June 28, 2023
We finally made it to the destination we started at so many days ago, Paris! After a smooth travel day we checked into the Hostel and began to collect our things for a quick exploratory night on the town.
Later on, Emma, one of the LODs, decided we should go to a Mexican restaurant, Bocamexa. Walking around the streets of Paris flooded back memories of the first day, and we started to reminisce on our whole trip together. Dinner was a short 10 minute walk away, and on the way we learned how to travel like a Parisian, always looking out for cyclists. After arriving at our dinner spot, we quickly ordered because of our familiarities with good ole’ fashioned Mexican food. Mae decided to get some more Nachos and Cheese after ordering her entree, only to find out that we had eaten all of the cheese!
After dinner, Miles suggested that we go to a local garden that he had raving reviews about. Walking over, we sadly realized that the garden was closed. Our luck turned in our favor as we realized we were right near the River Seine. Walking down to the banks, the views quickly made up for the closed garden. Sitting on the walls of the canal, we waved at many ferries that passed us by as they made their way around the river. After many pictures and more laughter, we started to make our way down the river to try and get a view of the Cathedral of Notre Dame. As we started our walk, we heard music coming from somewhere nearby. Wondering where it had come from, Daviss followed the sound to find a group of Parisians dancing on the bank of the river. He ran back, and made a quick bet with the other boys and Ella to come join him in dancing by the river. With the choice of classical or tango, everyone chose tango and started to dance like no one was watching, even though everyone around us was. After encouraging laughs, Daisy showed her skills by dancing with the boys and instructing them on how to do the southern shag.Dancing finished, we started our walk towards the Îlle de La Cité where the Notre Dame cathedral was located. When we got to the chapel, we were all shocked to see the extent of the damage from the fire a few short years ago. We explored the art exhibit put on by NatGeo that shows the renovations process and everyone was fascinated by it all. We continued wandering while looking for our next our Moonup spot and surprise surprise, we found ourselves back at the rivers edge. On a soft grassy spot surrounded by runners, bikers, music, and lively conversation, we settled down and began to reminisce on our time well spent throughout the trip. To end the night, we played a fun round of hot seat. Each student had the opportunity to answer questions their friends asked them and in turn get to know more about each other before the last day. We had an early night in order to prepare for a full day ahead.
Bright eyed and bushy tailed, the group set off early the next morning to find a bakery or boulangerie for breakfast and filled up with fresh baked croissants and coffee. We wove in and out of the cities streets while steadily making our way to the main part of town. Due to the early hour, most places of interest were closed so the Garden du Luxembourg was our first stop. We spent some time walking down the luscious tree lined walkways and people watching as the sun rose higher in the sky. Larken decided the group should split into two groups so that the girls could look for some light shopping in boutiques and the boys explored the 2nd hand stores. We all met back up at the Louvre, after taking pictures of course, and worked out way back to the gardens to eat our sandwiches and pastries. To Johns delight, ice cream was the groups next goal so we sauntered off in search. After accidentally getting gelato (Whoops!) we decided to go back to the hostel to have some rest time to prepare before the nights final festivities.After we had Martha’s assistance to set up a reservation at a small restaurant near the Eiffel Tower, we took the metro back into the heart of Paris. Walking out of the metro station, it was two blocks until we had our first real view of the tower, WOW! Everyone was amazed, and the main question on everyone’s mind was “Is the tower really that tall??”, and the answer was yes! After walking past the tower, we turned down a few side streets to arrive to our final banquet dinner, the Cafe de le Mars. We all took a seat at the table in order to round out our awesome trip. Burgers, zucchini salad, flank steaks, pork ribs, bruschetta, and bread were plentiful, and we left feeling quite full and happy after our last full meal together.We began to walk back to the Eiffel tower, and decided on a spot on the lawn for a classic view of the tower in all its glory. After an hour of hanging out, listening to music, and many headstand attempts we decided, to Vivi’s dismay, to venture to the Top of the Eiffel Tower. After sitting through security we got some more bad news that the actual top of the tower had been closed for some unknown reason. This beside, we still decided to at least walk up to the 2nd “floor”. After sitting in line, the signs were changed and almost magically, the top was opened back up. The excitement started to rise as we hiked up the many stairs to the second floor, where an elevator awaited us to take us to the top. As we started our quick journey in the elevator, the lights on the tower started to twinkle. It was extremely fitting for our adventure to end doing something as cool as how we started. The top was just as astonishing as everyone says it is. We luckily arrived just in time for sunset, so we watched as it sunk below the horizon and the City of Light (and twinkles!).
