Thursday, December 29, 2011

Our 9 days of vacation

So how were your holidays? Ours were great and I will post about that shortly for all those of you who want to see what we are up to. Our internet is half fixed but very slow. So excuse our tardiness. Plus we are taking the holidays seriously around here and having lots of fun as a family! Paul is gone for a few days canoeing down the Niger river with friends and we will meet him at National Parc W (An animal reserve 2 hours away) for the weekend with some teammates.

I finally got our vacation photos loaded on Facebook for our France portion of the trip if you want to check them out, but i will give you the brief resume here!

After Turkey we went to spend 9 days vacation together as a family. We had originally planned 11 but cut it short a few days to save money. We have friend who lives just outside Nice, in Southern France so we headed there first and spent some wonderful time with them. We explored the city of Nice as well as their little village (called Touet-sur-Var) and a nearby village that had a great Castle in the hills above it. We got lots of exercise walking so much and we also really enjoyed times sitting around the table and fire with our friends.

These friends, Paul and Sandrine, used to work in Niger as Directors of Mercy Corps and it was great to be able to see them again. Our kids are great friends and had a blast being together again. Here are some pictures from our 5 days in the South of France with them!

The coastal city of Nice. Beautiful with very mild weather in December. Because it was low season for tourism it was not very busy and we enjoyed walking around, eating in little cafe's and exploring!



The famous flower market of Cours Saleya.



We climbed up high to an overlook and enjoyed some stunning landscapes just before sunset.




The old harbour during Blue Hour.


And of course, we enjoyed some geocaching as well. Here is Bennett “shrub diving” to find a hidden geocache. I was tempted to yell out to all the curious passerbys- AH! The bush is eating my son!”

Nice4In the end he found it!



Standing in the lower village at Touet-sur-Var. The old upper village, where our friends live, can be seen up high in the background.


As the mist rose out of the valley in the morning it was stunning and ethereal looking.


A nearby village with an old Castle up top. We walked ALLLL day way up there with the four kids.



Looking down at the city. We gained a lot of elevation!



The upper village of Touet-sur-Var early in the morning.


After our awesome time down in Nice we took the cheap train 5 hours North back to a great place just North of Paris. Maybe you have heard of it? It is called DISNEYLAND!

We were given a very generous gift by two of you dear friends to be able to get a 3 night and 4 day package at Disneyland. For all you parents out there- I highly recommend visiting here in the off-season! The park was half empty and the package prices were awesome!! So with only our food to pay for (oh yes- plus we bought toques and mittens!), we were happier than kids in Disneyland- oh wait- we WERE all kids in Disneyland!

The train ride north. It was great to see the beautiful countryside!



Bennett totally loves the train! Arielle mostly slept, but he was too excited!


The middle of the day in Disneyland’s main street. I could barely believe how empty it was! It was great to not have to face crowds!

IMG_1427Bennett had fun dancing and jumping and doing taekwondo in every open space, square and bridge that he could find.



Downtown Disney at night.



The kids loved the Star Wars ride.


They were also big fans of the Buzz Lightyear laser quest ride.


We were not sure how the kids would do on rollercoasters. They were tall enough to ride the majority of the rides and when we took them on the Big Thunder Mountain rollercoaster they were totally excited. I was surprised to hear they wanted to go again and again! Here were all their expressions after the first ride. I love the joy in their eyes.


As close to a Christmas tree as we got. Cold air and trees and log cabins in Frontierland.


Arielle’s great expression in Starbucks when Daddy joked about stealing her hot chocolate.


The big car stunt show. See the car flying through the air?



More dancing and play fighting in the open spaces. We worked up quite an appetite and warmed up doing this often.



We are very thankful for the opportunity to spend a few days away as a family. Last June when we heard about the planned Turkey trip and knew the flights would be going through Paris we decided then to book this little layover and visit friends and connect and make memories as a family. Short but soo sweet!

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