Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Sticky Boys in Southern France

Shortly after returning from Close To My Heart's Convention, Sticky Boy and his new traveling buddy, Viva! Sticky Boy, set off for a trip to Southern France.  Just over jet lag, we boarded another plane and found themselves transported to the amazing Cote d'Azur, an amazing weekend was unfolding.

After our first stop along the coast, we asked the kids what they thought about the drive so far.  The 8-year old's response "It's pretty, but it's similar to the Amalfi Coast."  Excuse me, little world traveler!  Some people live their whole lives wanting to see these places and here you are (almost) taking it for granted.  Yikes!  We were back in the car and on our way to Monaco.  This tiny country was just AMAZING!  We had fun from the moment we drove across the border and loved seeing all the fancy cars.
We parked next to the beauty, I have a thing for license plates and thought it would only be right to take this picture.  We walked around seeing all the tourists and checking out some of the local sights.  We walked along the Grand Prix race track, stopped by the famous hair-pin turn, my little guy loved talking about Cars 2.  We check out the Casino, who is celebrating their 150th anniversary this year.  The kids were excited since this is where the animals of Madagascar 3 go, it's all about the movies with these little ones.  Had a really expensive lunch, hello we were in Monaco!  Then it was off to where we were going to stay for the rest of the trip, Avignon.

With the town of Avignon as our central point we were able to head east to see Pont du Gard.  This Roman aqueduct is 275m long and 49m high, built over 2000 years ago.  Funny, who would have thought a family living in Italy would travel so far to see Roman ruins, when we can see them down the street.  This was a very impressive aqueduct and the museum was quite good.  The children's section was fun and we could have spent all day playing in the water.  We walked across the aqueduct to have lunch and dip our feet in the river.  Such a pretty day, wish we had more time to just hang out and even do a kayak trip down the river.  Maybe next time!

Then it was off to the west in search of some lavender fields.  We thought it would be easy, we were in Provence, all the pictures show lavender growing along the road.  Silly us, we actually had to do some more research to just drive past the fields.  Where we stopped was simply amazing.  The 12th century Senanque Abbey was so beautiful both for the lavender fields and for the abbey itself.  Not quite fully in bloom, the lavender plants were very fragrant, watching the butterflies hop from plant to plant was really relaxing.  The smell was calming (sorry, had to say it) and the tour book we bought still smells.

We didn't realize until we got to Avignon that that weekend started their annual theater festival.  So this active, college town, was even more alive.  It was fun to walk among some actors and see them do little scenes from their plays in the streets.  The other main attraction is the Palais des Papes (Popes Palace), that was built in the 14th century.  Between all the halls, chapels, corridors and staircases we discovered that this was the capital of Christendom between 1305 and 1403.  Not to go into too much history, 7 popes and 2 antipopes held office here.

Then it was time to be bid adieu to France and head back to Italy.  We took the long was back and drove along the Cote d'Azur more, from Saint Tropez into Cannes.  The beaches were beautiful (and free), everyone seemed to be having a good time and we really thought about booking another holiday to just spend time on the water.  It's hard to believe that we live 5 minutes from the beach, because of pollution, trash, and price we don't go.  So not what a family from Southern California is used to.  All part of learning and helping us value what we have.

This was a quick and busy trip to the South of France, one that was filled with wonderful sights, sounds, smells, and food.  We hope to go back... the bucket list keeps growing.  Until next time... it might be a while, a big adventure is coming up and we have to prepare ourselves.  Maybe some local travel is in order.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

CTMH Convention 2013

The Sticky Boys (yes, I have 2 now, thanks to someone REALLY nice who gave me one) and I are back from Florida and bursting with idea and projects for Close To My Heart's Convention.  It was a fun filled 3 days of showcasing the new products, time with friends, and bonus Jeanette answered MY questions, so I got an extra little something.  Suffering from jet lag, a cold, and losing my voice was so worth it to get some time away to regroup and refocus on my Close To My Heart business.  I'm so excited about the new items, no not going to tell you anything right now, you'll have to check back later.   (Hint: there might be a new Cricut cartridge)

Since I have never been to Disney World or Florida for that matter, I didn't know what to expect.  It is very different from Disneyland and California.  I thought I was going to pass out from the humidity, even coming from southern Italy.  I did manage to run a few days, get along with little to no sleep most nights, and did finish one project from the creative times.  For me it was all about reconnecting with friends, making a few new ones, and getting my "crafty" back.  I think I have found it and can't wait for the new products to arrive here in Italy for me to share with you all.

Like I said, I didn't really find another Sticky Boy.  A friend of a friend (who had found 2) gave me this little guy.  Now I have two traveling buddies and can't wait to show them (and you) more of Europe, starting this weekend.  Check back early next week for more on our travels and I might even throw in a sample of what is to come in the new Idea Book.  Until next time, happy crafting!