Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Toulon, France May 13 - May 15, 2011

The Boisson's Beautiful Toulon Home
House from up the street
Walking to the beach
Grandma and the kids

The ladies at the beach
Adam the rock hopper

Cool palm trees


Pizza on the front porch - our first Toulon dinner

Emma and Nathan enjoying the seaside


On the way to Ile de Porquerolles

Marina at Ile de Porquerolles

Emma and Grandma

Mrs. Eberhart and Grandma


Fort de la Repentance

View of the beaches from Fort de la Repentance

A & B on the seashore

Goofing off in the Mediterranean

Cute Emzie

Boys attacking the girl

Poor tired Adam

When the Boissons heard that my mom and her friend were coming for a visit, they offered to let us use their house in Toulon France - a 3 minute walk to the beach!  After discussing the week of events with everyone, we accepted their kind invitation, rented a bus (thanks ladies!), packed everything up, including sheets, towels etc... so we didn't have to use theirs, and headed southeast to their beautiful home! Andrew did the driving (as usual) and we arrived in the city of Toulon without a problem, finding the house was another story however.  We pulled into a gas station that was situated on the outer edge of a round-about (one of our favorite things about French driving - the round abouts!) to ask someone.  Our first question (as always) was "parle vous anglaise?" One nice gentleman gave us the most popular answer "a little" - he listened to our predicament, grabbed a map from the display on the counter, and explained how to get to the house.  After we said our "Merci", I realized that he was a Toulon police officer. We all piled back into the bus and made it to the house with no further issues.

After figuring out the locks, unpacking everything, turning on the water and electricity and settling in, we decided to take a walk to the beach so we would know where it was when we wanted it.  As expected, the beach and the sea were beautiful!  Palm trees were plentiful, the sand was soft, there was a rocky (big rocks) type of wall or pier to walk along and a nice breeze blowing.  We enjoyed our time on the beach very much and then headed back to the house to figure out what to do about dinner.  Mr. and Mrs. Boisson had recommended a little pizza shop down the street so that is where we headed.  None of the pizza makers spoke english but we were able to decipher the menu and place our order.  The pizza shop was on the corner, very small (no inside seating, and included a wood oven.  Mom and Marilyn headed across the street to a "bar" to ask if they could buy some beer but were unable to - on the list for the next day: "find some beer" :)

On Saturday morning, Nathan and Andy walked into town to explore and  when they returned, we prepared for a fun filled day at Ile de Porquerolles with is a beautiful island consisting of grape vineyards, lovely beaches, a charming village, marina, and an old fort at the top of the hill. The landscape of the island is breathtaking!  From the Boisson's house, we drove to the location where we caught the boat that delivered us to the island.

We went to the Office of Tourism first to ask about what the island had to offer.  We were given a map with directions about where to take a walk, hike and eventually, visit a beach. The kids, with there grandma and Mrs. Eberhart, decided to walk in the opposite direction of Andy and I who were going to head toward the ancient fort at the top of the hill.  They were headed for iced cream and a beach where we agreed to meet them at a certain time.

The hike to the fort was minorly strenuous and well worth it! The view from one side of the fort provided an amazing view of the shoreline consisting of blue mediterranean water and light colored sand while the view from the other side treated us to a beautiful landscape of grape vines and olive trees! Upon our arrival at the beach, we learned that the kids and ladies were treated to an interesting view themselves - topless sunbathers to further their education.  Unfortunately, the uninhibited sunbathers were not young and perky and may have damaged our sons' thoughts of the female body for awhile while reassuring Emma that she is definitely a beautiful young lady!  Due to the entertainment that we were enduring and the pebbly "beach", we packed up our basket and towels and decided to hike to the beaches that were recommended by the Office of Tourism.  We were sure that it was a fairly short walk in the direction from which Andy and I had come.  We were right about the direction, but wrong about the "short"! We walked, and walked, and walked, keeping in mind that the last boat would come to pick us up around 6:00.  Eventually, we did find the beach, enjoyed some sun and playtime in the water on a much more comfortable sandy terrain.  Adam was not a happy beach comber and decided to lay down, cover his face and catch som "z's" while Andy, Nathan and Emma splashed and swam in the water and the rest of us relaxed on the shore. A little while later, we packed up again and walked, walked, walked back to the boat pick-up but not before grabbing another iced cream cone which we all greatly deserved!  Everyone was quiet on the ride back to the mainland where we found our big white "bus" and headed for "home".

Dinner that night was interesting.  After driving downtown to find a nice seaside restaurant and after realizing how expensive all of the seaside restaurants were - we opted for a cute little place an got burgers and fries! - It was seaside too - right along the marina, and was very good!  Mrs. Eberhart, mom and I ordered beer which tasted great after a day on the island!

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