Un, Deux, Trois to Uno, Dos, Tres

Last year at Palais-Royal

Last year at Palais-Royal

This time last year, I was walking thru France with my family.  This year’s break called for a much simpler outing, but enjoyable and inspiring all the same.

San Antonio….. not what you were expecting?  Me either!  We actually started our journey in New Braunfels, this may offend Texans near and far, but I’m not a fan.  San Antonio on the other hand, how have I missed this jewel of a town??  Home to the Alamo and SeaWorld, though neither were of any interest, another claim to fame is their Riverwalk.  What’s so exciting about a line of water running through a city?  I don’t have a poetic answer but it puts two of my most favorite vacation things together – eating and walking!

photo via internet

photo via internet

I’ve strolled down France’s The River Seine, New York’s Hi Line and many lesser known places and I’d put San Anotnio’s Riverwalk up there with any of them.  My first impression was, “It’s so clean!”.  And then, “The details!”.  It always helps when you have NO expectations, or in my case misinformation.  I was excepting a totally overdeveloped, Disneyland type, commerce filled stroll.  Certainly you can find that along parts of the Riverwalk, but near the newly improved section of Museum Reach, which is where we spent the majority of our time, I was sublimely happy.  I heard around 10 different languages and accents during our stroll, the kids counted ducklings (we got to 50), we watched an epic fight between a hummingbird mother defending her nest from an imposing grackle from the glorious open air restaurant of Ocho (so good we ate there twice).   Yup, we were very pleasantly surprised indeed, I look forward to another trip!

Where we’ll stay:  Hotel Havana

Where we’ll eat:  Ocho

What we’ll do: Walk……okay maybe we’ll go see the Alamo too.

 


Adventures in France-Land, Walking V

A bit of an introduction, on our fifth day of walking we mistakenly hopped off the GR 36 trail and onto another.  It was a beautiful walk but took us 20 km AWAY from our intended destination.  This turned out to be our longest day of walking, we figure it was over 20 km, possibly 25 km – that’s a really long way when you are five and seven years old.  This post is dedicated to my kids who not only walked the whole day but happily put on their boots the next morning as well, thank you, I love you.

Breakfast - time to leave Montferrand for Monpazier

Breakfast – time to leave Montferrand for Monpazier

Snail love, turns out that love was in the air that day

Snail love, turns out that love was in the air that day

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11th century church, I think this was my favorite, I'll take it over Notre Dame anyday

11th century church, I think this was my favorite, I’ll take it over Notre Dame any day

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We spied this place for a mid-morning break, also to fill water bottles (walking tip: turns out cemeteries almost always have water)

We spied this place for a mid-morning break, also to fill water bottles (walking tip: turns out cemeteries almost always have water)

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Family pic

Family pic

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Lunch break, our hosts from Lou Peyrol packed us sandwiches for the day, which we happily devoured sitting outside this castle wall.

Lunch break, our hosts from Lou Peyrol packed us sandwiches for the day, which we happily devoured sitting outside this castle wall.

Here's what the locals were offering, this was the only restaurant in town.

Here’s what the locals were offering, this was the only restaurant in town.

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Two deer running straight for us

Two deer running straight for us

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The moment we realize we are 20 km away, it's a hard moment, no one even cares about  Chateaux Bannes in the background.

The moment we realize we are 20 km away, it’s a hard moment, no one even cares about Chateaux Bannes in the background.

While we wait for our hotel to send a rescue car  our way (miraculous), my daughter adopts several snails.  (choosing snails over the chateaux, that's my girl)

While we wait for our hotel to send a rescue car our way (miraculous), my daughter adopts several snails. (choosing snails over the chateaux, that’s my girl)

 

The feeling of sitting after walking for 9 hours.

The feeling of sitting after walking for 9 hours.

Our hotel, Edward 1er

Our hotel, Edward 1er

 

If you squint you can make out our muddy footprints we left on the stairs (I still feel bad about that)

You can almost make out our muddy footprints

 

Monpazier and this surrounding area of France is very "English" in style...and sort of Disneyland-y.

Monpazier and this surrounding area of France is very “English” in style…and sort of Disneyland-y.

 

Goodnight Monpazier.

Goodnight Monpazier.


Adventures in France-land, Paris I

 

Our Paris Apartment

Our Paris Apartment

Leaving the apartment

Leaving the apartment

 

Chic Parisian at Cafe Marly across from Louvre

Chic Parisian at Cafe Marly across from Louvre

 

Nectar from the gods

Nectar from the gods

Playing with culture

Playing with culture

 

Vintage a la Dieder Ludot

Vintage a la Dieder Ludot

Parisian Mother and child Palais Royal

Parisian Mother and child Palais Royal

 

 

Navigating the city with my 5 year old

Navigating the city with my 5 year old

 

The zoo - look at those uniforms...also the snow leopard should not be missed!

The zoo – look at those uniforms…also the snow leopard should not be missed!

G. Facchina. Mosaiste De L'Opera

G. Facchina. Mosaiste De L’Opera

L'Opera candy store

L’Opera candy store

Moi y enfants

Moi y enfants

 

Champagne, Cokes and drawing at L'Hotel

Champagne, Cokes and drawing at L’Hotel

The end.....for now

The end of day 1…..for now

 

 


Show me what you flyin’ in

To round out everything I’m bringing on our trip, here’s the in-flight (and most days following) outfit:

airplane 1  airplane 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Details –

Black coated jeans, Patagonia undershirt, Denim button-down shirt, Grey Cashmere Cardigan Sweater, Black Jacket, Socks, Undies, Bra, Blundstones, Sunglasses

Au revoir.

P.S. I have asked my husband to detail his pack and carry-alongs, which includes the kids’ clothes.  He’s considering my request, right now he more concerned with switching up our walking route from Northwest France to South France.  While walking in the rain can be romantic, we thought it would pretty much KILL our trip, hence the re-navigation.


Going on a walkabout

Except I’m not Australian, or male or in adolescence.  But we are taking a walking trip……..in FRANCE.

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I am mildly, hyper excited.  We will pack up our seven and five year old for a 16 day trip, we will have several days in the city of Paris and 10 days walking through the Northwest region of Normandy.  We will be walking on well established trails winding through countryside, small villages and, of course, in the city too.  My husband and I have vowed that this will be a backpack only trip, my own pack will be no more and no less than 16 liters (that is SMALL folks).  Our reasoning is: 1.  Once we are in Normandy, we will have to carry everything on our backs anyway…..for about 10 miles a day.  2.  This will force us to keep things simple for the kids, and for us.  3.  A test to free ourselves from some of our usual “comforts”.

I fear I might have to break one of my own travel rules and leave the bathing suit at home this time.

For advice and tips on undertaking this packing challenge, I’ve turned to Miss Minimalist:

This post as well as this one I found pretty inspiring and helpful….packing cubes – was I the last to know?

Also, we are trying out Air BnB for the first time, renting two different apartments during our trip, I’ll be sure to let you know our experience with them.

In the meantime, I’m watching “Finding Nemo” in French a lot…..think that’ll help??