The last two weeks have been packed with a short trip to Disney, awesome sights, amazing churches and cliffs and more oceans.
We first went to Westvleteren, a Trappist brewery in Belgium and is one of the 6 lefts in the world. You can only by the beer at the brewery, it is considered one of the best in the world….it is simply delicious <3
Next we went to Disney and enjoyed rides and princesses and sent Brian back to America. The girls an I drove back home, making a quick stop to the Chateau de Chantilly, a truly amazing place and horse back riding capital of Europe.
We then headed to Mers les Bains, a seaside town with magnificent houses, a living museum of the Art deco era. I will have more pictures in my next blog 🙂
The girls are now well traveled and are picking up on the culture, food and language. They love their grand parents (especially pay on his bike and many with her cats) and they love their cousins.
We have many images to share, here is a select few!
Next blog will be up soon and then…Paris…the city of love, food and fashion <3
After a 5 hours drive we made it to the North of France, the “Ch’ti” region, now called Les Hauts de France, where I was born. On the way we stopped at Omaha beach. It was beautiful and serene, a stopping point for many tourists on their way to the Mont Saint Michel and the South.
After Omaha Beach, the Pont de Normandie, a few pictures of us in Saint Quentin, my family, my village. A quick peak of the building where I went to elementary school, the building where I used to do summer camp and the Temple where Brian and I got married (it was a fake marriage, we were already married in Texas). A few pictures of my village, the church, and finally my sisters and nieces.
And apparently in all this we still managed to find a farm, I am finding that I love taking pictures of all those adorable farm animals <3
Just a few words and many pictures to summarize our last day in Cherbourg : the ocean, the farm, the kids, it is with heavy hearts that we said good by to my brother and his wife, my nephew and my niece and moved on to new adventures on our way to the North…To be continued.
When I was a little girl I used to go camping with my family for 3 weeks every summer in Normandy. Since then I have travelled and discovered many beautiful places but I have never forgotten about this camping place and “La Vallee du Lude in particular”. I have talked about it to Brian, I have talked have about coming back and finding this wonderful place again. La Vallee du Lude is a small path in the tiny town of Carolles that opens up, between two lush valleys, to a pebbled beach. This place was always a source of endless games with my two brothers (my sisters were too little to play with us). This place was my Narnia, my escape to magical kingdoms, my base for unbridled playful creation.
Luckily my brother now lives two hours away from it.
Imagine my excitement when, yesterday morning, Brian, the girls and I drove to Granville and then Carolles and then la Vallee du Lude. Imagine how I felt walking down this same valley where I have spent countless hours as a kid, playing in the pebbles. And imagine my joy when my kids did the exact same thing, tottering around the rocks, collecting sea snails, exclaiming over the beauty of the place.
The last few days have been full of the ocean, the waves, the sand and the pebbles. It has been full of my family and talks about the future, near and far. Finally it has been full of my girls bonding with this family. Because in spite of everything, my girls are half French and I am trying so hard to wake their Frenchness inside <3
During this part of the trip we also visited “La citee de la Mer” in Cherbourg, L’Abbaye des moines Trappistes, Le nez de Jobourg, the coast, a biscuiterie, a cheese restaurant, the beach, Granville, the beach, the beach <3
France is all about food. Therefore on the following day, after messing around with the four-wheeler, we went to the grocery store where Brian found his beer and I found my Cote d’Or Chocolat. We then went out to the town where I found a pointing Napoleon wearing the yellow jersey to my greatest entertainment. (dork)
We also entered a poisonnerie and took pictures. Two bakeries and took pictures. I took pictures of beer and bread and cake etc. etc. Even Mignon le chat loves food so I took pictures of him too 🙂
I should summarized : I took a lot of pictures of food in general.
France is also all about the Tour de France and we were lucky enough to see the Cherbourg etape today. My dad had decided to carry the American flag I had gifted him last Christmas and apparently a journaliste thought that it was unique enough to interview us for the local radio. We saw the racers and I even managed to get a good shot of Peter Sagan! Super duper cool.
After a 24 hour of flying and commuting, getting stuck on the Tarmac because Icelandair had misplaced some luggage, getting stuck in traffic because everyone is driving west for the Tour the France.
