Saturday, January 12, 2013

Beaune and the Road to Ile de Re

A little tour through France for what became a group of six. We rented a big van, plugged in the GPS and took off stopping briefly in Nancy for a quick lunch. We arrived at our bed and breakfast in Beaune, the wine capital of Burgundy in the eastern part of the country, and spent the next day on bikes exploring the vineyards of Beaune and its surrounding villages. Reluctant bikers at first, but in all rode long and hard in beautiful sunny weather. Ah, summertime!

Katarina surveying the road ahead.

Water break for Charlie and Gabriel.

 Ella earning her keep.

A needed pit-stop at a winery along the way.

Another essential stop, ice cream, soda and water.

Ella, post-ice cream.

Biking through the vineyards was beautiful and peaceful, the perfect contrast to a day of driving. 

Carmela all cleaned up and ready for dinner in town.

A little dance before we go.

The victorious bikers.

The morning after, girls having their own private breakfast.

After a one night stop at a hotel (of sorts) which we all found unfortunate, a rainy day tour of the cave paintings in Lascaux and a walk through the village/shrine to WWII, Oradour-sur-Glane, we moved onto a chambre d'hote we found on the fly. It was great, complete with a delicious meal, two very friendly kids and their rambunctious puppy. Katarina and I took a big walk the following morning through the countryside and then we were back in the car and on our way to l'Ile de Re.

Our chambre d'hote.


The cutest hosts in all of France.

We drove that day until La Rochelle where we made it just in time to meet Jorrit's train from Luxembourg via Paris. A quick check in at our hotel in La Rochelle and then the adults went to a special restaurant. I think it was a reward for actually making it to our destination as opposed to ending up in Romania or some other country by mistake. Yes, despite the GPS Katarina and I have a bad reputation when it comes to driving, directions, distractions, etc. ) It was delicious and appreciated.

Summertime Fun

After graduation, Katarina and I were able to make a Paris run while the kids all stayed with Jorrit and made their own local river rafting excursions (pictures to come) until our return. Our primary goal was to hit as many flea markets as possible without overburdening any of our companions or supporters. We did okay, got really lucky a lot with illegal parking, trains, restaurants and markets and tempered our junking urges as needed.

The junkers

The apprentices

Our dog "O"

First stroke of luck, getting a seat at Septime, Paris

Beautiful and delicious dinner at Septime

The accidental market

Packing our loot for transport to hotel

Post-market lunch at Merci

One day later at Arlon, Belgium's Sunday Market. The last hurrah before road trip with the kids. Many good affordable finds if ever you are wondering about visiting this one.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Endings and Beginnings, Beginnings and Endings

 Playing catch up here, but this is how it works for me normally.

Last spring we had the pleasure of two endings, grade school and middle school. Carmela moved up to the middle school at ISL and Gabriel graduated from Grade 8! A more important event than one might have thought and graced with the presence of very special guests. 

 Gabriel sings with his class before the presentation of diplomas 

Our graduate!

Nico and Karl enjoying their brothers' ceremony

Ella & Carmela

Most of the Van der Powells post graduation

The Van der Meulens, June 2012

Gabriel and Charlie off to the party