India’s Big Cats

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Beautiful Bhamsa

Wow! There he was, lounging high up on the rocks. Magnificent. Gorgeous. Bhamsa, a 3-year-old male leopard. On a previous safari in Africa, then one in Sri Lanka, I had hopes of a leopard sighting. No luck. These cats are secretive, elusive.

PHOTO-2018-05-08-15-58-37We were in the rugged countryside near Narlai, a rural village in Rajasthan, India. Just us, a guide and the jeep driver. First we bounced around the back country near our hotel, off roads, into fields, through bush, stopping frequently to scour the landscape. A few peacocks. Antelope. Errant cows. Nary a leopard. I was more than disappointed, certain this would be yet another failed mission.

Abruptly the driver turned around, backtracked through the village, on to a major road, racing like police on a chase. Hold on! A sharp turn onto a dirt track through rugged, barren terrain. The chase intensified.

As we approached a range of rocky slopes, the vehicle came to a speedy halt. “There, up there, a leopard.” Leopard? Where? I had a hard time finding him. Those spots and the beige coat blend in with the background. The guide gave me his binoculars. Yes. There he was. Awesome.

fullsizeoutput_9eaWe watched Bhamsa, mesmerized. He stared at us. My Olympus lens was not long enough for photos, but the guide took many with his Canon Power Shot and sent them to me on Whats App.

As we marveled at our leopard, out of nowhere appeared a young man with masala tea (an Indian special with spices), sandwiches and cookies. Also awesome.

We learned that eight leopards make their home in this region which is not on the popular Rajasthan tourist trek. Each leopard has his own territory of about 14 kilometers.

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Life expectancy for leopards is between 15-18 years. They weigh in between 70 -80 kilos, smaller than tigers which can weigh up to 200 kilos.

Bhamsa grew bored watching us, slowly stood up, stretched his long, lean beautiful body and moved on, jumping onto rocks out of our sight.

The excitement, the thrill of viewing wild beasts — be they gorillas, elephants, lions, leopards — in their natural habitat is like no other. I can’t get enough.

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According  to the last census (2014) there are 2,226 tigers in India which has 50 tiger reserves.

India rewarded us – not just with one leopard, but two tigers. We joined a group safari in Ranthambore National Park, a vast wildlife reserve in Rajasthan and home to 68 tigers. This time we were in a jeep with four others, some of whom had been on many tiger safaris and had interesting tales to tell.

On our morning trek we saw the imposing 10th century Ranthambore Fort up on a hillside, as well as the ubiquitous peacocks and antelope. Leopards also make their home in the park, but it is the tigers for which it is known.

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Due to shrinking habitats in India, leopards and tigers sometimes enter villages, killing livestock.  Humans have also been attacked.

After several boring hours, a tiger was spotted. That is, someone spotted a tiger. Again I failed to see it. This feline was sleeping in the brush, well camouflaged. All that was visible was the head. We drove around to another spot for a better view, soon followed by vehicle after vehicle. Word had spread fast.

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We, and at least 12 other vehicles filled with eager eyes, waited and waited. My patience was dwindling. I had seen enough of the tiger’s head. The guide knew best. The tiger would wake up.

It did. He sat up for awhile, taking in the conglomeration of vehicles, perhaps hoping we would disappear. No way. Not concerned, after a bit he headed in our direction, closer and closer. Even my Olympus could handle this. Ranthambore tigers are obviously accustomed to an audience.

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And, not far behind, another stunning tiger. They were brother and sister, 1½ year old cubs, we learned. They paraded by, the female following her brother, remarkably close to the safari jeeps.

Too close for comfort was the tiger which jumped in front of a resident at our lodging, Khem Villas, located in the wilderness on the edge of the park. The gentleman from London decided to take an early morning stroll (5 a.m.) and was standing by the pool when the tiger jumped from a wall. He froze. The tiger went her way. All was well. We later learned that a few days earlier another resident had spotted the tiger drinking at the pond on the property. I was not so lucky, but I was overwhelmed with the footage of the same tiger, a mother with two precious 2-month old cubs dutifully following behind, that had been captured by the hotel motion camera.

According to the staff, the tiger has left the park in search of new territory to protect her babies from a sex-hungry male. The latter are known to kill the cubs of a female if they want to mate. Khem Villas advises residents not to stray from the complex. Barriers are erected at night.

