* Between The Sea (the Med) and The Alps -- {Pronounce: ontruh la mair eh lay zalp}

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Vehicular Hiking

Vehicular Hiking 1The primary reason for our recent weekend up higher into the Alps was to just get away for a few days.  We wanted to go in a direction we don't typically spend any time in so might be fun to explore.   We didn't want to get too far away, yet we wanted to go far enough away we weren't still in our own backyard.

I left it up to Doc Leo to pick a spot perhaps two to three hours away.  He thought he had an area all picked out, so we headed in that direction.  But we'd gotten a later start than expected (I wanted to finish up a particular yard project!), and that ended up changing most of the itinerary.

However, what we ended up doing was mostly exploring the awesome mountains around us and a few little gems hidden within.  I realized it was almost like hiking by car, so I'd like to take you along on our drive.  Roll down your window and enjoy the fresh air!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Une Fête Médiévale

Medieval Fair 1

As I mentioned previously, on our recent camping trip we came across a medieval fair taking place in a medieval town.  We've been to two different ones over the years, in much larger settings, so it was kind of fun to check out this much smaller venue.

The first one we ever went to was probably in the first medieval town I ever visited, and it was fascinating, especially coming from the New World that didn't have such old history in the first place.  I think that one is now considered the granddaddy of them all in France, will celebrate 35 years next year, and we went the first time when it was less than ten years old!

The second one was in one of the Loire Valley castles we stumbled upon while on vacation with the family many years ago.  Somehow, we've never taken advantage of checking out others when we've seen them advertised. 

But come along with me now and see how an old Alpine town brings back its history.

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Little surprises

Little Surprises 1Sometimes, life takes a few unexpected twists; and sometimes, those twists lead us down paths to adventures we really hadn't planned on or expected to have.  Our walking into a sports store in search of some new sandals for Doc Leo provided one of those twists.

Instead of finding him some new footwear, we ended up walking out with a new tent we'd been searching for during a number of years.  Our old faithful started rotting in storage, but newer versions 25 years later were far from an equal replacement. Every year we've been so disappointed we couldn't find anything we liked.

While it was frustrating that we had no time to try it out, at least we'd have something for the future.  Then another twist allowed us to actually go away for a weekend.  Here's how it all turned out!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

An evening with Carmen

Evening with Carmen 1Some British friends of ours decided to treat themselves to a trip to the opera when they came down for their annual winter visit.  After booking about six months in advance, they found that they were going to be unable to attend after all.  However, rather than letting the tickets go to waste, we were asked if we were available and interested.

Well, let's see.  Would it be interesting enough to skip one of our two weekly chorale practices?  What a hard choice! 

Thus, we ditched sweaters and jeans and decked ourselves out in more fancy duds and took ourselves into the Old Town for a delightful evening of culture.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Teatime caring and sharing

Teatime caring 1This weekend, our church held its fourth annual Christmas Tea.  It was a lovely occasion for our ladies to gather together along with their friends and neighbors for a cheerful seasonal afternoon of tea and home baked goodies, hear uplifting talks on the true meaning of Christmas, and then end up with a surprise from the gift exchange.

It's kind of fun to look back and see how the decorations change each year, as well as see who came each time.  This is how it all looked this year.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Journey into a man's sport jacket

Sport jacket journey 1Once upon a time, a very long time ago, a young woman got married and started sewing a work wardrobe for herself.  But the young husband was jealous and wanted some sewing done for himself. 

So he sent his bride to school to learn how to make him a suit.  Over time, he got about ten of them for himself.  Then the bride took off in other directions, and he never got another one again.

Now, about forty years later, he is being honored once again with another new sport coat.  Thanks to modern technology, it is now possible to share the journey with you!  Let's travel the path together.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Dual Thanksgivings

Dual Thanksgivings 1Once again, another American Thanksgiving has come and gone.  While it has always been a special occasion for me as an American, it just happened to be our first American holiday we experienced as new foreigners living in a country where it was meaningless.  We shared it with our new French neighbors, and we’ve been sharing it with the French ever since.

This year, as last year, was interesting in that we were also guests as non-Americans put on a big spread, too.  Here’s how we enjoyed both events!

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

An afternoon choral songfest

Choral Songfest 1As if conversing and reading in French weren't enough of a challenge, Doc Leo and I are now part of a local chorale.  Not only do we sing in French, but we've also had to belt out tunes in Spanish, Italian, Latin, Niçoise, German, and Greek! 

I tend to feel a bit smug at my perfect pronunciation when we get to sing something in English.  I also provide a bit of linguistic coaching, especially on our words that follow absolutely no grammatical rules at all.

Our group was recently invited as guest performers to a regional concert of five different groups.  I thought you might find it interesting.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Alpine trekking

Alpine Trekking 1

Every year, our church holds a fall retreat at the camp we volunteer to help keep nice up in the mountains.  One of the annual activities is a fairly substantial hike on one of the numerous official trails.  As I belonged to a hiking club for a few years as part of our village activities, I look forward to participating in this scheduled activity.

Unfortunately, I’ve never been a very sporty person, and every year I keep getting older while there are always plenty of younger people, so it gets harder and harder to keep up.  But I continue to plug along, and I thought I’d share some of the views I captured at this year’s event last month.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

When work is joy

Work is joy 1Last month, we participated in the annual fall clean-up at the children's camp we volunteer helping keep in shape.  Over the years, we've all managed to take this property that was falling apart from lack of attention and turn it into a space of beauty and relaxation, although getting and keeping it there hasn't been so relaxing!

We now pretty much do the same things every year, so it would be boring to keep showing you the same activities.  But I like to honor the various people who dedicate their time to this endeavor each year, plus give a bit of a progress report on how everything continues to improve.

I'll start off with my own pride and joy, the pretty fire pit I brought back from a horrible mess several years ago, and now just takes a bit of annual weeding.

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