Sunday, April 29, 2007

Where's the trip? (Day 2a)

Day 2: We're in Mialet, France, in a nice hotel, just down the road from the Musee du Desert.

This first thing you notice is that you can't figure out where to go. I mean, there are signs and you'll get there if you follow them, that somebody's house right there with the dog in front?'s just confusing.

Another sign...turn the corner...

We're supposed to go down there?

Oh, look. Somebody already got their mail this morning.

We finally found the entrance. My one word of caution, if you should go for a visit:
Remember how you came in.
Some people, we heard-some family with three boys or something-
sort of-I don't know-got lost on their way out the first time.
Or something like that.
It was probably nothing though.
Forget I said anything.
Where were we again?

We actually could use this picture for that newsletter we never write.

If you hadn't guessed, the building that houses
the Musee Du Desert
is really old.

Older than 1680 at least.
The sign reads:

In this house was born,
the 3rd of January 1680,
Pierre LaPorte called Roland
Chief Camisard
Killed the 14th of August 1704

So, this museum is in the very home of Roland.
Fascinating, isn't it?

But then we couldn't take anymore pictures.
I'm not going to detail all that the museum had on display and
all the events during that time. But I will say that the Musee du Desert is worth your time.
The admission fees were reasonable and our children were free.
Also, they provide printed material in several different languages,
because of course, the museum is in French.
Also, it's closed during the cold months. You'll know why when you visit.
Something about all the windows and doors being wide open and no heat comes to mind.

Some highlights (from my memory):
  • The actual paper edicts that were posted all over France (from around 1661-1680s) proclaiming which rights were stripped from French citizens, just because they were Protestant
  • the hiding place for ministers in Rolland's kitchen, in a hole under his china cabinet
  • The family Bible (of Roland's) that stayed in this house (that became a museum) until the 1800's
  • The tini-tiniest psalm book. It would fit in a man's hand-closed. Small Bibles as well.
  • Very Large Bibles
  • A portable pulpit that, at a moment's notice could be torn down and folded up to look like a wine barrel. (The Huguenots would carry them out into the "desert" (read: wilderness) to worship since they were forbidden to worship anywhere but in the Catholic church.
  • Along the same line as above, they had wine goblets for communion that could be un-screwed and separated so they wouldn't look like communion wine goblets.
  • Communion tokens for the different regions or towns. Used as a way of identifying the believers.
I could go on but I think that's enough without pictures.

I loved driving along roads like this.
And I love how the French plant trees.
They're so perfect looking.

I was determined to remember which town had this in the middle of a round-about
but I can't remember anymore. Mr. French drove around it about
three times so I could get a picture.

Then, we went to McDonald's. Where else would we go out to eat in beautiful
Southern France?

By the time we finished wrestling and threatening our children through
a fascinating museum
they were not really in a great mood.
They were in a rotten mood.

McDonalds apparently has super-powers.

Next, we decided to drive to the Tour de Constance. I'd heard about it, but didn't really know what it was or the history of it. In fact, I didn't even know we were planning to visit it until after the Musee Du Desert. We got in the car and Mr. French asked how to get to Aigues-Mortes. I said, "that's all you know, the town name? What if it's a big town?" So, he went back in and got some more directions and a little brochure for it and off we went. Although we needn't have worried.

You can't miss it.

Friday, April 27, 2007

Where's the trip? (Day one)

This will just have to be a rambling post about our vacation. I can't, for the life of me, come up with anything creative and I've put it off long enough. I dislike writing posts about how we did this, and then that, and 'here's a picture of us eating on the side of the road' and 'here I am changing J's diaper'. But, I'm afraid that's exactly what you're going to get here.

Consider yourself warned.

This is the car.
This is us eating on the side of the road.

(You thought I was kidding about that, right?)

It was actually a nice setting for lunch though.

And a perfect place to let them burn off some energy.

This would be a great picture for the yearly newsletter we never send out.

When we got back in the car, C declared, "That was fun! I liked it. That was a fun trip."

"Yeah, that was fun."

"Are we going home now?"

"Oh, no, that was just lunch, now we're going to drive to a museum."


Then S piped in, "Where's the trip?"