After an hour or so on Top, we made our descent off the tower. Getting through the exit gates, the girls, fiercely led by Caroline decided to get crepes as a final street food snack. Our final Moonup commenced under the stars with a brilliant view of the tower from the front lawn. We spent just enough time on the lawn talking about what we will take with us from the trip to see the twinkle of the Eiffel Tower one last time. After a late night, we decided to metro to the hostel to try and get some shut eye before we had to depart.
It was a hard morning as the kids begrudgingly blinked open their eyes and packed their bags to head to the airport. Because we’re all professional metro riders now, the transport was easy going and we reached Charles de Gaulle with plenty of time to spare. Drew and I are already missing all of your lovely faces and wishing everyone a safe and speedy flight home. Until next time!
Daisy and Drew
June 26, 2023
Good morning from Chamonix! We started our trek bright and early this morning in the Alps and made our way through 3 countries, Italy, France, and Switzerland! It took us a second to regain our hiking legs but when we did, we sped off and conquered our first pass which took us across the border into Switzerland. Ella was happy to claim she had lunch in 2 different countries. We arrived at our first lodging, Hotel Edelweiss, and collapsed onto our bunks for a nap before exploring the town of La Fouly. During our grocery run, we came across John snacking on some sweets outside. Once we were all cleaned up for dinner, we ate soup, ratatouille, rice with chicken, and ice cream cake for dessert. After an unforgettable Moonup, we all said goodnight and fell asleep early.
The next day after a good night’s sleep and a filling breakfast, we started our walk to the beautiful mountain lake town of Champex. We needed the extra fuel today because not only did we crush a 35% incline section we also trekked 15 Kms. WOW. Afterwards, Larken decided that everyone deserved a nice refreshing swim in an alpine lake so we jumped in even in the light rain. We had some hot drinks inside a restaurant nearby to dry off and warm by the fire before continuing on. After the rain passed, we started through a gorgeous green forest and emerged with a gorgeous view of the snowy mountains! At the bottom was our hostel for the night, Relais d’Arpette. The group dropped their packs and took off frolicking through the meadow with Emma right up front, what better way to end a hard day of trekking. For dinner, we all shared rice with Indian curry, a carrot salad with homage dressing, and a fruit salad mix for dessert. After a Moonup filled to the brim with Belly laughter, we fell asleep for another night of good rest.
We awoke up to a filling breakfast and a good laugh as Xavier, our guide, accidentally shattered a glass bowl. We then started our day towards the town of Trient. After a short descent, we started to ascend again into a beautiful alpine meadow that reminded everyone of the Sound of Music. We strolled past huge drifts of snow and ice and crossed several glacial rivers. At the top of the northern half of the tour du Mont Blanc we stopped for lunch at a cottage that seemed to float in the clouds. This cottage also happened to sell cakes and snacks. We sat down at a table to eat our spread of sandwiches and shared each flavor of cake. Mae was feeling generous and got some extra slices for the girls. The hike was downhill from there, so we soared. Everyone was grateful for the weight of lunch now being off our backs and into our belly’s. Our next lodging was a homey spot in the valley between 2 mountains. Auberge Mont Blanc served us soup, salad, and large pots of fondue and potatoes for dinner that Miles graciously helped us finish. We had our Moonup with the best view in the valley and headed in to bed.
Today could not have been more scenic. Even after 2.5 weeks, the views continue to amaze us. We hiked straight up to the pass and back into France today, barely noticing the elevation gain. Martha crushed today, making it her personal mission to conquer the mountain. On the way up Daviss started a quick snow ball fight that ended when we saw how close we were to the pass. At the top of the pass, we had our first real view of Mont Blanc and decided to have lunch right where we stopped. The crew unloaded their packs and settled in, grabbing some treats from old cafe. After pictures, handstands, and some playtime, we headed down into the Chamonix Valley. Everyone took in their last looks of the mountains from up close and we arrived in Le tour. The hostel was buzzing with hikers, so we headed for a quick ice cream break before showering and a good game of cards led by Caroline. We were fed an amazing meal starting with gazpacho and a local dish called Tartiflette that had potatoes, cheese, and bacon. Tonight was our last Moonup with Xavier and he shared how grateful he was to have been a part of our special group.
