Wednesday, December 28, 2011

(Euro) Christmas Vacation

Unfortunately the Griswold's weren't able to join us on this year's vacay (I think they went to Vegas again...), but that didn't stop us from enjoying our first Christmas as a married couple.

First stop: Torino, Italy. This northern city is the capital of the Piedmont region and host to the 2006 Winter Olympic games.

Only three hours from our home here in Switzerland, we enjoyed a terrifying leisurely drive (sans the toll-road incident) through the Swiss Alps before arriving in Torino. We walked. We ate. We enjoyed the perfect weather. We drank. And we took in the Italian culture. Sigh... it was hard to leave just a few days later. Harry Winston, however, was happy to say "Arrivederci" to Italy and rest his weary paws.

The Palazzo.
 The Advent Calendar in the main piazza.
 The Po River.
 Enjoying a much needed break.
 Museo di Cinema.
 A favorite of mine in NYC, we took in the smells, sights, sounds and tastes of Eataly in Torino.
 The waitress looked surprised when we ordered tre piatti...?
Proof that we were there together.

On Christmas Day, we were on the road again. Next stop: the Provence region in south eastern France. Andy hadn't ever seen the Mediterranean coast so we veered off our navi's suggested route and headed south before cutting up to Provence. We pit-stopped in Antibes and enjoyed the scenary while Harry Winston took his first "dip" in the Med Sea.

 Testing the waters.
 Traumatized. I think he's a bit young to appreciate the beauty.

We were greeted with smiles and hugs by Eric Vance and his posee as we pulled up to the cottage (rented by Eric's aunt and uncle, Kristen and Alan) we'd call home that night. E and company treated us to a homecooked Christmas dinner before a night of story-telling, wine drinking and game playing ensued.

Harry found a new lap - how surprising.

Monday brought us to Arles, France with Eric, Tanya, Kristen and Alan. It was so fun to go off the beaten path and spend our day flitting about this beautiful little town.

 The Colosseum.
 Our new favorite photo-opp.
Number of Christmases Andy has spent with Kate: 2
Number of Christmases Andy has spent with Eric: 2
I'm seeing a trend...

After a successful and tiring trip - we clocked more than 1,500 km on the Citroen - we were happy to arrive safely back in Lausanne on Tuesday afternoon.

We made some amazing new memories and traditions, explored new places, saw familiar faces and met a few new ones, and had an absolutely wonderful getaway.

Christmas is far from over as we await Rochelle and Martin's arrival on the 31st. We'll re-celebrate Christmas in Bern, drink too many MARTYritas (one part lime, two parts Cointreau, three parts tequila), eat another 1,200 grams of fondue and enjoy showing off this beautiful country.

on to the next one...

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