Thursday, June 20, 2013

Wet, wet, blisters, wet. France.

Poor me. So it rained on our parade.suck it up.
All okay now but anyone who's flown 'steerage' for 23 hours would have to agree that it's a penance. Yes, I'm sure I've committed something - heaps - to deserve it, if only in my thoughts.
Flew to Singapore, Charles De Gaulles, Paris then straight on a train for about 4 hours arriving in Bordeaux mid afternoon, Sunday, having left Melbourne mid afternoon Saturday. Still freaks me out.
Bordeaux is beautiful. I'd link to it if I had the means. It's ancient & ultra modern special combo with the architectural antiquity, history & space age public transport. Seems everything connects.
We found our way out to our b & b, booked through Airbnb.
 Knocked on the door of this stone house. No one home. Our host had left a key in the letter box giving us access to her entire beautiful home. I'm amazed at people's trust in others' goodwill.
Virginie, our attractive host, welcomed us when she returned from the pool. Oh BTW, it was 31 degrees.
She recommended a few good restaurants. We ate great mussels, squid & smoked salmon at a bustling restaurant called Le Petit Commerce. Got very busy. A queue formed, probably cos it was damn good.
Next day, Jane, our sat navigatrix, walked us a few k to our Ecocycle store. Virginie, our host, had recommended this for good velos d'occasions - second hand bikes.
Unfortunately they were closed Mondays. Bummer. Walked to another grotty bike shop a few k away, LibertyCycles, but didn't like the look & they were closed for 2 hours, as the French do at lunchtime & good on them.
Relieved to find a pharmacy that wasn't closed cos I had a painful blister, despite my brill Eccos & orthotics. Maybe I should walk more regularly. Nah. Prefer cycling.
Anyway, the white-coated assistant in the pharmacy cleaned & dried my 'wound' & applied a plaster. Brill service. 
More amazing service simply buying bus tickets in a 'news agency'.
Thank you, I said, bowing out backwards.
No, it's I who thank you, said the shopkeeper, bowing me out.
Yeah, big deal, but so amiable. (Who am I? A minor character in a French farce?)
Even the ticket inspectors on public transport are obliging. Helped us get on the right bus; very solicitous.
More slogging the pavements & gawping, helped by friendly locals. Felt we had to visit a cathedral cos a solicitous old dame recommended it. We'd already passed on it cos we'd seen another church earlier - yeah, muse around with one's cap off gawping beatifically at the stained glass & marble monuments - 
but we didn't want to let madam down so we went that way then ducked down a lane. Hoped we wouldn't catch up with her on the main drag.
Good dinner later: I had the veal with morels & julienned veges; my companion had the pork fillets.
And then it started raining.
My expensive Netti cycling jacket didn't stand a chance. And as for my goretex lined Eccos? Once the rain had breached the waterproof lining, the lining held it in little squelchy pods. Trench foot basically. Al the same. 
Next day more relentless torrents, during which we managed to buy 2 bikes & solve the goblin's riddle of where to collect our campervan. 
Phew. Really exhausting, but the shoulders have dropped somewhat since arriving  in a place somewhere near Perigueux. 
In the background, the sound of water rushing through a 17th C mill & birds singing, evidently delighted that it's stopped raining, as am I.
Al's more readily getting the hang of driving this time.
Me? Loving speaking French & stuffing my bouche - mouth - with fromage, pâté & vin blanc.
Apparently I have a good French accent too. Bit of revision this past year has paid off.
And my Continuous Glucose Monitor is the bomb. I'm almost normal. As if.


  1. Again?! You're there again? Weren't you just there a couple of months ago?
    Not that I am verte or anything!
    Good for you!!! Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!!!
    Stella xxx

  2. I'm addicted to France, accidents notwithstanding. Forced to practise my French speaking skills. Makes mon cerveaux hurt though!