Monday, July 18, 2011

One Last Beach Day - Cap d' Antibes, France

In an effort to keep cranky children at bay during sight seeing we've been using the beach as a lure to behave.  It's worked overall and yesterday was no exception.  Regardless of the fact that Kelly, Michelle and I really wanted to see Antibes, the kids really wanted to hit the beach one last time before heading further inland to Arles in Provence. 

Antibes is just south of Nice on a little penisula in the French Riviera just about 20 kilometers from Nice.  We had researched a few beaches but of course the GPS couldn't tell us how to get to any of them.  So we just followed the signs for the beaches and continued driving and figured we'd turn around when we felt we'd seen enough or saw the beach we wanted to go to.

In typical fashion, we ended up blocking a bunch of traffic in our ginormous minivan at one of the beaches.  A 50 point turn later we were back on our way to a public beach.  The private ones were way too pricey in this area and really didn't offer much more than the public ones with the exception of the ability to rent a lounge chair and umbrella (to the tune of 18 euros each - by comparison, Barcelona is 6 euros). 

We ended up on one of the public beaches and at first the kids were disappointed that these were not wavy beaches, but in the end they loved it.  Because the waters were nice and calm it made for great exploring - the rocks, the sea life and of course, the beach itself.  This was one of our first non-rocky beaches since we set out from Barcelona (we had one near Nice but we were only there about 45 mins which just wasn't time enough to truly enjoy). 

The kids found a sea anenome (probably spelled that one wrong), a sea urchin and several fish.  Aidan is a lover of the sea and all aquatic life and spent quite a bit of time snorkeling - again I can't wait to see how he does in Greece in a few weeks - I think he's going to love the snorkeling there!  Liam did amazing with the water - he went in all the way up to his neck!!  This from a kid who wouldn't leave the shoreline for the longest time, huge progress!  Zach and Haley enjoyed exploring all the rocks and what was living inside the crevices between them - anything to climb is good in their book!  And the adults got to relax for a while since the kids were occupied - that was great in and of itself.

Testing the waters

Liam is slowly becoming a little fishy

However his favorite thing is the fact that he can pee in the water - I know, it's becoming a habit!

Look how far he's venturing!

Aidan snorkeling

Zach found more crabs!

And Haley found this anenome!

Some of the many beautiful boats off the shore

One of the views from the beach

Liam exploring the rocks

Aidan running back in the water

Playing catch

These were just a few of the yachts that were off the shore

Sea urchin

Haley's sand castle

Liam's sand castle

Aidan's sand castle

Aidan laid down and Liam immediately followed suit... typical little brother!

By 4 it was time for us to move on as we still had a long drive ahead of us to Arles, France.  We grabbed dinner at one of the only places open in the center of town (after all it was only 5).  It was decent but the service took forever since there was only one waiter for all the tables.  Finally we were on the road to Arles.  It rained for the first time as we were driving and the temps dropped to 18C which was huge considering we'd been seeing temps 10 degrees warmer in Italy.  But it was a nice reprieve for just a bit.

We got to Arles around 9ish and of course Conchita got us lost.  We were on a tiny side street (this is becoming a bad habit!) and a woman approached us immediately.  She must have known that we were American by our huge bus of a van going down a tiny little street.  I showed her the paper with the name of the hotel.  She told us, in French, where we needed to go.  I was lost after the first left but was doing fine perpetrating like I know what she was saying til Michelle and Kelly started to laugh and then I burst out laughing.  I'm sorry super nice French woman - you were only trying to help us and that was soooo rude of me!! 

Finally we made it to our hotel and I remember seeing this place when I was here in October with Josh and the kids.  It's a gorgeous little hotel tucked into beautiful little sidestreets right near the Arena and Roman Ruins.  Today we'll do some exploring of all of those.  Originally I was a little disappointed knowing we were going back to some place we'd already been when there is so much we haven't seen in France still but in the end I'm actually glad to be back.  Not only is it familiar but of all the places we've seen this town was one of my favorites and I'm glad to get a chance to explore it even more, this time in the nice warm weather of the summer!!!


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