Oh I am about to bust!
I just secured our gite for our 30th anniversary trip to Provence.  It's the courtyard studio in a 16th century house in the village of Lourmarin.

The village of Lourmarin
The entrance to the studio

The kitchen - this is my dream kitchen.  I wanted this gite just for that sink!

The courtyard - a big plus is no plastic furniture.  I couldn't believe how many gites had nasty white plastic outdoor furniture. 
So now I'm working on flights and a car.  We'll fly into Marseille and rent a car.  Lourmarin is about an hour north.  It's within easy driving distance to the beach at Cassis, bigger cities Aix en Provence, Avignon, and Arles.  Oh my I'm hyperventilating......

We've been talking about going to Europe for most of our 30 years together.  We decided that for our 30th anniversary we were finally going to get our back sides in gear and actually GO.  Trouble is, where to start?  If you've never traveled, never been to Europe, where do you start?  We've been waffling back and forth for - well it seems like forever.  It was going to be Paris, for sure.  Then we thought, gosh the Scottish highlands would be really amazing ... standing stones and old abbeys and castles.  Then, no it should be Paris.  Then we thought maybe our first time we should head to an English speaking country ... London it is.  

Thing is, our anniversary is in July - high season for just about everywhere and I do mean high.  So I was cruising around looking at flights and looking at the British Airways site.  They had a lovely and very enlightening graph of flight prices over the coming months.  Turns out if we could travel in April or May, our flights would be about 1/3 less.  So that got me to thinking again.  Dave's semester ends in mid-May so maybe we could just shift our trip forward a couple of months - yes! 

We were still thinking London when we saw a travel show on PBS.  We've watched Rudy Maxa's Smart Travels and have rarely been the least bit inspired.  Then last week, there was an episode on Provence, et voila' ... we found our destination.  (noticing a bit of synchronicity here?)  I fell into a full on spell of OCD and spent the next couple of days glued to the computer looking for a perfect place to land.  At first I was thinking little stone cottage out a bit from a town.  Let me just say that there's hundreds of possibilities - I know.  Thursday, Dave brought home some guidebooks from the library.  Then Friday I absolutely needed to buy a couple of Provence specific guides (OCD still in full swing).  Not my favorite thing, but I dashed over to Barnes & Noble (5 minutes away rather than dealing with downtown parking and crowds to go to the preferred independent bookseller) and came home with two - Rick Steves' Provence and Frommer's Provence & Riviera Day-by-Day.

From my on-line searches, I had bookmarked several possibilities in a rather far-flung area and had found a couple of beautiful in-town studio rentals.  Friday afternoon was just lovely and, come evening, we headed to the porch for a pint and some guidebook perusing.  That's when we hit on Lourmarin.  Turns out one of my favorite gites was there.  Also turns out it's where Peter Mayle (Year in Provence) lives and where part of A Good Year was filmed and lord knows what else - short translation - heaven on earth (for us anyway).

Goodness, I am really just prattling on here.  Did I mention I was excited?  Okay, I'll stop with a couple more pictures ....

The village at night

A daytime look down one of the streets

I would love to hear if anyone has travel advise or words of wisdom or anything you'd like to share to a virgin traveler.  Finally, my passport is going to get stamped!  I've got two months to work on my French and plan my wardrobe and dream and visualize. 

I'm just trying to remember to breathe. 

so many blessings ... kvk