"This is the trip, honey. We're on the trip."

"Are we going to get on a train?"

"No, not this time."

"A plane?"

"No, we're taking a trip in this car. This is it. This is the trip."

"But, where is the trip?"

This, then, became the butt of all our jokes.

"So like, duuude. Where's the trip?"

"Oh no! I lost my trip! Where's my trip?"

"Yes, but where is the trip?"

But let's move on, shall we?

Ohh! That's a pretty house.

That's not.

This looked far more interesting in person (or should I say, from the car)
than the picture does.
But a lot of little towns looked just like this.

We got to the museum in Mialet about 30 minutes before they closed. So Mr. French browsed through the small book shop for a few minutes and then we headed back down the road to find a hotel. We stopped at the first one we saw.

It looked deserted, but it wasn't and we got to stay there.
It was very nice and we would highly recommend it.
It was still being renovated, but everything in our room seemed new
and there was even a swimming pool on the property
(although we were a little out-of-season for that).

There was a playground...

and cool stairs....

and a cool window...

and cool trees all over the parking lot.
(I bet it's really cool in the summertime when the leaves are thick and green.)

This is the "hotel" part in the back.
See that little tiny window to the left of the glass door (on the second floor)?
That was in our bathroom.
I love all that stonework.

So, that's it for day one of our April vacation. Tune in for the next edition of "Where's the trip? day two" (I really really hope) tomorrow.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Actual conversations with Mr. French

I had just finished crushing 4 cloves of garlic into my green bean salad. I tasted a green bean before putting it out on the table.

"Ohhh. That is strong. Maybe that's too much garlic."

Mr. French cocked his head to the side, furrowed his brow and said,

"Is that even possible?...too much garlic?"


This morning, when I came in from my run, Mr. French met me at the door and informed me that he had finally tried the free sample of anti-stress aroma therapy bath gel we had gotten from the hotel in Aix-en-Provence.

"So? How do you feel?" I asked, with fake enthusiasm.

"Boy, do I feel stress-free now." He said with a large, fake smile on his face.

"So, it doesn't even matter that you have to give a job interview in French today?"

"Yeah!" same fake smile still plastered to his face.

"There's a blog post in there somewhere."


Mr. French was recently paid the highest compliment he could ever imagine.

A native Frenchman started a conversation with him in the parking lot of our apartment building. After speaking with him for awhile, the Frenchman said,

(in French, of course)

"Are you from Britain?"

"No. I'm American. Why?"

"Because you speak French with a British accent."

Thursday, April 12, 2007

When you can't help but laugh...

Our French doors were wide open and all three boys were standing on the two-feet of patio, looking out from our second floor apartment.

Mr. French was sitting nearby when he heard the pop of a dart gun and then C said calmly,

"Oh. That's not good."

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

The Easter Chicken? Are snails cute?

These are the questions to ponder when you're observing a different country's holiday traditions. Our neighbor who lives directly below us, (and coos* over our kids whenever she sees them) brought these over, right before our vacation.

Chocolate chickens, sitting on their eggs.
And, really, it makes more sense than baby chicks.
Nobody wants to eat a baby chick.

But sometimes it's hard to figure out how, exactly, to eat a chicken.

This isn't working too well...

Maybe the eggs will be easier.

You have to look really hard, but there's a dart gun at my head
forcing me to eat chocolate eggs.

(Or was it a plastic sword?)

I had to do it.

Several times.

That, and my kids aren't big chocolat fans.
(Did you think I was going to let Mr. French eat them all?)

Mr. French was busy working out his feelings for the holiday, anyway.

And then, another neighbor dropped by with three of these:

I'm going to go out on a limb and say that, yes, snails can be cute.

*FYI, our neighbor lady is very kind, we really like her, but yes, she actually says, "Coo-coo" to them. Especially J. He just keeps smiling, though. Which makes her love him more I think.

Tuesday, April 3, 2007


We're leaving in a few minutes on a


We planning to drive down to Nimes, Ales,
and Aix-en-Provence.
We hope to see the coast
and walk on the beach too.

We're planning to be gone for 2 nights
and we'll catch you up on all the fun when we get back.