Girona, Spain

When we arrived at Frontignan we had no idea what we would be up to. We knew it was on the beach and that there were pink flamingos but beyond that it was a bit of a mystery. Sometimes we arrive in a place knowing all of the unmissables and sometimes we discover them as we go. So when the girls were in bed on our first night here, we started researching and realised how close we were to Spain. It was a little too enticing to pass up. One of our very good friends is from Barcelona and we had a great time there on our honeymoon all those years ago. We still hadn’t fully decided when we woke the next morning but Jordan and I looked at each other as if to say ‘why not’ and so we jumped in the car and viva la vida!- Off we went to Spain.

Even though the tolls were exorbitant (over $45 AUD ONE WAY- we took the long/ scenic route home to avoid those!), we are so glad we went. It had a vibrancy and pulse that was obvious and distinct from France and we loved it. 

We begun our tour of the city by climbing the city walls and using this as our route to the Girona Cathedral. The walls were probably a highlight for us all and we had read about an ancient toilet along the wall that kept them intrigued and excited to plough on. See if you can see it if you go. So strange and wonderful.

The girls were slightly confused when the people we passed along the walls greeted us with a friendly ‘hola!’- because for one, they were being greeted (not so frequent in France) and for two, ‘why are they not saying bon jour?’. It was a really good opportunity for them to learn about culture and language.

We descended the city walls into the beautiful Jardins de Alemanys, we could have kept going all the way to the Cathedral but we heard the impossible to resist sounds of a lone violinist performing to noone in particular in the gardens so we alighted the stairs and enjoyed the beautiful music in an equally beautiful setting. I think this area could have been my favourite. There were little alcoves surrounding a central, almost court yard with places to sit. It felt hallowed and radiant; there were friends whispering to one another in a private cathedral of stone and young lovers holding hands as if they were alone. It was beautiful. I could have stopped here and felt fulfilled and in love with this city.

Jardins de Alemanys

On to the Girona Cathedral. We had heard a legend about a witch who had been turned into a stone gargoyle on the cathedral; apparently she had been saying bad things about the church and so her punishment was to be turned to stone. Apparently you can actually see her, but we did not. We ate our lunch on the steps of the cathedral and enjoyed the beautiful surrounds.

Girona Cathedral.

Girona has been used as a setting for Game of Thrones. We love this series (we’re not die hard fans, do not own tshirts- but thought it would be cool to see!). Scenes from Braavos, King’s Landing and Old Town had been filmed there and whilst we couldn’t really recognise them, they definitely had a GoT feel to them and we were glad we did it regardless.

When you’re in Spain you must must have churros and every cafe and restaurant we passed didn’t seem to have it on the menu. We went to the tourist and spoke to the loveliest lady who told us where to find the best churros in Girona (we think, also maybe the only!) and so we headed there and the girls were totally delighted by the fact that they got an entire cup of chocolate to dip their “pretzel doughnuts” into. YUM! The place was called Montse L’Artesena (Carrer de la Cort Reial, 9) and it was gorgeous. It had a little terrace out front to sit on and the lady inside was really friendly (our girls were impressed by and maybe a little envious of the little girl working the register). We recommend!

Montse L’Artesena

Back into the car to head to Figueres, the home town of Salvadore Dali. We pre-purchased tickets to the Theatre/Museum in Girona, on advice of our tourist office friend and were glad we did; the line was huge. It cost us 14 euro each (kids were free) and we really enjoyed it. It was weird and wacky (what else would you expect?) and spectacular. Some of the exhibitions were interactive and because of their peculiarity the girls were totally enthralled. 

We had such a special day in Girona. Wish we had more time. We would have loved to check out the Costa Brava and perhaps gone on a little cruise in Roses but we didn’t feel disappointed- we had an awesome day!

Check out our IGTV video post below! 

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SURPRISE!! We went to Spain! You know those mornings when you just wake up and think, I NEED churros and sangria. From Spain! That was it! We woke up and thought fuck it! Let’s go to Spain! And in less time than it would take to drive to the nearest major city from our hometown, we were saying ‘hola!’ and searching for churros.* We walked the city walls of Girona which overlooked its classic terracotta roofs; enjoyed a solo performance from a violinist in the Jardins des Alemanys (out of necessity have started dedicating a portion of our daily budget to street performers) and dipped churros in chocolate on a terrace. We also visited the ultra extraordinary and terrifically bizarre, Salvador Dalí Theatre/Musuem in his home town and were delighted by the strange treasures within. Hasta la vista, Spainy! *Yes. We are completely aware of how charmed our life is right now. • • • • • • #thisvagrantlife #gironaspain #igtvfamilytravel #gironawithkids #roadtrippingwithkids #igtvfamilyvlogs #fulltimetravelfamily #travellingslow #roadtripping #familytraveltribe #travelbloggerslife #fulltimetraveller #gironaemociona #familytravelblog #igcatalonia #adventuresofchildren #goexplorewander #familytravelblog #gironaenamora #fulltimetravel #familytravels #travelinspo #igtv #familyadventures #familytraveltribe #neverstopexploring #liveinthemoment #instapassports #igtvtravel

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Gorges du Verdon, France

We did some research on exploring the gorge with little people in tow (always, always a factor to consider!) and had some serious, heart palpitation inducing flashbacks to driving the Cabot Trail in Canada last year where our kids yelled at us the entire time and we immediately said no to driving the famous road (which would have taken most of the day). But the thing about life and the life we are trying to lead is that no should not be the default response, so we decided to do a little more research and chatted to the tourist office person who spoke wonderful English and we came up with a (keep Sadie from becoming possessed in the car) plan. Spoiler alert: it involved ice cream and lollies- but ! (And I’m just realising this now as I’m typing) no iPad! Or any other car entertainment (other than me of course, ha!).

