Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Fall Break

So I realize I have not been doing such a great job with updating. But I figured I would take a few of my free minutes to at least share some of my favorite pictures from my amazing Fall break with my amazing mama :) We traveled from Genoa to Monaco, the French Riviera, onto Provence, through Geneva and some Swiss countryside, and finally ended by paragliding in the French Alps and then onto Milan for our last night. It was an unforgettable week to say the least. 

Outside the Monte Carlo on Day 1 (aka Monaco Is Not All It's Cracked Up To Be)

Cannes -- beautiful city and beautiful mother!

At the Fragonard perfume factory in Grasse, an adorable little French town. I bought 2 perfumes there and proceeded to break the one that was in a glass bottle less than a week after purchasing it. If anyone is looking for a Christmas present for me, you can order Fleur de Vanille Eau de Toilette on the Fragonard website!

Outside the perfume factory with mama bear. Note the scenic French trashcans.

Van Gogh's inspiration for "Cafe Terrace at Night" in Arles. Sadly, since he painted it in 1888, the cafe has been renamed Cafe Van Gogh and painted yellow to emulate the way his painting of it looked. 

Our view of the Roman Arena in Arles from our dinner table. 

The spot where I fell in love with the supremely expensive Gruyere cheese at an open air market in Arles. My heart may never be the same.

Under the Pont du Gard -- we picknicked on the banks of the river the aqueduct is built over and saw jumping fish.

A castle where you can wine taste outside of Avignon. We drove through several of these scenic vineyards before choosing one to do a tasting.

Palais du Papes in Avignon. As my mom said, "one of our only cultural experiences of the trip." We even got the audioguide, complete with British-accented recordings!

Stunning scenery snapped while we may or may not have been lost trying to follow Rick Steves through Provencial wine country.

Just a snapshot of the adorable town of Le Crestet. We spent some time just exploring the village, which was covered with beautiful ivy and made of old, picturesque stone buildings. We saw maybe two people the whole time.

View from our impromptu picnic and hot chocolate stop in Seguret -- ostensibly the "prettiest village in France," but I preferred Le Crestet.

Lyon at night. I heard that the city had mastered floodlighting, but I didn't see much to prove that, beyond this picturesque scene of a castle on a hill. We did have the best meal of the trip in Lyon though, which redeemed the city in my eyes (cheese omelette, salad with gruyere cheese, chocolate mousse, and French wine)

Stop at a random but gorgeous lake. I have no idea where it is or what it's called, but I want to find it again in summer; it was just a smidge too chilly for swimming in October.

St. Peter's Cathedral in Geneva, Switzerland

Enjoying Swiss hot chocolate at the Place du Bourg-de-Four, an idyllic square in Geneva

The flower clock in Geneva. We met a group of Swiss students trying to learn English and made the mistake of asking them to take our picture, leading to semi-awkward interviews about our feelings on Switzerland.

Jet d'Eau in Geneva. 

Gorgeous wine country in Switzerland by Lac Leman.

In front of Mont Blanc! My English major heart was far too excited to see Shelley's inspiration.

Ice cave and unbelievably perfect background. Sidenote -- apparently you are supposed to wear gloves when you go to the top of mountains in the Alps. Who knew?

View of Chamonix and the surrounding Alps while paragliding.

That's my brave ("sporty," in the words of our guide) mom!

Loving life!

My guide (who spoke little and heavily accented English) asked if I wanted to pilot...I thought he was kidding, so asked if he trusted me; he responded "Yeeeeeeahhhh!" (imagine a French cookie monster for the inflection), and I got to steer for a few minutes!

Post touch-down :)

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