Provence is a spectacular rural region in Southeastern France that has been highly coveted since the first hominids walked upright and left Africa. The climate, the sea access, the natural caves and the vegetation have made it a highly sought after and often conquered part of the world. Some of the oldest tools and drawing of early man have been found here. And, as is the case in most of central Europe, it was first a Greek territory, then Roman Empire, then Roman Christian based. It has been invaded by the Arabs, the Turks and the Normans...and now the Wychocki's.
Currently, it is a place world renowned for its beauty, art, food, culture and relaxation. So what did we do while there? Enjoy all of the above including some needed museum-time at the permanent Cezzane exhibit. Paul Cezzane spent much of his career painting in Aix En Provence; although we could not drag the kids to see his original studio. I know it is killing Suzanne to be so close to all of this amazing art and not see more than a superficial view of it. We will have to come back to Europe for just a Mike/Suzanne "art museum trip" when the kids are older.
We did take in a few amazing walks through this low-touristy town, and even had a date night with the kids now being old enough to leave for two hours back at the hotel.
A relaxing and low-key stop, which was perfect, as after 20-weeks of living out of suitcases, we are starting to feel the drag.
Off to Barcelona, a big and bustling city where we hope to see more art and architecture even if we have to do some FFF (forced family fun).
P.S. I swear we went to a museum. The new internet posting phrase "pictures or it didn't happen" doesn't apply here as there were no photo allowed in any of the galleries...bummer.
P.S.S. And speaking of beauty, the proud Dad in me can't help but appreciate how beautiful and handsome our lucky family is. All of the kids are growing so much and maturing both emotionally and physically on this trip. And none more than Isabelle Flora (Fleur). We even found a flower shop in her name-sake here, but she wouldn't pose next to it for us! :)
I know the Europeans are a bit more lax on their parenting rules than we are in the U.S. but it's taken some time to get used to. We started the trip in an apartment in Argentina and went everywhere with the kids. Then India where we couldn't leave them alone at all. Then to different houses/apartments/hotels from Thailand to Australia to Japan where we tested the waters each time. We might run to the corner bar to grab a drink or take a walk in the morning before the kids got up to get coffee, but 'date nights' have been basically non-existent. I knew this in theory when we planned the trip but the reality of it is much different.
Now, five months later the kids are each a little older and have learned a few things. One of the most important (aside from reading a subway map in Osaka) is how to order room service at a hotel. Yes, I'm proud to say that all three of our children can not only order a hamburger over the phone, but they can communicate their specific requests in the appropriate foreign language based on the country that we are in at the time. They may not get exactly what they wanted but something shows up at the door and they have learned to eat it. My work is done. I think Ben even knows to add the tip when he signs for dinner.
We tested this theory in Aix en Provence last week and Mike and I went out for dinner and drinks. Yes, we left our three children in a hotel room in a foreign country to fend for themselves. We may have only been a mile from the hotel (at most) but it felt like a different city. Two adults enjoying a fabulous dinner and glass of wine in France. Like a honeymoon or something :)
Maybe Mike will take me dancing in Barcelona!!!!!