One of our vehicle mates, a young man from Mumbai, knew more about tigers than the guides. He had been all over India on tiger safaris. I was fascinated with the story of Machli,a famous Ranthambore tiger, “the most photographed tiger in the world” who died at the age of 20 in 2016. She had seven liters of cubs and is legendary for killing a huge crocodile. Google her. There are pictures of the crocodile kill, and her funeral.

Our fascinating 11-day tour of Rajasthan was organized by Wild Frontiers. www.wildfrontiers.co.uk

After returning from India about a month ago, we launched into house sale, a big project which has left me no time for blogging.   We must downsize and hope to move close to the Med. I have missed blogging and have much more to tell about India, and Egypt,  and where we may move.  So stay tuned.

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It will be sad to leave, but now is the time.

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Meet Les Rosiers Renters 2014

blog.lede.2Luberon weather during summer 2014 was not the stuff those vacationers from the north expect. The glorious sun that normally blazes every day in July and August, and most days in June, was too often on holiday, taking a rest behind massive clouds. Nonetheless those who rented the apartment at Les Rosiers, our home, did not complain.   When the sun appeared, they were happy to plunge into the pool. They also hiked, biked, explored the region and discovered interesting sights. The season got off to an early start with our first renters who arrived in late April for a week, a young French family: Anne, Armand and precious Clement, a blog.guests.1veritable model baby. We never heard a whimper. We rarely saw them as they set off early each morning and returned in the evening after a full day of sightseeing. Clement was no problem, his mother told me, as he was accustomed to being in the car for long periods. Amazing! Back for the fifth season, Austrians Klaus and Eva again spent four weeks with us, from early June to early July. Eva is a legal secretary, so Klaus, who is retired, arrives for the first week with his car and roof rack packed to the brim with beer and Austrian blog.guests7delicacies. He always presents us with  generous gifts of the latter. Eva flies in for the middle two weeks. They lounge poolside, read, walk in the countryside, revisit favorite places and friends.blog.guest.7a Klaus also likes to do battle with those nasty wasps that like to drink from the pool and zap you with a painful sting if you are in the way. While in the water, he often walks around, fly swatter in hand, striking the enemies with vengeance.  And, he loves to grill. He treated us to a fabulous meal of his specials one evening. Before leaving, he gave me a list of items needed in the apartment, something he has done in the past. This time he said we needed a fire extinguisher, salad spinner, blog.guests.7band quality clothes hangers. He showed me one of the metal hangers from the apartment closet. “These are Alcatraz hangers,” he announced, and then explained that at home they use wooden hangers. Rest assured Klaus, all have been purchased. No more Alcatraz hangers. Machteld and John from the Netherlands arrived for three weeks in July. They were content to rest and relax poolside. Machteld came with 20 books. She read 16. blog.guests4John was often on his computer, or photographing butterflies. They raved about Bacchus, a restaurant in nearby Pierrevert that John had found on Trip Advisor. It was so good, they went three times. And, they shopped. Machteld loves to cook. She went home with a car full of French goodies, including plenty of wine. “We love France, the food, the wine, blog.guest4athe people,” she said. They spend a summer holiday in a different part of France each summer. This was their first time in the Luberon. Fortunately, they and the other summer renters like cats. We have three, as well as many feline visitors. Machteld showed me photos of her two, one a Maine Coon, and we shared cat stories.blog.guest.3 Marco and Mireille from Alsace joined us for two August weeks. Marco was smitten with Filippo, a feisty feline who amuses with his antics, often chasing blog.guest.3aimaginary butterflies. A DJ  in the evening, by day Marco manages his clothing stores. In his younger days he was a ski instructor at Val d’Isere. We had some serious ski talk. Mireille works with the elderly in a hospital.   Their passion: hiking. They drove to different areas each day from where they set off on long, long treks. Wynand and Evelyn, another Dutch couple, began everyday with a poolside breakfast and swim. They were lucky — there was morning sun. Then, on to the bikes, which they had brought with them, for cycle excursions.  ”We enjoyed having a coffee everyday at the Reillanne (our village) cafes,” Evelyn said.blog.guests.6 They also vacation in France every year, but usually camp near Mont Ventoux, the legendary mountain Wynand has conquered on his bicycle five times. Stef, Ninon and adorable Lise, 1 1/2 years old, came from Lyon where Ninon works as a “chef de cuisine” in a restaurant and Stef is in the communications industry. They did not venture too far, but did walk into Reillanne almost every day, about a 25-minute jaunt, at first up a very steep hill on a bumpy road.   Stef pushed Lise in her baby carriage. She was another model infant — always smiling or laughing, a joy to admire.blog.guests.5 “Thank you for the welcome, the cats for their company, the flowers for their colors, the pool for its freshness and the road for its sweat, “ Ninon wrote in our guest book.

