We ran our travels like a giant improv skit by saying “yes/and”. Here’s a smattering of highlights.
Roc, our resident horse at our tiny home in Saint-André-en-Royans.
Getting ready to ride at a stable near our tiny home.
Houses built into cliffs, Pont-en-Royans.
Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris.
Time to sketch on my own at a small café called Rakwé in Lyon.
Musée de I’illusions, Lyon.
The skinny house we lucked into renting in Bergheim in Alsace.
Vines as far as the eye could see on our 5 km walk from Bergheim to Ribeauvillé.
No caption needed.
Nighttime in Monmartre.
Pete the Cat on his birthday in Paris. We ate in the back garden at La recyclerie in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine.
We walked 15 km around Paris on Peter’s birthday.
A happy me, in Paris.
We were unanimous: our favourite meals were the two prepared by Myriam, the host of the Homnest tiny home accommodation near Pont-en-Royans in south eastern France. The meals were made all the more tasty because Myriam was such a warm host. And because both meals were delivered in the basket of her bike.
We also loved the morning breakfasts we procured ourselves, often consisting of granola, yogurt, berries, coffee, baguette, croissants and pain au chocolat. That did mean we usually ate a double breakfast. This was only sustainable with lots of daytime walking and because we were away for two weeks.
Peter and I were intrigued by the Homnest concept. Turns out, the concept is in its infancy. Our tiny home was only the forth they'd placed and only a few guests had stayed there before us. Homnest builds and delivers the tiny home; the local host provides the land, rents it out and maintains it. The hosts don't put any money up front and simply agree to Homnest getting a percentage of all rentals. Homnest has a goal of placing 1000 of these gorgeous (and very tiny) homes around the world in beautiful locations.
I got really into French home décor magazines while there. It was so fun to walk around and see Roche Bobois showrooms and many other names I recognized.
Back to flavours: In Bergheim, Lali impressed us by ordering and eating escargot. I have a photo of it somewhere but escargot are rather ugly so I did not include the evidence here.
That we landed in Bergheim and Pont-en-Royans could not have been predicted. We'd never heard of either village. We give full credit to a book called Des villages pas comme les autres. Lali was sick with a cold the first few days we were in Paris. While she and I were laying low in our room at MOB Hotel (in Saint-Ouen-sur-Seine a.k.a. the flea market district) Peter found at a beautiful bookstore called Storyboard right around the corner. He texted me a photo of a village in the book. When we got bogged down later that day with the "where to from here?" question, we broke our impasse by sending him back to buy the book. And the rest, as they say, was history, or perhaps more accurately, a delightful journey into beautiful adventures.
The book, and our commitment to make it up as we went along, certainly helped us honour our "no visiting places we'd already been to" agreement. Paris was the only exception as Lali had visiting the Effiel Tower on the top of her life bucket list. I'm glad she did. I was able to fall in love with it which I had not on previous trips.
I am very grateful to have flavourful memories and equally grateful to come home to nourishing food on our table, even if it lacks a certain je ne sais pas quoi.
I took over 600 photos during our two weeks away. From silky smooth coffee at Mokxa in Lyon (recommended by Peter’s friend Dan Misener who spent a year there in 2012) near the Musée de l'illusion, to food markets and the Effiel Tower, we shared many smiles. We even went to a cat café at Lali's urging. I smilled less there!
Of course I took flower photos. I purposely refrained from taking too many. April was the perfect time to experience France in full spring bloom. On the last morning in Paris, I even saw peonies in bloom, which still seems puzzling since they don't bloom until the end of June in PEI.
I was equally dawn to textures but I am running out of steam to describe why I captured these. The images can speak for themselves. I do want to remember that in the week leading up to our departure, I got so worried about our safety that I lobbied for us to go to the US! Go figure. The strikes and protests were over pension reform. The retirement age increase was pushed through during our time there. Wdid see lots of "Mort á Macrons" and plenty of broken windows. Thankfully, we did not encounter any trouble.
Je me sens tellement chanceux d'avoir voyagé. Peter est un merveilleux vagabond et un partenaire aventureux. Lali est devenu une dame du monde sous nos yeux. Et Olivia, qui n'a pas pu venir cette fois, a fait preuve de grâce et d'une nouvelle indépendance retrouvée.
Merci France. Tu me manques déjà.