The car stops, we see my family come out of the house, they were waiting, impatiently as I can imagine, by the window.
So the car stops. 1 2 3 4 5 6 people come out, rushing one after the other to hug us, the smelly and frazzled travelers that se are.
I park into a rustic French courtyard, surrounded by trees and ferns and roses and walk into an incredible modern interior with beautiful concrete counters, ultra modern kitchen equipment, glass and wood balconies and a vintage tile.
The whole house feels balanced with the old and the new mixed together to fit my brother and his wife’s vision.
And of course we eat, as we always do first thing first. It is late, we eat and talk and the house is loud of 5 years of not seeing each other. Words pour out, a confuse mix of languages. It is one am by the time we finally settle and I don’t even need to count how many hours I have been awake anymore. We are happy.
My nephew and niece discover the girls.
My sister in law is bubbly and surprisingly good in English
My brother has more grey around his temples
My father and Monique look the same as usual
This was a long day. An amazing day. We sing happy birthday to Sophie. Candles on gourmandises. I get macaroons. The lights switch off.
7:30: I wake with a jolt as the light filters in the room. It is quiet and I decide to go for a walk and be by myself for a few minutes. It is very difficult to get time alone in a house full and the next 15, are a bliss and I find : Delphine who quickly gets that I will be walking alone. An adorable baby cat named mignon. A handful or rabbits and chicken. A path of trees, the house, the rain, a rainbow. The land surrounding the house is huge and lush, with tree covered paths and fields. During a family walk we also find the sheep my brother acquired. The rooster. The pasture for a future horse. This land is incredible, it seems to take care of itself, the rains make everything lush, the birds sing, there is no sign of people or traffic, my nephew and niece are running wild around, showing my daughters the ropes of climbing trees and jumping in puddles.
And then we play marbles.
Witching 36 hours we moved quickly from the frenetic life in Colorado’s suburbia to the quite life of a modern nano farm.
For the last four days I have done something I thought that I would never do : I photographed a pet blogging convention.
You heard me right. Before I met Chloe, Yvonne and Tom (founders of BlogPaws), I didn’t even know such thing existed! I did not expect anything in particular, I walked in trying to figure out how on earth I was going to be working to cover a whole convention, by myself, for 3 and half days.
I am a wedding and portrait photographer. I photograph dancers, fine art, underwater. I photograph extreme people with extreme passions, I spend hours editing to perfection, I only deliver completely perfect images. AND I TAKE MY TIME.
And then this :
BlogPaws expected me to cover a collection of events and products and candids and vendors and sponsors and signs and dogs, cats, ferrets, one rat, people, etc etc etc etc ad infinitum. Be at 4 places at once, capture, capture, capture.
Deliver all the selected images at the end of every. single. day. which for me was about 300 images a day. If you are a photographer you are probably starting to roll your eyes. Impossible eh?
By now, some of you know me well enough to guess that I am up for challenges in any shape or form. Challenges are what I live for, I put a little in my coffee every morning. A no challenge day is a bad day and several days of mundane life turns me into a restless evil monster (ask my husband!)
And so all I thought was : watch me. I shall kick ass.
What I knew was that it was super exciting to be traveling to Phoenix like a grown up without children, be with people, be challenged.
What I didn’t know at the time was what a BLAST I was going to have. Yes it was exhausting. Yes I was on my feet 12 hours a day, running from one side to another, with two cameras, hanging from my trusted HoldFast camera holster.
However I felt so pumped up for 4 days that I hardly slept, running on the electric energy I felt constantly run through the entire convention area. I never really felt the exhaustion until the day I left.
Most importantly I found a community of passionate people who’s business was far from what I do (Dance/wedding versus pet blogging? hello?) but no matter how different we were, we spoke the same language, the purposeful language of people who love what they do, are passionate about it, are dedicated to their craft.
And so I have found a very new and unlikely tribe : Animal advocates, bloggers, educators of the pet industry.
And so for four days I connected with most of the 500 attendees, their pets, their blogs, their passion. And it was EXCELLENT.
I am home now with all images delivered on time (yay!! mission accomplished!!!) a suitcase full of gifts from the sponsors, vendors and BlogPaws, a bunch of business cards and new friends.