If you’d like more information about the rental apartment, see http://www.les-rosiers.com

Like my blog?  Please let me know.  Feedback is most welcome.  Leave a Reply below. Coming soon:  Incredible Iceland.  Don’t miss it.  Sign up to become a Tales and Travel follower, upper right.  And, see Today’s Taste for the latest recipe.   

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Paris in December

Place des Vosges, Marais
Place des Vosges, Marais

We went to Paris to visit the dentist, but not just any dentist. An American dentist, fabulous Dr. Jane. Sure, there are plenty of dentists in Provence. But, the profession of dental hygienist does not exist in France.  Here cleaning is merely detartrage, scrapping the tartar off the teeth, a procedure carried out by the dentist which takes all of 10 minutes or less.paris.14b

Not good enough for Americans who have been brainwashed about the importance of a thorough cleaning by a hygienist every six months.  In Germany where we previously lived most dentists have hygienists. After moving here, we’d trek back to Germany once a year for a proper cleaning. (Since it was such a long journey, we made due with one cleaning per year.)  Fellow American and friend Lynne came to the rescue. She found Dr. Jane in Paris.  Our teeth have never been so clean.

Dr. Jane Matkoski, who hails from New York State, does high tech teeth cleaning, first with ultra sound followed by a special process called Air Flow.  She covers your eyes with a cloth, then puts goggles on top of the cloth and air polishes the teeth. “Today’s flavor is cassis,” she told me.  I like cassis, but this was salty and none too pleasant. BB likened the procedure to sand blasting.  Whatever, it does the job par excellence.

One fourth of Dr. Jane’s  patients are Americans.  She also has many international patients who are used to a real teeth cleaning.  “The French just don’t get it,” she said.

While teeth were the main reason for the trip, it was a good excuse to visit my favorite city. We had time to see friends, to visit Le Café des Chats, to tour the Marais district with a Paris Greeter, to apply for visas for our upcoming trip to Myanmar – and to check out the Christmas lights in the City of Light.Paris16b

On a previous trip to Paris in December, I found the holiday illumination on the Champs Elysees  spectacular.  This time I was underwhelmed.  Perhaps it’s a sign of age, but lots of colors and flashing lights are not my cup of tea. This year giant hula hoops that change from blue to red encircle the bare trees lining the legendary boulevard.  Tacky – in my opinion.paris.4

There’s nothing tacky, however, about the wondrous windows at Galeries Lafayette.  Amazing, moveable scenes, five from the tale Beauty and the Beast. Mesmerizing for both children and their parents.  The classy windows at Au Printemps, this year sponsored by Prada, are also dazzling.Paris.15b

Thanks to Satié, the cousin of my Japanese sister-in-law Yoshie, we did not miss these Parisian holiday highlights.  Satié lives in Paris. After dinner together, she suggested we stroll by the windows.

BB and Satie
BB and Satie

As a cat lover, I had to visit Le Café des Chats which opened in September, modeled after a cat café in Tokyo. Cats, 12 of them, all colors and sizes, lounging in windows, on chairs, benches, and in kitty beds.  Some are sociable, but many were soundly sleeping, the favorite pastime of felines.paris.2b

Upon entering rules are recited by the café host: Don’t feed the cats.  Don’t let the cats drink from your cup or glass.  Don’t disturb the cats if they are sleeping. Photos allowed, but no flash.  Before entering the rooms with the cats, you must disinfect your hands – a dispenser is on the counter.paris.1

The two-level cozy café in Paris’ third district was packed during our visit.  The café has generated a lot of publicity and is popular with locals as well as tourists. Reservations are a must.  Coffee, teas, wine, desserts, salads and tartes can be savored while watching cats. It was fun but frustrating. My pathetic photo skills required flash in the poor light. So, no super kitty pictures.  The food was good –a seafood salad for BB and a tarte with caramelized onions, blue cheese, cranberries and pecans for me.

A blog (http://aixcentric.wordpress.com)  led me to Paris Greeters, an organization of volunteers who give guided tours of their neighborhoods.  There is no charge but you are requested to give a donation. Sign up on line before visiting Paris, specifying your interests, and you are matched with a greeter.

