25 November 2010

FRANCE: Day 6 - We are thankful...

It’s a bit cooler today and the sun isn’t as aggressive as it’s been most days, but we’re still not complaining about this late November weather. We sleep in and then take our laptop to La Terrazza, our Italian café just down the hill, for free WiFi. We order café crème and cappuccinos and spend the rest of the morning there. While CA catches up on Chicago sports online, I explore the clothing and home décor boutiques in our neighborhood.

The linen used in pillow covers, dish towels, etc. is so fine and soft. The prices here are high, so I plan to buy some fabric in Nice or Paris and sew my own. I do find some beautiful gifts for RvH and some for me at Colombine. Not only does Madame carefully wrap my purchases, but she sprays the tissue paper with parfume. I love these small touches.

After I get my turn on the Internet, uploading posts and photos, we order lunch at LT. CA has the four cheese pizza and I have a mixed green salad with ham and roast pork and cheeses. We notice the table to my right having a tempting dessert—café gourmande—and since its Thanksgiving (as if we need an excuse) we each order a serving. The attractively arranged platter includes a shot of espresso, a small cube of flourless chocolate cake, a tiny bowl of strawberry puree, a teeny lemon tart, and panna cotta with a marvelous caramel sauce. YUM!

It’s not yet 2:30pm, but we decide to walk through the commercial area further from our villa, and then on a whim turn to walk up the very steep and winding streets toward Vieux Villages—our first visit this trip and the first time we’ve walked up. CA had researched a restaurant for dinner tonight and we’re able to check it out. Most if not all of these restaurants will close in a few days and remain so until mid-January.

All-in-all we walk (hike, climb, grunt…) for 1-1/2 hours, seriously debating the correct return path. We go CA’s way because I’m usually directionally impaired. I’m very vocal in my doubt re: his judgment, but eventually he asks for confirmation of the direction to the Centre Ville, and we’re told to continue down and around this lane for about 10 minutes. We end up just where CA had expected, and I give him the proper accolades. I usually do not care whether or not we take the most direct route, but this afternoon I’m in need of a toilette… There was one on offer in Vieux Villages, but when I entered the stall I discovered using it involved standing over a porcelain-covered hole in the floor. Yep! Wasn’t sure how I was supposed to proceed without getting pee all over my jeans, etc. Next time I won’t hesitate, because there’s nothing like walking seriously downhill when you need to pee.

We took plenty of photos in Vieux Villages in 2008, but I’m determined to take my camera up there on the next sunny day.

CA is a rarity among men—he never hesitates to ask for directions. I’m usually the one stubbornly insisting we’ll find our way. He’s saved us plenty of time over the years by stopping to ask earlier rather than later. I’m a good navigator—maps and directional signs. He’s the braver driver.

As the afternoon progresses neither CA nor I is hungry enough to go out for dinner, so we stay in and do some laundry—eating leftover pasta and some of the fantastic fresh Parmesan we bought on Sunday in Antibes. I know, sounds boring but our villa is so comfortable and even the walk down the terraced hillside to the laundry room is a sensory pleasure. There’s a bit of drizzle in the air—enough to make the tiles slippery. Many of the shrubs have clusters of red and orange berries, and there’re pansies blooming in pots throughout the area.

About those pots—fantastic terra cotta glazed pots are on display in a few garden centers near our villa. I want to take some home. I know. I can’t, but I really, really want to.

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