France has been great, especially Paris. We accomplished a lot: Louvre, l'Orangerie, Notre Dame, l'Orsay, Giverny, Montmartre, Versailles, Arc de triumph, and a boat ride on the Seine. It lived up to the kid's high expectations, and Pete and I finally understand why people love it so much! Having an apartment made a huge difference for us, especially one that was in a cute area (Latin Quarter) with a daily market that was always bursting with life.
Packing up is on the agenda for the day. Leaving Provence after two short weeks just doesn't seem right. It has rained so much that we've only been able to get out a handful of times. We loved the cute provincial towns; my favorite excursion was lunch and market shopping in Lourmarin. It really doesn't matter which town you decide to visit in Provence; if it's sunny, the town in amazing!
Unforgettable moments of France...hearing my kids request an audio tour at l'Orangerie and l'Orsay (they didn't last long though), interacting with the French...one older gentleman offered to give me his money after I asked for change for a 5 euro bill at the laundromat, seeing my kids work really hard on online school AND feeling like they might be learning something after Lea comments from the backseat on our 5 hour drive to drop off ski gear in Chamonix, that seeing the mountains makes her think about plate tectonics...what?
Forgettable moments...offering to leave Lea with construction workers for their ladder, bike riding in Paris (scary!), kids contemplating taking out their frustrations with each other with punches, and the unpleasant musty smell of our apartment emitted from the stone after it rains.
So, we're moving on to Rome where we hope to duplicate our Paris experience- sightseeing and taking in the culture, plus a little safari shopping. My organized nature has been abandoned lately, and I've somehow managed to make it to the last stop before Africa missing a few items; clothes that don't attract the sleeping sickness transmitting flies, hats and sunscreen, and, the most important, mosquito repellent. We will be showing up for our safari as the most unprepared family ever. The next few weeks should provide some interesting highlights to share. On Tuesday we'll be boarding an overnight flight to Arusha in Tanzania, where we hope to avoid malaria, dengue fever, sleeping sickness, and ebola. Bring on the DEET!