My eyes opened to this my first morning in France……it was ……..idyllic, like waking to a dream.
After spending the previous night on the cold benches of Barcelona airport, I’d slept like a log, shuffling off a tiredness which resulted not only from the previous night, but from lack of sleep on the two nights before that, waking early and going to bed late to get all my stuff into storage, Trixy into kennels, and complete all those tasks which seem so urgent when you know you’re going away, and have now faded into the past.
That gorgeous window was in my bedroom in my friends’ house. Wendy and Tarik made me feel utterly at home. We ate. We talked. We wandered. We talked. We explored. We talked. This was the longest Wendy and I had been together since sometime in the 70s, and the joys of learning all about the backstories of what we knew had happened in each other’s lives was palpable.
We explored some of the Medieval villages of Languedoc-Roussillon, but at a gentle pace, stopping for coffees, food and ice cream as the mood took us, or simply spent late afternoons watching the BBC’s wonderful “The Hollow Crown” series – a huge catch-up for me. France was warm and sunny, but not hot or dusty. Balm on my parched soul and eyes.
I’ve written before about Autumn being a time for renewal and new beginnings, and that has never been truer for me than this year. As we caught up with the years, my tiredness, and a certain apathy which had enveloped me, melted away. That apathy had led to making changes in my life, but I’d been too busy actually organizing them to feel the benefit. By the end of the week my head felt clear for the first time in a long time. I’d fallen into a pleasant enough way of life that’s for sure, but it wasn’t going anywhere.
France wasn’t intended to be a destination to write about. It was very personal, so just a few photos to give you an idea of how gorgeous this often under-rated region is.
I boarded the train north with a renewed focus. As we skimmed across France, the clouds gathered, and I had an overpowering sense that summer was over. In England I posted home my cotton dresses and the books I’d read, and turned my soul to Autumn.
The food in France had lived up to its reputation, and it was a happy surprise, even after last year, to find that English food was up to the challenge. Very first day I took an eating tour of London’s colorful East End, but that will be a whole post of its own …… very soon!
London was a kaleidoscope: the latest movies; museums; strolling in Hyde Park; a totally different and entertaining show by Siro-A (go see them if you get the chance, they are SO clever); glorious family lunch in Rainforest Cafe with my god-daughter and her brood; bubble tea, Japanese food: American football (on tv in a bar); a long walk along the Thames; and a memorable visit to the foodie heaven that is Borough Market, where I conquered a 30-year aversion to oysters!
And after London, north to the Lake District, where the leaves are a little more autumnal, shades of gold and red sharp among the still green oaks and evergreen pines. Family time. Gentle mists.
And, speaking of gentle mists……onward to Ireland.
September 25, 2013 at 5:24 pm
you are in one of my favourite places. the great scenery plus the wonderful people make for a most memorable trip. My landing in Cork was no where near as eventful as yours. hope you get to visit the English market in Cork for another foodie location.
September 25, 2013 at 7:57 pm
This is a dream like trip to a dream like places….
September 26, 2013 at 7:43 am
If that’s how it made you feel, then I conveyed my feelings – because that is exactly how the trip was to that point, relaxed and very much like a dream! Now back to reality! Thank you for reading and commenting.
September 26, 2013 at 7:03 am
Very first place I went on Tuesday, Christine! Looking forward to exploring more!
September 26, 2013 at 7:07 am
A girl after my own heart LOL
September 26, 2013 at 7:43 am
You’re friends home looks idealistic for rest and rebalance with company. Love the Carousel. And the scenery.
September 26, 2013 at 9:42 am
We have often been to the coast of the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the summer, when we spend most of our time basking and soaking at the beach, and staying at a caravan park. Maybe I’ll have to persuade my husband to take us there in the autumn and stay in an apartment or house. It looks absolutely beautiful.
September 28, 2013 at 11:51 am
Sarah, I was amazed. I’ve spent time in Provence in the past (and love it), but Languedoc-Roussillon is so full of history, and these citadel-villages are so well preserved and maintained. Guaranteed they tend a tad to the touristy side, but I guess without that they wouldn’t survive, and after all …. it’s France. THey do it well!
September 26, 2013 at 4:03 pm
Thank you, Linda, for the lovely comments above. We also loved every minute of your stay, and as for us two, well, it’s though we’d never been apart.! Much love xx