Monday, September 20, 2010
We arrived in France a week ago today!
We both woke up this morning feeling very rested. Our lights were out by 10 last night, and Mom actually looked very rested and relaxed at breakfast.
Since being in the house, our breakfasts have consisted of fruit (melon and half a banana); yogurt (plain in cute little glass pots) – we put some jam in the yogurt, a trick we learned when we were here in 1994; baguette; orange juice (Tropicana – just like at home), and coffee. Unfortunately, when we bought coffee on Saturday, we got ground decaf, but regular beans, so with no coffee grinder, I’ve been caffeine-free for a couple of days.
This morning we left the house a little before 10, to go back up to Gordes. We arrived there around 10:30, and even then there were quite a lot of people, but not like yesterday afternoon. We had to drive up the hill to find a parking place in a lot (didn’t have to pay, though, because of Mom’s handicap placard & she’s convinced that is why she gets to come with me on these trips!). We walked down the hill, and actually saw a couple of the bories (stone huts) that we didn’t get to see yesterday, so that was nice. At the bottom of the hill, we popped into a café for some coffee. It had a great view of the valley and we could even see the Luberon hills across the way, which loom over our house. It was good to get a shot of caffeine, but it was expensive! Over 8 euros for 2 cups of café crème. However, the restroom made it worthwhile. It was one of the best restrooms in a business we’ve ever found in all of our travels in France!
We then walked around the village a little, but many of the streets are very steep and we didn’t venture down them. There were a couple of nice shops and we bought a few small items. We found a good spot to sit in the village square to do some people-watching. A couple sat down near us, and we asked if they would like us to take their picture, which we did. We started talking, and they turned out to be neighbors from Vancouver, BC. They were there with another couple, so we took a picture of the four them, and they took our picture. It was fun talking to them and comparing notes. We advised them NOT to try to go to the Village de les Bories.
When we were ready to leave, Mom stayed down below and I walked back up the hill. All those weeks of walking around the neighborhood at home paid off, as I went up the hill without a puff, and drove the car down to pick up Mom in the taxi parking spot, but while we were getting her walker in the car, a tour bus came right up behind us.
Mom commented today that she hasn’t seen a lot of older people. Some of the tourists are maybe in their mid to late 70’s, but she’s probably one of the oldest people we’ve seen. Several people have commented on what a trooper she is and think it’s pretty neat that she’s on a trip like this. I don’t think we’ve seen anyone else using a walker or ambulator, as they are called here.
We had lunch in l’Isle sur la Sorgue, which is a town situated on an island in the Sorgue River. The town has several old water wheels, which had been used for industry in its early history, but are now just scenic. They are covered with huge amounts of algae, and the river is also filled with algae and weeds. We didn’t see any fish, but there are a lot ducks. We had lunch at a bistro and sat outside under a canvas shelter. It was really nice, with a gentle breeze passing through. The wait staff was in no hurry, so we had the typical 2-hour French lunch. We had salads with smoked salmon (lox-style), tiny pink marinated shrimp, avocado, tomato, caviar (the tiny red kind), and greens with a vinaigrette dressing. It was very good. We ordered a crepe with ice cream, chocolate sauce & almonds for dessert. It took a long time for it to arrive, and when it did, it was quite a sight. There were 3 rosettes of Chantilly (whipped cream), a scoop of ice cream, chocolate sauce, and almonds arranged on a crepe that was positioned like a mountain backdrop. We had quite a laugh about how big it turned out to be, but actually, we skipped most of the whipped cream, so it wasn’t too bad – it was really good, though.
After lunch, we walked along the river to the town square and found some shops, bought a few more things, then headed back to the car. We were both pretty tired by then.
We have really enjoyed the sunshine – yesterday and today have been beautiful. It’s been a joy to just sit and soak up the warmth.
On the way home, we stopped in Cavaillon again to go to the supermarket. This time, we needed to buy some decent knives – the ones here are pretty dismal. We will take the new ones with us when we leave here. We also got some more provisions, including some regular ground coffee, as we plan to eat all of our dinners here at the house. The location of the house is such that we don’t really want to try coming home in the dark.
I fixed duck breast for dinner tonight with potatoes, and green beans & carrots. Mom fixed the salad. We had our dessert at lunch!
A lot of the appliances here are “child proofed.” For example, you have to wait 5 minutes before you can open the washing machine to take the clothes out, which is a safety measure for children. I wanted to put the duck in the oven for a while after pan-searing it, so I turned the oven on to preheat it, but once it was on, I couldn’t get the darn door open! I couldn’t find a button or latch to release the door – I couldn’t even open it when I turned the oven off, I had to wait until it cooled down. I guess that’s another child safety feature, but I sure can’t figure out how you’d get a cake out of the oven when it’s done – I suppose there’s some secret to it. Good thing I don’t plan to bake a cake!
Another wonderful day in Provence!