Wednesday, May 30, 2012

It's Their Vacation, Too



The Place aux Herbes in Uzes, France, is a shady oasis, a ring of restaurants, a lively gathering place, and a gracious town center. Every time I look at the photo of its fountain, my blood pressure drops.



I'd like to tell you more about my family's trip to Uzes, but my daughters have asked that I not blog about the city. Why? They want it to remain our little secret and are afraid it will be overrun with tourists. (Yes, they know they qualified as tourists there.)



Because my girls asked nicely, I won't write about Uzes. The two weeks, Hubs and I spent with our adult daughters in France reminded me of something I used to know but had forgotten: it's their vacation, too.



Parents of toddlers through teens chose locales and plan activities that entertain and educate their kids--while tiring them out. But as our children turn into adults and begin to share our interests, it's easy to forget that a few shared interests don't make our offspring clones of us.



Or so the Pont du Gard taught me.






The Pont du Gard is a bridge/aqueduct built by the Romans almost 2,000 years ago. It's part of a thirty-mile aqueduct system that delivered water from Uzes to Nimes for roughly 600 years. Two thousand years ago! (That explanation point tells you all you need to know about my reaction to the Pont du Gard.)



Near the bridge, Hubs and I went one way, and the girls went another after we agreed to meet in two hours.



Hubs and I walked over the Pont du Gard, looked up at it from the river and climbed a small hill to look down at it. Later, in the site's museum, we marveled at displays that showed how the Romans tunneled through hills, quarried and transported local stone and set it into place, using almost no mortar. Pulleys, cranes, and treadmills showed what everyday work at the site would have been like. At the replica of a quarry, a "pick, pick, pick" sound brought the scene to life. Reader, I spent more than an hour in the first century AD.



"This is one of the best museums I've ever seen," said Hubs. Too quickly, it was time to meet the girls, so we dragged ourselves from displays of gurgling water.



Outside, the girls waved. As they approached, one of them held out something wrapped in paper. "This crepe's filled with Nutella.



Did the girls get to the museum? No. They'd checked out the gift shop and had enjoyed every minute of their coffee-and-dessert break.



I started to tell them what a jewel they'd missed but stopped. They're responsible adults with demanding jobs and little down time. Who am I to say they didn't use their hours at the aqueduct well?



As Hubs put it, "Let them eat crepes."








22 comments:

Sarah Andre said...

Your pictures are breathtaking, Pat. What a lovely vacation and I'm squirreling away the names of these towns for some day in my future!

Hate to say it but I might have gone with the crepes and gift shops too, LOL! Mmmm Nutella!

Jennette Marie Powell said...

Nutella and crepes... mmmmm....

Sometimes just settling back and watching people is the best tourism. But I'd have loved to see the aqueduct museum, too! Bummer that it's not included on our tour this summer. Thanks for sharing, Pat!

Lark Howard said...

Great story, Pat! And wonderful photos. My husband and I tend to skip a fair number of museums in favor of coffee in a sidewalk cafe or browsing in shops but we visit every chateau enroute. When we travel with other people, they sometime ask if we really need to see another chateau and get the evil eye and a resounding YES!!! from my husband. At that point, they get coffee/wine/pastries and hope there aren't more chateaux up the road.

Louise Behiel said...

pictures are great. and thanks for sharing about your journey with your daughters. Mine is a mother twice over now and I find myself watching her parent in many of the same ways I did. OOPS. some of it is great, some of it not so much but above all, I know to keep my mouth closed. not my business. It's hard, sometimes, isnt' it?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Hi, Sarah,
I admired the way the museum showed instead of told. Plus, the Pont du Gard is almost 2.000 years old! Did I say that already? The girls loved their crepes, though, and absorbed a bit of French culture with Italian Nutella. It's allan experience, right?

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Nutella and crepes are in your near future, Jennette! I can't wait to hear about your trip.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Haha, we all have must-pull-over-to-see sights. I'm with you and your husband and would brake for chateaux.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Louise, it's damn hard for me to keep my mouth shut, but I'm getting better at it. Lately, my daughters have teased me about how like my mother I am. She and I have been separated by 1400 miles for more than thirty years and only see each other two or three times a year yet share a lot of number of mannerisms and responses. If your daughter is like you, she's a remarkable woman and mother.

August McLaughlin said...

Delightful post! I swear I can smell those crepes right now. ;)

aroseisarose said...

For the record, your daughters spent plenty of time walking around and admiring the Pont du Gard. They only skipped the *museum* for crepes--and ice cream : ).

debrakristi said...

I love that, "Let them eat crepes." :)

The important thing is that a good time was had by all. It sounds like that was accomplished. We run into that already with our children and they are much younger. The husband and I forgo what we want to do to make the kids happy. We're getting used to it early on. :D

Enjoyed your post, and the pictures! Beautiful.

Coleen Patrick said...

Looks like an amazing trip--but you had me completely at Nutella!! :)

Sheila Seabrook said...

Such awesome pictures, Pat. And you're right ... the girls need to make their own holiday choices. It was just great that the four of you travelled to Paris and spent time there together. :)

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You might smell my attempt to reproduce the crepes, August. So far, my efforts lack a certain je ne sais quoi.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You're right, Arose. You and your sister only skipped the museum. What's more, the two of you seemed to get a kick out of the bridge and the Gardon River, so there! You're good daughters.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

Vacations with young kids are exhausting for parents. Debra. I feel for you and your husband. It's gets easier, though.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

You're easy, Coleen!

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I'm glad the family made this trip together, Sheila. It was a joy.

SJ Driscoll said...

I remember those nutella crepes in France! Thanks for bringing back the taste of them, Pat. Just isn't the same with pancakes.

Pat O'Dea Rosen said...

I underestimated the power of Nutella-filed crepes, Sally. Also, it seems people consider Nutella Italy's most enduring contribution to France.

Lynette M Burrows said...

Ah, I envy you the museum, the towns, AND the nutella crepes. :) Sounds like a lovely trip, Pat. Isn't it funny how being a parent changes as your child ages? I've gotten lots better at biting my tongue but facial expressions - gotta work on those.

Karen McFarland said...

Pat, I can't tell how much you and your family will recall this trip/vacation for years to come! It's such a rare privilege to have the opportunity to travel with our adult children. You enjoy each other on an entirely different level.

Say, what about those Romans, huh? We saw a similiar aquaduct just outside of Rome. It's amazing the structures they built. And the fact there still standing is testimony to their craft.

And those french crepes are soo delicious. Yummy! :)