Some notes from France…
A very quick trip to the grocery store for a few items for dinner, came home, cooked some lovely chicken legs, started to eat it. Hmmm, this is nice but seems different somehow, in the end Richard finished the chicken off and that was that. The next day at the market we realize, hey, that looks a lot like the chicken we bought, but it is actually lapin…. which translates to rabbit. So, we’ve had rabbit, not half bad but apparently I didn’t cook it in the traditional way, not surprisingly!
Richard has been a wonderful driver as we go from place to place. We are at home number 6 and head out tomorrow for our next stop. Each journey between stops is around 3 hours. But it has been taking 4-5 hours. Poor Richard after 30-40 minutes is falling asleep, we pull off at one of the wonderful rest stops they have here along the toll roads, and Richard has a 20 min nap. We continue on, another hour later, we pull over, same thing, boys and I head for a walk, Richard snores. Anyways, I went to a pharmacy to stock up on allergy pills and after a good conversation fully in French I realize that Richard is taking the sleepy allergy medicine in the morning. She suggests a different morning med and then take the sleepy one at night. I think we have found our solution!
A few new words we have learned – we have discovered that pate is pasta and pave is piece (the “salmon pasta” was in fact a lovely piece of fish). And I think we have most food words down pat now, Richard is especially happy after sorting out how to say shrimps and prawns. An aside, we have found that every meal is good unless you order the children’s menu. They make the most wonderful salads here, we had a choice of 12 in last night’s menu and then a choice of 48 gelatos. YUM!
In Provence, they have many narrow roads with deep ditches of water running everywhere. It is actually quite unbelievable how much moving water there is all around this whole area. All has gone well except for the VERY narrow entrance over the ditch into our driveway in Saint Remy. YUP, we went over the side with one of our tires the other day, a scratched bumper and a cracked light but all fine other than that. Good news, we are 100% covered under our lease agreement for all damage. So, as long as the car keeps running we are good to go! Note: In France Gasoil actually means diesel, which is what our car takes, pretty confusing the first time we were filling up!
Everyone is very kind and wonderful and has been very patient with our French. The places we are usually staying are small towns with only French speakers but we are managing quite well. They seem to see our efforts and we have gotten an assortment of freebies as kindnesses towards us. A bar of soap, an extra smoothie, charging kids rates for adult bikes/meals for Brandon, even a free glass of wine. And you all know how much we like a little something for free!
On vacation, you should try different things: new foods, new routes, new snacks (BBQ rib chips are Richard’s fav; Chevre, goat cheese, chips are Brandon’s fav) new experiences too. As a family we went and got a fishy spa pedicure. Where little Turkish fish eat the dead skin off your feet. It was crazy great and even ticklish Brandon loved it. We all have lovely feet now!!!
There are Roman ruins everywhere, in the center and outskirts of most towns, on most hilltops, I’m talking… everywhere. And it is so amazing that some of these very well built structures are over 2000 years old. The last little town we were in you would literally walk down the street and see these huge old church remnants soaring into the sky as you headed to buy some milk….or cross by a roman wall to get to the bakery for your morning croissants. Everywhere!
In Provence, fruit trees are everywhere too. Our last bike ride was 30 km, not our longest but we were going in a roughly rectangular route, with a strong headwind the WHOLE time. How is that possible? I don’t know but it is true! We went through a couple of super cute towns, picturesque at every turn. At any rate, we were getting quite hot and thirsty and there were wonderful cherry trees and plum trees to pick and eat as we went and boy, were they ever delicious! Along the bike path were vineyards (of course) but also massive fig trees, apple orchards, peaches, plums, pears, berries, almond, walnut, chestnut trees, olive trees and many others I’m sure that I don’t even know…but that is just from our little ride the other day!
I bought two beautiful shirts made in Italy at a French market, and found L’Occitane on sale … but not in France .. in Italy. L’Occitane has come out with a new sunscreen in Lemon Verbena and it says when you use it, you will feel cool. Certainly had a very hot, way over 30 C day on the double-decker bus and as I put it on I did feel cool so I recommend it as a buy!
On our way to Italy we decided to stop at a specific beach. When we got there we couldn’t figure out why the beach was so empty and as I looked around and started to wilt, I soon figured out why. It was blazingly hot but just to confirm we ran back to the car and checked the temperature. Yep it was 40° C – too hot for beach time! So we left the Med and headed North to Turin.