Tuesday, July 21, 2015

The Holiday Continues

The Mortagne hotel de ville (town hall)
I am falling so behind in my little updates. So much has happened since last I wrote. For those of you receiving A. Karen's updates, you know all about it! But for posterity's sake, I suppose I should note down a few thoughts of my own.

The Mortagne market
Our drive from Honfleur to Le Gué-de-la-Chaîne was 3 hours of extremely prototypical French country backroads. The routes were barely wide enough for our little Opel to fit, let alone having to deal with oncoming traffic or, worse yet, monster tractors that would put America's puny Monster Trucks to shame. Our little Mz. Garmin definitely showed us who was boss. Apparently she had been eavesdropping when we said we would just follow the map, thinking that she would only take us on the main roads. Well, when our map-reading proved to be lacking, we resorted to Mz. G, who proceeded not only to take us on every tiny backroad possible but also to avoid nearly every single farm town along the way (except for the one with a deviation [detour], of course). She got us directly to the green gate of Margaret and John Fabian's picturesque French farm/guesthouse in not-quite record time.

Wine tasting at Julian's
Margaret and John greeted us with hugs and smiling faces and chilled rosé and an ultra charming guesthouse just for us. (They live in the main house.) I can't even begin to describe everything we did while at their home. Suffice it to say, every day was like a scene out of Under the Tuscan Sun, but so much better—especially because we didn't have to do the renovations, etc. We just had to enjoy the fruits of their labor ... and enjoy them we did! From dinner of grilled canard under the bodellia and plum trees, to wine tasting in an old farm house under the tutelage of sweet, be-dimpled Julian, to a roam through the Sunday market at Mortagne, complete with samples of homemade nougat and fresh(ish) mussels, to feeding the cute but weird-eyed sheep, to a fabulous, musical soiree at the home of Sophie. So many wonderful memories in such a short span of time.

A. Karen at the beach in Barcelona
All too soon our idyllic time in the French countryside was over, and off we sped to Orly Airport. We eventually navigated our way to the rental car return, with help from Mz. Garmin and my cell phone GPS and a lot of sign reading. Newark Airport has nothing on Orly when it comes to navigating the construction and cloverleafs. Our bumpy, dingy Air Iberia flight dropped us off close to midnight at the pristine, modern, clean Barcelona Airport. We gathered our luggage and walked out of the airport, straight into a waiting taxi, which whisked us off to our next home away from home, Catalonia Plaza Catalunya.

A. Karen atop Casa Mila
We have since claimed Barcelona as ours. Its friendly people, fantastical architecture, Mediterranean beaches, tasty cuisine, lovely siestas, and all-around laid-back atmosphere have made us feel utterly welcome as we tour the twisty alleys of the old city and cruise the wider expanses of the new.

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