Saturday, April 23, 2011

Tracie, Koby & Eli - Sete - April 11, 2011 & Les Baux de Provence - April 12, 2011

Eli and Tracie having a blast waking Koby up!

On the way to the lighthouse in Sete - all of the kiddos

Adam and his Tia - Nathan too :)

They love posing for the pictures - ha!

We found Koby's boat in the marina

One of our very many ice cream stops

At the beach - it was a little chilly, but that doesn't stop the

The cleaning of the feet - no sand in Mo Mo -
just bread crumbs!

These cookies are called cigarretes - the kids like to
ham it up and pretend to be european smokers

Arriving in Les Baux on Tuesday, we were hungry -
Eli loved his plate of spaghetti - Koby and Adam
enjoyed helping him finish it too - like two vultures!

We arrived in time to see a catapult demo

Cute cousins

Who will they put in the flinger?


Hee hee hee

Ha ha ha

Ho ho ho

We climbed to the top of the Chateau ruins -
beautiful view!


On the way back down

Taking a break

Peek-a-boo - through the windows of the chateau

The mom's deserved a stop at a winery for a little taste!
Tracie, Koby and Eli arrived safe and sound four hours before their original arrival time!   Thanks to Tracie's travel savy and knowledge of the Spanish language - rather than arriving from Barcelona at 9:00 pm, they were coming in at 5:07 pm on Sunday April 10.  After a day in Pezenas, getting home and finalizing the "clean the house" process very quickly, we were all very excited to go to Gare St. Roch to get them - one by one, each of us said "I'll go get them, I want to get them" so - all five of us hopped on the tram to the train station to find our next set of visitors! When we got to the station, we found the right track and looked at the schedule to discover that now, they would arrive 15 minutes late - whew, some breathing time!

Tracie called us at some point to be sure that we received the message that she left us about their change of plans and said that she thought they should be pulling in withing 10 - 15 minutes - I told her that, according to the schedule, they should be pulling in within 2-3 minutes - so she went to get their suitcases down and prepare to debark the train (does one "debark" a train????).  Seeing them coming down the platform was exciting - Tracie looked great, Koby looked about a foot taller than the last time we'd seen him (and filled out too), and Eli was as cute as ever - we gave hugs and kisses all around, grabbed suitcases and headed for home.

Andrew, Adam and Koby ended up going to the second half of the Montpellier Hand Ball match for which we had tickets. Montpellier won the match by about 10 points - the boys were excited!  The rest of us hung out at the house and showed Tia and Eli around.  When the boys got home, Andrew and Tia sat down to plot out the Burns/Gigletti visit and, using a very methodical and practical reasoning technique, came up with the perfect plan to suit kids and adults alike!  A tour of Montpellier on Monday, Les Baux on Tuesday, Sete on Wednesday, Carcassone on Thursday, Grotte (cave) Des Desmosselles on Friday, Arles/Cassis (beach town) on Saturday, and hang out/swim/winery visits on Sunday.  We gave our kids the option of taking a day off of school to join the fun - they got to pick which day.  Adam chose Tuesday, Emma chose Friday and all kids had Wednesday afternoon off so everyone except Andrew went to Sete.

The tour around Montpellier was alright - I think the kids were much more interested in eating a treat (crepe or iced cream) and playing with each other than seeing the sights so, after a while, they took off and headed for home to play....whatever they played, I stayed with the adults!  Oh!  Before they left, we did go to the Police Station so that our little criminal could show the tram police that he truly did have a paid tram pass on the day that they caught him without it - he still got stuck with a a 5 euro fine but now his record in France is clean!  Adam says that they played tag in the big garden with the Boisson's grandchildren along with ping pong and foosball (we are really spoiled here - the Boisson's are very well equipped for kids!)

Adam stayed home from school on Tuesday and we were packed up and out the door by 11:00 for Les Baux (see previous blog posts for Les Baux info - short summary: walled town with catapults and other large medieval weapons, along with the remains of a HUGE chateau, built on a mountain with a gorgeous view) - this was my first time driving outside of Montpellier without Andrew so I was a little nervous but with Tracie by my side (literally - in the passenger's seat!), holding the map, I was more confident than nervous!  We made it to our destination with no issues - we even found a nice parking spot and figured out how to pay for it!  All of us were pretty hungry when we got to Les Baux so our first stop was a restaurant.  We all enjoyed our lunches, especially Eli as evidenced by the photograph above - the spaghetti was a hit!

