 364)

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The City of Nîmes

Having visited France so many times I have to admit that I have spent the majority of my time in Paris. I have traveled through the country by train seeing many other cities- but have only had overnight stays in three other towns – one of which is Nîmes. This town is located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of Southern France.

My first trip here was not planned to say the least. At the time I was visiting Paris for the first time alone and ended up taking a side trip here with a friend who was visiting family for the weekend. It was a very sporadic decision to hop on a train to a town that I knew nothing about. To be truthful I had no clue of the geography of France at the time and went on a complete whim not knowing exactly where I was going. I only knew that I had to be back in Paris in two days to meet up with another friend who was visiting me from Germany.

It was a bit of a surprise to see how far Nîmes was from Paris as I glanced at a map on the train (I was on one of those slow regional trains) – but I must tell you I loved this town from my first moments there. My friend showed me around his hometown, and by chance there was a big fête (festival) going on that weekend. People were everywhere, there were floats all around, and it was a very festive atmosphere. Although I would have loved to stay longer I had to return to Paris and left a day later. That train ride back to Paris was the one where I overslept, missed my transfer, and ended up at the border of Germany before I realized exactly where I was. Don’t worry– I made it back to Paris in time to shower and meet my friend at the train station.

Having had a taste of Nîmes I was excited to return a few years later with another friend. Highlights of that trip included visiting the famous Roman amphitheater that is still nearly perfectly intact, relaxing in cafes and restaurants eating excellent French cuisine, and meeting new friends. It would be great to return here again – I can’t say that it will happen – but it would be nice to see this wonderful city again.

the fete

a float

The great fête of Nimes!

the roman amphitheater

inside the amphitheater

The Roman amphitheater

(day 356)

A Few Photos of Paris

la tour eiffel

I have been to Paris quite a few times – long trips, weekend trips, with my parents, with my husband and kids, and I can never forget that first trip with my tour group which introduced me to this beautiful city. I can’t actually recall how many times I have been here, but I fell in love with Paris that first trip and have enjoyed returning here for 20 years now- oh my I am slowly aging– but having been able to visit here in my younger years I have only learned to appreciate Paris even more as I become older.

I have always enjoyed visiting Paris with others too – showing them around my favorite spots and always finding new places along the way. It has been particularly fun visiting Paris with Max as we both visited here separately in our 20’s and have fun showing each other some of our favorite spots around town. But when we visit here now it is all about the kids so we spend more time in parks than anywhere else. The kids know I love Paris and they too are fans of the city.. I could so see Malina living here one day when she is older. As my blogging year slowly comes to a close I had to go back in my archives one last time to revisit my favorite city.

visiting the eiffel tower

le jardin du luxembourg

le sacre coeur (church)

pizza hut!

le pont alex III (bridge)

le pere lachaise (cemetery)

les bateaux mouches

(day 355)

My Favorite Open Market- “Rue Mouffetard” (Paris)

Rue Mouffetard

I stumbled upon the Rue Moffetard’s Open Market by accident. Visiting Paris for the first time I stayed in the 5th arrondissement (administrative district). I would spend hours walking around taking in the sights making my way to the Seine and the Latin Quarter. One day I ran into an outdoor marker on Rue Mouffetard (Mouffetard Street). The narrow street is closed off to cars during the hours of the market so you can walk freely from the outdoor stalls and indoor stores that line the street.

Outdoor markets are the best! I love all the colors, the scents, and interacting with the people. I also like when the food is already prepared! I am a big fan of the rotisserie chicken and potatoes prepared here. Not knowing how to cook well (and usually not having access to a kitchen) fruit is also a great option. The flowers are wonderful too… there are so many beautiful varieties. Visiting this street when the open market is not going on is fun too- many cute shops, restaurants, and a great crepiere.

Rue Mouffetard-flowers

Rue Mouffetard 2

Rue Mouffetard 3

(day 302)- All photos are by my dad, George, in this post. I was soo lucky to travel with my parents to Paris one time during my 20’s.

Views from a Bateaux Parisien (Paris)

matteo listening

**Matteo listening to the tour guide in two languages at the same time**

On our second family trip to Paris, this time with two kids, we had a more kid oriented trip to the “City of Lights”. One morning we started out with a visit to the Tour Eiffel. Somehow we made our way down the 328 stairs with two strollers, a diaper bag, and the kids. Next we walked across the street and hopped on a boat, a Bateaux Parisien to be more specific. I had not been on one of these boats in many years; it is a big tourist attraction. With our two kids it was the perfect decision.

Why a Bateaux Parisien instead of a Bateau Mouche? The answer is simple- location! We had no interest in walking any further than necessary. There are a number of boats that run up and down the Seine giving information about the different monuments that you can see from the river.

Taking a boat ride along the Seine was a perfect way to spend time in Paris before we visited a few more sights and met up with an old friend and his wife for dinner.

Musee D'Orsay

bateaux mouche dock

View along the Seine

View along the Seine

(day 301)

Our First Family Trip to Paris

arc de triomphe

Back in the days of when I had just one kid Max and I took the trip across the Atlantic Ocean to Europe. We spent a couple of weeks in Italy visiting family in the regions of Emilia Romagna and Toscana before heading to the Piedmont region of the country by train to visit more family. I was four months pregnant at the time and napping quiet frequently since I was always tired.

paris train

We took the train trip from Torino to Paris arriving at the Gare du Lyon in “the City of Light”. I love taking the train though Northern Italy and Switzerland leading into France. It is beyond beautiful. The mountains, the lakes, the countryside – seeing them always brings back great memories. Even little Malina was pretty calm on the train ride so we could all enjoy.

My camera died on that vacation so all I had was a cheap throw away camera, but I kept taking photos anyways; so do excuse the poor quality of photos in this post- but now you know why.

Here are a few memorable moments from our time in Paris.

cafe

We went to a café for breakfast and Max ordered a parboiled egg for 4 Euros. Let’s see that was about $6.50 US at the time. We had to laugh as Malina and I enjoyed fresh croissants and I enjoyed my favorite , hot tea, which I usually only drink on vacation when we are on slow mode. And then there was Max with his egg; we still joke about that egg sometimes so many years later!

That same day we had a little scare. We had a piece of paper with something written on it, I will assume our schedule for the day. I was looking for it at as we went underground to catch the métro and we noticed it was missing. Malina had somehow taken the paper and shoved it up her nose. I don’t know how Max figured it out- but he did. He bolted up the stairs to the subway to run back to the hotel and get his tweezers. Fifteen minutes later Malina’s nose was cleared out and we were off for a day of exploring my favorite city. Traveling with kids is definitely different- you have to be prepared for everything!

We managed to visit a few spots that I usually find time to see whenever I am in Paris: the Tour Eiffel, the Jardin du Luxembourg, the Sacre Coeur and the Jardin des Tuileries. I could not manage much more – too much walking!!

family dinner

Max’s dad, who we call JC for short, met us in Paris for the day. It was a big day. Max had not seen his father in a long time – that is another story. That day was also the first time that JC met his first grandchild Malina. After meeting at our hotel we took a taxi to the Champs-Élysees and walked from the end to the Arc de Triomphe. It was nice to meet Max’s dad in person and good for him to have time to catch up with his dad. We ended our time with him in the evening with a fancy dinner near Tour Montparnasse.

Visiting Paris is always a pleasure for me. I would say that trip we did quite a lot considering that we had minimal time and I was pregnant. Our family trips abroad are always fun and only become smoother each time as the kids grow and are easier to manage. We have returned to Paris one time after that trip and it was like always a good time for our family in “the City of Lights”.

sacre coeur

champs elysees

(day 300)