A bit of a bump in the road…

February 17, 2008

I hear from Husband upon his arrival home that “the office” has not correctly assigned his travel itinerary as of Thursday. This is NOT acceptable. If it doesnt get corrected and I really have no reason to believe it will due to the overwhelming evidence that they (the office) have absolutely zero skills in this area, which stuns me as it is an integral part of the job, I will have to accept the fact that the three children and I will be in Paris for a whole day by ourselves before his arrival. I will NOT go see the Eiffel Tower without him but I will take in part of the Louvre and do a bit of “gee, I feel sorry for myself because my husband is late” shopping!

I am getting very VERY excited…7 weeks from Tuesday!

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Eight Short Weeks!

February 9, 2008

Somehow, four weeks slipped by me! I have to pay better attention to my deadline. I need to make a list, check it twice and be sure I have what needs be be done, in fact DONE by it’s allotted time! All those people who have said to me in the past “you must be SOOO organized” – right now nothing seems farther from the truth!

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I have stacks of things to go thru.  I do have a binder with all sorts of things put together~all our airline info, ticket receipts, train information, rental car aggreements…

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I have my travel wallet fairly complete with a few Euros to get me there and get a taxi to the hotel.

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All of our passports are in order and together.  I have stressed as often as I can that the girls need to be thinking about packing light.  VERY light.  I think I finally got thru to them when I said “You bring it, you carry it. I am not carrying your luggage for you.  You are 19 and 15 and you will have to carry your own bags.”  We will have a washer at the house we are renting so we don’t have to pack EVERYTHING we own.  I am packing for comfort.  Knit cords from LLBean have been my favorite pants during the fall/winter.  And the fact that it will still be coldish when we are there…I think that is what I am taking.  Maybe one or two pairs of jeans.  And LLBean’s Perfect Fit knit blend slacks.  Shoes…another issue.  I have feet problems so…comfort over fashion every time.  I have some walking shoes I love and a pair of leather clogs that are super comfortable to wear to and from – you know having to take your shoes off to board a plane is a pain.  

I am quite sure the next 4 weeks will zip by as well since Husband will be home.  That time passes so fast.  Then when he leaves again, I have 4 weeks to get it ALL together and get myself and these children on a plane!  

OH MY – We are going to FRANCE!!! 

Entering into Week 12

January 12, 2008

Bonjour!

My how things are coming together so nicely. As nervous as I was at the first thought of this remarkable adventure, I am calming down and keeping in mind the Britain’s answer to being bombed on a daily basis during WWII, I am going to “Keep Calm and Carry On” – in fact I just bought a reproduction of the poster found hanging all over London during those terrible days.

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It will be framed and will hang in our newly refurbished living room. A constant reminder. And a very apt attitude in today’s world as well.

What do I hope to glean from my month abroad??? Oh so many thing and I think of new things almost daily. The fact that we have a month gives us time not only to relax and see things we have never seen, but we will “experience” a completely different life and almost be a part of it…if only on the fringe.

Something I keep saying over and over to myself. I can do this. And while I am so close to 50 it is scary, I have never been out of the USA. And quite frankly, never expected to. This trip is way beyond any expectations I had for travel. I thought how insane it would be to spend two weeks in Vermont. Now this! I feel brave enough now to tackle most anything.

At first I thought I might talk myself out of it. So far from home. So expensive. The 9 hour plane ride there. The 9 hour plane ride back. Not knowing 20 words of French (though I do pretty well reading – maybe that will help) and the 19 I know, I am so horrible as speaking it makes my tummy hurt to try. But try I will.

Here’s a couple of peeks at the two houses we will be staying in. Extremely nice accommodations. home2.jpg home1.jpg

The house we have let for the first part of our holiday (how do you like all that Brit-speak???) is in the Loire Valley – France’s Garden. How appropriate that is considering my husbands complete love of all things related to gardening. We are looking forward to daily trips to the green grocers and cooking and using local foods. AND all about the description of this home is the word “Lavender“…one of my favorite words! Spring in the Loire Valley will be amazing…beyond any of our expectations.

The second house we have let is in Normandy. And from all accounts just as beautiful in its own right.

In between those two homes we will spend 4 days in London. Not long enough I am sure. But we will make the most of it. Our hotel is just around the bend from Buckingham Palace. How cool is that??? Yeah…THAT Palace.

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And of course we will be sure to stop off at Windsor Castle

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…Kensington Palace –

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and so close are the lovely museums of the Kensington area. I especially hope to visit the Victoria and Albert Museum. And we will hop over to Chawton as I said earlier to see the Jane Austen house.

