Thursday, September 3, 2015

French Riviera

Fireworks in Antibes
We left Barcelona and drove towards Antibes, France, arriving late in the evening. Antibes is nestled in the French Riviera between Nice and Cannes.   We needed to wait about 30 minutes to get the key and luckily found a pizzeria very close to the apartment.  So, we parked and had a couple of delicious pizzas for dinner.  This restaurant in particular was located in a somewhat residential area and although they had a few tables and chairs I think it was set up more for waiting for your pizza then for staying and eating there. The owners were very nice and set us up giving Eden a plate and fork and knife so I could cut up her slice.  Once finished we headed to the apartment and picked up the key.  Justin, Caleb, Joel and Danielle walked towards the shore and got to watch a fireworks show that the pizzeria owners had told us about.  We still have no idea why they had the fireworks, but they all had a great time. 

The following day we were off to the beach.  We drove down to the sea shore and started our hunt for parking.  I seem to always get lucky so I told Justin to take the kids and set up at the beach and I would circle around for a spot.  Now, I have quite a reputation with being able to get a "primo" spot very quickly, I think I have my mother's parking luck for sure.  Well, the parking fates were with me because not only did I get a spot in under 5 minutes but the size of the stall  (this was a parking lot without lines kind of place) was huge, and by huge I am talking American standards huge.  It could have easily parked a normal size US SUV or 2 Fiats.  Then after the former parking spot possessor pulled out and I pulled in (in one move, because of the stall size and my skills) the former driver got out of his car and handed me his parking stub.  He told me that he had paid and still had 5 hours left on the stub so he gave it to me.  So, not only did I get a HUGE spot in under 5 minutes it was free!! Oh, and did I mention that it was about 25 meters from the beach.  Yes, the parking fates were again on my side, "primo".  Once I finished sharing my good fortune with Justin, well ok, let's call it a little bit of bragging, we enjoyed a wonderful time at the beach.  The water was nice and the sand was perfect for castles, so much so that the boys built a castle with a whole village and an observatory.  For some reason Eden did not want to go in the water but we took her in anyway.  She had quite the fit and after some crying and persuading we took her out of the water and she stopped crying.  I really felt as though someone might have thought that we were hurting her as opposed to trying to get her to enjoy the lovely Mediterranean Sea.
Eden is getting big, or the old Fiat 500 is small
The following day we drove along the coast towards Grimaud. The drive was absolutely stunning.  The color of the sea and the cliffs were magnificent. Grimaud is a little less known town just east of St. Tropez. We spent some time at the beach.  Justin rented a paddleboard for the kids.  I was extremely impressed with Caleb.  He jumped right on and got up immediately.  He paddled around for some time before switching off.  Joel paddled around on his knees got up a few times and easily maneuvered around the bay.  Danielle also gave it a shot but was a little more cautious.   Justin and I tried also, but we were both unable to stand due to the board being sized better to suit the kids.  During our time at the beach a vendor came by selling chocolate beignets and ice cream.  We got some to snack on and it sure did hit the spot.   After the beach we headed into St. Tropez to walk around and grab some dinner.  We bought some sandwiches and drinks and had dinner sitting on a bench near the marina while a street performer made the biggest bubbles I have ever seem.   These bubbles delighted the kids while they chased them and tried to pop each one.  The man even sent some Eden's way so she had a chance to pop a few.  After we ate we walked along the marina and looked at all of the luxurious yachts.  I was surprised at how many there were.  While there we even got to watch one of the yachts back into a rather slim slip flawlessly.  Very impressive. 
At the beach in Grimaud
The following day we decide to stay at the apartment and take a break from the sun.  I took my boys to a local hairdresser and got their hair cut.  Joel was the only one bold enough to sport a new style, cutting his hair rather short with the front getting spiked up.  Very cool.  Danielle and I headed to the store to pick up a cake for Eden's 3rd birthday.  Justin went and picked up some pizzas for dinner and much to our surprise found out that George Clooney makes them.  His picture is the face on the pizza guy on the box.  Now we saw the owners of the pizzeria and by no means do either of them even resemble George Clooney in the least.  We all had a great laugh over this. 
Pizza Box cover
Although Eden was born on August 29th, we decided to celebrate her birthday a day earlier, because we would be driving all day on her birthday.  Justin had found a place called Marineland online so we decided that it would be fun for Eden to have a day playing at the waterpark and then being able to watch the shows and the marine animals.  Eden had the best time playing at each of the kid zones.  She kept running over saying, "I love the baby dragon!"  It was, by the way, an octopus.  I guess we can use her 3's to work on recognizing animals and creatures.  There were a few bigger slides that we could take her on, so we decided to try them out.  We went on a ride called Soft.  She and I rode down and Eden laughed and said she wanted to do it again.  So later in the day we headed back to Soft with the rest of the kiddos.  Justin decided he would ride down with Eden and the kids decided that the rest of us needed to race each other down.  So not being one to back away from a challenge I said "you're on".  Soft is a slide that you ride down on a tube.  While in line I observed as others came down using different techniques and by far the faster ones came down lying on their stomachs on the tube.  So of course I was going to try that.  We all lined up and Justin gave us the signal to go.  Off we went.  I didn't even see how the kids can down because I was flying down the slide at such a fast pace that I started to lose my balance that my feet, knees and elbow touched the side of the Soft slide and ripped the skin right off.  I did land in the pool of water first, but my victory was abandoned due to the searing pain I was feeling.  I got out of the pool and looked down to see patches of skin missing on several locations.  Now some of you might remember that before leaving Colorado Justin fell off the alpine slide and ripped the skin off of his knees, elbows legs, and ear.  Well, as luck would have it this is what I had just done but to a much smaller degree than Justin.  I walked over to the Med station and the first thing the guy said was "Soft?"  He cleaned out my wounds and handed me a few lovely kiddie band aids for later.  Needless to say, I was sidelined after that.  Any time my wounds hit the water I had the worst burning sensation I have ever felt.  Now when Justin had hurt himself I felt horrible for him because I could see how terrible it looked and how badly he was hurting.  But after this I feel even worse because now I understand to a certain degree how horrible it really feels.  (By the way, Justin still has one scab left from his injury)  After the waterpark we headed over to the Marine park and watched a few shows and looked around at the marine animals.  Once back at the apartment we had Eden's birthday cake, sang her happy birthday and opened her gifts.  She got a hot pink dress up that she has worn everyday since.  Justin and I even let her wear it for her entire birthday while we drove to Italy. 
Eden sliding down the "Baby Dragon"
Eden at the water park.

Goofing off at Marineland

Dolphin Show

Happy 3rd Birthday Eden!

Princess Dress-Up

During our drive to Italy we stopped in Monaco and drove the route of the Grand Prix track. It was amazing at how many supercars were driving around here.  The Yachts in the harbor were very ritzy too.   We stopped and got ice cream. Eden got quite a few comments and lots of giggles as she walked the streets of Monaco in her birthday dress up.  She was tickled pink with the attention.
Boys in front of a section of the Grand Prix route when a Ferrari 458 drives by
A McLaren near the harbor in Monaco

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