Beach bar made of straw
Last meal: pizza from a beachside restaurant.
Drink of choice: Monaco (beer with grenadine and lemonade).
Song in my head:
Alas I have not written for over a month! Endless problems accessing internet, together with constant moving and a full calendar are my excuses. This post has been written for over a week, but I refused to publish until I could upload photos – for the skimmers.
I continued my time at the farm in the Dordogne, and had some really nice days: french-wise and with the animals. There was one day where a sheep came up to me out of the blue and nibbled my hand, and the little goat Appolline jumped up my back when I was sitting, and sucked on my finger like it was a bottle. I feel like the livestock-whisperer or something.
I had a little day trip by myself to Perigueux, where I was dropped off at about 9am and told to entertain myself until 5.30. I somehow managed to while away the hours in this small town with less-than-fond memories (standing around with Justin in the rain, realising that four hours of travel still couldn’t get us to Lascaux II [which I did get to in the end – underwhelming]) despite all the museums being closed because it was a Monday. I saw a french film BY MYSELF (I don’t think I’ve ever seen a film alone before) called Le Prénom, and I understood most of it! And it was funny! And not just slapstick funny, word funny! Yay.
They also took me to this weird arts and theatre festival thing in a nearby village, which was breathtakingly beautiful and … entertaining? Not sure if that’s the right word.
I almost missed my train to leave Saint-Chamassy, because both cars decided that they didn’t like second gear that morning. After five hours of train and sleep and silently mouthing the sweet lyrics of Cloud Control and the XX, I arrived in the relative quiet/clean/peace of Montrichard to stay with Yvonne again.
That week passed in a blur. I don’t know what happened: I ate
too much a lot; I went places; I painted outdoor furniture; I B&Bed; and I even started running again! Half an hour every day = smug. And totally justifies my sugar and bread intake.
Next stop was Paris. Accommodation was hard to find, so I stayed at in my first multi-bedded hostel dorm. It was an experience, to be sure, but I would definitely do it again. Cheap + young people = pas trop mal. Dinnered with Dad and Maria and her fam that night (it was the end of their trip around western Europe and this was the first opportunity for me to see them), and arranged for me to play tour guide for the next two days (coz I’m like so knowledgable about Paris now. I’m prets much a native. Totes. I mean, ouais. [that’s French for ‘yep’]).
Met up at Notre Dame the next morning (après my run around Père Lachaise cemetery) and headed for the Louvre. A few of the rooms were closed, so after seeing La Joconde and some other über famous ones, we had lunch on the Rue de Rivoli and then headed to the Champs Élysees. Which, as Dad explained, is a reference to the Elysean (?) fields in Ancient Greek (?) mythology, which is a paradise/heaven-esque scenario for soldiers who died in battle. Man, Napoléon was cool. Dad and I weren’t interested in shopping, so we instead walked up to l’Arc de Triomphe (and to the top – the weather was far warmer than when Mum and I did it) and then across to the Eiffel Tower where we sat in the Champ de Mars. There we saw two Aboriginal buskers in traditional dance attire who were attracting a lot of photographic attention. Dad said that they’d gone on Walkabout and hadn’t stopped. I laughed. Is that racist?
Returned to the Latin quarter for dinner, at a little bistro with COLD red wine. Bizarre but great on a hot day and with duck.
On Friday, I got up a little earlier than usual to buy pastries from the bakery in the 10th. I am proud to say that I didn’t even sample any in transit! Picked up the others and we pastrified outselves on the banks of the Seine. Perfection. Oh, the Seine was nice too, but I just can’t get enough of those chausson pommes…
Continued along for a quick visit to the gardens of Rodin, the sculptor of The Thinker. I know I should have oohed and ahhed at the artworks, and they WERE impressive, but the multicoloured roses in that garden are absolutely to die for. Incroyable. Headed quick to the Orsay museum, where I again experienced extreme mindblowage/hunger on the top level. This is what Impressionism reduces me to.
