Vacationing Close To Home


Lac Montbel

Our friend Cheryl arrived from Oklahoma on Sunday and we’ve had a busy time of it since she’s gotten here. JM and I have decided to look at her visit as if it is a vacation for us as well, and are enjoying going out and doing stuff that we would not normally do when we’re on our own.

On Monday we went to the Mirepoix market, something I only do maybe once a year. I don’t know why, except that somehow I never really THINK about it. It’s completely ridiculous, because it’s a great market. Although maybe that is a reason NOT to do it, because it is also a huge temptation to spend money.

I bought some fruit and veggies, but although they were good, I actually think that what I get here in the village from either Jean-Paul or the Vival are generally superior in both flavor and freshness. However, we did get some artisinal cheese that was divine. I bought both a fresh chevre and an excellent cow milk tome-style, both of which are amongst some of the best that I’ve had.

Tuesday we went to Lourdes. JM and I had visited it exactly 10 years ago and were thrilled to get the chance to go back. It’s not that bad of a drive; only about 3 hours and I was astonished by how uncrowded it was. I really did think that this being May and a holiday week to boot that it would be packed, but it wasn’t. We were able to park easily and when JM took Cheryl into the Sanctuary, he said there was hardly anyone waiting in line at the grotto, which wasn’t the case last time we were there.

I didn’t go into the sanctuary this time because we had brought Shmoo with us. I had mixed feelings, because I wasn’t sure how he would behave in a place that was relatively crowded and where there would be lots of other dogs wandering around. I have to say my fears were totally unfounded! I guess my boy has grown up, because he behaved like a true gentleman. He did not react overly to the other dogs, he lay quietly beneath the table while we ate lunch and then later was just as quiet at the café where we waited for JM and Cheryl. I think he has now earned far more going out privileges because of it.

But, after a 7 hour drive (both ways) and 3 1/2 hours wandering the streets of Lourdes, he was one tired pup! Two days later and he has barely recovered.

Yesterday was a quiet day. I did not feel like getting back behind the wheel of a car after Tuesday. We all caught up on email, then I introduced Cheryl to the Gamm Vert, our agricultural co-op local products store. It’s really like a treasure cave in there and you can find all kinds of cool stuff from clothes to locally produced preserves, patés and wine.

I think that Cheryl has been surprised by how hard it is to walk around our village without running into half-a-dozen people that I know and having conversations with all of them.

This was brought home more today when we went out to get some more cheese, fruit and veggies. It took us an hour, just because there were so many conversations to be had.

Then we decided to take a little trip to Lac Montbel and Montsegur, where we sat and had a picnic lunch from the goodies I’d bought at the bakery this morning. Yesterday was very hot and sunny, but today was much cooler and overcast, so it was probably a better day for something like that.

The annual Ascension village fair starts today, so later on we’ll head over to that (luckily it’s on the other side of the village this year) and tonight will be a “fair food” night! Nothing beats fair fries; for some reason they always taste better than any other fries!

Tomorrow I think we’ll head out to Colliure and the Emerald Coast. I do hope that we have good weather for that.

Ciao for now.


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