Join us on our new journey to Monaco and Europe! We are so excited, and want to share with you all of our exciting adventures...and maybe some, not so exciting! Thanks for joining us...

Sunday, November 4, 2007

Gourdon and St. Paul de Vence

The weather was just beautiful, not a cloud in the sky, and perfect for a ride. With fall acting like summer here, we felt it was a great day to get outside, drive a little, walk a lot! So we headed west, towards Nice, and then into the mountains through the Roquefort/Valbonne valley. Following the directions we put into our GPS, we so lovingly call "Flo", towards Gourdon, France. Once through all the suburb towns of Nice and Cannes, the road raced upwards, winding along the mountain with some warm fall colors present. Then, about 40 KM from Monaco, we spotted our first glimpse of Gourdon, a town that was a began by the building of a fortress from
the 13th to the 17th centuries.

Gourdon, best known for it's majestic Chateau de Gourdon, created around a fortress that was rebuilt over the centuries, that is now a museum in the center of the town that has many small shops with local shops and restaurants. You can purchase locally blown glass products, Provence fabrics, local perfumes and wonderful soaps. There was one restaurant that hung out over the cliff, highly recommended, but no tables available for a cafe' au lait.

From here, after we toured the city, bought a few gifts, and enjoyed everything from the paragliders above the town, to the architecture, as well as the magnificent views out to the Mediterranean Sea at Nice and Canne, we drove back by way of St. Paul de Vence.
St. Paul is a lovely medieval town that is inhabited by many artisans. It is nestled within 10 KM of the sea, but sits majestically above, being built inside the walls of a safe and quaint old fortress town. Here we walked along stone alleys, lined with shops, galleries and restaurants, no wider than 10 feet. There were many tourists, and locals as well, just enjoying the crispness of the higher altitude village. We found one store that was different than the rest, didn't catch the name, but it housed all sizes of carafes and decanters, filled with home made liquors. The smell was enchanting, and yes, testing was allowed. Honey, black cherry, pistachio, anything you could imagine. We left empty handed, but loved the essence and might just return for some gifts. It was truly lovely. The art galleries ranged from painters to weavers to sculptors...just about medium was there. At the highest point of the village was the sacred cemetery, decorated with the most beautiful flowers and adornments....quiet and peaceful, yet safe above it all.

We are truly blessed by being able to have these wonderful opportunities of travel just within a few hours drive of where we live...and, not always sure why we ever even want to leave Monaco, since it is truly amazing itself!!!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

OK, just one more photo of Camden...maybe!!!

OK, now I know what all this hype is about being a grandparent. I'm in love, and Art gets to meet him tomorrow...he'll be the same...just love him. Going to be hard to get on that airplane to go back to Monaco after this....

Friday, October 12, 2007

Camden Has Arrived

Camden Wayne Beckmann
Born October 10, 2007 At 10:38 PM
Weight 7 pounds, Lenght 19 inches

Mamma Crystal and Baby are all doing well, coming home to Beech Mountain today. Being Grandparents is a GREAT JOY. Art will get to meet the little guy next weekend, along with Uncle Kyle....Daddy Dustin is on CLOUD 9.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Hiking in the Mountain Above Monaco

This morning, Art and I got up, dressed in our hiking shoes, and went above Monaco, to a hiking path we have passed many times in the car. At the start, we came across an amphitheatre, that faced the sea, cut into the rock and the earth, with the stage's back to the sea...the only backdrop would be the sky and the sea...AWESOME.
We hiked up, towards the face of the mountain high above. We came across a family ROCK CLIMBING with their kids...a son and a daughter. They were all tethered in, but still very young for such a technical sport. They were no older than 10. When we reached the top of our path, we headed back down a different route, taking us to a cliff high above Monaco and Cap d'ail...and it was breathtaking. We made the entire hike in an hour and a half, and the water when we got back to the car was say the least.
Wanted to share this wonderful experience with you all...a beautiful day and a beautiful hike...
Til next revoir...

