Friday, May 30, 2014

Franco Fridays: St. Ceneri le Gerei, part 2

I left off on our walk through this most charming of villages at the panorama view located just outside of the church.

It all seemed too perfect.  I wish the yard with the clothesline and hammock was mine.  
At the time there were only two things we could tell you about this church (since we don't read French).  It was VERY old, and there was a beehive inside the wall that for some reason they allowed to stay there.

Then one night we had friends over who can read French, and they translated the sign by the beehive for us.  The sign said that back in 898 Charles III or as he was otherwise known, Charles the Simple, sent soldiers to Normandy because of people there protesting his reign.  The soldiers who were based nearby were disrespectful around the tomb of the founder of the church.   This apparently aroused the anger of the bees who attacked the soldiers, who not knowing there was a cliff nearby, in their panic ran over the cliff to get away from the angry bees and were killed.  Since then, the bees have continued to protect the church.  You've been warned.  We couldn't help but laugh at this family of bees protecting this church SINCE 898.

We walked away from the church and past a cottage that looked like it really could have been the place where Snow White lived.

 I was convinced this was the original house of those famed seven little men.

Next came this:

This little chapel was built in the 15th century.  As we walked down the lane to where it stands alone in the field by a nearby stream, the bell in the church tower tolled, and the only other sound was from the birds' singing.  I'm not trying to be poetic; that was just how utterly charming and perfectly quiet this place was on that Sunday evening.

To top off all the natural beauty around us, we even saw some wildlife.  I just couldn't stop saying, "Where are we?"  

We walked briefly into the church protected by bees then on through the village to the bridge in the panorama view.  We saw a couple of walkers with their dogs at that point, as well as passing a small group walking down to the chapel.

This is the cliff off of which the unfortunate soldiers fell.

The two hours spent here were some of the pleasantest of our trip, and KJ had a great surprise planned at the end of the night, too.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Summer Lovin'

It's just been one week since we finished up our school work, and I've already heard the phrase, "I'm bored" on at least two occasions.  I have also had children listlessly lying across sofas asking what we are going to do now.  So my summer plan of doing whatever I wanted to do and letting the kids do whatever they wanted to do doesn't look like it's going to work very well.

I look back with fondness on long, boring summer days.  Summer meant suffocating heat, playing in the water hose, lots and lots of reading, and a family camping trip.  It also meant being home in the mornings to watch Gomer Pyle, The Beverly Hillbillies, I Love Lucy, and The Andy Griffith Show.  

My mom came into town on Friday, and we made a trip to the library to sign up for the summer reading program.  I just love the summer reading program.  We made our pledges and got our goodie bags.  The kids got pencils, stickers, tattoos, and their reading logs.  I got a great new pen and post-it notes.  Ella promised to read 60 books, so she's got some stuff to keep her occupied, wouldn't you say?

We went the weekend with no schedule--I was enjoying my summer freedom--but yesterday as I stared at my 7-year-old who gave up naps at 3 say, "Maybe I'll just take a nap," I decided I was going to have to do a measure of planning out their summer days.  

When there's school-work to be done, Ella is always overflowing with creative energy, so I think if I give them things to do all morning, our afternoons can be restful and more summer-like.  Last year my strategy was, go out in the morning and get good and tired, come back in the afternoon for rest during the heat of the day.  

Ella loves making lists, so I dictated one to her yesterday.  Here's our go-to list for when we get B-O-R-E-D this summer:

  1. sidewalk chalk
  2. pool
  3. practice piano
  4. Pla-Do
  5. paint
  6. write a blog post (Ella's got her own little blog. :) )
  7. Math (gotta review)
  8. Read
  9. bike ride
  10. take a walk
  11. get ice cream
  12. playground
  13. chores
  14. T's House
  15. library
  16. free movies
  17. outside play
  18. Play the Wii
  19. Color
  20. Do a project
Hopefully that's enough to keep us occupied, and if all else fails, we'll lock them in the backyard with their friends.

Friday, May 23, 2014

Franco Fridays: St. Ceneri le Gerei, part one

Are you ready to step into the dreamiest village you've ever seen?

When we planned our trip through Normandy we didn't really know where we should go, and my online research led me to Design Mom, a blog written by an American living in Normandy with her family for a few years.  I found this post where she shared about this village and how it was supposed to be one of the prettiest villages in France.  I'm so glad we went because it was the most charming place I've ever been.

We parked our car by the river.  I think there was one RV parked beside the river as well.  There was no one else about, and all was quiet.

Wouldn't you want to walk down that road?  Everywhere your eyes fell there was beauty and something to be exclaimed over.  KJ just kept laughing at me because I couldn't stop the exclamations.  That fence!  The roof!  Those flowers!  What is this place?   In fact, last night we went out for a little while for our anniversary, and in his top three moments of our marriage was my delight in this village.  I was pretty delighted, I guess.

Isn't it charming?

This is one of the main thoroughfares in the village; there was absolutely no one about the place except for two or three people sitting outside a bar talking.  We thought about eating, but everything was closed.  It was a Sunday evening, and Sunday evenings are obviously pretty quiet here.

 It felt like every door we passed was photo-worthy.  Not to mention the windows!

I thought those lace curtains in the window were so pretty, and the gates were also in the running for most charming feature.

We just kept walking until we saw this sign up ahead and thought it might be worth our while to follow it.

It was entirely worth it.  My heart could barely take in all of that beautiful perfection at once.  

The view reminded me just now of something I read in high school once when I bought a volume of Emerson's essays.  I've never read past the first page of the book, but the first page gave me this:

The charming landscape which I saw this morning is indubitably made up
of some twenty or thirty farms.  Miller owns this field, Locke that, and Manning 
the woodland beyond.  
But none of them owns the landscape. 

There is more to come, including an old church protected by bees.