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...

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Vintage Formula One Racing...in Belgium

Formula One Race Car...so cool!



Pit Row...right ON the tracks...

The end of April, Art and I flew to Brussels, Belgium. We drove to Spa Francorchamps, a famous Grand Prix Race Track in a lovely area of Belgium. There are many quaint towns adjacent to this course, which is 5 miles long...through the hills of this village. We went as "groupies" of a good friend, Peter Dunn, who races Vintage Formula One Cars as a hobby.

We stayed in Jalhay, at a darling inn, owned by a gentleman who worked for many years for Club Med...in the US, Paris and Monaco. He ran a quaint, clean, and charming place. It was Peter, his race team, Kevin & Melvin from England, Art and I, and a team of Interclub Golfers from Antwerp, Belgium, that consisted of about 20 crazy men! They were much fun! And we were a good audience!


We arrived Friday night in time for dinner, at the Inn. The next morning, after breakfast, we headed out to the race track for Peter's qualifying time trials. The place was amazing...with all sorts of vintage cars, lots of people, RV's, Tandem Rigs, and just a great atmosphere. It was cold and windy...but we had a great time. I did learn the use of those ear mufflers...when they started one of these cars in the pits, goodness, I jumped out of my SKIN!!!

Peter's car was quite spectacular...his racing was great, and we enjoyed our weekend of racing!
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Monte Carlo's Japanese Gardens...springtime!





The gardens in the principality of Monaco are amazing...and the Sunday before Art's surgery, we took a walk through the Japanese Gardens. They are just amazing, and when you are in them, you would not know you were in the South of France....Here are some gorgeous photos of the flowers in bloom! Enjoy!

Amazing...Jonathan came to visit!



Jonathan Livingston Seagull came a knocking at my window one day...I had a package of food on my window sill, thawing out...and, with us being on the 31st floor, he spotted it...and came a hunting!
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ATP Masters Series Tennis, AGAIN!! 2009


The middle box...with the flowers on the wall in front, is the Royal Box...with Albert, his girlfriend and royal friends!!! Nope, we weren't invited!

Monte Carlo's sponsoring a hot air balloon team now...and you could get a ride at the tournament...up and down...amazing!!!


Novak Djokovic, a local favorite, he lives and works out in Monaco, at the Country Club...they all just love him!!!

Ball boys and Girls and Line umpires...before the Finals...
The finals...place was packed...amazing day!

Professional Tennis...in Monaco...on RED clay...between the sea and the mountains...need I say more?Wow, what a week of tennis it was. Spent many a day in the stands, watching Andy Murray, Roger Federer, Novak Djokovic, and of course, the champion...Rafa Nadal!!! What a week! We were able to see the Quarters, Semis and Finals...as well as the Doubles. Awesome stuff! Here's a picture show of the great event!!!

Prince Albert & Madame de Massey handing out the awards to Nadal and Djokovic!
Nadal...hugging another MC Cup!!!
Bryan Bros...in the doubles finals...nope, didn't win...not too impressive, either!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter in Saint Tropez



Saint Tropez, the ultimate French Riviera town...used to be a fishing village for the famous village of Sainte Maxim, but now, this is the village where the "beautiful people" congregate on weekends and during the summer!!!
I went to the US to visit with the family & spent great times with Camden!

Rainy day in Saint Tropez!


Easter Sunday, in Saint Tropez...the weather wasn't very nice, but, it wasn't POURING rain...the wind was quite fierce, temperatures weren't too bad except for the WIND CHILL!!! LOL, but it was a fun day none the less. There were surfers in the Mediterranean! WE had a crowd of Brits, a few American's, Germans and Norwegians...always a fun mix!!! We enjoyed a cool restaurant, established in 1955 by a couple feeding the fisherman, and became famous when they became a "club" for private parties, as the village turned into a mecca for the rich and famous! Le club 55, as known by locals as "Cinq en Cinq!"
FOOTBALL ON THE BEACH!
Lots of Rose' wine, two LARGE wooden platters of FRESH VEGGIES, Maize, on a skewer, Lamb, fish and beef! And of course, some Champagne, as well! GREAT fun, covered from the dripping rain, and ever so delightful to be here this Sunday!

We missed our families this Easter...and our Stateside friends! Blessings to you all!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

J'ai appris a parler francais!!!

