Irregular Post; HomeAgain – Summer 2016

Saturday July 23, 2016 Good Day, “Home again, Home again JiggiddityJig!” From the 80F blue skies of Provence to the 60F cloudy of Dublin to the 93F hazy Boston in a day and a half. “Au Revoir, Bye Bye. Zaijin.”  “Je t’aime, Love you, Wo ai ni.”  With kisses and hugs and waves, we are off. Nice is about 75 minutes from Bagnols. The rental car had to be back by 10A or pay EXTRA $ so we had a few hours to sit in the airport until Aer Lingus to Dublin at 4:30P. Nice Aeroport has free wifi everywhere so doing computer work, writing and posting could be nicely done. Our scheduled arrival in Dublin was about 90 minutes too late for the connection flight to Boston. Not a problem; layover for a day. Meg has a Camino friend there that could join us for dinner and conversation. We could walk about in the morning before the connection to Boston in the afternoon. Perfect. Dublin was cool and gray, like the North of England that we had experienced in June. Our hotel was in the Temple Bar neighborhood and convenient to the airport bus route. Meg’s friend Steven joined us for dinner at a local restaurant not far from THE famous Temple Bar and the Snug, the oldest pub in Dublin. McGill’s is very pleasant local place for eating and talking not for drinking and loud noise. Steven is a fine story teller. I will say that after French food and the Mirazur’s experience, McGill’s food was very Irish – good but uninspiring. The waitress noticed my HSBC...

Irregular Post; South of France environs

 Thursday July 21, 2016 Bonjour, “…going for a ride in the car, car. Goin’ for ride, goin’ for a ride, goin’ for a ride in the car, car…” >>>>Mougins and Menton: You’d think it was Muggins but it is really MOOjin; Menton is Menton. Menton is in the hills above Cannes and across the gorge from Grasse (perfume country). The WHOLE family loaded into the van for the day trip. Meg had to sit way in back where the short leg room would work. Two kids flanked Alice in the middle and I rode in front with Dave. Not GPS-Dave but the real Dave. He really knows where he is going. Months ago they had house looked in this region before buying in Bagnols en Foret. Menton is an art gallery mecca. Picasso lived his final years in this place. Vey Picturesque. Narrow hill “streets”. Sunday morning, early, so there is not much tourist activity. We walked up and down this well to do village. From a high vantage you could see Cannes and the sea, and Grasse across the gorge. Off to Menton. Headed for Mirazur, currently number 6 in the world, for lunch. AMAZing view of the eastern most small boat harbor and beachfront of the French Riveria. We are the first into the small carpark at noon. If you are later, you might have to park up the road in Italy! When we come out at 2:30, our van was between a Ferrari and a BMW. Two Porsches and a Maserati filled the last spaces. Oh! Dinner!? Five appropriately proportioned excellent courses with three amusee bouches...

Irregular Post; Bagnols-en-Foret

Saturday July 16, 2016 Bonjour, Off the tourist trail. Chillin’ with family in Bagnols-en-Foret. Pack unpacked. Same bed for more than one or nights. No GPS-Dave to tell us how to get lost. As usual, blue skies with few clouds, no rain and temps in the upper 70s. Mocking birds and mourning doves in the trees. Tranquil. Oops! Tristan is again tossing stones onto the patio and putting a few into his mouth while watching us. An airplane is overhead; high up and the jets are barely audible (certainly to me). Tristan points and repeatedly says, “Avion!” and “A plane!” All languages of audience understand. Gabriel eagerly leans forward onto the spoon of apple sauce that Alice is advancing. He looks like a red haired, blue eyed version of the Gerber baby; square face and a wide triangular smile. Days are quiet. Well NOT quiet, more like laid back. Well not necessarily laid back. Little ones RULE! Quiet and tranquil until a burst of Little energy punctuates. Gabriel has become a quick backwards crawler and objects in loud frustration to backing into an unyielding obstruction. Tristan is ALLBOY. “Get down.” He was climbing up the bookcase to reach some CD cases. He drops back onto a sofa pillow. “Pillow.”, he says when he is sitting on it. “Pillow” is said in English with a French accent eyes sparkling to distract you from the boy-climb. Then down, off the sofa, and a sprint across the room and out into the hall. Gone. Meg moves Gabriel up to the top of the mat and place a ball there for him to...

Irregular Post; Provence, France2

Sunday July 10, 2016 Bonjour, Blue sky and white clouds. Green rows of grapes in vineyards. Lavender rows in fields. Tan harvested and green forage fields. Hill towns with narrow roads between houses of native stone. Shutters of pastel colors to shade out the sun-heat. Then there is Roussillon, a hill town of ochre. A half hour from Apt where we stayed one night. Early in the morning. Ochre sand was/in “mined” here. It was the source of painters’ ocre for a very long time until chemical replacements arrived. The aroma of Roussillon is almost southwest desert; colors are Georgia O’Keeffe. It reminds of Taos New Mexico where she painted and Provence where it is. I would love to see what she would have done with her compositions and palette in Roussillon. Houses are built of native stone. Here it is ocre colors. When stone is stuccoed only certain tones are allowed, all ochre shades and tones. Shutters can be other colors but all compliment the ocres. Most of Provence is limestone. This allows certain plants to grow. Roussillon is iron-rich sandy. Different plants grow here. From the hills in the village there are views out into the surrounding limestone country. Vineyards. Lavender fields. Dark green forest. Graystone hill towns on distant hills. Roussillon is warm ochre, sandy-ochre, sandstone ochre. This is a “return-to” place. A stay for awhile place. One to see the light change from pre-dawn to after sunset. Not many hotels; reserve early. “Travel light and wear a...

Irregular Post; Provence, France

Friday July 8, 2016 Bonjour, Highly viewable! None of this scenery reminds one of the US. Buildings are all made of stone or plastered stone not wood. So the colors in a village/town look very similar. Narrow roads that small cars fit. GPS-Dave often sends us on the “shortest” route to our destination. This road will wind up-around-down-twist. Views are from on top of hills, tops, gorges, agricultural spaces of grapes or forest or LAVENDER! Oncoming vehicles slow so as to avoid crashing side view mirrors. Meg has the maps and guide for confirmation or rejection of GPS-Dave. But in the villages, towns, cities, GPS-Dave is required. After Carcassone, we drove a PS-Dave route that Meg couldn’t find, rejoined what we thought should be the road and then stopped in a little town, Lagasse. A beautiful small French town in the Cathare region. Lunch and then on to Avignon through great scenery. Good thing the AC works in our little Yaris. In Carcassone, we had used our Booking.com to find place in Avignon. Usually our prime filters are “free wifi and parking”. We booked a 1 star inside the walled town. Walled towns are a traffic-thrill-treat. Narrow, driveway wide, and often cobbled “streets”. GPS-Dave found it. We would never have been able. Here sidewalk post denied even a stop to unload packs for Meg to check in; I had no idea where to park. Drop her and circle? the block. Picked her up and searched for the underground parking OUTSIDE the city walls.!. 24 Euro per day. OK. Pack the packs on our back and walk back to the...