Sunday, May 1, 2011

Boulangerie, Patissierie....Oui, oui!

Hard to believe it's May 1st today and April is already behind us. I was talking to my sister today (Marie) and we agreed it should be March, not May. How time flies!

Anywho, I wish it was March so I could do April all over again. It was that good. It started off with a weekend in Bussum, the Netherlands, where we did a pre-birthday celebration with my cousin whose birthday is a day after mine (April6, April 7). We were supposed to check out the famous tulips, but due to a cold spring they were blooming late. So instead we checked out the crazy Dutch bike culture (ie. Mama bikes) and ate pannekoeken.

Next we headed to Antibes, France (near Nice) to celebrate my mother-in-law's 60th birthday. This meant that we arrived on my birthday, in time to have lunch in the warm sun, eat some delicious French cake, and get some shopping in. :)

The next day was Antonietta's big day - and we celebrated as a family (minus Magnus who is living in NYC) and found a restaurant with 3 highchairs. Needless to say we went back there several times as a place that could guarantee we wouldn't have squirmy, messy kids on our laps and we could maybe even enjoy a glass of wine. The whole weekend was very relaxing, filled with good food and good family. We didn't really do anything, except walk around, make sure our kids napped, and stop at every other patisserie (that was just me though). I did discover a sugar covered donut stuffed with nutella - need I say more? (Pics here).

So the only thing that made leaving Antibes easier was knowing that in just another week and a half we would be heading back to the land of patisseries to join the Stirling Palm's (is there a hyphen or what?) for a long weekend in Reims, the champagne region of France. We really managed to have the perfect weekend, with the SP's arriving early and able to kick the jetlag straight away, perfect weather, amazing food, and a great place to stay (La Parenthese). We toured champagne houses, drove through the vineyard-filled countryside of Champagne country, ate a lot, and had Easter lunch at a chateau with a MOAT! Pretty cool. (Pics here).

Simon enjoyed the late nights, where dinner started at his bed time, and he got to sample seafood risotto, pigeon, chocolate mousse, lamb - or whatever we were eating. He was so smitten with the French lifestyle that he forgot to be cranky - for which we were very greatful!

(Trooper award goes to Hanna - 20 weeks pregnant and she flew all the way over to France for 4 nights. Given her dedication to her friends, she will be a fabulous mother.)

And yes, I know what you're thinking. We are living large over here on the other side of the pond (well - depending where you are reading this from). And I am not going to argue with you on that one. But here's the thing. We don't know what the future holds for us - if we will stay in Europe or end up back in the U.S. I would have to leave a in few years and realize I didn't take advantage of all that is right at my doorstep here (4 hours to Reims, 1.5 hour flight to Nice). And for now, we only have one kiddo, and it's manageable (but not always easy) to travel with him. (Did I mention the 6 weeks of vacation - that helps too!) So we are working hard to see the sights while we can. There's lots more on our list - so stay tuned to see where we end up next. :)

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