A Travellerspoint blog

Rude Awakening

snow 1 °C

I woke up from my coma this morning as the snow started to lightly fall. Yep, I'm back to an unpredictable Calgary Foothills spring. Could be sunny in an hour or two, but for now, I will focus on something I can control... My coffee intake & ability to stay warm..

The cats are thrilled I am back and have been clinging to me like staticky socks. So, I will bask in their adoration and plan to have a quiet few days. Time spent sorting through photos, savoring memories and shaping words as I collect an even more detailed account of this trip in my personal journal. A fond recollection of the past few weeks.
The things I know for sure in this moment?
I'll be back in France as soon as I can be, and until then...
This gentle snow fall has me looking forward to my next trip. A few weeks in the warm & sunny wine valley of the Okanagan (British Columbia)
Life is Good!

Speaking of the good life...
For anyone thinking of adding France to their reality, you should really check out the gorgeously renovated home in La Liviniere that I was lucky enough to visit. It really is a jewel.
Here is a link and the English translation for those who need it...


A veritable jewel! Perfectly renovated with an ambiance between
contemporary and authentique, this house will seduce you with its
volume, private terraces and its character. One visit and you will
fall in love with it!

Posted by Vagabondage 10:41 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

The Tapestry of Travel

overcast 18 °C

They say the early bird gets the worm, but all this bird wants is coffee.
4am wake-up is early even by my standards, but I arrived at Toulouse-Blagnac with time to spare. Flight 1 in the city hopper was short and fuzzy since I was not quite awake yet. But as the sleep left my eyes, I arrived in Amsterdam at the beautiful airport of Schiphol.

I had 4 hours here to stretch my legs and fill my senses at Schiphol. I love airports. For me they are a place to be a fly on the wall looking into a kaleidoscope of color, shapes and potential stories. With a smoothie in my hand as sustenance, I wandered with eyes wide open until the final boarding call of my flight back to Calgary. I contemplated telling the woman who patted me down that she risked being more thorough than my husband, but I didn't get the sense that her funny bone was working, so I skipped talking to avoid further scrutiny and slowly made my way through the various checks and balances until at last, I made it onto the plane. Time to settle in and start the long haul back to Calgary.

The flight was made more enjoyable with a spirited KLM flight host and a strange Russian man sitting beside me who clearly partied the whole night and morning before our flight. In between snores, snorts and frequent shuffling, this man often fell into to what I call "The Al Bundy stance" (from the sitcom Married with Children) What I mean, is that he had one hand shoved down the front of his pants pretty much the whole trip. I had to laugh, the guy was clearly out of it.

At last, we landed. Mid-day Calgary felt like early morning Pepieux. With no snow on the ground and a bouquet of fresh Asiatic lilies waiting for me in the car, I had arrived without incidence. Now the trick is to keep my leaded eyelids open until a decent hour of night, so that I can avoid jetlag with a long and solid first night sleep. Wish me luck.

Schiphol Flower stand and a macro of an opening Asiatic Lily.
Tulips.jpg Lily.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 07:10 Archived in France Comments (0)

On the Road Again

Thursday 24th April, 2014

rain 23 °C

This is it.
My last morning.
A morning filled with "see you again soon"s. I really don't want to say good-bye, because I already want to return. And if I thought I was dragging my feet yesterday... well, clearly I didn't have a clue what true foot dragging was like. I managed to have a conversation with every person that mattered to me while I was in Pepieux, that helped. E-mails exchanged, a spell in Heather & Roderic's (I mean Jack's) garden, a wander down the river, time with frogs, Jo-Jo & by myself just quietly watching the water flow past the foot bridge while listening to the life and bells of Pepieux.
Life is good, my memories are beautiful. One last coffee with B. and I'm off.
Bises a tous!

The road to Toulouse seemed long today. With a slight detour and road side stop behind us, we arrived into the bustle of Toulouse. My Hotel was simple, stark and very clean. All I needed for my last night in France. Said my goodbyes to B., saw her on her way, then took a stroll to chart my early morning trek to the airport. Found dinner while at the airport and settled into an early night. A big day of travel tomorrow with a 4am start.

A quiet night in the hotel room watching Friends in French (dubbing is strange). Passing the time going through photos & sipping a little wine until sadly, it was lights out on my last day here. I can hear the hum of traffic in the distance and will use this to soothe me to sleep.

A walk down memory lane...
Wisteria on a street in Minerve & Jack on his way home from his garden via the well traveled footbridge/ tunnel.

Posted by Vagabondage 15:05 Archived in France Comments (0)

All's Quiet

Wednesday 23rd April. 2014

32 °C

As I walk around Pepieux every morning, I notice the many ways this place delights me. From the curiosity of feral kitties, to the old world appeal of the buildings, the quiet (on the surface) countryside plus, of course, the kindness of strangers and neighbors. This is my last full day here, and I have to admit, I am dragging my feet a little.

But, there is no time for melancholy. The sun is shining, the heat is rising and this is my last chance to walk over to the town of Azille to poke about. Looking over towards Azille, the Pyrenees looked strangely like the rocky mountains in the distance, spectacular on this clear morning. By the time I leave Pepieux the temperature has reached 32 degrees and you can see the heat rising from the dirty road like I am part of an old western movie. The heat is welcome except for a section of road where the fields nearby have clearly just been fertilized. Not even my deep seated love of picture taking could stop my swift pace until I had fully escaped the pungent assault to my nose. (I am such a delicate flower)

I arrived in Azille about 15 minutes before B. (I get a head start so she can B-line it, while I take my time & my pictures) and met a lovely older gentleman who spoke Spanish and a bit of broken french. We picked our way through a French/Spanish conversation (thank goodness I know a few words in both languages) and I did learn a few things about his love for Canadians, his life and Azille itself. When B. arrived, we parted for the desolate town square and a wander around the backstreets of Azille. I find it amazing how each town has it's clearly unique appeal. This one is faded, tree lined and seems slightly forgotten.

In Azille today, the town had music playing over the loudspeakers. Perhaps to add life to it's desolate streets. Music with a heavy Spanish influence which I find odd, but might actually not be. I don't know enough about this place to know for sure. All I can say is that I like it! Everything about today and this town feels hot, dusty and deserted. A chalky and dry kind of quiet that reflects my emotions about having to leave this gorgeous country soon.

While on the road today, I spied...
Lovely horses & the faded facade of days gone by.

Posted by Vagabondage 11:37 Archived in France Comments (0)

A Votre Sante! (To your health)

Tuesday 22nd April, 2014

semi-overcast 21 °C

Quite a soppy wander this morning. The light rain had tapered off a bit after coffee. Enough that we followed through with Market day plans.
The goal was to pick up what we needed for company tonight. The regular suspects to create an acceptable french spread... Cheese, bread, smoked salmon, fig & onion confit... the list is a little more extensive, but you get the drift.

With wine free flowing, we welcomed our guests for a really sensational evening that carried out into the street for some trailing late night laughs that ended up including our charming neighbor Michel who is always a pleasure to include in any conversation. After our superb evening came to a close, I went to bed smiling. This place is like wine, it gets even better with time.

In between Olonzac and the evening, I found a few moments to chill out at the river behind the walls of Pepieux... Always a welcome breathing space.
Here is what I spied along the way today...
A wasp hiding behind his tiny nest in case more rain comes & raindrops everywhere.

Posted by Vagabondage 11:01 Archived in France Comments (0)

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