On the road again
Me voici (here I am) back on welcoming Languedoc soil and wonderfully settled into le Muguet in Vers Pont du Gard, our property share on the Languedoc/Provence border . Admittedly the 9 hour drive from Casa Leone was not a picnic but stops en route to buy a souvenir bottle of Umbrian red as well as a gas stop in Provence made for two good breaks. I had one moment of absolute fright as I pulled into the rest stop near Marseille for diesel fuel.
It takes a bit to figure out which pump to use, where to insert the American Express card, etc. When my American Express did not work (very common in Europe with their credit cards with a circular “puce” or thumbprint on them), I reached for my travel bag with passport, change and extra visa cards and… it was missing. “ Where could that be?” I wondered and started searching under coats, cookies, bottles of travel water and so forth- no travel bag! You know that feeling when the panic starts rising from your gut up to your mouth? I was there. Struggling to remember the last time I had seen this slender travel bag which slings across your body and can easily be concealed, I remembered hanging it on an Italian bathroom hook when using the facilities- a good 2 hours back. By now I had been traveling by car 6 ½ hours and the thought that I would have to retrace my steps, probably get there around midnight and all my cash, cards and passport be gone. I was feeling pretty low. ” Ok” , I told myself, “Let’s give this one more look”. I went back to my trunkwhich was burdoned with an assortment of suitcases, food, and house supplies and began emptying it out. UNDERNEATH my food cooler, the slim black travel bag emerged. What a HUGE sigh of relief!
Once arrived, my gracious friend and fellow Le Muguet owner, Anna Marie, had lit a variety of candles in our vaulted salon. She brought out the crisp local white wine from Vers Pont du Gard along with a yummy assortment of black and green olives. So good to be HOME! France, where one and all can understand what I’m saying… Home where I know exactly where to find an open bakery with hot croissants and pain au chocolate on a Monday morning… Home, where our week’s activities have been fun and amusing:
· Dining out at a renowned restaurant with a vintage tracteur out front and a famous NZ culinary star dining inside (Petra Mathias). Aptly named le Tracteur, reservations are highly recommended. It’s a treat to only drive 10 minutes for such good fare.
· Picnic’s on our rooftop terrace while watching our favorite French boules players in the square below us.
· Exploring new properties for sale in Peter Mayle country. This sharpens my sense of real estate in France and was also a treat for Anna Marie. I believe she more fully understands what a gem we have in our home in Vers Pont du Gard.
· Some extraordinary “vide greniers” finds at the marche aux puces in nearby Beaucaire. Among our best treasure were some exquisite silver dessert spoons, a Laguiole carving knife and fork, a vintage set of vintage tin kitchen canisters and the perfect handmade wool rug for one of the Casa Leone bedrooms.
Isn’t France delicious? Oui.. in soooo many ways.