As we left the mountains today, we had some time to reflect on our favorite moments of hiking before entering the town of Chamonix. We had a shorter day of hiking but more time to explore this new alpine town! Lucky for us, the Tour du Mont Blanc marathon was going on today so we got to cheer on the runners as they crossed the finish line. We had our final meal with Xavier at PoCo Loco and ate our burgers in the grass and then took off for some time to explore. Unintentionally, we all found ourselves lining the sides of the streets as runners finished the marathon through the city. There were drums and people cheering so we all joined in with the celebration. We had some rest time at the hostel to catch up on some sleep and then had dinner at a pizza food truck. All pizzas were finished in record time, and we wandered off to find some dessert and a nice Moonup spot. After our second ice cream stop of the day, we found a great spot to Moonup in a park next to a beautiful sculpture. Vivi led our last Mountain Moonup starting with the quickest round of Human Knot any of us had seen to open up the “stuck”nug jug. This was followed by a very special round of Toasting, where we went around the circle and showered each other with genuine compliments. It truly was an amazing way to end our days in the Alps and shows just how amazing our group truly is. We can’t even begin to say how excited we are for Paris!
Daisy + Drew
Thank yous from the kids!!!
Mae – thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to go on this trip. it’s been a once in a lifetime trip!! Love you, Mae
Ella- Thank you so much for giving me the opportunity to explore the Pyrenees and Alps. It’s been a great few weeks. Love and miss you, Ella
Larken- Thank you Mom and Dad for this amazing experience!! I had the absolute best time in Europe! Love and miss y’all, Larken
Martha- Thank you so so much for this incredible opportunity you have given me. I had such a fabulous time hiking in the Pyrenees, Alps, and sea kayaking off the coast of Spain. I miss you and can’t wait to see you soon! Love, Martha
John – Thank you Mom and Dad so much for allowing me to be able to go on this amazing trip and spend my summer in the Alps and Pyrenees! I can’t wait to see you both in a couple of days! Love you guys!
Vivi- Thank you Mom and Dad for sending me on this trip! It’s has been absolutely amazing and I am so grateful! Love you both and see you soon!!
Caroline- Thanks mom and dad for sending me on this amazing trip!! It has been the trip of a lifetime and I am having so much fun! Love you and I am so grateful!!
Emma- Thank you mom and dad for giving me this amazing opportunity! It has been so much fun!!! I love and miss you so much! Can’t wait to see you soon!
Miles- Thank y’all so much for sending me on this awesome trip. It’s been a ton of fun and I really appreciate getting the opportunity to come here. I’ve made tons of sick memories and can’t wait to see y’all!
Daviss- Mom and Dad I can’t say thank y’all enough for how much of an awesome trip this has been. I’ve made some amazing memories and can’t wait to see y’all at home.
June 20, 2023
Hola family and friends!
Today, we started our break from trekking and headed to L’Escala Spain for our sea kayaking section on Costa Brava! After our long day of travel from Luz st Sauveur, we got off the bus and began the acclimation process into the hot and humid weather of the coast. Larken led the crusade to the beach the moment we arrived. After a few hours of sun and sand, we hit the supermarket for our first night of cooking. The boys started out our first night of cooking with spaghetti with your choice of meat sauce or pesto. It was delicious! After a great Moonup on Drew and Daisy’s Porch, we fell asleep in our bungalows, set to have a great day on the beach again the next day.
After sleeping in and relaxing all morning, a large American-style breakfast filled with eggs, bacon, and toast was cooked before we traveled to the beach. We layered up with sunscreen, filled our water bottles, and found a spot on the beach to settle down. We found a ball and it entertained us in the water throughout the day. When we’d all been exhausted by the sun, we headed to a restaurant for lunch to regain our energy for the afternoon. John excitedly suggested ice cream for dessert and not one person was against the decision. We headed home to our bungalows happy and full for some nap time, laundry, and several intense games of cards. Martha, Mae, and Caroline cooked us an incredible steak and veggie stir fry with gyoza for dinner, and we finished the night off with Moonup on the playground.