Monday, September 24, 2007

An enjoyable weekend!

Friday we headed out to a friend's French Chateau, beautiful home, built in the Provence Style, with a gorgeous view of the sea. The town is Le Colle sur Loop. They have three wonderful children, are British and have been in Monaco for a bit more than a year, and the kids have adjusted well. They are learning French in their International School, and the youngest, now four, is in his first year of French as the primary language....I should be in that class. We had a lovely dinner, and of course, some great wine. The following morning, Toby, Art and I snuck out early and played 18 holes of golf with another friend from Norway, Paar. We had a good time, but unfortunately, Art and I got beat...Oh well, we'll get them next time.
We headed back to Monaco, for a relaxing weekend. Watched several movies and just had a great down day on Saturday. Sunday morning, I cooked a REAL AMERICAN BREAKFAST, first in a very long time, Bacon & Eggs...they don't eat breakfast in France, just some yogurt and a croissant....yummy....but...We needed a bit of home. Then we took off in the car, for a short drive to Roquebrune Vieux Village. It is an old medieval village, just about 5 Km from our flat, tucked away in the mountain above Monaco...There is a castle here, which was probably a replacement of a caslte built in the Xth century, and this was rebuilt and occupied by the Castellans from 1157 and 1395. Hard to fathom anything this old. It is now roofless, from a fire in 1506. And has stayed this way. It used to be a part of Monaco, where the Princes made it a prison, but now it is part of France, Roquebrune Cap Martin.
Just check out the photos...we loved it, walked the entire village, and looked at every view we could.
I have been playing lots of tennis, twice last week, and three times this the Monte Carlo Country Club, where they play the tournament here, on RED CLAY. It's a great surface, and I think it's a lot like hard court with a more slick surface. It's not slow like I thought it would be. But, I like it. I do have a hard time keeping my focus, looking out at the Mediterranean with the gorgeous yachts and the sea. What a beautiful place to play tennis. I'm learning to keep score in French, and have learned a few key phrases. I am having a ball...nice gals, some British, several French...all so nice.
Well, that's it for now, wanted to share some photos with you. Oh, there is one of some gals I have met here, one is from NY and the other from GB...they are showing you my neighborhood...the yachts in the harbour.
Miss you all, Au revoir, a bientot...

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Como, Italy

Bon Giorno, Another weekend, another, only kidding, but, this is our second weekend out and about. The story is quite different, as we had a bit of a problem on Friday. Art was stopped by a Monaco Police Officer, who proceeded to tell him that his plates do not match his registration, and that even with his NEW plates in the trunk, they were NOT on the car, so they would impound his auto...yes, they took it away and he was left walking to work...he went back later, with the money they asked for, and a man to put on the plates, but, we could not get the car as it is yet in our name, still waiting for our residency cards to get all sorted out properly, and David, who the car is registered to at this time, was in England. With our trip planned and paid for, we took for for Como, Italy, about four hours away, in David's Land Rover Defender...with a small soft roof, back open, bouncing and listening to the wonderful sounds of the highway in our open top vehicle. We are very grateful to David for lending this to us, truly, but it's an experience on such a long highway drive.
We got to Como around noon time, and without Flo, our GPS navigation system, had a bit of a struggle navigating the busy streets of Como ourselves, but found the Metropole Suisse, on the lake, and in a great location. We are always relieved to see our pick of hotels in person when booking on the internet. When arriving, off we went on foot, to explore. This is a very old Italian town, on the southern tip of the lake. It's bustling with tourists, and business, lots of stores, markets going on, and the pedestrian traffic was amazing. Cobblestone streets, churches on every alley way, and cafe's offering pastries and expresso everywhere.
Around 5ish, Neva, Rick and their friend Bobbi, came to our hotel and we enjoyed a few glasses of wine and a few beers...a plate of cheese, and LOTS OF was great to see Neva Jane. We talked about our experiences, and of course, their summer experiences, new house construction, US Open with the girls, all of it. Sitting at the cafe' beside the lake, with great friends...what more could one ask of life. We soon took a walk and headed to the funicular, that took us to the top of the hill overlooking Como, and found a great tavern to eat some home made pasta and some fine vino. All enjoyed, and the view spectacular. Back down after dark, on the funicular again, and to the cafe' aside the lake, to have coffee and some Italian Gelato...can't miss this when in Italy. Of course, we all enjoyed the evening. Rick, Neva and Bobbi headed back to Mellagio and we headed back to our hotel...sad to leave them, what fun we had.
The following morning, we toured around the area and walked around Mellagio. Next time back, we'll do the otherside of the lake, Bellagio, and might even head west to Lugano...have to see and experience it all.
What a wonderful area, and we expressed that "we will be back"....this is a very special part of our world.
On our way back to Monaco, we had another experience that wasn't expected...we saw an IKEA Store, and stopped...oh my goodness...thousands of shoppers, huge place, but we found many items for our new apartment that were perfect...CHEAP AND USEFUL....Art was thrilled. But, ask him if he'd travel two hours to do it again, and we all know his answer...
Carol & Art

