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Ray's World Adventures 2000

W0W! Another France Adventure!
The 4th Air & Wind International Kite Festival, Frejus France

 Ray with Katy I love performing in France in their kite festivals. Wow! This is my 3rd full sponsored trip to the South of France this kite season. Their festivals are so family oriented and very well organized. You know what is going on at all times, and there is never is any shortage of spectators who turn out by the thousands to support their kite festivals. The French really show their appreciation, especially to the International guests, and if you like great food, excellent wines, beautiful beaches, beautiful women, "and the men are not that bad either" :-) plus more than their share of sunshine and one of the most picturesque coastlines running along side the awesome Blue Mediterranean, then this is the place for you. It is no wonder why the movie stars, and the Rich and famous, and Europeans spend there vacations on the French Riviera. One of the things I really get a kick out of is watching the French people in the Towns and Cities walking, catching a cab or a bus, carrying fresh 2-foot long French loaves of bread under their arms.

France is a land where gastronomy flourishes. I have mentioned a few times in my articles, that I am just a plain food eater, but having been spoiled with the French cuisine so many times, has changed all that, after sitting down to 3 course lunches, and 4 course dinners washed down with excellent vintage wines, it is hard to get back to the wife's bread and point meals. :-(

Frejus is a very pretty sea side town just 30 a minutes drive from the City of Nice. The Air and Wind 4th International kite festival is held at Frejus Grand Natural Public Park called Base Nature. From 1911 to 1994 it was an Air and Navy Ministry Defense Base, this 150 acre Park is ideal for every kind of sport and recreational activity. The wide open space is perfect for kite flying, as the wind can blow from any direction causing no problems at all.

There were kite flyers from Spain, Italy, Hungary, Chili, Switzerland, Belgium, Columbia, Germany etc. There were also National kite flyers from all over France. It was great flying and spending prime time with so many of the flyers that I have shared the flying arenas in festivals around the world. The organizer, Jose Vicent and his team of volunteers did a tremendous job. The demonstration arena was never empty for a minute with demonstrations from single line, sport kite flyers, Individual Pairs and Teams that had the spectators, there in the hundreds, spell bound. The wind was a little light in the early morning but by 11am the sky was a mass of color with kites of every description. The weather was cooperating with clear sunny sky on both days of the festival -- we were very lucky. After all, this was November -- a few days before the festival they had some of the worst storms along the coast that they could remember. The festival was a huge success and the National sport kite competitions were right on with their schedule. The winners took home some great trophies -- they surely had their work cut out earning them, as the French are great flyers, and very tough competitors.

I was taking good care of by the sponsors. I wanted for nothing -- great food, as I have already mentioned, the accommodations at the Hotel L' Oasis were super. The owners, Isabelle Taillee and Gabriel Specht are terrific hosts. The hotel guests came first in every way, I was really spoiled, and loved it. I highly recommend their establishment and I hope I will be staying there again next year. I think France likes me as I have been sponsored to four International kite festivals in France again in 2001, Berck, Narbonne, Marseille and Frejus.

After the festival, I had three days before it was time to fly home, what was I going to do with myself? ?No worry mate, it has been all taking care of. On the first day Isabella and Gabriel took it upon themselves to personally show me the sites of Frejus, followed by a beautiful scenic drive along the coast. What a great day, but it was not over yet as the wanted to wine and dine me at one of the local restaurants, Wow!, this is French hospitality at its very best.

The next morning Isabelle had a phone call from Jose Vicent, the kite festival organizer, saying that Michel Martin would pick me up at 10am and take me on a two day tour. I have known Michel for a few years having met him a few times in the US and again just a few months ago at the Wildwood Kite festival, and then again at the Narbonne, and Marseille kite festivals. He was a great guide and companion and he knew this part of France like the back of his hand, plus he talks perfect English, "even I could understand him":-) We had a great two days, visiting cities, towns and villages like Grasse, Vence, Nice, and Antibes. Some of the little towns were the same as the were in the early 1600s. As Michel and I walked the narrow local stone alleys it was hard to believe that what I was having the privilege to see, touch, and walk on was 400 years old! It had so much character and looked like a scene from the very first Oliver Twist movie. Looking down on it from a view point on the coast road it looked so quiet and peaceful, you are lost in your own thoughts, a camera can not capture what the eye can see and what the heart can feel.

We spent some time in the Country Of Monaco -- what a beautiful clean country there is not a piece of paper, or even a cigarette butt seen any where, we visited the palace checked out all the sites, what beautiful views overlooking the Harbor and the Blue Mediterranean. Michel then drove me to his home where his wife Edith had prepared a great dinner and Michel's lovely daughter Florence also joined us. This was one of the best 3 days I have ever spent after a festival, it was truly a terrific and very educational tour.

I could as in all my trips go on for hours, but it is time to thank the sponsors, Jose Vicent. the organizer and his super team of volunteers, all the single liners and sport kite flyers that always go way out of there way to make me feel so welcome, many thanks to the Flying Circus and Team Wings of Desire from Holland. Thank you Isabelle Taillee, Gabriel Specht, Michel, Edith and Florence Martin for your hospitality and friendship. Thank you one and all again for making this trip a very memorial adventure.

Thank you for listening,

Ray





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