Claudine in front of her favoirte tea shop, Mariage Freres, a must for tea aficionadas.
Claudine in front of her favoirte tea shop, Mariage Freres, a must for tea aficionadas.

Claudine Chevrel, who has lived in the Marais since 1972, led us through this beautiful district.  Historic buildings, her favorite shops, churches and monuments were on the tour.

Le Marais, literally “the swamp,” was mostly farmland in the Middle Ages, producing vegetables for the city on the Seine.  By the 16th century, the nobility and upper middle class bought up the land and built great estates. For the next  couple of centuries,  family palaces and grand buildings found their home in the Marais.paris.9b

The arrondissement (administrative district), which is now very expensive and chic, was not that way when she moved there many years ago, Claudine said.  “I prefer the Maris 10 years ago. It used to be a real neighborhood.”   There were lots of local shops and groceries, she explained.  Many have been replaced by expensive boutiques and art galleries.  “Everyone knew everyone.  Now lots of foreigners who don’t live here year round have bought apartments.”

Hotel de Sens, Marais
Hotel de Sens, Marais

The Marais has both a large  Jewish community and one of the largest Gay communities in Europe.  We especially liked the Jewish area. Numerous shops tout that they offer the “best falafel.”   Claudine says the best is at the restaurant Chez Marianne  which also has a bakery where BB bought a thick slice of nut strudel – they offer 12 different kinds for 3 euros per slice.

St. Gervais and famous elm tree
St. Gervais and famous elm tree

“I always meet interesting people who want to see Paris in a different way,” says Claudine.  “Americans prefer this type of tour. They like to meet Parisians.  They ask lots of questions, about everyday life, taxes, schools.”

After the two-hour plus tour we set off to find her favorite restaurant, Le Louis Philippe,  which we had passed during our walk.  En route we came across Caruso.  As we have a weakness for all things Italian and there are few Italian restaurants in Provence, it was our lunch stop.  Buonissimo! Exquisite pasta,  and BB’s dessert, Cassata Siciliana, was deliciously decadent, cake smothered in a mascarpone-cream-candided fruit-alcoholic combination.  I found several recipes on line and will try to duplicate it soon.

Leonard, Claudine et moi
Leonard, Claudine et moi

Before boarding the TGV for a fast train ride back to Provence, we met friendsLeonard and Claudine for lunch at L’Epigramme, a restaurant in the 6th district which is included in “Best Restaurants Paris.” I had a very juicy and tender piece of beef.  The others went for dorade, a popular fish in France.  All were happy.

Next visit to Dr. Jane, we’ll go back there, and to Caruso, and tour another neighborhood with a Paris Greeter.

Happy Holidays to all Tales and Travel readers!Paris16.b

Dr. Jane Matkoski,  12 rue Saint-Julien-le-Pauvre (5ème), 01 46 34 56 44 drjane@orange.fr

Le Café des Chats, 16 rue Michel Le Comte (3ème).  Metro: Rambuteau or Arts et Metiers.  Make a reservation at reservation@lecafedeschats.fr

Paris Greeters, www.parisgreeters.fr

Caruso,  3 Rue de Turenne (4 ème). Metro : St. Paul, www.ristorantecaruso.fr

L’Epigramme, 9 rue de l’Eperon (6 ème).  Metro : Odeon,  01 44 41 00 09

Hotel de Ville
Hotel de Ville

I love to hear from readers.  Please post a comment. See “Leave a Reply” below under Comments. Subscribers also welcome.  Don’t miss future posts.  Click on Email Subscription at top right.

 If  you have suggestions for Paris restaurants, please pass them on.  I have not posted any recipes lately, but for your holiday cooking, check on Holiday Fruitcake and Holiday Pork Roast in the recipe column at right.

Grambois gets a jump on Christmas

Grambois Christmas star.
Grambois Christmas star.

Christmas markets are everywhere these days.  But none can compare with the original version in Germany.  I miss the real thing, those romantic, storybook holiday markets:  tiny twinkling lights (usually white or golden – not a jumble of gaudy colors), hot glϋhwein, savory sausages, spicy cookies, church bells, Christmas carols – all basking in German gemϋtlichkeit.

Grambois tree and Christmas cat.
Grambois tree and Christmas cat.