Albertville, France

Our first weekend excursion was to meet up with Theresa and Don from Jupiter. We drove to Albertville, France, in the French Alps, travelling through northwestern Italy to get there.
The town was charming. Albertville hosted the 1992 Winter Olympics. We walked the town, had lunch at a great cafe', and took a drive to Chamonix, France. Art drove, and had a ball on these little mountain byways in his new car. He gave us all a few white hairs when he "passed" another vehicle...just like the French. I am totally amazed at how a culture can sit for two and a half hours for a leisurely lunch, then get in their autos and drive like maniacs...full throttle, passing at every opportunity. And...the motorbikes are WORSE... That's a whole other story.
When in Chamonix, we took the cable car to Aiguille Du Midi, on Mont Blanc. This is truly at the top of the world. Amazing... Check out the pictures.
That night we spent with four fine gentlemen friends of Donald's, who were there riding their motorcycles around France, Switzerland and parts of Italy for a couple of weeks. They ride most of the day, and spend their evenings in quaint towns, eating at their find B & B's and enjoy each other's company. Their stories are fun to listen to with their pasts from all over the world. We had a great meal, with great wine, and good conversation.
The next day, we watched as this group of "riders" mounted their bikes and took off for another destination. Don & Theresa would meet up with them that evening. We followed Don through a section of the French Alps, and drove through Col de l'Iseran, which is the highest paved road in the Alps, in the Savoie Region, on the French Italian Border. The ride was amazing, through a fabulous ski area, with chair lifts around...
We had a nice lunch at a Creperie, and went our separate ways from our good friends, we going through the tunnel at Mont Blanc, over to Italy, and back to Monaco. Theresa and Don continued on their site-seeing tour, driving to their next desitination with the motorcycle boys.
It was great spending time with them. Maybe next time they will join us in Monaco.
Love you guys for coming, thank you...

Thursday, September 6, 2007

Becoming Home to us....

