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road trips

adventures in the keys

by Kasia on February 21, 2014

Admittedly, I’ve seen much more of the world than of my own homeland. My dream of driving cross-country to experience what is truly America remains to be realized. One day. For the time being my American adventures remain in New York and Florida with family and friends. During our recent trip to the Sunshine State, we did have the good fortune to take a mini road trip to the Florida Keys, along with my mom and her husband, final destination Key West.

IMG_5166Our first stop after nearly 3 hours of driving was just past Key Largo, which left much to be desired with it’s multitudinous strip malls and pharmacy’s, a kitschy fish restaurant in Islamorada. Savouring the catch of the day (and not thinking too much about which day it was actually caught), we continued on our way until we reached our destination for the night in nearby Marathon.

IMG_5224 Our secluded refuge was Tranquility Bay Resort, also home to the iguanas.

IMG_5232And tranquil it was, surrounded by clear blue stillness.

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That evening we experienced a magical sunset along the 7-mile bridge… that alone worth the drive.

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And still in time to sit beneath the glowing sky with a bottle of French wine.

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The following morning we got back on the road, crossed the infamous bridge and made our way to Key West. First stop, Hemingway’s House. Not to mention his cats, all 45 of them.

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Here is one of the 6-toed wonders, drinking from a urinal Hemingway ‘installed’ in his garden.

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We also explored the infamous brothel Blue Heaven, where Hemingway spent many an evening.

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After carousing the scenic town and indulging in key lime pie like proper tourists, we headed south.

IMG_5614To the southernmost tip of the USA. Last stop before the long drive home.

IMG_5697Guided by the setting sun alongside the historic Bahia Honda Rail Bridge… filled with memories.

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fit for a king

by Kasia on October 15, 2013

A few weeks ago a dear family friend was in town. Since she’s already seen much of Paris, I planned a day of historic elegance in a landscape not too far away. We boarded a bus on an overcast morning, and soon arrived to the legendary, and now private estate, Château de Vaux le Vicomte.

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Here began our adventure into the life of Nicolas Fouquet, who created this 17th century castle.

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This majestic masterpiece was a collaboration between architect Louis Le Vau, the painter Charles Le Brun and the landscape gardener André Le Nôtre. A ‘home and garden’ to be admired by all.

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Yet the story behind Monsieur Fouquet and his château is a unique and tragic one.

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In brief, after throwing a lavish party in his new home, Fouquet was arrested by Louis XIV (who had plotted against him out of jealousy), and spent his remaining days behind bars, unlawfully so.

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In the famous words of Voltaire, “On 17 August at 6 in the evening, Fouquet was King of France; at 2 in the morning, he was nobody”.

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As we wandered the château and landscape, the gray sky set a sobering mood. At once in awe and aghast at the history lesson upon us. Certainly a castle fit for a king, perhaps even too much so.

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wine country

August 14, 2013

TweetHaving just returned to an empty Paris, I am filled with visions and tastes of Italy. Surprise adventures began as we boarded the plane, enroute to Turin but unaware of the final destination. What was my Italian up to I wondered? With map in hand I tried to search for the secret spot in which […]

viva Italia!

July 27, 2013

TweetAnyone who knows my Italian (or reads this blog) know’s he’s a romantic, and like me, loves to travel. He also loves to plan surprise romantic escapes. Yes, I chose well! For the last few years my birthday was spent in Italy, destination unknown, until we arrived. A few years ago it was a charming agriturismo […]

Château de Chantilly

July 18, 2013

TweetDuring my mom’s recent visit to Paris, we decided to take her for a day trip. Where else but to a château? Less than 30 minutes by train lies the town of Chantilly, home to a spectacular château spanning the 14th to 19th centuries, not to mention chantilly cream, which in itself is worth the […]

marble mountains

July 20, 2012

TweetDo mountains made of marble really exist? But of course. Naturally, in Italy, where most surreal beauty seems to originate. I have observed these white tipped mountain peaks many a time enroute to Monterosso. But it was just recently that I had a chance to explore them up close. The same marble that so many […]

weekend in the Loire

December 18, 2011

TweetThe Loire Valley is quickly becoming one of my most beloved areas of France. Ever since our first Loire by bike trip amidst the grand château earlier in the year. Last weekend we planned another Loire adventure, this one to the scenic village of Amboise, festive and calm in it’s off-season charm. A perfect escape […]

down south

September 1, 2011

TweetLast weekend, after spending several days with my dear cousins from Poland, both in the sea and on land (I dared yet again to hike from Vernazza to Monterosso, this time with 3 kids under 7), my Italian and I left Italy and headed back to France. All along the coast, via train. A journey […]

Loire by bike

August 17, 2011

TweetLast weekend we set off to explore the Loire Valley. A regal French landscape rich in history and architectural splendors. What better way to breath the royal air and discover the hidden treasures and grand Châteaux than by bike? Our journey began in Blois, a quick 2 hour TGV ride from Paris. A charming city to […]

Monet’s masterpiece

May 30, 2011

TweetGiverny is a place I had often envisioned during my romantic musings. To walk amidst it’s gardens, surrounded by a kaleidoscope of colors and history. Considering it was recently our two year anniversary, (and we were in need of a little getaway) it seemed the ideal escape. Forty-five minutes via train, into a world created […]