Since I am usually disappointed with French Christmas markets, I rarely visit them. Grambois was an exception. I read that this nearby perched town would

Santa arrives in Grambois.
Santa arrives in Grambois.

start the holiday season early with a Christmas market this weekend, Nov. 16 and 17.  And, an American, the Provence head of a charitable organization, Calcutta Rescue, would be there with a stand selling items made by poor Indians.

There are plenty of Brits, Dutch, Belgians, and some Germans, living among the French in this picturesque part of France.  But, very few Americans.  I wanted to meet him and learn more about Calcutta Rescue.grambois.1

Glen Kendall, originally from Grand Junction, Co., lives with his Dutch wife in this burg of 1100 citizens.  He had been working for a software company in London when he saw an ad for an administrator for the Calcutta based charity.  He got the job and was off to Calcutta for a year.  He said he’s been to other parts of India, but nothing prepared him for Calcutta. “It’s full of energy 24 hours per day, chaotic, filthy, polluted.”  He lived in a Muslim slum where the electricity worked about two thirds of the day.  The people made the job.  “The poor people have a joie de vivre that’s inspirational.  It makes you happy to be alive. It’s hard to believe they live under a piece of plastic.”

Kendall in Calcutta
Kendall in Calcutta

Calcutta Rescue (www.calcuttarescue.org) helps the indigent of Calcutta, most of whom live on less than one euro per day.  The organization runs three medical clinics and supports more than 600 poor children, most living in the streets, providing them with funds to go to school, clothes, two meals per day and medical care. A handicrafts project was started to teach former clinic patients how to sew.  They learn a skill which can help them survive.   They make clothes and handicraft items (cards, bags, embroidered napkins, etc).  The latter are offered at the Grambois Christmas market. I especially liked the small embroidered bags containing Indian spices.grambois.2

Kendall saw that I had a camera.  “Let me show you something most visitors to Grambois don’t see, “  he said.  He led me outside of the old village, down some steps to an incredible tree, a multi-trunked oak thought to be more than 300 years old.  And, he told me where to wander for more photos.grambois.4

We frequently drive on the main road below ancient Grambois. One time we followed the twisty road uphill to the village, but did not get out to explore.  Now was my chance. It’s worth a trip.  The town’s origins date to the 11th century.  Vestiges of 14th century walls still stand.  There’s a Romanesque church, a bell tower, a fountain, and meandering stone alleys – all restored.  Plus, lovely views of the Luberon hills.grambois.9

Those hills were alive with a rainbow of fall colors glowing in the strong Provencal sunshine.  It was warm – not at all like Christmas.  But I am glad I visited this holiday market and discovered Glen Kendall, Calcutta Rescue and inviting Grambois.grambois.8

info.calcuttarescueprovence@gmail.com

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Stay tuned.  Post on Wild and Wonderful Corsica coming very soon.         

Super Summer 2013

The pool at Les Rosiers, our home, did not turn ghoulish green as it has in past summers.  None of the precious roses died. We had wonderful tenants in our rosiersstudio rental apartment, plus fun family visits.  The crumbling pergola was replaced (but that’s another story, see previous post, “Pergola –or State Park Picnic Shelter”).  We enjoyed a terrific visit to Antwerp, tasty meals at local festivals and parties with friends.  Summer 2013 was better than good: Super

It kicked off in June with the arrival of Klaus, an Austrian from Graz.  He and his wife Eva have been staying in our gite (French for vacation rental) for a month every year since 2010.   Klaus arrives first, by car, roof rack loaded with supplies, including Austrian beer and food staples. On the way home, a large supply of wine takes the place of those goodies.    Eva is a legal secretary.  She comes by plane a week after Klaus arrives.

Klaus
Klaus

They know the area well, have friends here, enjoy revisiting favorite places and hanging out poolside.  Klaus loves to cook.  He brought his own knife sharpener this year.  The one I supplied was not up to snuff.  And, he loves to grill – lamb and sausages are his favorites. This year his grilling almost led to disaster.  The morning after a previous day’s use of the grill, he emptied the ashes which he assumed were dead in the wooded area of dried leaves behind and adjacent to our house.  That afternoon I was in the pool.  I noticed smoke, but I assumed he was grilling again.  Suddenly BB (husband Bicycle Bob) came flying down the steps from our balcony.  He had seen flames.   Indeed, the ashes had sprung to life and a fire had started.  It was frightening.  But, all to the rescue with hose and buckets of water.  Catastrophe was averted.

Filippo kept our tenants entertained.
Filippo kept our tenants entertained.