On our way to the Chateau, Tracie and I enjoyed stopping in a couple of shops to have a look around, Tracie ended up purchasing a cute ceramic something (I don't remember exactly what it was now!).  We made it to the Chateau area, purchased our tickets and entered ---- the windy city!  The wind was HOWLING that day on the top of the hill!  It wasn't very cold, but the wind could have picked Eli up and tossed him to St. Remy if we didn't hold him down! We had to be careful of flying debris and keep eyes covered - poor Koby got some dust in his eyes at some point so Tracie helped him get it out, other than that, the trip was fun and exciting.  We even made it in time to watch a catapult demonstration - Tracie was picked to participate in launching the catapult, along with 7 other lucky volunteers.  When the nice French man approached her, Tracie said "I don't speak French" to which he responded - loudly in his microphone: "Oh! Well, I don't speak English!" and made her follow him!  I did video the production, however, the wind is so noisy that it's not worth posting unfortunately.  Tracie had fun and everyone was excited to see her help launch a large waterballon the same way the Romans launched their massive rock ammunition back in the day.

After touring around for a couple of hours, we stopped for some iced cream and coffee, grabbed two baguettes from the boulangerie, loaded everyone back into Mo Mo the Peugot, and prayed that we could find our way home, which we did, with no problem!  Along the route home, we passed the very first winery that Andrew and I found - it is large, gorgeous and has a restaurant which we believe, is a large portion of their business.  Tracie and I decided to stop in and have a taste - there was a little playground where the boys ran, played - they liked it so much that when we were ready to leave, they wanted to stay!  The photo above was taken by the driver of a tour bus who we met in the parking log - he was very nice and, I believe, thought Tracie was very cute :) - A nice evening was enjoyed, dinner was eaten, the kids played and everyone went to bed pretty well - as well as they could with four boys in the same room anyway :)

Since our kids only had 1/2 day of school on Wednesday, we waited for them to get home and took them to Sete with us.  The day was beautiful and, once again, the Tracie and Beth navigational team made it to the destination just fine.  We parked in the underground, very steep, parking garage where our family had parked on a previous visit.  Emma was very excited to take Koby and Eli to see the lighthouse and the shore by the marina - so we headed in that direction and stopped at some of the shops along the way.  Koby and Eli bought a red ball and Tracie bought herself an adorable blue/white striped nautical shirt (which I plan to purchase on the next trip to Sete because it is soooo cute!). We got to the lighthouse, took some pictures and the kids were ready for a treat - back to town for iced cream (can you see the theme with the Gigletti boys here????  Iced cream seems to be their "thing"!).  Then we were off to the beach - back to Mo Mo in the garage.

Now, getting to Sete and into the garage was uneventful - getting OUT of the garage was a little more exciting.  The angle of the ramp and curvature of the walls out of the garage, along with the 5 speed Peugot, made for an interesting combination.  Trying to steer the car so as to NOT plow into the walls, in first gear while not stalling, took a lot of concentration - and a few centimeters of rubber off of our tires!  I didn't realize just how steep we were until I had to move my foot from brake to clutch and hit the gas just at the right time so as to not sail back down the ramp!  Tires were a'burnin and the kids were laughing!  We made it though - only two tire burning sessions to get out of the garage!

The beach was relaxing and fun.  The kids built sand things, played "Pickle" with the ball, and yes, jumped into the water if for no other reason than to say that they actually got in - it was pretty cold!  We all had a fun time at the beach and no critters were injured, maimed or killed in the process!

We spent a couple of hours at the beach and then loaded everything/everyone up and drove back home where Andrew had purchased the dinner foods and had dinner waiting for us when we arrived - chicken, broccoli and rice - yum!  The kids played, adults visited etc.... then bedtime and preparation for another day!

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