Now in honor of my upcoming trip into the world of French Cuisine…I am going to make real French Macaroons tomorrow. Yep the kind you find in Paris at places like Pierre Herme.You will find on his website all sorts of goodies…but the Macaroons…Oo La LA! And 18 for only 34euros! But dont the look delightful! Please ignore the enormous amounts of food colorings!

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Anyway…I will be posting my macaroon adventure soon! Probably here and at NotQuiteJuneCleaver AND at TheFarmhouseGourmet (which I have be ignoring sadly).

That’s all for today folks…more soon!

Au revoir,

Susan

Voilà!

January 9, 2008

I know, I know ~ I have been missing in action. Took a little jaunt with Husband. And on this little jaunt, I found a lovely French Antique store. The owner is French and very helpful and informative and excited for our trip. A little jealous that we are getting to stay a whole month but happy we are getting to visit France and time to soak in some of the culture and “real life” of a new (to us) and very different place. She had some bits of advice that I will definitely take to heart.

  • Do not take the Metro from the airport, splurge on a taxi it is worth it.
  • Write down the address of our hotel and not only “tell” the driver but hand him the address.
  • ALWAYS say Bonjour before beginning any conversation or asking any question. It is just polite. Plain and simple.
  • Don’t expect the Mona Lisa to be this big painting. It is in fact, very small. (I knew this already but thanked her just the same)
  • Expect most everyone in Paris to speak fluent English. Expect very few people out in the countryside and villages to speak it fluently, but they will understand most and she felt we would have no trouble communicating. I hope she is right.
  • Enjoy the local people we meet while staying there, they will be friends for life. The French are like that.
  • Eat at the little bistros and brassieries – fore go the big famous restaurants, they are very VERY pricey and we might be hungry when we left.

Her shoppe was beautiful – full of loads of armoires and beds, linens and such. I bought a lovely little berry bowl…I know little about china and such I just thought it was lovely.

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Then I made a couple of bookstore stops and came away with yet another stack of France books…travel, language…can you have too many? Probably.

P.S. 91 days from today, I will be in Paris…FRANCE!

Fourteen Weeks and Counting

December 31, 2007

Yes, it is only 14 weeks until we head over the big blue ocean! I am just amazed at how much planning this takes! But I have my calendar and will keep you all up to date. I will be posting my checklists very soon. Thanks for following us thru this most exciting adventure!!

Who knew?

December 26, 2007

There was so much to planning a vacation?  Albeit a month long vacation but still!  Good grief at the details. And I consider myself detail oriented but I have about reached my limit!  Okay what we have so far.  A little mix up on flight times (there will be more mix ups I am sure before all is said and done) ~ the kids and I will arrive a few hours earlier than Husband so we will get to the hotel and rest a while before he arrives, which might be for the best anyway.  We KNOW we will spend two days in Paris, then take the train to Tours, rent a car and drive to the house we have rented.  Then we will toot around the area, seeing the sites taking in the little towns, the historic places etc until the 21st when we will take the train to Tours, fly to London and be there for 4 days, seeing the sites and zipping over to Chawton to the Jane Austen house. 

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Yes, yes, there are some gaps in the plans like reserving a car, train tickets and the like and we have not planned the last leg when we will be in Normandy.  But we are getting there!  The binder is getting thick! 

Poor, poor neglected blog.

December 20, 2007

I am just so busy with the holidays I cant find time to share anything here.  But I will…lots of things are coming together and I will share them very soon!  Thanks for stopping by and I will try to be more diligent with updating.

Progress!

December 14, 2007

Well, we are officially “planning”.  We have two house rented for the duration of our stay. One in Valencay, one in Normandy.  We have plane tickets, we have a hotel in Paris for the first two days of our arrival.  I even scheduled our flight so that it lands about the same time as Husband’s.  We finally decided to fly out of Houston, saving several hundred dollars plus…no changing flights – directly to Paris!  SQUEAL!

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I am getting rather excited! So much more planning to do.  If it were just Husband and I we could go off flying by the seat of our pants.  As it is…well so much more planning to do!

We are making a list  and checking it twice.  We have a binder started with all correspondence, bookings, confirmations, pertinent information, copies of documents…you know all the necessary papers.

The couple we are renting from have been so helpful and I appreciate all the information and leads.

Got to go for now…but I will leave you with a link to our hotel in Paris. Just click on the picture.

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Welcome to Our Travel Journal!

December 2, 2007

Join us as we plot and plan and pack for our trip to France in April 2008.  Considering I (nor my three children who are going as well) have never been out of the country…this ought to be a big adventure…to say the least!  You will hear from me and my two of my daughters…three different perspectives…one HUGE plan!  Enjoy!