On the 5th of January, I started one of my most memorable experiences here in France...I attened the Institute de Francais...in Villefranche, France. For SIX weeks, I travelled back and forth to Villefranche, five days per week, with lessons from 9 AM until 4:45 PM, and was totally immersed IN the language!
My first two weeks, I studied until I could not keep my eyes open, trying to learn as much as I possibly could...and what a job it was!
I am STILL at it...my confidence to speak is amazing, I am now conversing with folks I have never been able to speak with, because THEY DON'T speak English!
Life here in Monaco and France had been quite limited...I never felt like I was a "part" of the culture here, couldn't order a drink in French, nor so much as French Fries! Pomme frites!
Maintenant, je peux parler francais, et, j'apprenais francais pour quelque fois! J'adore le langue, et je suis tres contente a comprendre le langue! Je marche dans les rues et de sentir que je suis maintenant un participant, non plus un "etranger" ... c'est tres bon! (Now, I can speak French, and, I will learn French for some time! I adore the language, and I am very content to understand the language. I walk down the road and feel that I am a now a participant, no longer an outsider! It is GREAT!)
So, enjoy a few photos of this wonderful institute...it's been here for 30 years...my teacher, Magali, is amazing...and I was lucky to have her for SIX FULL weeks, and am continuing to have lessons with her each week!
For me, this IS the total experience!!!
http://www.institutdefrancais.com/index.html
This is the site for the school...do check it out!

OK, Now for the good part!!! Camden!


Dustin, Camden & Crystal...



These are a few of my FAVORITE shots of Camden...from Christmas til now!

Yummy Yummy, Ice cream!


Camden with his cousin, Skylar!!!
Camden & Crystal at the Atlanta Aquarium

If you miss your connection at Christmas, Paris isn't a bad place to BE!!!



We were headed HOME for Christmas, on the 20th of December...and without going into details, we missed our connection to Atlanta in Paris...UGH!!! Air France put us up in a not so great hotel, with a not so great dinner, but, in an AWESOME CITY!!! So, we found where we'd spend the night, got back on the bus, and headed into Paris on the train....and WOW!!!! We were so amazed by the "city of lights"...especially at Christmas. We didn't have much time, but our short walk was just amazing!!! Enjoy this short picture show....of PARIS!!!
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The Lights of Christmas...In Monaco

It's a new year, so new Christmas Decorations in Monaco...it's like when you plug in the lights to decorate your tree, and they don't work, so...off to the store for new ones...Well here, even if they don't work, they're new!

From Casino Square, with the lavish decorations and lights....



To the Hermitage adorning the most modern of decorations!

And onto the Port, where the live Provence Village is set up...with a crepery, thick Italian Hot cocoa, a daring Ferris Wheel, and Again, Pere Noel ( Father Christmas)...

If it's Christmas in France, the Creche's are abundant!!!




On another, blue skied Sunday in France, early in December, Art and I took a ride to a town that is famous for it's 400 plus creches. Every year since 1998, this medieval village, north of Nice, perched high on a cliff, celebrates the birth of our Lord with almost every villager displaying a creche, in virtually every nook and cranny, along their ancient stone lined steps, up, down, through and around their village!!! You could not blink for fear you would MISS a special creche! The sizes ranged from a creche made in a walnut shell, to a life size creche at the entrance of the village.

On this special day, we were lucky to have a visit by "Pere Noel" along with his donkey, angel children, the farmer, and the maiden...what luck we had this special Sunday, at Christmas time.

Blue Skies, Lots of Snow, LET'S GO, TO LIMONE, Italy!!!





First Saturday in December, the skies were clear, and we knew it had just snowed...so, OFF we went, with Peter and Rosy Dunn, to Limone, Italy, for the day! This town is just an hour and a half drive from Monaco, into Italy to our East and then North...towards Cuneo!


The drive was wonderful, and we never hit snow til we went through the tunnel that leads into Limone. And on the other side, WHAT SNOW THERE WAS!!! Oh My Goodness...almost a meter. The village was quite clear of the snow, but the rooftops were full! We found Limone to be quite charming.

As to keep the tradition of most European Villages, there was a beautiful church in the center of the town, lots of restaurants, and quite a few "ski" shops. Our first order of business was to decide WHERE to have our lunch...or at least, book our table! All the businesses, except the cafe's, close down at 12:30, and open again three hours later! So, it was strictly window shopping for us...

Our lunch was scrumptious, and always includes a charming bottle of wine...Afterwards we took another walk, to work off just a touch of the pasta we consumed!!!


On our way home, the sky was just right for a photo opportunity of Monaco from "above"...