Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Birthday Extravaganza

I should point out that our area of France hasn’t seen cases of Covid for quite awhile, according to a doctor friend. That’s why we feel fairly free to spend time together. We still limit gatherings and try to meet outside. 
Birthday hats on the beach

 If I were in the States for my birthday, back in my old life, I probably would have gone to work for the day. My work friends on Facebook might have said "Happy birthday." Perhaps my husband would have come home early from work and we would have walked to a nearby restaurant for a drink and delicious cheesy biscuits before going home to celebrate with my adult children. That would have been the hoopla surrounding my birthday. Nothing to complain about, really. 


But now, I live in France and I control my work schedule. I took the entire day off work. 

I got up and went for a run. 

Post run pic for my running friends

I walked to the bakery and bought too many pastries so we could have brunch with Jules and Jack at our place. 

Just a representative sample

In the afternoon, I went hiking with Jo and Tina at the green labyrinth in Nebias. 

You can see where it gets its name
Everything covered with moss feels mystical.

I'd been there before, but only hiked one section. This time, through a bit of exploring, I learned there are two other sections and we ended up hiking for about three hours. 

At one point, we sat on giant rocks and drank hot chocolate with amaretto, thanks to Jo. 

We also had a brief conversation with a Frenchman who was cutting pine branches in the forest. He started making a lot of excuses for his actions and then decided he was a bit of a shaman who could heal any of our ails. 

He instructed both Tina and Jo to swing their arms back and forth, to bend down and touch their toes, to count to 20 in French while he walked in a circle. He claimed to heal stiffness that they didn’t have. 

Strange Frenchman whose directions apparently needed to be followed.

The green labyrinth is supposed to be a place of mystery so we named the man “the gnome” and accepted it as part of the magic of the labyrinth. 

When we returned home, we had some blanquette (a sparkling wine made in the region) and millefeuille. Lou and Steve came by with a bottle of wine as a gift and joined us for a drink. Everyone left to get home before curfew, just as our dinner guests arrived. 

Sue and Steve spent the night so they didn’t have to worry about getting home before the 6 pm curfew. Derrick and Kris joined us with their dogs. They’re allowed to walk their dogs after curfew so can stay late, closer to a realistic dinner time.

I got to speak with all of my kids and my parents, so that helped make the day special, too. 

But my birthday didn’t end that day. The next day we joined  Theresa and Jim and traveled to l’aqueduc d’Ansignan, an old Roman aqueduct. 

A bat on the ceiling, I think
Amazing 3rd century construction

Theresa and Jim had made some paper boats to race in the aqueduct but there was no water in it. So we had to turn to the river Agly. 

Some of the paper boats stayed afloat longer than others

After our exploits, we drove through Estagel, stopping at the kebab shop for take-away gyros. We sat down on the sidewalk eating, enjoying a meal out the only way we have been able to since October 29, 2020. 

Then we headed to the beach. The temperature dropped close to the Mediterranean and the wind picked up. 

We visited a historic settlement of fishermen huts along the lake across the road from the Med. The huts were made of reeds, but the wind was brutal so we didn't pause long.

Then we crossed the street and watched the kite surfers jump and flip the windy waves. 

Kite surfing

We found a sheltered place in Canet-en-Roussillon and enjoyed some pastries that Jim and Theresa had brought along, wearing birthday hats and blowing streamers. 

And my birthday extravaganza came to an end. I can't imagine trying to top it next year. 


3 comments:

Kiwi said...

Sounds like a great couple of days with good weather and good friends. Hard to imagine another country with so many varied historical and natural treasures to enjoy within an hour's drive or so. Happy Belated Bday!

Paulita said...

Kiwi, True. I'm always amazed by how much I don't know about this area of France. The more I see, the more I realize how much there is to see.

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