Sunday, July 27, 2008

Labastide de Virac

Labastide de Virac is one of those places on earth where you can find peace, quiet (when the crickets shut up that is) and an unkempt beauty. I love it there and always find myself well rested when I come back home, no matter how short the trip was.

The Laurels have bloomed beautifully, I remember when my grandmother planted them, they struggled to have more than 5 flowers at a time for many years.

Breakfast served from 9 to 10.30, after a good night's sleep and woken up by the coffee machine filtering the last drop of coffee in a loud rrrrrhhhhhh but also with that nice smell of fresh coffee which you know waits for you and fresh croissants and baguettes fetched by dad fresh from the bakery.
Coming back from the market in Barjac, a 16th century medieval village, it was the lavender show... somehow, I was too busy, browsing at the quaint stall merchandise to take too many pictures. Here Kitem plucked a few branches of lavender for the house.
Labastide de Virac seen from the St Roman hill, our house is the nearest to us, you can see two roofs standing outside of the village, the one to the right is my grandaunt's and the one to the left is our beautiful home.
Alex had requested a bit of sightseeing, especially to see how the famous Provence compares to the lovely Labastide, although there was nothing to disappoint, we were all proud to notice that villages in Provence are not any better than our local villages near the Ardeche river. Here Alex and I are standing in the lavender fields of the Abbey de Senanque, below.
This was dreamy, located at the bottom of hills, surrounded by nothing but fields of wheat and lavender. In fact it is not wheat but I have no idea what it is in English, one of those cereals. We also visited a village typical of Provence, which claims to be one of the prettiest village of France but I did not think it was worth a picture. Now, this village, just a few minutes away from Labastide was worth a hundred pictures but it takes too long to upload them, we were in love with Alex, here mom and dad were walking along the ramparts on top of the village.
A trip to Labastide would not be complete without a descent to the Ardeche, although strong storms made the water too cold to swim, we still went down to enjoy the walk and this living river. See if you can spot my 6 foot tall dad to appreciate the hugeness of the place (and that's only half of it up and probably only a speck wide).
Finally, dad took us on a tour along the river, it is a long journey and we don't start it at the source! There were many stops along the river to take in all that millions of years old river from which we can see the marks left from the ice age and where there is a few 'grottes' no idea how to translate that - where we found wall drawings made tens of thousand years ago.
Here at the end of our journey, le Pont d'Arc (the Arch Bridge),a natural arch shaped by the water through the milleniums the Ardeche river is flowing.

We - I - but Kitem as well - and daddy too and even pepie (dad) are just looking forward with anticipation to bringing the little fella here next summer. I grew up here, I mean every summer of my childhood was spent there, I can't wait to let my kid take in all the sounds and smells and beauty of this place. It's almost magical.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

The City of Romance

Venice was a wonderful surprise that Alex prepared to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary. Let's be honest, Venice would have been a normal holiday destination instead of an occasion if we had not been expecting our greatest achievement yet. We now realise that we'd better hurry to complete our list of places to see before the little one is here. Remaining in the list is now only Florence and the Tuscany region (Italy) and long destinations such as Egypt, Japan, California and Mexico. Mind you, Pépi and Mémie (Kitem) would be too happy to get the kids while we travel to these destinations, but I also know from my own childhood that I will want to take the kids with us when they're older, still some way to go. And the last couple of years gave us our fair share of travels and adventures.

The Rialto Bridge

I enjoyed Venice, the 33 degrees when coming from a 17 degree London was a bit too warm for comfort but we ate lots of ice cream to keep the baby cool of course! :P

In the Piazza di San Marco with the Palacio Ducale to the right

Much to our disappointment we could not book the tour of mysteries of the palace, we were here for 4 days and we were told we could join the tour next week. nice. that's what I call planning, surely if a tour outsells then you should have more tours available. But we still enjoyed walking about the place.

As you probably already know, Venice is made up of hundreds of islands all joined up with bridges and where the canals are used as streets for private boats and public service (police, fire, refuse collection and laundry collection from hotels!)

I loved how most houses are not accessible from any roads or streets, people park their boats outside their homes, but I suppose these properties must be accessible from neighbouring buildings. On a few occasions, we saw bridges leading exclusively to a front door and on many occasions, we turned in a street only to find it leading to a canal!

It was a wonderful break. It was my second time in Venice, the first was with Kitem and Mr Garden and Julien, and somehow this time, it was completely different, although I kept good memories, it still felt like a new experience.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

The Last Wonder of the World

I know... it's been two months I did not update my blog. Been extremely stressed and busy at work and too tired to do anything at all in the evenings, besides following the new Heroes season, watching the Euro 2008 and Wimbledon, could not even find the strength to cook dinner or clean up, but Alex was a great help.

Alex got us away on our wedding anniversary to Venice, stories to follow... The thing is, Tweetey's very last comment on my very last post knew more than I did... Indeed just over a month ago, something did not happen... I waited, not too long but impatiently and anxiously, and it persisted at not happening, until I was forced to check out what's the hold up, and we are having a BABY!!!!

Finally, after all these months of practice, the much awaited little darling is here, growing at the speed of light, comfortably tucked away in his mother's womb. So it was almost two months before I realised I was pregnant, and you'd think it's a curse because just days after finding out, I was stricken like any good mother with morning sickness, nausea and quasi-total exhaustion. But this is now gone...

Since the day I found out a lot happened: work and problems kept on piling up my desk faster than I could cope, which left me so frustrated because that's no way to treat my little baby, I had to change doctors as my doctor was a real charlatan who could not care less about me (or my foot) and felt aggravated with guilt at the thought of all the alcohol I had consumed in my first month (in Iceland and entertaining customers) not knowing I was pregnant.

But this was made up with my grand mother's 80th Birthday back home surrounded with future Pepi and Memie, my cousins and the little cutie Antoine. It was a wonderful family reunion and perfect opportunity to announce my wonderful news to my loved ones. And this was followed shortly with Alex taking me to celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary in gorgeous Venice.

Last weekend, we had the greatest pleasure of seeing our little love during my third-month scan; we were awestruck, we still are. Although thanks to Internet information, I followed closely the evolution of the little one, I still did not expect to see what we saw, in fact I was even surprised when the midwife confirmed that 'yup, that's a baby alright'. We were very moved to see our baby moving his little body and touching his/her face and twisting around, much to our delight. And although we knew it would be complete, we were still impressed with the little feet, toes, face, hands, everything, it is a complete minature human being, and it is mine!

Next time up is end of August and we'll find out the sex of our baby!!! yay!!! will keep you posted.