Sunday, June 10, 2018

Lourmarin, France

On Thursday morning we were back on the road...
Our next destination was the small village of Lourmarin in the southern France region of Provence.

If you've read the book by Peter Mayle "A year in Provence" then you have a headstart
on what life here is like.

It was only a few miles from here where he settled, and wrote about life in this
quaint and beautiful region.

Since it was only a 4 hr drive from Annecy, we could get there before the workday
started, so we took our time and stopped a few times along the way.

The nice thing about working from here is that by 3pm we've put in a pretty full day,
yet in New York it is only 9 am and the work day is just beginning.....
so I can really pack a lot of activity into each day before my work day even starts.

Our route from Annecy to Lourmarin
Our flat here in Lourmarin is our 5th AirBnB rental so far this trip - and like the others is a winner!

Located above Cafe Gabby on the main town square it looks over a lively scene.
From our perch we watch the ebb and flow of the village each day as it comes to life,
and then slowly goes back to sleep.

We enjoy a nice cool local Rose' on the square.

Our windows (arrows) look out over the square
We've been taking life here a little bit slower.
Its a very small village and we've stayed close to home.
We walk the narrow back streets exploring the village...

And a short stroll takes us into the vineyards which surround the village.

Friday morning was Market Day!
The town population swelled as people from all over the region came into town
to shop at the market as did we.

Provencal Olives & Garlics
We purchased some Olives, & Marinated Garlics.
Some charcuterie...

A varied assortment of cheeses and charcuterie
We stopped at the Rotisserie and bought a small pork loin, chicken, and honeymoon ham,
with roasted potatoes, and a vegetable medley.

Enough food for 5 meals or so... for less than €30!

A common scene - note the baguettes in the woman's bag
Our weather has varied from cloudy to sunny, but warm and pleasant.

Our view from our window.

Right below and a few doors down is a wonderful boulangerie (bakery)
Each morning I run down before Kate gets up and grab a couple of baguettes, warm from the oven.
Some fresh French Butter and Orange Marmalade....  Yum!

Then in the afternoon....  a nice cool Rose and a few bites of the crusty baguette!

Now this is a mid-day snack!

Tomorrow we have a 6 hr drive as we change towns and countries.

Tomorrow is Pisa Italy where we meet up with friends Eric & Pat who
you might remember from our travels last summer in Alaska.

3 hrs first on the French Toll road, then 3 hrs on the Italian toll road the Autostrada.

Time to forget my French and start to learn Italian....

Now what was the word for tollbooth ahead?

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Annecy France

On Saturday morning we packed up the car and headed south and east on the
A-6 Autoroute leaving Versailles and Paris in our rear view mirror.
Our next destination was Annecy, France - located on the Swiss/French Border.

Known as the Venice of France, I was especially looking forward to our visit here.
Not only for the atmosphere, but I also love towns in the border areas as there
is often a mix of cultures and I was interested to see the mix here.

Bill - I know that you are especially interested in this post so I hope that I can give
you at least a small taste of the town.

Our route from Versailles to Annecy  (top left to right)

When we arrived in Annecy little did we know the surprise that was waiting....

We parked the car and met the owner at the flat.
Once settled in - we returned to the car (about a block away) to get our luggage.
We left the Doodles in the flat and as usual...  I did not lock the door.

When we returned - I opened the door and all of a sudden there was a shout:
Our friends from Zurich had driven 3 1/2 hours, found our flat,  saw the doodles,
so they let themselves in and waited for us to return.

What a great surprise it was!
We could not have asked for a more perfect arrival to this great city.
They spent Sat - Monday with us and just left a few hours ago today (Tuesday)

Our Annecy Surprise
Annecy is a beautiful old town on the shore of Lac Annecy in the foothills of the Alps.

View of Annecy
The canals that run thru town give it that Venetian feeling.

The canals are all lined with cafes where you can linger over a meal, a drink, or a cuppa,
 and simply enjoy the  heartbeat of the village.

Literally just steps from our flat...

Lake Annecy feeds the canals of Annecy

On Saturday when we arrived the village was packed with weekenders but on Sunday
the crowds thinned out dramatically and by Monday we shared the village with but a few.

Also just steps away from our flat is a large park "The Gardens of Europe"

In the park is the bridge at Pont des Amours
Called 'The Lovers Bridge"...  the legend says that if two lovers kiss
in the middle of the bridge, that they will be united for life.

Since this was our 30th anniversary to the day of meeting each other,
we decided to take out an insurance policy.

We all paused for a photo on the bridge too.

View of the canal leading from the lake into town behind me.

View of the Park - Gardens of Europe in Annecy
Like everywhere we've been so far - the town is pedestrian and dog friendly.
The dogs have come everywhere with us - including to lunch!

Dog friendly cafes

Dogs welcome here too!

Kate also made a friend at lunch one day.
She had been admiring our waitresses necklace and when we started to leave she came over
and insisted that Kate take the necklace as a gift!

So.... the next day Kate brought her a necklace so that they would have one from each other!

Kate make another friend

Those of you who know Kate well will know that this is so typically Kate.
She just brings out the best in people!

One of the really special things about this neck of the woods are the village markets.
I guess the closest thing to it in the US would be a farmers market, but these markets are really like
a farmers market on steroids!

The merchants travel from town to town on a schedule.  Each village has a market
on certain days - usually from about 7am till noon.

Unlike a farmers market in the US....
these markets are where many do most of their weekly food shopping.

On market day you see the locals heading home - their bags stuffed with the fresh foods,
some warm baguettes under their arm....
Some with a bite or two already taken off of the end.  :-)

The variety of fresh foods at the market is amazing.

Vegetables, Fruits, Cheeses, Breads, Olives, nuts, Deserts, Charcuterie...
Rotisserie cooked meats...
The chickens are enormous!

Kate and I have gotten all of our needs at the markets since Versailles.
I now find myself excited to see the market in our next town.

A massive selection of Olives etc from Provence
Citrus, Berries, deserts...
the bounty offered at the market is endless. 

Just a sampling of the fruit at the Annecy Market
Cheese anyone?
The vendors all offer samples of the cheeses.
Each one more delicious than the last.
The just cut a hunk off of a giant wheel, wrap it up... and off you go. 

Endless variety of cheeses

Dinner at home for all of us one night.

Fresh Tomatoes Basil, Mozzarella with cheese and charcuterie

Our family at dinner in Annecy
Thanks to Maxine's sons - last Christmas I learned how to use the iPhone timer so I was able
to catch the above dinner shot hands free.

Last night the girls slept over, and since Tuesday was another market day here in town,
I headed out early and like any good hunter...  I came home with breakfast!

Greg comes back from the Annecy market with breakfast

I returned with some Parma Ham, Dried Sausage, a hunk of fresh Brie, a couple of Baguettes,
and some Gruyere cheese.


Even Doodles like breakfast
A nice local Rose' wine would have been a nice breakfast touch but
I have not become that French yet!

So that is our tour of Annecy.

We are here for one more day, then we head south to
the village of Loumarin in Provence where we have a nice flat
rented on the town square.

Tomorrow I might take a trip up into the mountains for a touch of Alpine
scenery before we head south.

If so - we'll catch up on that next time.