France has been relaxing with its slower pace. Allowing us to decompress after a very busy first few weeks of travelling. We are staying at our first SERVAS home with wonderful Edith in the area of Ivry on the edge of Paris. SERVAS is an international organization that connects travellers with hosts all over the world to promote peace.
We had arranged this time with Edith before we left on the trip. I was excited about SERVAS as it allows for a true cultural experience. I have not been disappointed. Our first host has been very thoughtful, kind and generous. She has travelled extensively herself so she appreciates the needs of other travellers. From providing incredible French cuisine to washing our laundry. There has been more conversations around the home in French than in English. I have been so proud listening to my boys converse in French fluently. Our host was a teacher as well so she has been wonderful with the boys.
MERCI BEAUCOUP EDITH!!!!
The boys have been great google translators in France. They have not hesitated to converse in french. Their accent does give them away that they are from afar but this brings many smiles to the faces of the locals. I listen with a proud heart.
The architecture is grand and impressive in Paris. The monuments and castles/ museums have been situated to accent one another. Providing for incredible back drops.
The Norte Dame was illuminated with dancing statues and music.
The Louvre was so massive in size that it was very easy to get lost. The building was originally a fort and castle and is a facinating piece of art itself. To truly see this centuries old museum one would have to be here for at least a month.
The Egyptian exhibit was awe inspiring.
The intricately carved stone statues priceless.
The street markets are delightful. The produce bright and colourful. The aromas from the bundles of herbs tickled my senses. The French cheese and breads are delicious. They put are North American renditions to shame. The wines. Oh the wines!!!!
Potatoe vending machines
From Paris we ventured to Chamonix. An outdoor enthusiast’s Mecca. This village is nestled in the French Alps and the mountains create an incredible backdrop everywhere you look. The cobbled streets would normally be bustling with skiers, bikers, climbers and the like, but it is the side season. Just enough snow to end the hiking/biking season but not enough to ski. The trams to the mountain tops were sitting quiet. We did go for a few hikes into the snow covered forests. It was beautiful and filled our cups up after the hustle and bustle of the cities. To take in the fresh air and hike in the wonder of nature is something we will never take forgranted. The boys had a grand time eating icicles and sledding in the snow.
I believe we are getting into the travelling groove. As anything in life, it is finding the balance in the transition. The boys continue to amaze us. They have become avid little travellers and roll with the hiccups that accompany travelling. Getting them slowly ready for India in 3 weeks time.
Their education has been fun but challenging at times. Our youngest not always wanting to put the time into his blog. Back home I was often asked, “what about school?” The following got me thinking that it is the everyday things of this trip that are providing the best learning.
I can see a change in both the boys. In their self- confidence and critical thinking. Being able to look at a situation and navigate your way through with confidence will only serve them well in the future. So putting away the books for a few months I feel is well worth it.
We are now on our way to Salzburg, Austria. The very fast and efficient European train system is taking us on a trip down memory lane. I met my hubby in a Salzburg hostel 27 years ago. It is in Salzburg so many years ago where my life took a very different turn. I went down a new path and never looked back. It will be fun to show our kids where it all started.