Ndjerareou Journey

Monte Carlo, My First Story

At the end of WWII, Hitler commissioned a massive radio transmitter to be built in Monte Carlo, Monaco.   Never operational, it was donated to Trans World Radio and run by a crew of American and European engineers sending Christian radio over the Iron Curtain into the Soviet Union.  My family stepped into this story when at the age of three we left Fargo, North Dakota and joined the team on the edge of the Mediterranean.

It must have been the stark contrast from my pale American life into all that was Monaco, circa 1983. Being drenched with warmth and light and the delicious scent of foreignness. Chocolate melting on your tongue, butter sticking to your fingers, a sunburn across your neck, a blister on your heal, the crunch of the pebbles beneath your feet, the scent of baking bread, all being washed down with the gaggle of French.   Sunlight and limestone are a part of the history and character of my memories. Pale brick lined streets with laundry dancing across the line above, sun bleached Roman ruins and ancient stone fountains.

Monte Carlo, the capital of Monaco fit together like a tiny puzzle pieces clinging to a rocky beach between sea and mountain, even the beaches are simply pebbles tumbling into surrender as one melts into the other.   The tiny city state moves vertically out of the sea awash in history, provincial French life and epic opulence.

Every morning we’d wake to a rooster crowing and stroll past a Rolls Royce with a flat tire tripping down the mountain for groceries or a swim. With bare feet I’d climb trees to feast on cherries and watch the yachts lining the harbor only to be scolded by ancient leathery French women.  On warm Friday evenings our little collective would gather at the beach while the tourists tried their luck in the legendary casino. We’d picnic by the beach and catch the sounds of Frank Sinatra singing as fire works toasted the wealthy and everyone else.  This is were I developed a taste for Orangina , olives, cheese, croissants and Kinder Eggs (chocolate eggs with toys inside.)

I’ve never been back to Monaco although I’ve returned to France on several occasions. The textures of the place awakened in me a deep love of exploration. You never know what’s around the next bend. The shear visual opulence overwhelmed my young mind and taught me the joys of storytelling with your own two feet. Wandering can become a living, fairy tale adventure.

If your road leads through Monaco I have a few favorites that have stood the test of time:

Trophy to Cesar Augustus

I have memorories of giant Roman blocks larger than my father. It’s a wonder for all ages.

Jacque Cousteau Museum  

Perched on the sea cliff the museum and its giant restored sea creature skeletons left their mark on my young mind. It’s worth a stop.

Palais Du Prince- Changing of the Guard.

Monaco is a still ruled by a prince and this ceremony will have you believing in fairy tales.

The Village of Eze

Splendor of Monte Carlo’s mega yachts getting overwhelming?  Run out of cash due to parking or the casino? Head over to Eze for picturesque cobble stone streets and local parfumeries.

Someday, I’ll tell you about the time my little brother stomped on an ostrich egg, but that’s another story. . .

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The child of missionary parents, writing became a natural was to process my adventures across the world.

Ndjerareou means 'he who builds the road in Ngambai, Nate's tribal language spoken in Chad, Africa.

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  • "The Sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever."
-Jacques Cousteau
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#museeoceanographiquedemonaco #adventurestories  #adventureawaits #loveoflearning #instatravel #travelslowtravelfar #montecarlo #showthentheworld #yellowsubmarine #jacquecousteau #explore #france #thegreatescape #takethefamilyexploring
  • "I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." John 15:5
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#morningmeditation #ndjerareoujourney #eliminatehurry #soulkeeping #soulcare
  • After 25 years, my husband returned to the site of his first solo adventure in France. This wonderful family invited him in as a teenager and a family friend to be immersed in French. 
He got so much more than simply words, just as importantly he felt the bond of friendship and peace of Christ lived out in this precious family. .
The love and warmth is just as strong today and now extends to a bounty of children and grandchildren. 
The peace and laughter in this home spilled onto my children even across the language barrier they experience the gift of hospitality. .
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  • History is a symphony of echoes heard and unheard. It is a poem with events as verses." -Charles Angoff
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The Pont Du Gard is a Roman aqueduct built in 1st century AD to carry water 31 miles from a spring in Uzes to the Roman colony at Nimes. 
It's engineering is an obvious marvel, part of the wonder is simply that it's still standing. What fascinates me is how many of the rectangular, honeycomb, yellow, limestone, bricks have made it in to the ancient churches and homes all around us. Locals proudly show you the parts of the Pont that have been recycled by their ancient ancestors. Once you know what to look for you notice how many of the foundations of these local villages are built out of the building blocks of their one time conquerors.  Creative destruction at its best? .
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  • Nate travels light, especially with vacation expectations. People watching on a patio, a slow day at the beach, watching his children giggle and experience the world.  It's about all he asks for-- this year he wondered out loud if we could catch part of the Tour De France. Thanks @katetravels2 for the great setup.  A beach & the tour! A match made in heaven for family travel. 
The kids stamina has really increased, they hiked a couple of kilometers in Marseille and enjoyed watching the bikes but they also loved giving daddy an experience after receiving so many great ones in return. For Christmas years ago, Nate took Sophia (three at the time) through the Musee D'Orsay so I could linger and enjoy the Monet's,  Mattise and Renoir's. 
One of my favorite parts of family travel is when we're able to give the gift of delight to each other. We will all walk a bit longer, look a bit harder, wait in the heat just so this person can have that smile, the story they'll never forget. It's not every day and it can be as simple as waiting up for the bumper cars or hunting for endives in the market. It's a language of love that we're discovering together.

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  • So we wander into our villages festival. We've been invited warmly and hear they have a running of the bulls night.  We were not prepared. . . Nothing bonds you to the French people like a bull charging your piece of fence. We had mother's holding onto our kids belt loops pulling them away from the bull,  we even have a coffee date set up with a local family after a night of thrills with the bulls. Here's to new friends and epic adventures!  P.S. I had no idea bulls actually stomped their foot that way! Toro bull! (Watch till the end) 
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  • Had a wonderful evening of tabling, serving with and worshiping alongside these sweet people. It's always priceless to me when our paths can cross and people you've had in your home open their lives, work and hearts to you for a moment. Thank you ladies,  @epolglase @katetravels2 for the special role you play in this place. What a privilege it is to see you thriving in your calling. 
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