Yes, this year's trip was amazing!
Flying in over Venice was like looking through a time-window. Our fifth floor flat was in a quiet part (near the maternity hospital, of course) of Venice, where we could only hear bells, soccer balls and babies and boats. Thanks to the Biennale, our time there was basically about art and food.
From Venice to Liguria, then three weeks in Provence, then a weekend in Paris, and a week near the Costa Brava, our homes and B&Bs ranged (on purpose) from modern to funky to eclectic to crazy to antique strewn to luxurious (see, we ended with luxurious). We talked to the local families, watched women nurse their babies by canals, or stride through a market with a baby in a MobyWrap, or watch dads ride down canyons at high speed with babies on their bikes. Children and babies were fully integrated into every part of life - from being a part of every restaurant meal, to helping parents in stores, and even to staying up very very late and kicking soccer balls in piazzas at midnight. Parenting was open, inclusive, cultural and wonderful.
We planned vignettes, special moments that would remain in our memory. We made a decision to enjoy each moment, rather than run around trying to tick off "cities and sights". We chose to have no regrets about things we missed. So, we will remember cycling up challenging cols (I did it!) near Mont Ventoux, hiking around windy points near Cap Ferrat, exploring undiscovered (to us) abbeys in Provence, looking for hidden waterfalls in Cotignac, getting lost on our bikes in a cherry orchard in the Luberon, singing with Sting on a beach at a Jazz Festival, swimming in a quiet rocky cove in Catalunya, riding in a sea of yellow t-shirts along the Champs Elysees on the last day of the Tour de France, and meeting so many kind and wonderful people.
Special thanks to my client, Quincy, for writing a blog about her family's sabbatical in Cotignac and making us fall in love with it on the page, then visit it. It lived up to every expectation (expectations are usually very very dangerous!) It is a very special place, and we will return.
So, now, rejuvenated, I'm home (recovered from nasty jetlag) and have already attended my first birth - a brilliant first birth, at home, in water.
My phone has rung off the hook since I've been home, and thirteen new clients have already signed up in the past 10 days. Oh my! So, there's just room for one or two more clients (or not, if I want to take a breath!) in 2013, but January and February 2014 are fully booked. My calendar is wide wide open for March 2014 and beyond. So, think about Spring 2014...and call those babies to earth!
So...where do we plan to go next? Family history beckons...and we hope to cycle the Outer Hebrides. Know where we can get the best waterproof and windproof gear?
To chat about babies, bikes, mothering and fathering...give me a call. I'm home!