As I said yesterday, the time in France was exactly what I needed.
- Endless bicycling up and down the Canal du Midi. Eight kilometers one direction took me to the Mediterranean Sea at Portirange Plage. Ten kilometers the other way took me to les neuf ecluses – a series of nine (seven in use) locks that take boats about an hour and a half to get through. The craziest part was the canal bridge just before the locks. This was a bridge (aqueduct) for the canal going over the river. Very strange to see boats traveling across a bridge over a river.
- Spending time with Bill and Clementien on their boat, Linquenda.
- Giving myself permission to do nothing but read a book all day. I read five while I was there (and the last one was 700 pages, so that should count for at least two!).
- Walking on the bridge in Avignon. No, I did not sing or dance. I am sorry.
- A nun washed and bandaged my foot. Needs explaining? I travelled to Avignon for the day. First stop was the magnificent and opulent Palais des Papes and the Church of Our Lady of the Dome beside it. As I was walking up the cobblestone steps, one of the many pieces of broken glass jumped inside of my sandal, unknown to me, and embedded itself in my heel when I stepped down, whereupon it became very known. I went into the little shop attached to the church and asked the nun if she had any bandaids because I had cut my foot on a piece of broken glass outside. Except I couldn’t think what the equivalent word for bandaid was in French so I just showed her my foot. It was not a big cut, but it bled a fair bit, so she freaked out and made me sit down on her chair while she ran out to get supplies. Five minutes later, she returned with half of a first aid kit work of supplies and knelt down in front of me to wash and bandage my foot. Picture a young nun, she didn’t look any older than me, wearing full nun-garb: Sister Act or the Sound of Music style. It was so… Biblical… I wish I had been able to converse more with her but she had no English and my French isn’t as good as I wanted to think it might be.
- In the Palais des Papes, there were some stunning frescoes on the walls still, including some by a guy I remember learning about in my Gothic Art and Architecture class at UVic.
- Wine and scrabble and cheese and baguette and wine and coffee and books and ducks and boats and relaxing.
- Small French fishing village, Sete was very quaint and quite lovely.
- Did I mention the croissants and pain au chocolate?
- Aside from the first two days of high wind (Lethbridge style) and cold, it was gorgeous. There was beautiful sunshine. It was warm, bordering on hot nearly every day.
- I love playing “Spot the Tourist” as I walk around town. Dead give aways? Backpacks, even small ones. Sneakers. Tevas or any other kind of velcro sandals. Ball caps. Tilly hats. Large cameras around the neck. Small cameras anywhere. T-shirts that proclaim stupid slogans. Lululemon pants (Really? Seriously girls, they should not be worn outside of the house/gym and should never be worn in a foreign country. I was just as comfortable traveling in my nicest jeans as you were in your yoga pants. Don’t wear them.). Matching tshirts/jackets/hats/anything that identifies you as a tour group. Socks up to your knees.
All in all, it was a wonderful trip. Short, but entirely worth it.