Nice, France to Orvieto, Italy

We left Nice, France around 8:30 am and headed to Èze, France. This is a historic medieval village dating back to 2,000 BC sits high above the Mediterranean sea, up on the cliffs west of Nice. We learned about Èze from the travel channel show Passport to Europe. It was definitely worth the stop since it was right on our way. We parked in the newer portion of town and walked up to the medieval village. It was fun because the stores there hadn”t opened yet and the tourist buses were not there yet so the small narrow streets were empty. Here are a few of our pictures.






We had breakfast just below the village in a small cafe. Dustin and I split a warm panini with chicken, cheese, and tomato & a tarte with egg and cheese. We all wanted to take apple beignets on the road but they were out. 😦 We walked across the street to the market and bought granola bars, a baguette, and a few apple turnovers for the road.

Our next stop was a drive through Monaco. By going through there we added another country to our trip. Monaco is the second smallest country next to Vatican city, and it is the most densely populated country in the word. We were able to drive most of the way into town, but the main roads were blocked for some reason and the police were directing traffic back up the hill. Here are a few pictures from Monaco…not the best photos since we were doing a drive-by…but it will give you an idea. We did see that we could have taken a train ride through the tourist spots for 8 EUR pp but not sure if we could have even gotten to the start of the tour because of the roads being closed.




This area is known as Côte d’Azur or the French Rivera. All along the coast there are beautiful cities where the mountains meet the ocean. It’s a bit hard to capture on film as we drive but let me just stay its breathtaking.

We did stop in an area near a portion of Italy called Cinque Terre. A town named La Spezia was there. The coast here is beautiful and has the mountains in the background. 20120512-223017.jpg

Then we drove up the hill to La Gratzia & La Portovenere, here are a few pictures. Absoutely breathtaking!




The actual Cinque Terre area is not accessible by car, but there is an 8 mile trail that connects the 5 villages that we could see only a few from afar. That might have to be on the bucket list if we are ever back in Italy!

We got back on the road headed to Pisa. There isn”t much in Pisa besides the infamous leaning tower and cathedral. We walked around and then got our pictures taken with the tower…here are a few of our fun shots!



We arrived in Orvieto around 9pm, we thought our hotel was actually up the hill in Orvieto but it turned out to be right by the highway. We will head up to see Orvieto tomorrow morning before heading to Rome. We had a nice dinner at resturant a few doors down. We had a coupon from the front desk! 🙂 Dustin was so excited to have authentic italian pasta, it was yummy!

I”m not sure our place in Rome has wifi…so it may be a few days til you hear from us again! Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. Ciao!

Santa Susana, Spain to Nice, France

Dustin and I woke up around 8 and walked to the beach. It was a 10 minute walk from our hotel. Dustin and I sat on the beach and relaxed for a few minutes and I spent some time in prayer. I also put my feet in the Mediterranean Sea! It was very very very cold, so there will be no swimming on this trip. 🙂

The place we stayed was an apartment style hotel which was very clean with two bedrooms and a kitchenette. This came in handy because we had purchased fruit including pineapple from the market in Barcelona. We packed up and left our apartment around 10:30 and headed north back to France. Driving here really isn’t all that different besides the cars look different and are manuals. Cars also can be diesel, which ours is, diesel is actually cheaper than unleaded in Europe right now. And Dustin wanted me to add that the speed limit changes if it is raining. The speed limit on most highways is 130 killometers per hour with dry weather.

The car we are driving is really nice. We didn’t ask for GPS, but it has it’s own GPS and you can google a place to go and then click go and it’s maps you there. It is a Renault Laguna. It also has leather seats. The only slight problem is the trunk is not very big. It took us about 10 minutes to unpack and repack to figure out how to get all 3 big suitcases in the trunk with the small suitcase. Yesterday we put it between Sarah and I, but with the 6 hour drive today we wanted it in the trunk if possible. We figured it out!

We stopped for gas and food in a little town called Beziers. No one here spoke english. A lady at least over 65 years old came out of the gas station which looked like it was not touched since 1970. She didn’t understand “Full” and was asking me something in french which I didn’t understand, but we got through with hand motions and our tank was full.

Then we tried to use our GPS to search for a resturant, but it was a small town with narrow streets so we just went to the first place we found. The town appeared to have a large arabic population as many of the women we saw were in full headdress. And the menu at the resturant was in french and arabic. No one in the resturant spoke english either, but we sucessfully ordered deux pizzas, deux croissants de chocolat, et une pain maison, which was some kind of flat bread. Maison means house in french, so I’m not sure if it was an arabic type bread since the man running the show was of arabic descent. It is yummy whatever it is. Here is a picture, it was huge! This was our food for the road.