Our first day of sea kayaking finally arrived! Before our first paddle, we had a lesson from our sea kayaking guide Albért on the basics of staying safe and paddling in the sea. We started in Tamariu and followed the coastline into massive caves and around gorgeous rock walls of the Mediterranean. After entering the largest cave in Spain in our kayaks, we paddled to a beach for lunch and snorkeling. The sandwiches went quickly, and the Nutella went even quicker. Miles immediately went for the snorkels and traveled around the coast as everyone else finished up lunch. After relaxing, we decided to kayak back through the worsening wind. After a tough paddle back through a small Mediterranean swell, we made it back to the beach together just in time to take taxis back to our campsite. The last bungalow was up to cook, and Vivi, Larken, and Emma decided to make fajita burrito bowls. Post-dinner activities included an eventful game of Shmodus where Ella showed us her skills and talented poker face. After another meaningful Moonup, we rounded out another day and hit the hay.
Day two of sea kayaking began close to our bungalows at Montgo Beach. The weather seemed uncertain at first, but as we paddled and explored, the sun slowly peeked through. We had just finished a tasty lunch of tortillas with Nutella, PB, granola, and apples with fresh lemonade as a light drizzle started up. It didn’t last long so we got back into our kayaks to leave right as Daviss showed us his attempted roll practice. The choppier waves on the way back required some strong paddling, but it didn’t stop anyone from enjoying the sights and the sea. When we returned to the beach, the sun had finally come out, so the girls stayed and played while the boys went back to the bungalows for a game of hacky sack. Tonight was our cooking class so we got ready to chef it up at restaurant Moroko. We were happily greeted by our chefs, and they showed everyone around the kitchen space giving out jobs and instructions. After a fair amount of chopping, stirring, spreading, and tasting, everyone sat down to enjoy the fruits of their labor. Our spread included roasted lettuce salads, guacamole with salmon tartare, local tomato bread, and seafood gumbo. To cap off the cooking class, we were surprised with a delicious Oreo crepe. After our final Moonup at our campsite, we fell asleep early for a sunrise swim the next morning.
Waking up at 5:45am and rushing to the beach to watch our cloudy “sunrise,” a few of us took a quick last dip in the Mediterranean. Walking back to the campsite included a lot of reflection and laughter as we remembered our good times in Costa Brava. We are so excited for the last full activity, trekking the Tour du Mont Blanc!
See you soon!
Daisy and Drew!!
June 16, 2023
Bonjour family and friends!
After our arrival in Paris, we took a train to the mountain town of Lourdes, France. Our first morning, we took a stroll to a French boulangerie for breakfast and feasted on chocolate croissants and baguettes. Next, the LODs decided on taking a quick hike up to Pic du Jer. While walking up the trail, John told us a story about a cow that had everyone belly laughing the entire way up the hike. After looking at the beautiful view over the city, we hurried down to get some authentic French cuisine. Martha showed off one of her many talents with fluent French by helping us with the menu and ordering for us. After a quick Moonup, it was time to go to bed to prepare for trekking in the Pyrenees!
Our mountain guide Matthieu was at our hotel bright and early at 8:00 ready to start our journey. The trek began with some rain, but the energy and high spirits of the group kept us going until the sun came out. Mae led the way up the trail to see our first mountain pass which blew everyone away. We then found our way to our first Refugio and settled into our rooms. Emma surprised everyone with lots of friendship bracelet string which kept the group entertained until our hearty dinner of spaghetti, quiche, and chocolate pudding.
After our first French breakfast at a refuge, we started our trek to the village of Gavarnie. On our way, we ran into lots of French shepherds with their cows, and Larken was blown away at finally seeing some and was begging to pet one. Unfortunately, we had to keep moving to the village, where we took a small break and began our ascent towards our refuge. Vivi led the charge up the hill, and after a long walk up, we finally made it to our beautiful mountain refuge. Lots of mafia was played on the rocks behind our lodging and we even got a musical performance from Matthieu and his recorder. That night, we had another great taste of French cuisine. We filled our bellies with veggie soup, pate and bread, pasta, and homemade pan a cotta with blueberry sauce!
With a big day ahead of us, we fueled up at breakfast and headed down the mountain towards Circe du Gavarnie. Today, we crossed a variety of landscapes including forests, valleys, rivers, and even climbed up towards a 422meter waterfall (but not too close)! The rain came shortly after, and we descended into the valley towards Gavarnie and our next Refugio. Miles kept us entertained through the storm with rhyming games and when it came time for lunch, we stopped right outside town in a green meadow. Before heading to the Refugio, the girls found a little creperie in town and had a sweet treat before dinner. At dinner, we were served a massive trout, and Daviss volunteered to finish off most of the leftovers with a strong push, even though his stomach was full!
