When we arrived in Normandy, Murray and Julie half-apologetically told us that there was really very little in this part of the country except agriculture and dairy. And by agriculture, they meant apples. So cows and apples, for short. There are not really any vineyards (Burgandy) or chateaus (the Loire Valley) or skiing (Alps) or even glamorous beaches (Marseilles)… but that was fine with me. Having grown up in New England, I have a healthy respect for apples and cows and otherwise fairly austere pursuits. On the last day of our stay, Murray indulged us in what Normandy had to offer by taking us to a cidery, a small picturesque town, and getting us some of the stinkiest cheese in the world. Continue reading When life gives you apples and cows, make cider and stinky cheese.
Summer is in full flower in Basse-Normandie, and it has brought the funniest weather I’ve ever seen. Murray and Julie joke that there’s no point to checking the weather forecast (or what the French call the météo), since it always has a bit of everything: we wake up to brisk and sunny mornings that quickly warm up to hot middays, and work through cloudy afternoons interspersed with drizzle against the windowpanes. It usually clears up in time for brilliant sunsets around 10 pm, and true darkness only descends after midnight. We’ve been keeping quite busy, with our animals and our work, but finding time somehow to admire the weather and the landscape around us. Continue reading The dog days of Normandy.
This is truly an animal house. No frat brothers and no kegs of beer in sight; instead, the denizens are six dogs and two cats, and we are enjoying quiet cups of tea while watching the World Cup. Murray and Julie’s Normandy colombage house is incredibly cozy, and I’m just having a ball sitting here, sipping on some tea and trying to decide which of the dogs to cuddle with or the cats to pet. This is worlds away from where we were this morning, but still every bit as French (kind of) and lovely.
This morning, Steve and I woke up and promptly got about cleaning everything in sight and packing the rest of our things. Yesterday, I had already run errands to replace some of the household goods we had used and to mail off more postcards and a package. We had also done a farewell visit to the park and our favorite boulangerie. Before we knew it, we were on a train speeding out of Lyon. It was really hard to believe as the morning went on, as we carried our things out of the apartment, turned off the gas, and deposited the last of the trash, that we were really leaving. This is the second longest time we’ve spent in any one place, the only one longer being in Taiwan! It’s been hard to say goodbye to all our favorite corners… Lyon is not a must-visit place in France as far as that goes, but it is a most livable and comfortable and nice corner of the country. Continue reading Animal House.