We can finally say we are beginning to feel at home here. On Monday, Art and I moved into our new flat in the Monte-Carlo's like the Taj Mahal, coming from the efficiency we were living in.
All week long, furniture has been delivered, televisions and stereos, beds, bedding, pots & pans...everything we's almost all here. We are getting US television tomorrow with the installation of a computer, a dish in the states and slingbox...awesome for us...the people on the television speak French, German and gets old when you don't understand it all.
But...we are learning...French is coming, slowly but surely. I am determined, when I return from Grandma duty, to take a French course. So, time will tell if I can really get it or not.
Each day I take a long power walk, at first, I went ALL over this city, and checked out every's beauty, it's wealth, and it's gorgeous people and cars.'s amazing. Now, with being in the new apartment, I can walk along the beach to the Casino and back a few times...much quieter, less traffic and so lovely.
We have been restaurant hopping for a few weeks, but now with our own kitchen, we are getting it up and running. We have found a great little tavern we love in La Turbie, a town above the cliffs of Monaco in France, and they speak English very well there...we feel at home. And...the views from there are breathtaking.
Grocery shopping is an experience...there is a store here, called Carrefour''s as big as a Super Walmart....and I am so overwhelmed in it. Of course, it's just like the Super Walmarts...I go from one end to the other, several times. But I am learning.
They even have stores here, called Picard, that are JUST FROZEN FOOD. I haven't ventured in there yet, but will soon.
Last weekend, Art and I got to play golf, Art's first round since he left Beech wasn't ALWAYS pretty, but respectable. We had a great time with some good friends.
I have met a gal here, she's American, came through the path of some gals in Jupiter, and believe it or not...we played sports in high school against each other, back on Long Island. She is from the next town, we both played golf and field hockey. Amazing. Believe it or not, she was also a cheerleader, and our schools competed in football and basketball...we know we have been on the same fields and in the same gymnasiums before. What a small world this really is.
This weekend, Don & Theresa, friends from Jupiter, are going to be in the French Alps so off we go to visit them. It will be a beautiful ride, Art will get his mountain fix, we'll be able to wear a sweatshirt again, and enjoy our dear friends.
So, for revoir. Vous manquer tout très beaucoup. Jusqu' à la prochaine fois. ... (Miss you all very much...Until next time...)
Carol & Art

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We are HERE!!! and it's Wonderful!

Well, the Visa's are in our hot little hands! And we are IN Monaco. It's our first day together as we begin this adventure with our visa....
It's August here, so everyone is on vacation, most of the shops are closed, and there are tourists EVERYWHERE!!!! I took a walk this morning to the beach and it was packed! Awesome! My walk was wonderful, all around the western part of Monaco...lots of steps, lots of crosswalks, and lots to see.
I will get the camera up and running today...taking the bus to Art's office in a while to get my cell phone...necessity here....
Love and miss you all!

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Dedicated to Kerry!

On July 11th, my darling niece, Kerry, passed away from a pulmonary embolism...she was just 42 years young. Kerry was the light of our lives, and loved this blog that I created...thought the adventure was awesome, and she couldn't wait to visit. So, for Kerry, I am dedicating this adventure to her memory...I love her completely, and know, we will be together again one day, in God's Kingdom of Heaven.
We are still waiting for our Visas from the Principality of Monaco. We have been told they are "on their way" back to Atlanta, but the communication is nil, so we need to be patient.

Til the time is right...blessings,
Carol & Art

Sunday, July 1, 2007

Life in the efficiency

With Art in Monaco, and me still here in the states, I get the reports of all of Art's newest findings each day. First it was the efficiency apartment, that, as ART PUTS IT, is SMALL. So you really know it is. He can't even find a place to keep his golf clubs.

This apartment is in France, just outside of Monaco. He has been taking the bus each day, to and from his office. It's an adventure...but, today, he found that if he takes the stairs behind the building he's living in, and walks down the 117 steps, he comes to a town square...this is where he will now catch the bus. New find. And, there is an elevator here, that takes him down to Grimaldi Square, which is right on the Mediterranean. He's in heaven....having coffee on the beach this morning.

Art is so missing American TV, or even British TV. He cannot get that til he gets into our new apartment, September 1. He misses the channel surfing, sporting events and all that we are so used to in our daily television lives....

I'll be joining him for a week tomorrow, can't wait. We'll be furniture shopping for the new apartment...but if this efficiency is sooooo smallll, wait til there are two of us. Ugh.

Will write more soon when I get there.

Saturday, June 30, 2007

Art & Carol's European Adventure

Hi all, we want to share with you our newest adventure! Art & I are moving to Monaco, and actually, Art is there right now! We will be living in the city of Monte-Carlo, which is in the principality of Monaco, which is located in the South of France along the French Riviera. It is a paradise!

We'll be sharing photos of our travels, our life in Monaco, and all the progress we are making in our daily lives in Monaco....

Look forward to hearing from you all!

Carol & Art