We’re early risers so we were out of the airbnb, equipped with fresh baguettes still warm from the boulangerie in our commune, a bag full of fresh, delicious snacks and an over exuberant, ‘I think I can, I think I can’ optimism by 8am. 

En route, we stopped by Les Salles-sur-Verdon. An interesting place, the newest village in France because in the 70s the entire town was destroyed to allow the construction of the Lac St Croix. CRAZY! Our tourist office lady told us that the new town is not very nice and the locals were still resentful and bitter about this (when we stopped for a loo break and to grab some tomatoes from the market, we felt that maybe, just maybe this could be true- SORRY Les Salles-sur-Verdon!!)

On to the Gorges, we headed straight for the pont du Galetas where we knew we would be able to rent a boat. Already, at 9.30 there were a few kayaks and paddle boats out on the gorge as we crossed over the bridge and took in the spectacular views. 

A view from the bridge – Verdon not Miller.

The colors of the lake are a magnificent emerald. It seems a little surreal; its color is so saturated and the rocky cliffs of the gorge make for an astounding and dramatic backdrop.

We rented boats from Etoille right over the bridge at the gorge. There is a sign on the side of the road just beyond the bridge, you can’t miss them as you can see the boats as you drive. We decided on an electrical boat for two hours which set us back a cool 80 Euro (and included life jackets for the girls). You can rent 4-6 person paddle boats for 20 Euro an hour but it is tough to make it to the end of the gorge and back in this time and we were palpably aware that all of the things with kids take longer (especially with crazed three year old drivers who think they own the water way (and the sole right to drive!). 


The electrical boats weren’t ready until 10.30 so we took a walk back to the bridge (there’s a little path that was kind of rocky but many were pushing prams and strollers easily) and we took in the spectacular view.

By the time we got back to the boat rental place, there was a solid line and we were glad we had arrived early and didn’t have to wait. We packed our baguettes and cooler bag to make a picnic along the way, even though you’re not supposed to stop along the gorge. Or swim, or jump according to the signs but Europeans don’t follow rules and we’re here for an immersive experience!!

We genuinely didn’t have time to think about lunch on our 2 hour cruise though, we were so happy taking in the landscape of the gorge, swimming (the water is FREEZING!) and watching the young and uninhibited climb the precarious and rocky face of the gorge and dive into the water… Sadie wanted to have a go. We did not let her. 

Afterwards we picnicked right by where we had rented the boat and then took a drive around towards the beautiful village of Moustiers Sainte Marie, which gave us some insight into the views we would have had on the half day drive. We would have loved to stop in Moustiers Saint Marie- it looked delightful but there were no parks, the girls were napping happily in the back and ain’t nobody want to mess with that/poke the bear(s).

We’re really glad we got there early and snagged the first fleet of electric boats, it meant not having to kill time, wait in a huge line or grapple with the huge afternoon crowds.

We had the most wonderful day and highly recommend this as a family adventure.

Check out our video below!

Yay for the GORGEOUS Gorges!

Lyon, France

Lyon, France

… Began with a dismal forecast of ‘wet and cold’… and it was really, ‘wet and cold’ and I had left my jumper (my only jumper) at the airport in Hong Kong (just to be clear: that is on the way to begin our year of travel, not during… I am the reason I can’t have nice things).

We started at La Basilique Notre Dame de Fourvière and actually I think it is one of the most beautiful cathedrals I’ve seen (I’ve seen a lot!). Walking out, Rosie asked hordes of questions that got a little complex (we are not religious, but spiritual and happy to help the girls explore the important ideas in the world) and Sadie, earnest (EAR.NEST!) in her attempts to interrupt, posed her own question:

 “but but BUT! Why did John Lemon get shot??”

Ummm. Yep! The important things.

After the Roman Ruins, which we found pretty cool, we made a beeline for the famous, ‘Les Halles de Lyon- Paul Bocuse’. This area is renowned for its culinary prowess and we had a guilty chuckle as we handed the girls a round of brown bread, turkey and cheese sangas whilst we perused the halls for lunch. 

I had tabouleh and this wee thing called a timbale de courgette au parmesan (I believe this is French for crustless quiche with zucchini and parmesan cheese… doesn’t have quite the same allure in English though, does it?). Jordan had salmon – Canadians can’t say no to salmon.


And of course- MACARONS. I bought 4 (with the complete awareness that 1/4 members of our party is deathly allergic to nuts and also kind of owes me for being such a legendary wife, so…), 4.

2 x chocolate and 2 x caramel butter (I had one of each but possibly enjoyed the caramel more as I didn’t have to quickly shove it in my mouth and inhale whilst eagle-eyed, freshly addicted macaron-lovers enquired constantly as to wha would be the fate of the remaining macaron).

With full tummies we had one last thing to check off the list: the Traboules de Lyon; secret, covered passageways that form a continuous passage throughout the city. Built in the 1800s for the silk traders to get around quickly they also helped Lyon avoid total Nazi occupation during WW2. You can imagine how intrigued the girls were… we had to look for a symbol on a door, push the door and see if it opened (spoiler: we pushed a lot of doors). We found the longest Traboules and walking through this was the highlight of the day for the girls who did not once demand ice cream afterwards (our new measure of good parenting!).

Secret passages of Lyon