After lunch at a nearby restaurant, we continued our earlier walk along the Seine until the Tour Eiffel. Best exclamation goes to Maria’s Texan brother Tatchi: “Son of a gun!” I love that he actually said that. He had previously contained his squeals of delight when he could see the top from another part of the city. We took a boat ride along the Seine for an hour, then headed back to the hotel to freshen up.
Dinner was at another Latin quarter restaurant, but this time it was cheese-themed, specialising in raclette and fondue. Much to my delight. I don’t care that it was freaking hot and that is alpine food. Cheese is good, regardless of climate. After a few drinks (my first Limoncello!) we headed back to the Tour Eiffel to see it lit up like a Christmas tree just after the sun set ~10pm. Said our goodbyes (it was their last night) and we headed back to our respective accommodations.
The next day I kind of bummed around, buying odds and ends that I needed clothes-wise, doing a load of washing, finally getting me some internet.
For Sunday, I had planned to meet up with some old neighbours from the mountains in the afternoon! In the morning, however, I got my fill of old-school weaponry and Napoléon’s giganto tomb at Les Invalides. It’s pretty cool there. If I was French, I might’ve got a bit emotional.
Met up with Judith and Bill mid-afternoon at the top-storey flat they were renting – everyone seems to stay in the Latin quarter! Went out for a café early evening, and bought tickets to a Chopin and Liszt piano recital/concert at allegedly the oldest church in Paris! She played well, but I’m an old fuddy-duddy and I think that with all these classical musician types, sometimes speed takes preference over quality. Just sayin’, there were some notes missing. Just sayin’.
90 minutes of pianist excellence later (and excuse me, but when did it become normal to have multiple encores in a classical music setting?), we had dinner at an Italian restaurant with lovely fluffy bread (some of which Judith stole!) They also gave me some Vegemite which I’m yet to open, but I’m pretty excited for when I do.
Monday morning, it was action stations: run, clean out bag a bit, pack bag, check out of hostel, and get myself to CDG Terminal 3 for a flight to CORSICA!! Weighed my bag 20 minutes before flight check-in began and realised that, despite my
lame efforts, it was still 2.5kg over. I got it down to 20.1kg just before I got in the line. Win. But seriously, I need to send some crap home.
Justin messaged me when I was at the gate, checking I had the number of my next accommodation. Nyaw. Managed to scab an emergency exit window seat. YESSS!! Also managed to sleep for the ENTIRE one hour 45 minutes of flight. What a waste.
My new hostess picked me up from the airport with her son (SO nice!) and drove me to my beachside apartment, where I was to spend the next four nights. She then took me to the beach, where I think I embarrassed her a little when I thoroughly sunscreened all the rang skin that light was going to touch. She briefly took me to meet her parents, who lived close by, and I am thrilled to say that I beat them hands down in pétanque. I was introduced to a French flight attendant who I was going to share the apartment with on my final night. She drives a white droptop VW-Beetle-styled old Citoën from the 70s, with blue racing stripes. I wasn’t sad to have her share the apartment. We arranged to go to the beach together the next day.
The following days passed in a rather lovely manner. I could sleep in, I ran each morning, bought and ate nice food, lived on my own timetable, could walk around next to naked in the apartment, and drink some of a goon sac of Corsican rosé that had been left in the fridge. The biggest news? I didn’t get burnt AND I have a tan! Well, for me it’s a tan. Really, it’s just regular skin now, but I’m now REGULAR-coloured! Well, on my arms. My legs are still neon lightbulbs.
And yesterday, I took a ferry from Porticcio across the bay to Ajaccio, to get to my next WWOOFing property. It’s near Évisa, in the mountains so a little colder, and the bus drive here was ABSOLUTELY incredible. It’s the kind of road that I would be happy to fork out a hundred euros to hire a fancy convertible and go crazy on.
And that is where I shall leave this post.
Another will arrive shortly!