At the beginning of September, we took a trip to the south of France for the wedding of a good friend from Cornell.
We began our trip in Nice, a beautiful city on the Mediterranean Sea. Even though the kids got at most 2-3 hours of sleep on the plane ride over (we had to stop in Boston and Dublin before arriving in Nice), we managed to get in a full day of sight-seeing. We saw the old city, the Opera House, the fort, the beaches, and the beautiful sailboats. The kids enjoyed our tour on a double-decker bus, and they got a kick out of all the "modern" art at the Nice Museum of Modern Art-- Nate especially liked the crushed car. Nate's other favorite part of Nice were the road blockers that just popped up out of nowhere while we were eating dinner at an outdoor cafe.
After Nice, we drove down the coast, stopping at Antibes and the St. Tropez peninsula. We went to some nice beaches on the south peninsula. Steve got in some great wind surfing while Wendi and the kids played on the beach. We also hiked along a nice path on the coast to some secluded beaches.
St. Tropez had some amazing boats. We walked around town and had a great view of the town from the Citadel. Within the Citadel were some strange "modern" art statues, including this one of giant lips that the kids thought was very funny. They also loved the carousel that was by the wharf. Steve liked the man cleaning the statue's bottom.
We headed inland to the beautiful Provencial towns of Villecroze and TourTour, where the wedding was to be held. It was nice to get away from all the beach traffic! We stayed at a beautiful hotel in Villecroze, shown here.
We went to the Gorges du Verdone with Dan and Dorit, some friends from Cornell. The gorge is the largest one in all of Europe, and it was quite impressive. Before driving along the gorge rim, we stopped for lunch at Moustiers Ste. Marie. This was an incredibly beautiful town, a quintessential French village. The village was nestled between two mountains, and there was a huge star strung between the mountains. The star needs to be restrung 2 times each century. After lunch, we drove along the northern edge of the gorge, along some heart-pounding roads with some amazing views. The only problem was that the trip took much longer than expected, so we needed to race back to our hotel to get ready for the wedding. It was slow driving due to the small mountain roads, and at one point, Nate told Steve, "Daddy, put on the Speedie!" We managed to make it home and get all 4 of us showered and dressed for the wedding in 20 minutes and we actually made it to the wedding on time. Dan and Dorit weren't as lucky-- they had to go straight to the wedding :-)
Wedding of David Clawson and Donna Gradzka. They were married in a beautiful hilltop church in TourTour.
Nate really took to Dan Ury (a.k.a. Mater). He still asks when we will get to see Mater again :-) We got to meet Dan's girlfriend, Christine, at the wedding.
Nate and Molly looked adorable all dressed up!
The reception was at a winery in Villecroze. We really enjoyed catching up with some good friends (Dan and Dorit, Dan and Christine, and Alicia and Rick), and the kids had fun running around and dancing with each other-- they looked so cute! Unfortunately, we had to leave just as the party was gearing up-- at midnight-- the kids were absolutely exhausted.
We liked Moustiers Ste. Marie and the Gorges du Verdon so much we returned for a second day. We started with a canoe trip up the Verdon river into the gorge (and this time we stopped before the rapids came :-)). Molly was a great paddler, and it was really neat to see the gorge from below. After canoeing, we went back to Moustiers Ste. Marie and hiked up to the church on the mountain, where we got a great view of the village and the star. Then we drove along the sourthern edge of the gorge and took a short hike to the gorge edge. This bridge across part of the gorge is the highest bridge in Europe.
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