Friday, July 11, 2008

Our French Road Trip

This past week we decided to take a fun road trip. It had been awhile since we really went out and did some exploring and Brian and I were itching to get out of Germany for a little while. I especially wanted to take Luke to Disneyland Paris, I thought he is at the perfect age to be introduced to the magic of Disney, and Brian wanted to try out the waves in Southern France. Last Wednesday we headed to Disneyland - what was supposed to be a 6 1/2 hour car ride turned into almost 9 hours!! The traffic on A6 leaving Germany was pretty awful and then we had a heck of a time finding an Esso gas station before we left the German border. (We prepay for gas at Esso stations and pay only $4 something per gallon instead of the $8 or $9 something per gallon gas costs on the economy - a perk that the military has worked out with the German goverment for us). We arrived at Disneyland Wednesday night and walked around Disney Village which was a fun area full of restaurants and shops right along a little man make lake - it was literally a stone's throw away from the back door of our hotel. On Thursday we woke up bright and early to head to the park (when you stay at a Disney hotel the park opens 2 hours early for hotel guests!) and we stayed all day. We had a great time and Luke absolutely loved it. He got such a kick out the spinning tea cups and was in awe at It's a Small World ride. We went on a few rides that he did not care for at all - namely the ones that were in the dark - we would hear a little voice saying "all done! all done!" while going through the blackness. We took him on the Pirates of the Carribean ride which is a boatride with small drops throughout and every time the boat dropped Luke said he was all done and wanted to get off. :) We had fun Friday morning at the park and rode the Buzz Lightyear ride for the second time and Brian went on Space Mountain and the Indiana Jones roller coaster. By lunch time the park was insanely crowded so we walked over to Disney Studios park to check it out - we went on a ride and saw a Donald Duck stage show. Luke was so funny throughout the show - he was mesmorized and clapped and cheered and pointed to the stage every time Donald or Mickey came on. We were surprised with how well he did - it is a 20 minute show and we were prepared for him to get bored or want to walk around but he just sat in his chair transfixed.
Saturday morning we headed to a small surf city on the coast of Southern France. It was surprisingly chilly there but Brian surfed regardless - he rented a wetsuit and dove in. The waves here are not as nice and clean or as predictable as the waves in Hawaii so it took him awhile to get used to it. We walked around a lot and explored the little coastal town. On Monday we drove down to Biarrtiz, which was Neapolian's summer retreat and it a huge tourist town, and we had a great time. It was a little cool again and the wind was crazy along the coast. We walked out on a huge pier to the ocean and followed a pathway up along the coast to an old marina, past and old church and back into town where we stopped for paninis and crepes - yum! We went down to a small beach to eat and them Brian and Luke walked out to the ocean to throw rocks. We then headed to Spain - San Sebastian and holy cow that city is GORGEOUS! And wouldn't you know it, my camera battery died right as we entered the city. We drove around but didn't get out to explore. We headed back to our hotel and the sun was shining and it was warming up so we woke Luke up early from his nap to take him out to the beach (right outside our hotel) for a couple hours. He had been asking for 2 days in a row to go into the ocean and play in the sand and we had to tell him it was just too cold. He thought about that and then turned to me and told me that the ocean was cold like ice cream. :)
By the following Tuesday we were ready to get home so instead of driving part of the way home and staying in a hotel 1 more night, we buckled down and drove the entire 1500km home! It took about 15 hours and Luke was surprisingly great the entire way. He must have known we were headed for home and he would be able to sleep in his own bed again. :) AND he took a 3 hour nap in the car which was such a nice and welcome break.
We had a fun trip and we'd definitely go back to all the places we visited. Brian declared our next big trip will be to Spain which I am excited about because I'll be able to put my high school Spanish to the test. :) And we will definitely go back to Disneyland again, just next time during the offseason so the prices are a little lower and the crowds are smaller.
I wouldn't leave you without any pictures of our trip so here you go - enjoy!

Little Frenchy tidbits:
The French say "Voila!" all the time (sounds like "walla!") - it means "look there!" but I think a better translation is "here you go!" or "great!" because every time you order food, the waitstaff will repeat your order, you say "oui!" and they say "voila!" OR, when you check into your hotel room, the staff hands you your room card and say "voila!" OR, when you pay a toll on the highway - they hand you your change and say "voila!" - you get the picture...
The French only understand their pronounciation of words (or at least pretend to only understand their pronounciations). We ordered creme brulee and said it the American way and the server looked at us like we ordered boogers on a stick. It took us saying it 3 times and then pointing to it on the menu for her to understand and then she says "Ahhhh, crema brula!" (like creme brulee sounds SO different) :)
France is very pretty - rolling hills, perfectly manicured landscapes, windmills and lots and lots of cows. AND, the majority of their highways are tollways so with all that money going towards their roads, their roads are PERFECT - smooth and gorgeous and clean. (However we weren't too fond of paying about $80 in tolls for the whole trip - ouch!)

3 comments: said...

Fray...what a great trip...I'm so jealous. Okay, 4 tours to German is plenty...but I would love to just visit.

We visited Bishops Castles this past weekend....and I thought of you!

Alisha Lofgren said...

Liz, the pics are awesome! I really miss those road trips. We just have the island to tour here! I see baby starting to show in the your last pic with Luke at the beach!
Today I went yardsaling and thought of you! Remember we used to that whn there was a post wide yard sale? Steph and I used to go all the time. Got some clothes and toys for Kaleb. Your house is still vacant! The neighbors who lived in ours moved out. Nobody wants to live on Wheeler it seems. Have a good weekend!

Kelsey said...

Looks like so my fun.

We plan to take Harper to Disney World when she turns five, during the off-season when it is cooler and less crowded!