Eva is a walker, often up at 7 a.m., setting out on a trek in the area for two to three hours. Klaus also hikes and gathers herbs and berries (juniper) and other treasures from the forests and fields.  He left me with a supply of bay leaves which I have dried. Another of his favorite pastimes is visiting flea markets.  During summers here, there are many on the agenda.  He always finds interesting bargains.

Lang and Samuel
Lang and Samuel

Stepson Rob and his boys, Samuel and Lang, followed Klaus and Eva. The boys, both swimmers, loved the pool, as well as jaunts on foot to the bakery every morning with their dad.  They could not get their fill of croissants.  According to Rob, Samuel still asks when he can come back and get more of those croissants, which he called “amazing.”

Bob, Samuel, Lang and Rob
Bob, Samuel, Lang and Rob

The Gorges du Verdon, the Abbey of Senanque and Colorado Provencal were highlights for Jean and Alex, a charming couple who stayed for a week.  He is French, lives and works in Colmar.  She is German, originally from Leipzig, and now working for an international organization in Geneva.  They both are multi-lingual, and, like many of our visitors, especially enjoyed the “calm” at Les Rosiers.

They were followed by a couple we felt were a bit strange, if not unpleasant. He always had a scowl on his face, never a smile,  and once complained that the refrigerator was not cold enough (easy to fix – just turn up the dial.)  They went off sightseeing and came back to lounge by the pool, but barely said a word to us.  I assumed they were not happy with our rosesaccommodations.  I dared not ask them to write in our guest book.  Wonders never cease.  They did write:  “Thanks to your hospitality we have discovered the pleasures of Haute Provence…we have appreciated the coolness of your gite, the refreshing swimming pool and the calm of the surroundings.”

Roberto and Francoise from Fribourg, Switzerland, are fantastic. She is a teacher for handicapped adults – and a cat lover .  She was smitten with Filippo, my rambunctious male cat. Roberto, originally from Uruguay, came with hisbicycle.

Roberto and Francoise
Roberto and Francoise

Unfortunately Francoise fell in our new pergola/State Park Picnic Shelter (SPPS) and broke her foot. They took it in stride, did not complain, and continued their stay.

As her mobility was limited after the accident, Francoise was content to sit in the yard, often with Filippo at her side, and read while Roberto rode his bike.   Like Klaus, she was into wild herbs:  garlic, fennel, rosemary, thyme.  And oils – lavender, almond and olive. She gave me instructions on treatments using lavender oil.

Elaine and Paul
Elaine and Paul

Time for the British, Elaine and Paul from southeast London, who kept on the move and visited sites near and far (Arles, Pont du Grad, Gorges du Verdon, Bonnieux, Gordes).  Elaine is an assistant for children with special needs at a secondary school. Paul is a quantity surveyor for a construction company. They also enjoyed Filippo’s shenanigans.  Paul said Les Rosiers is “the quietest place we’ve ever been to.”

Elizabeth and Igor from Normandy stayed two weeks.  They overwhelmed us with dinner invitations. Igor also likes to grill. While I was away, he invited Bob for grilled sausages. When I returned we were invited for grilled beef.  And, yet again for an apero.  We expected the usual chips- nuts- and- olives apero.  But this was an “apero dinotoire,” something new to us,   a multi-course meal:  crackers and tomatoes, then grilled lamb with a rice/tuna salad, a potato salad, and fruit.

Igor and Elizabeth
Igor and Elizabeth

Igor arrived with easel and paints.  He set up in the yard and created lovely scenes. We received one as a going-away present.  He is a financial consultant in Paris, and commutes home to Rouen on weekends.  Elizabeth, who was recovering from breast cancer surgery, said she came to the Luberon to “relax.”  They did visit some neighboring towns.  “We like typical, tranquil, original villages,” she said, mentioning nearby Viens and Vacheres.  They also raved about an attraction we have yet to visit, the Ganogobie Abbey.gite.3

Summer wound down with the visit of stepdaughter Kellie.  She gave BB a chance to live up to his name.  They bicycled a few times before her boyfriend arrived for a week.  We all set off to Marseille together and were in awe of the new architectural masterpieces.mrs.5

It’s still warm in Provence, but the pool waters have chilled. We’ll put the pool to bed for winter soon.  But, I can look forward to starting swimming early next spring.  We’ve purchased a heat pump for the pool.   Summer 2014 may top summer 2013.

For more about Les Rosiers, see www.les-rosiers.com

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