Waking up early, we started our journey up and over the Port of Bujaruello into our first new country, Spain! We had a history lesson from our guide as we descended into the valley and encountered the first sights of snow. Everyone enjoyed being able to slide down the slope and give their legs a short break. At the bottom of the mountain, a crisp mountain stream was a sweet surprise for our sore legs. Caroline boldly leapt into the water with others following shortly after. Drenched and refreshed, we retired to Refugio de Bujaruelo for warm showers and a hot meal. We finished off the large plates of pasta carbonara and steak with frites and headed off to bed!
Our Spanish breakfast was drastically different than the French ones, packed with eggs and ham, sweet bread, and muffins. Today was an especially hard push to our next Refugio but the group remained determined. Spirits stayed high as the girls belted T-Swift at the top of their lungs! We outran the rain that followed us across the valley and up the mountain until we saw a beautiful waterfall in the deepest valley in Europe. Near the end of our walk, we even saw mountain goats high up in the cliffs. Our Refugio for the night was at the base of the tallest Limestone peak in the Pyrenees, Monte Perdido. After a large meal of chickpea soup and beef veggie stew, we went to bed, prepared to walk further into Spain!
A very long walk was a head of us, so after another Spanish breakfast and a very nice compliment from the Refugio owner about our group respect for others, we began our trek. Starting out, it was very hard because of the rain and wind, but the double rainbow that arched above us for the entirety of the descent into the valley helped all of us down. 16km later, we were in the small Spanish village of Torla. After waiting for Siesta to end, we explored the town and got some treats from the bakery down the street. A late dinner was followed by a speedy Moonup to end off the day in bed as soon as possible to rest up for the next day!
Our last full day of trekking was upon us, so we stuffed our packs after breakfast and began walking. Thankfully, we had more of a fun leisurely stroll to start out and spent some time soaking up the sun next to a river since we had some extra minutes to spare. At our next break spot, Ella joined Daisy in the grass for some yoga to stretch and rejuvenate before the last big push of the hike. We crossed back over into France and after a brief walk along the ridge, were greeted with big smiles from our guides at the buses ready to bring us to Hotel de Cimes in Luz. We spent the rest of the day exploring Luz St. Sauveur and had pizzas for dinner in the town park. To finish out our first section, we sat together and reflected at a chapel on the top of a hill looking out over Luz before heading in for a good night’s rest before our next adventure!!
We are so excited for what is to come next!
Talk soon, Daisy and Drew
Mae – hey family! We just hiked the Pyrenees and it was so beautiful. Special shout-out to baby and GIRLLL! Happy Father’s Day dad, I will have a gift when I come back! Love you – bye
Ella- Hey! We are having so much fun in the mountains. Love you and miss you!
Caroline- hey!! We just finished hiking the Pyrenees and it was so much fun! Also happy Father’s Day dad! Love and miss y’all!!
Larken- Hey guys! I’m having sooo much fun! The Pyrenees are so beautiful! Happy Father’s Day dad! Hiii Clark!! Love y’all see you soon!
Emma- Hey family! We just finished our hiking section in the Pyrenees. It is so pretty here! I miss y’all so much!! Happy Father’s Day dad! Love y’all!!!
Vivi- Hey y’all! The Pyrenees are amazing!! We’re going to Costa Brava tomorrow and I’m so excited! Can’t believe how fast it’s going. Happy Fathers Day Dad and Grandad!! Love you all!
Daviss- Hey everyone, it’s me. We just got done with our Pyrenees and we’re excited to head to Costa Brava. Happy Father’s Day Dad and miss everyone at home! Love y’all!Big D
Miles- Hey guys, lots of fun in cool mountains. Also, happy Father’s Day. Love y’all!
Martha- Hi family! I am having such a blast in the Pyrenees mountains, but miss y’all so much. Happy Father’s Day. Love you!
John- Hey guys! Love you guys so much and happy Father’s Day! And just a warning but apparently the bolts on my car are loose from last crew practice.
June 7, 2023
Hello Chamonix Families!
We heard from our leaders this morning and the group has landed safely in France! The trip is off to a great start, and we cannot wait to hear more stories from their adventure.
Please remember our leaders and students will be unplugged during their trips but we will be posting up to three trip updates throughout the next couple of weeks! This will allow you to follow along with the trip and the students will also give a special shout out mid-way through! You can also follow us on Instagram, @moondanceadventures, to see more of what we are up to this summer!