Our roommate in his favourite position: outside on the deck checking out what was going on. I miss him.... but not the litter box.
How bad is this? Home two weeks and just realized I forgot to post the last blog entry for our trip to France! The only excuse is that we have been pretty busy getting caught up here on Pender. Back to the Blog
The beauty of having 23 days in the same city is that you don’t have to rush around every day. You can take a day or two and just do nothing, or something close to it.
Not that we did much of that, it’s just that some days we were content to take a tram to a park and just walk around. Of course, we managed to find a place to have a cappuccino pretty well every day.
I have blogged about the day trips we took from Montpellier so here are some comments on the local activities. Pic Saint Loup Wine Tour
Several people recommended this tour. Bertrand picked us (and two others) up in a very nice Mercedes van and whisked off to a small town near Pic Saint Loup, a mountain about 20 km from Montpellier. We stopped to visit a small village first to give us a flavour
What I expected on a wine tour. Lots of vines.
of the region. We visited two wineries (including tasting, yum) before having lunch at his mother’s B&B in a beautiful setting near the mountain. The other travellers were a young woman from India and he father-in-law. We had a great lunch and very interesting conversation.
We enjoyed their company so much that we agreed to meet in a couple of days at an Indian restaurant in Montpellier. When they arrived there were three of them so Joyti introduced us to a young(ish) man with them. Dianne asked if he was Jyoti’s husband. She laughed and said “it would be a bit cheeky to bring along another man since we are with my father-in-law”. Museums
There are lots of museums in France and we had seen many of them. I wasn’t too keen on going to the Musée Fabre as it is well known for its collection of paintings and I had seen quite enough paintings between last year’s Italian adventure and our current trip. But I was pleasantly surprised by this museum. Unlike so many paintings we saw last year which had dark backgrounds and were in dark churches, these painting were bright and pleasing to the
Barrels of fun
The wine cellar tour was very interesting. Generated a great story that I can't add to a family blog.
Although we lived only 10 kilometres from the Mediterranean, we only got there three times during our stay in Montpellier. We took a tram to the end of the line then a bus along the beaches to the one we wanted to visit. Our first visit it was too cool to swim and the last visit almost too hot. But we did enjoy the strolling on the sand. There are about 20 kilometres of beaches in the area. We didn’t get to them all.
The area has many canals and while we were crossing one, Dianne noticed a mussel restaurant so, even though we had a picnic lunch, she decided it was time for mussels. We placed our order and sat back to wait. I am not a big mussel fan. I don’t even like small mussels. The server came and placed the dish between us. It was pretty good. About half-way through eating it, another server brought our order. It turned out the first server had brought the dish to the wrong table. I think I was very lucky as the dish was one covered in stuff and baked in the oven. Much better
There were too many choices in the tasting rooms
than steamed (?) mussels we had ordered. The family at the next table were happy we enjoyed them even if the dish had been meant for them! Opera
We had passed the Opera building many times as we crisscrossed the Place del la Comédie and finally noticed the banner advertising the Puccini opera Gianni Schicchi.
Although I was not familiar with this opera, we like Puccini and would really like to see the inside of the building so we booked tickets (in French). In her wisdom, Dianne researched the opera, reading the libretto and watching a version of it on YouTube. Research is a good thing.
It is a one act opera so it seemed like a lot of money for a short time. When the curtain rose, it was a modern setting (sometimes used for Gianni Schicchi a 1918 opera originally set in the 14th
century). And, it seemed quite different from the stuff we saw on YouTube. Turned out it was another one act opera The Night of a Neurasthenic
by Nino Rota.You knew Nino Rota as the official composer of the films of Fellini and Visconti? I certainly didn’t. According to Wikipedia, his works
The four of us has a great lunch on Bertrand's mother's terrace. Beautiful weather, lovely shade, fabulous food and wine. It doesn't get much better than this. Oh yes, we could have brought our bathing suits and had a swim in her pool!
for the cinema have eclipsed his remarkable work for the stage. But they were a mystery to me.
The second half was typical Puccini. It turned out the aria O Mio Bambino Caro (one of my favourite arias from a CD of famous arias) is from that opera. Who knew? The story is pretty funny and it really helped to have studied up on it before going. Good move, Di. Well worth the money and the opera hall was pretty interesting too. Reflections
One of the recurring comments I have heard over the years was that the French, Parisians in particular, were unfriendly and wouldn’t go out of their way to help you if you didn’t speak French. This was certainly not our experience. Everywhere we went we were met with friendly, helpful people who seemed to enjoy our attempts to speak French and find out more about their country and culture. Back home again
We arrived home on the afternoon ferry. Plenty of time to unpack and sort out a few things before falling into bed to try to offset jet lag. Things were going well until we went up to the main floor
Tram line adventure
On one of our trips to the end of a tram line we wandered around till we found a coffee shop. Not easy to find. It was a man's stop: all men inside and no toilet seat in the washroom!
and turned on the lights. No power! Who has a power outage in the summer? Wait a minute, the lights were on downstairs. A quick check indicated a couple of breakers were flipped. Oh, Oh. One of them was the fridge. Yes, the fridge and upstairs freezer were off. What a mess, particularly in the freezer. Luckily, the power hadn’t been off for too long as the chicken pieces were just thawed, no maggots! Cleaning out the fridge and freezer were not on our "what to do list when we got home". But at least it kept us busy until it was time to hit the hay.
It’s always amazes me how fast you get back into the swing of things. Our volunteer activities have been keeping us busy, not to mention two months’ worth of gardening. But Dianne’s fertile mind is already planning our next holiday even if it might be a while in the future so this is, indeed, ToBeContinued
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