We ate our pizza in a parking lot on some concrete blocks and then headed onward towards Nice.

We had some good laughs at one of our toll booth stops. This brand new Mercedes convertible was towing a camper at least 20 years old. At the same stop a car in the next lane rolled back into another car, and one lady didn’t have money and had to go six lanes across to a machine and back, meanwhile a french man behind her was not so happy and got out of this car yelling to see what was going on. Gotta love people watching! Later we ourselves were the cause of a slow lane at the toll booth, we tried all 5 credit/debit cards we had between us and nothing worked. We had to call for assistance. It’s crazy how many toll roads are here.

We wanted to see the French Mediterranean coast, so we headed down towards Toulon, France and used the GPS to find a beach which was in town. Beautiful! Here is a picture.


There as we were standing on the dock a french man asked us if we wanted him to take our picture. He spoke very good English and asked where we were from. During the conversation he told us about a more beautiful area away from the city with a great beach called Fort de Brégançon. It was about 40 Km east. We headed that direction and I am very thankful for running into this man, because it was amazing. On the drive to there we weaved through vineyards and olive groves.


Then we came to a beautiful beach with a fort on one side & an island across the way. I was sad we couldn’t stay and watch the sunset, but we hadn’t had dinner yet despite driving the eastward direction, we were still 1.5 hours away from Nice. Here are a few pictures.




We arrived in Nice around 9pm, checked into our hotel and headed out to find something to eat. Our hotel was a few blocks over from a very neat plaza of restaurants, we ate at one called Cafe La Place. None of the staff spoke very good english here either, Nice seems to be more of a vacation AKA “holiday” destination for french natives. There was a little confusion when I asked for no goat cheese on my salad (non chevre) the waiter couldn’t believe someone would order a salad without cheese, ha! Dustin had pesto pasta, Sarah had the same salad with goat cheese, and Josh had a fish risotto dish. We are all very tired, we did a lot of driving today, but the countryside is beautiful. Tomorrow we plan to stop in Eze, France, drive through Monaco, lunch around La Spezia Italy, visit the leaning tower in Pisa, and end the day North of Rome in Orvieto.

Au Revoir…none of us know any Italian at all so this so be interesting! Josh and Sarah have both been to italy before, so I think we’ll be ok!

Paris Day 2

Salut! Today was the first day we “slept in” we got up around 8:30 and then packed up and left our apartment around 11:30am. I used quotations because I didn’t fall asleep until almost 3am so it wasn’t really extra sleep. 🙂

Today we didn’t have too much on our agenda because we saw most of the highlights yesterday. We had breakfast at a small cafe, Dustin and I split one galette (a egg and cheese crêpe made with buckwheat flour) and 1 crêpe with Nutella inside. It was very yummy! Then we headed to see the Notre Dame de Paris also known as the Notre Dame Cathedral. It was beautiful, here are a few pictures from our visit. We tried one shot using the cathedral as the H in the OH-IO…good effort right? We are a bit small in the picture. 🙂





On the Pont de l’Archevêché, one of the bridges leading to Notre Dame, lovers write their names on locks, hook them to the bridge, and throw the key in the Seine River. Here is a picture Dustin took.


After our stop at Notre Dame we walked around and I bought a clearance pair of jeans at the H&M store because for some reason I only packed jean capris and the one pair I wore to the airport. I bought jeans for 9.95 EUR…what a steal in Paris! After our short shopping trip… Sarah and I went to the Le Sainte-Chapelle Cathedral, the stained glass here was amazing. It was 8.50 EUR pp to enter so the boys decided to sit it out and look at our pictures. The entire bible is represented on the stained glass along each of the walls. They have cards that tell you what books of the bible are located on which panels of glass. It’s so amazing that in the 1200’s, they could create such masterpieces.


We meet up with the boys at the Shakespeare and Company bookstore. This bookstore is dedicated to Walt Whitman because this location was opened by him in 1951, it serves as a library and bookstore specializing in english literature.It was a very small store with great character. No pictures were allowed inside, but here is an outside photo.

The area by Notre Dame was full of french cafes lining the streets, many of which had 3 course meals for 10 EUR each. So we had a traditional French meal. I had Soupe à l’oignon, Boeuf Bourguignon, and la mousse au chocolat, and Dustin had salad, a lamb dish and ice-cream. One of his ice-cream flavors was apple. It was so good, we need to bring that flavor to the states!

