Thursday, March 14, 2013

Ahhh- Belle France!

Miss me?  Yesterday was a travel day, and really nothing happened to write about.  We checked out of our beautiful hotel in Lyon at noon and went to the bar to have some lunch.  I had a Croque Monsieur, and Jerry had a shrimp salad.  Once again, I apparently chose the most  expensive thing on the menu....really, I thought it would be cheap.  Our train was leaving at 3:30, so we had lots of time, but Mr. Crazy wanted to leave the beautiful, warm, hotel to go to the freezing cold crazy train station, just to "scope it out."  Normal people get used to things and less anxious, but Jerry has his mother's blood (sorry Dee Ann but you know it is true) and he gets worse with every trip.  So we taxied to the Pont Deux train station at 1:30.

Like I said, this place was cold.  Europe is in a cold snap now, and because it is a station with outside trains, it is totally open to the elements.  We found a place to sit among the throng, and I went off to buy some hot beverage to thaw my innards.  Throng it is, there is all kinds of humanity at a train station, rich, poor, destitute, babies, everything you can imagine.  Even Crazy American men who keep pacing the floor in front of the departure board.

We boarded our TGV at 3:29 and left Lyon on a full train.  We arrived in Avignon at 5:00.  It was freezing here too, but sunny.  Then we were told it was the Mistral Wind which is famous in these parts, 50-100 km/h blowing down the Rhone river valley.  I read that the French say it could "blow the ears off a donkey".  Found a taxi and gave him the address.  Avignon is a city of 70,000 but we are staying in the old walled city which is not very big.  Avignon is famous for the Palace de Papes, which in the 13th century the Catholic Church moved the Vatican from Rome to Avignon for the tenure of 7 popes (Turns out the first one was from here...go figure) so there is a huge Palace here, with surrounding fancy places that held the "court" of the Papacy for almost 100 years.  Before that it was a Roman outpost of considerable importance, etc. etc. etc.  Lots of history going on.  It is now a lovely smallish town in the middle of Provence, home of great food and even greater wines (Cotes du Rhone).  Our kind of place.

We found the apartment without incident, (Well, the taxi driver did) on a tiny narrow street called Rue Sainte-Catherine, 2 blocks from the Palace du Pape.  Here are some street scenes.  Remember, this is a medieval city so there isn't a straight street in the place.
Have I talked about the street signs before?  They are on the corners of buildings at a crossroads.

Our door - Weighs a TON

See the sign to the left of Jerry's head on the building?

Main drag

Met the landlord, Florent, at the apartment.  It is charming.  First floor, very well appointed.



Washing machine!  Yea!


queen sized bed





Jerry checking out the couch


This place is a bargain at 300 Euro a week.  We have it for 2 weeks.  First we unpacked,  got a load of laundry started, then went out to walk.  Not easy in a 50 mph wind.  Found a Carefour (grocery store) and bought necessities, Diet Coke, sliced chicken, mayo, laundry soap, paper towels, and wine.  Came back.  I put more clothes on (my trusty Gore Tex jacket over my fleece, to block the wind) then we went out to find dinner.  Walked up to a spot and had a really nice meal, Jerry fish, me beef, and came back to sleep.

For those of you who follow regularly  you know Jerry doesn't sleep the night after traveling (or the night before, for that matter) so he was up, down, in the bed, on the couch.  Poor guy.  I, on the other hand, sleep like a baby except when he can't find the ibuprofen.

The day dawned anew.  Wind still howling, but we drank coffee and ate croissant and remembered why we love France so much.  Laundry dried overnight, put that away and we were off to the market.  

Same sort of thing as in Italy, but subtle differences:
Look at that sky!






Pastry

tarte

snails

Urchins

fish stall


shrimps that are 10" long

Seafood still in the shell - ????

escargot

Moules - mussels




Jerry perusing the wine

choosing dinner for tonight

I got ham with endive filling

Jerry took Mussels in cream sauce and escalloped potatoes

Duck

another kind

and another

olives, olives, olives

pate du fois gras

dried morels

Gotta love a country where the men drink wine at 10 AM on a Thursday morning

Brought the groceries back and ate a sandwich from the stuff we bought last night.  We have been eating pretty high on the hog lately, so we are going to eat in a few meals. Now Jerry is taking a nap, and I am writing to you.  I will post again tonight, when we have more to say, but wanted to catch you up.  A Bientot, mes amies.  



2 comments:

  1. Wondering how much the morels were? Didn't know how common they are over there. Also, I can always have Seth deliver a duck to you this fall fully plucked with the head attached in case you begin to miss France too much. Thank you so much for letting all of us in on your travels. I definitely look forward to your posts. Miss you guys! Love & hugs!

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  2. I will look at the market tomorrow, but morel is a common ingredient around here. I have never seen any fresh, but we aren't here in the later spring. Maybe in a week or so. I just think it is so funny to see the heads, and feet of these fowl. Chickens are the same. Glad you are following and enjoying it. Miss you too.

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