Tuesday, March 30, 2021

The South of France is Calling

If you’re American, do you remember commercials when you were a kid tempting you to travel to Florida during the cold winter up north? I do. My brother and I would sing along, “when you need it bad, we’ve got it good. When you need it bad, come to Florida...” We’d bug our parents to take us on vacation. 
I feel that way now about the south of France. Every picture I take, I think, everyone must be longing to join in. Of course, France is closed down now, slowly handing out vaccines, and people can’t travel here for vacations. 
My husband looking like the lone person along the Mediterranean at Narbonne Plage. 

I also realize that my life may always be split between wanting to be here for my French life, and wanting to be with my parents (in Florida) and my sons (in Ohio) and Grace and Jack (who are in lockdown in Dublin). 
Sunday morning was glorious as we set off to Esperaza market. The quirky market continues to offer a bit of everything. 
View from the bridge

Plenty of vendors. The gendarmes patrol and warn people to wear masks

We bought a bag from this vendor. She makes them out of saris from India.

This booth has so many musical instruments that would torture our
 nieces and nephews if we bought them for their children. 

That afternoon, we went on a 16 mile bike ride, stopping for a drink in a friend's garden at the halfway point. The sun, the sky. It feels exhilarating.
Then Monday, I had another day off. 
The temperature was predicted to be warm here 21 degree Celsius, 70 Fahrenheit. At the beach, the temperate would be cooler, but signs have indicated that France might be going into lockdown again, so I wanted to take any chance to (safely) break away from our town and explore. Our friend Jo came along, which added to the fun.

Narbonne Plage
We bought lunch to go from a restaurant across the street from the beach, offering three courses for 19 euros, but we settled for a starter and entrée for 16 euros. Salad with avocado, lardons and radishes. A main course of chicken Senegal style with rice and plantains in coconut milk sauce. 
We took the food across the street to the beach, and the restaurant owner gave us actual silverware to use after we promised to return it. 
If you have been able to eat out for the past six months, you may not understand how luxurious it feels to get food from a restaurant. We barely even complain about cooking anymore since we're so used to cooking every meal. But nearly every time we take a local trip, we make sure we can get take away food to enjoy.
After a nap in the sun and a walk on the beach, we had ice cream cones for dessert.
On the way home, we stopped at a winery for a wine tasting. Another luxury in these Covid times. We tasted four of the six wines offered and ended up buying two of them before hurrying home to beat the curfew, or as the French say, couvre feu, which literally means cover fire. 
Macron is slated to speak Wednesday morning. He may be closing down France again. Although our region is not very high for Covid, France overall has 100% of its ICUs full. Our ICUs in Occitanie are at 67%. It's time to get this virus under control, again. 

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