One of our favorite things about Geneva (and Annecy and Yvoire) was the plethora of water fountains, most quite ornate and often surrounded with delightful flowers, and usually with a placard stating “potable water.” We took frequent advantage of those fountains, using them to refill our water bottles at every opportunity! The water was delicious – clear, cold, and tasty. This is definitely one thing we will miss!
One of the things Paige and I really wanted to do was visit Yvoire, a medieval village on the shores of Lac Léman. On Monday morning, we got up and bought tickets on the CGN ferry from Geneva to Yvoire. It was a relaxing boat ride, a gorgeous day with clear blue skies and spectacular views.
On the way out of Geneva we had beautiful views of Château de Pregny aka Castle Rothschild and also of the Palais de Nations.
So, Yvoire. It’s old. Medieval. Those of you who know me know that I kinda get a little giddy over old stuff. Like, the older the better. Cobblestone streets? Old stone walls with moss? Old churches? It’s nirvana to me. So Yvoire was basically heaven. It wasn’t quite tourist season, so a lot of the little shops weren’t open yet. But that was okay because…it wasn’t quite tourist season and so hardly anyone was there! It was quiet. A few people were walking around. You could hear birds chirping. Cats were strolling around nonchalantly and sunning themselves. It was peaceful.
Paige and I happily wandered, and explored. We shopped, and ate lunch. We loved the charming village of Yvoire. But…we still had the return boat ride to look forward to, and even more spectacular, breathtaking views…
When we arrived in Geneva, Paige was coughing a bit and had a stuffy nose, but we thought it was just from being so tired and that she’d be fine after getting a good night’s sleep.
We were wrong. Apparently, at some point, she’d picked up some sort of bug. And she was sick. And we were in Europe…raring to go! Before I continue with my tale of our Swiss adventure, let me mention that for the rest of our stay we began searching out pharmacies wherever we went, looking for medicines. The pharmacists were all extremely helpful- even when their English was not so great, we’d pantomime until we, mostly, probably, understood each other (between their poor English and our poor French, we mostly did okay!) We ended up amassing quite a collection of Swiss and French medications…and, they were okay…but I can assure you that Paige would’ve given her first born child for a bottle of NyQuil and a decent night’s sleep. Actually, by the end of the week, I would’ve too. 😳 (Sorry, Clay.) #desperateforsleep
Paige was supposed to do an exchange with a French family this summer, but because of a lack of communication from the French family, we resolved that we would have our own mother/daughter adventure instead. After Paige returned home from Tallahassee, she spent several days running around filling out applications and interviewing and got a summer job…and when she found out she didn’t start until May 20th, we decided to hop on a plane!
When you are part of an airline family, you learn to be flexible and you learn to be spontaneous- this trip was certainly that! It was planned and executed in about 24 hours! After searching flights and hotels, we settled upon a destination, and off we went!
We had a pleasant flight with fabulous, attentive flight attendants. We arrived in Geneva, got an early check in at our lovely hotel, and promptly took a much needed nap! Once we woke up, we started walking towards Lac Léman and Jet d’eau.
The first day was mostly just us stumbling around, jet lagged, but ooh-ing and aah-ing over how pretty everything was, until we started fading and decided to grab a sandwich and a shower and collapse in our beds…
Tim and I decided to have our first empty-nester adventure. Of course, non-revving is always an adventure, but we decided to try to get to Edinburgh, Scotland…and we made it!
We checked into our hotel and had a quick wee nap (6 1/2 hours in an exit row with non-reclining seats is NOT conducive to a restful flight!) and then woke up to find the sun shining and balmy temperatures outside. We strolled along the Royal Mile, listened to more bagpipers, and had some coffee, and then climbed the hill to Edinburgh Castle, which was magnificent.
As you walk into the castle, there are statues of Robert the Bruce…
And William Wallace
Edinburgh Castle was built atop an extinct volcano, so it sits high up on its rock overlooking the entire city and the Firth of Forth (which I found out means basically, the estuary leading to the city). On a clear day, the views are incredible.
We toured the Royal apartments, the ancient chapel of St. Margaret, the Crown Jewels (there’s not many; the Scots blame the Brits😏), saw the Stone of Destiny, the dungeons, and saw many suits of armour and weapons…I cannot even imagine lifting one on those Claymores – they’re huge!
While I miss the kids – a lot, I must confess that this empty nest thing is really not so awful. It’s quiet. And the house stays clean. And there’s barely any laundry. I haven’t been cooking…there’s just Tim and I. It hardly seems worth the effort. We’ve been eating out, or grilling something, or having salads, or just “foraging.”
We read a lot…
And we’ve been planning our first “empty nester adventure” in a couple of weeks, which I won’t say more about because we fly space available and I don’t want to jinx anything. (#nonrevsuperstitions!) but I will say that I’m excited!! 😊
Clay has started his classes and has been working quite a bit. He has met with his professors about his research project and is planning a night sampling soon (to see if Erika’s higher tides brought in any unusual creatures.) He also went out the other evening and caught and tagged sharks (for NOAA.)
And she ran into (literally!) an old friend the other day, whom she’s known since 2nd grade. Their lives have taken such parallel tracks, it’s funny. They first met through rhythmic gymnastics, then again at The Florida Ballet, then again at the performing arts high school, and now at college…and they have the same major and are in the same computer class!
I’ve been remiss in my blogging. At first it was because there were some family issues going on, and then Jack, our Chinese exchange student, needed to be placed with another family and I really didn’t want to talk about that. But then other things kept happening and it kept getting busier and busier, and I got a new iPad and forgot the password for the blog (because the old iPad had it set up automatically) and we were traveling and I just got busy and I forgot! I’m sorry!
And so now it’s the end of the year and SO much has happened this year, and since this blog is primarily a chronicle of our family, I feel obligated to try to resurrect my rusty blogging skills, such as they were, and try to report a few of the events (as succinctly as possible!) of the past few months.
As I mentioned, Jack’s stay with us lasted only 6 weeks. Unfortunately, there were some family issues going on in another state and we were just not able to be full-time caregivers to another child who needed a LOT of attention. P and I made a couple of trips up to Virginia for college tours, interviews, and scholarship interviews…
We had a fabulous family Christmas adventure, visiting Washington D.C. And then Belgium (which was perfectly magical…albeit a bit chilly!)
C has had an amazing year this year! He is loving college now that he is living off campus and is finally getting into his major classes more. He worked on an independent research project this semester, started an environmental fishing club, and has been catching and tagging sharks for NOAA. He also found a bunny at work the day before Easter – so he now has Buddy (the bird), a tank of fish, and Roger Rabbit.
Let’s see, what else have I missed? Oh yeah – P finally picked a college! After all the trips to Virginia and touring and interviews, she decided on….
Which means that WE will be staying in Florida…and these soon to be empty-nesters are heading out to the beach for a change of lifestyle.
Here’s a few more random photos from the past few months…