After our wonderful day of french cuisine, we headed back to our apartment to pick up our bags. The man who rented to us had a closet we stored them in throughout the day. Then we began the fun trek to the airport. Metro stations are not made for carrying 40 lb suitcases, there are only stairs in most parts until you get closer to the airport. Once we got on the train, it was of course packed, and we got a few stares when our bags were in the way. 🙂 We successfully made it to the airport and walked a long way to our terminal. Paris has many beautiful sights to see, most areas next to attractions are nice, but the metro and other areas are very dirty. I won’t miss that.

My ankle is much better today, but my right pinky-toe is bothering me. I bought some medical tape at a pharmacy in Paris to tape it for the other walking days. I didn’t know the french word for tape so that was a fun conversation. Others are having the same problem with the pinky toes….good thing we are taking a break from walking tomorrow. 🙂 We have arrived in Toulouse, France to spend the night just by the airport, then we are driving to Barcelona! We are all very excited to visit Barcelona. Unfortunately we won’t get into the city until around 1 pm, so we are renting bikes to see the sights faster. We originally wanted to go straight to Barcelona from Paris, but the one-way drop fee for our rental car to pick up in Barcelona and drop in Munich was 6x the price vs. picking it up in France.

After Barcelona we will stop in Cannes & Nice France. Then we will drive to Italy & see Pisa, Rome, Florence, and Venice. If you have a favorite sight in one of those places or along the way that we must see, leave us a comment!

Au Revoir!

Paris Day 1

Bonjour! Comment ça va?

We are doing well! We arrived in Paris, Monday night around 8:30pm. We lost an hour on the flight over from Dublin. We grabbed our bags and headed for the metro. Thankfully we had very good directions printed out for where we were going. We are renting a 2 bedroom apartment that we found on It turned out to be a good choice, much cheaper, although off the beaten path a bit, but the metro station was not far. Most people in Paris speak english, except for the first lady we encountered upon arrival. She was working the metro ticket booth, and we wanted to find out a price for day passes since we were here for 2 days. I stumbled through a conversation with her and we were on our way. Other than that most people when asked if they speak English say yes, although we have had some funny looks…one from a guy when I asked for tap water (that’s what they called it in Ireland)..apparently in Paris it’s “still water”.

This morning we left our apartment around 8 and headed to the Basilique du Sacré-Cœur one of the beautiful cathedrals in Paris. It is high up on the hill and we got a great view of the city below. Then we headed to the Opéra national de Paris. This is also known as the Paris Opera House. It’s a beautiful building, built over 14 years and a large amount of money. We took a guided tour and it was well worth the money. Unfortunately while we were there I tripped on a step and rolled my right ankle, which didn’t hurt much at the time but after a day of LOTS of walking it now hurts to walk, but it’s not very swollen at all. I’m praying it is just a small sprain that heals quickly, otherwise it could be an interesting rest of the trip. Here are a few pictures from the Opera house.



After the opera house we headed to the Louvre and on the way we found some yummy crepes. Here is a picture from outside the Louvre, we didn’t go in, one because they are closed on Tuesdays and two because Dustin and I aren’t really art museum kind of people. 🙂

After the Louvre we headed to Arc de Triomphe walking along the Champs-Élysées the famous street for shopping! No shopping today, but it was a fun stroll. We did stop for gelato in a park before reaching our destination. Here is the Arc de Triomphe.

After the Arc we headed to our last stop for the afternoon La Tour Eiffel. Here are a few pictures of this famous spot!



After La Tour Eiffel we headed back to our apartment to rest. Our feet were burning + my right foot was getting worse. I’ll try to post tomorrow or in an update the map of walking. Sarah and Josh went to the grocery store down the street and got me a bag of frozen “carottes” for my foot and my nurse Sarah wrapped up my foot. I rested it and the boys got pizza’s from the italian pizzeria down the street. They were yummy but Sarah said they will be better in Italy…very excited for that!

Sarah and Josh headed out to a Swing Club for some Swing Dancing. We wish we could have joined then but wasn’t sure if my foot was up for dancing. I rested my foot for another couple hours then Dustin and I took the metro to the stop closest to La Tour Eiffel, we wanted to see it at night, and tomorrow we leave before it gets dark. We thought the metro ran until 1:30 am but we were wrong. We arrived at the station around 1:10 am and the last train departed at 12:48. We were VERY far from our apartment and since all the trains and buses were done for the evening, we had to take a cab. The cab driver was a sweet older gentleman, but he didn’t speak a lick of English. After a few moments and him writing in a notebook responses to me, we were on our way home. Our trip to La Tour Eiffel at night was a little bit more expensive than we had hoped with the cab ride thrown in but it was worth it. Here is a picture Dustin took on his phone.


It was another fun filled day…time to get some shut eye. Thanks for reading. 🙂