Living with intent, social engagement, learning, growing, giving
Our charming café owner in Cagnes Sur Mer suggested that we take a day trip to Antibes to see the old town. The friendly American women on the bus home from Saint Paul de Vence had said the Picasso museum there is great for kids. The trains still weren’t running after the flood, which meant no train ride to Monaco or Italy, so we decided to catch a bus to Antibes for a day trip instead.
The bus was very crowded and when we finally got off my husband went to the tourist information centre while I played in the park with our children.
We walked to the old town of Antibes via the marina where we ignored the luxury yachts to gaze instead at the elegant fort on the headland.
We wandered around the old town in the direction of the farmer’s markets. We bought some wonderful Italian olives and kept walkingin search of coffee. We tried to sit in a vegan restaurant but were told that they don’t serve coffee without a meal so we kept walking until we found a square with cafés and a big children’s play ground. Anyone with children knows that this is the Holy grail!
After coffee we headed towards the other play ground on the eastern side of the old town and passed outside the nice and well maintained area into a very lived in part of town. Hunger crept up on us and we were reminded yet again that traveling with children is always dominated by a stream of needs and it’s actually difficult to do anything except cater to those needs in unknown terrain.
We found a great café that is run by one man and was popular with locals. The decor was attractive and modern. The coffee machines were huge Nespresso machines with a display of a variety of capsules. The food was pre prepared but interesting, nutritious and tasty with a range of great salads. Behind the counter was an electric frying pan with something looking like meatballs in a tomato sauce. I ordered 2 salads, three servings of the meatballs and 3 baguettes. The meatballs were amazing and turned out to be the best meal we had in France.
The play ground was on the seaside and our children had a nice time. Next door was the archaeology museum, housed in a bastion of the town wall.
We tried our best to engage our children in the archaeology exhibition but it is not easy to do when everything was outside their paradigms and experience. We did our best and then became enthralled ourselves and forgot about our children until we rememberedthat we didn’t have travel insurance and we couldn’t even imagine the value of the irreplaceable artifacts. Our children are very well behaved but the risk was too worrying so I abandoned my own exploration of the exhibition and trailed them closely.
We walked on to the Picasso museum and decided to divide and rule because our children were starting to aggravate each other. My son was very engaged and interested in the artwork on the first 2 floors but by the time that we reached the 3rd floor and the works by Picasso he was disengaged and perhaps over stimulated because he became increasingly unwieldy and we escaped to the sculpture garden.
The bus on the way home was even more crowded than usual and we managed to squeeze our children into the space between seats. The traffic was very heavy and the bus barely moved.
We had a lovely time in Cote d’Azur and we can easily imagine retiring there one day. We realised that we need to plan fun activities for our children on future holidays. I remember that the most fun things I did as a child were activities like windsurfing, horse-riding, water skiing, snow skiing etc. We have to stop expecting our children to enjoy traveling and build fun experience for them into our plans!