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)

Back to the gym & enjoying some music

another sunset

Driving home last night we caught a spectacular sunset. It was beautiful. As we made our way from the busy streets towards the beach I saw some vibrant colors ahead with a little piece of blue sky. When we were driving next to the ocean I had to stop the car and take it in. Wow! We caught the sunset only minutes after I was singing my heart out to the song “No Need to Argue” by The Cranberries. That would be two days in a row that I heard songs on the radio that I just had to sing. The songs took me back, way back… the other day it was “Kiss Off” by the Violent Femmes. Music can be so powerful.

For the last month I have been procrastinating about joining a gym. Last winter I changed my gym membership at the YMCA for one at the university where I work- my membership fees went down as did my frequency to the gym. After a summer of swimming occasionally the exercise ended. Yesterday I finally returned to a local gym and had a great workout with a friend. It was nothing extreme, but it was great to be back at the gym burning some calories, tightening some muscles and feeling great after my workout.

(day 358)

Riding on a Seesaw

The kids and I spend a lot of time outside. One of their favorite spots is the park. We are lucky to live so close to many different parks including a few in walking distance. My children are typical siblings – they love each other and play great together usually – but they also fight and drive each other crazy.

Lately I have seen Matteo tormenting Malina to the point that she begins to cry. We tell her that he is a ‘baby’ still and that she should ignore his comments, but she does not. We talk to him as well about his behavior, but he continues to do it. 10 minutes later they will be playing together as if an argument never happened. Their relationship is a bit lit a seesaw, it goes both up and down. By chance I caught them having a great time on a seesaw at the park recently.

see-saw

see-saw3

see-saw4

see-saw5

(day 357)

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)

Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm

Sally / Woodstock

We had planned on spending Thanksgiving at Knott’s Berry Farm a few weeks ago… and then rain came into the forecast. A few days prior to the holiday the rain prediction disappeared. We do not have much family in the Los Angeles area and usually head down to San Diego to be with friends.

This year we decided to stay at home and spend the day doing something local that the kids would enjoy. It was a great day. My feet were a little sore from the walk in flip flops the day prior, but I survived. We headed home after a successful day at Knott’s Berry Farm – and even better I purchased season passes so we can visit whenever we want in 2014! Yeah!!

camp bus

roller coaster

the cars

soaring ride

air mail

The kids went on many rides and when we first arrived we did not have to wait long to ride anything. It was great. I even went on a somewhat “super spinny” ride which I usually avoid – since those rides can make me sick! I had to do it or the kids would not be able to go on the ride. I survived.. as did the kids. Always something fun to ride at Knott’s Berry Farm.

turkey leg lunch

Now this is a Thanksgiving lunch!

salon girls bench

carolers

we love snoopy!

Wandering around the park

(day 354)