I made it to France! Against all odds! My cousin even told his wife he wasn't sure if I was going to find everything okay, but I managed to take a train to Milan (thank goodness with Nikki and Anna from the group) and waited around for my overnight train to Perpignan. Once on that, it was pretty easy--especially since I had a bed to sleep in! I just had to make sure I set an alarm to make certain I didn't miss my stop.
Once in France, that's where things became tricky. Turns out that pretty much no one speaks English in the south of France. This was far different from Italy where we never had problems. I was lucky that my bus stop was right outside the train station and I was able to pantomime in asking time and how to get a ticket. The rest is history and now I have a whole family of interpreters for me: my cousin, his wife and his three girls who all speak French beautifully! And of course, they've also been taking me to all the sites to see some of the best France has to offer!
This is our last group photo that we took our last night in Venice (Everyone say "Awwwww"). Some of us are already planning a mini reunion in London for lunch! What a fun group of people. Sorry to all those stuck back in the states already!
This is the Saturday market that I got to see about an hour after arriving in the town my cousin's family lives. They sell all sorts of goods, but this is a typical French way of buying spices. sausage is also different as well as many of the pastries. I've been ruined to American baked goods forever!
Saturday afternoon we went to Spain (you know... just a little afternoon trip) where some of their friends were camping. It was more my mom's style of camping: with nice bathrooms, cabins and a swimming pool nearby. The girls all went swimming, and these three were my absolute favorite pictures.
Just another one from the beach. My cousin's wife and I took a walk and just chatted while I took pictures. When we sat down their 11 month old boy promptly dove his face into the sand. I didn't think about getting that kodak moment until after we'd wiped most of it off. Oh well...
In the town they live in, Picasso, Matisse, Chagall and other 20th century artists all lived in here at some point. I got to go into the modern art museum here where they have originals of all their past residence. Unfortunatley, no pictures allowed. I was forced to buy postcards to have the images!
This is where we went to take some family pictures for them (since they don't have any from when their youngest was born). Afterwards we went into Perpignan's downtown with a side trip to get ice cream cones from McDonald's.
This is a fountain in Perpignan that was SO MUCH FUN! The colors and shapes beat out Bellagio anyday. Some of these were taken by the girls. I was also caught on their family camera in the process of helping them out with that. It was a blast and I can say I helped three potential future photographers.
This is the original entrance to the old city of Perpignan. We had some more fun with pictures. They loved jumping up and down in front of the camera and not showing up at all. This was a close second in messing around.
These are all pictures from Collioure where there is a 13th century castle still entact! We went while the girls were in school still and it was fun going through this seaside town. We decided on the inside of the castle not to talk about any theories on dead people or prisoners. The dark hallways were definitely spooky enough.
I also got a picture of the "French Court"... get it? Court as in Royal court? and basketball court? Haha! It was odd to sese something so modern right up next to the castle. I guess it would be a good place to hold a duel.