Pittsburgh, PA--- Well, after over a year of planning, we have finally reached the eve of our big Europe/Israel adventure. We leave Pittsburgh at 1:00 tomorrow afternoon and fly to JFK, where we'll have a 4:50 flight to Paris. If all goes according to plan, we should arrive in Charles de Gaulle at about 6:00 Wednesday morning (Paris time), and then we'll get our bags, try to get our phone straightened out (thanks, Dom!), and catch a train to Marseille. We reserved a hostel in Marseille for two nights, so we can sleep off our jet lag and see a bit of the city. Ben is especially looking forward to seeing a famous Le Corbusier designed building, and I am excited to see the old port and harbor area.
On Friday morning, March 5, we plan to depart via train and bus to our first WWOOF farm, located between Cannes and Grasse in southeastern France, close to the Mediterranean Sea and the French Riviera. We originally contacted farms in the entire south of France, but all of the ones in the West wrote back that it is too cold in early March; there would not be enough for us to do. The farm we are going to, Mas Barbeas, is run by a husband and wife, Toni and Gabrielle. From our email correspondence, we expect to help rebuild some stairs and prepare their gardens for planting, but I'm sure there's more in store for us. We will have to update once we get there! We plan to stay until March 22, when we return to Paris for our March 23 flight to Tel Aviv. We'll then be in Israel for three weeks before returning to France for our second WWOOF stint, this time likely in southwestern France, specifically near Toulouse and Bordeaux. Then it will be back to Paris on May second for the entire month of May! After much of Ben's hard work and both of our patience, we have booked an apartment in Paris!!! Tres bien, non? That's as far as we've really planned so far, except for our return flight from London on July 6. The rest of our time will include a visit from Ben's family, a third WWOOF farm, and a UK sampling when our 90 days in France (allowed on a short-stay visa) are up.
I, for one, am ready to stop thinking about the trip and start living it. I am a little anxious about all that lies ahead but mostly excited to get started and make some memories. We should have internet for the majority of our travels and will try to keep the blog updated and respond to emails. Thank you to all of our friends and family members who are making this trip possible. We hope everyone will keep in touch!