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It was a mere 22 or so hours after I took off from the boonies of California that I landed here in the SW of France. Two long drives, 12 cramped hours across the ocean squished next to a kid that kept falling asleep on me, four movies, three prison-worthy meals and one long stop….argh! There was a time I did this on a regular basis for business and I can’t say I miss it. The glamor of such things is well overrated.
But, what the journey lacks in interest, the destination makes up for in buckets. I am en France, amongst all things Français and deep into the boonies (if you will) of the same. My parents dwell in the sleepy little village of Canens which spreads out over 484 ha (~1,150 acres) with a grand ‘ol population of 62 and sweeping views of the majestic Pyrénées. There are houses here dating back to the 1300’s, people who do things the same way they did hundreds of years ago and the kind of small community where everyone knows everyone.
This is not a well-known tourist destination, but it’s the kind of place where people in the know come to re-live the French charm of old…and it oozes it in spades. There are rolling hills which blossom bright yellow with sunflowers in summer, old farmhouses with earthy colors that glow warmly in the sunset light and single-lane roads that go places only the locals understand. The houses don’t even have numbers here…just names. The hills are dormant now, but everything else is just as charming.
My parents bought a 300-year old run-down house here over 10 years ago and went through a multi-year resoration to create the home of their dreams. It’s many times larger than “the beast” and it feels totally odd to have so much space (especially since none of the toilets have foot pedals…do you find yourself looking for one everytime you go into civilization just like I do?), but it certainly is beautiful. And the views of the snow-capped mountains are simply spectacular.
And of course this being moi, I can’t make such a journey without a little drama, n’est ce pas? Having lugged my enormous computer all the way across the continents, I plug her into local sockets only to have my charger quit. Poof! Gone are ALL my pictures, ALL my programs and ALL my e-mail…once again. And of course this being the French equivalent of the boonies there is no such thing as a replacement charger within 200 miles. So, I’ve downloaded a free photo program and am struggling through on my sister’s non-color-compensated computer to try and get this blog out. Dedication has no limits, but the quality of the product I cannot guarantee. Ah, well…it’s all part of the journey right??!
Since I’ve been here we’ve taken a few walks around the neighborhood, watched several sunsets and even sampled lunch at a local restaurant (did I tell you how much I love French food??). We’ve got much more of this planned over the next 2 weeks, but for now I’ll leave you with the pics (please click onto the blog to see them for those of you on e-mail feed) and hope they turn out. Adieu, my friends…until next time.
Meanwhile -> Back At “The Beast”
A few of you asked for pics of my Christmas decor, so I took some shots the day I left to give you a general idea. Given our limited space we stick to lots of small items and I like to combine it with a Danish twist. Christmas Elves (Nisser) are impossible to avoid and invade every corner of the rig. If you treat them right they bring you luck & happiness all year…if you treat them wrong woe be you! We pair them with lots of colorful Danish Christmas hearts (if I get the time here in France I do a blog post on how to make these) and a few other knick-knacks. All store easily away and give “the beast” some nice Christmas cheer.
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