Wednesday, February 16, 2022

Winter Life in France

Winter life is different because fewer people are out and about. 
This has been a cold winter compared to last when it only got down to freezing 3 or 4 times. This year the temperature hovered around 0 Celsius for about two weeks when we awakened. But sometimes the temperature would soar to the 60s (midteens Celsius) under very blue skies. 
Frost still on the ground but the sun has reached the mountains.

I prefer a nice moderate temperature, like this morning it was 8 Celsius, about 46 Fahrenheit. Perfect for brisk walks or runs. 
We've  had a few foggy mornings too. 

We’ve been getting together with friends and taking care of necessary items, like this year’s visa, or titre de séjour. Ours is safely in hand for another year. After five years in France, we can apply for a 10-year card; I'll need to pass a French test and we'll have to show them five years of taxes, so fingers crossed that we succeed next year. They have an age limit, and over 65, visitors don't have to pass the language test. 
We've had a few outings. 
I explored Perpignan with a friend and we found a cozy alley filled with people drinking outdoors and listening to music. 
Aperol Spritz and Vermouth and soda

Then we went to a nearby restaurant for a scrumptious meal. 
Hope they don't run out of wine!

I had croquette beouf confit while my friend had La Ricaine -- fries, eggs, and bacon with gravy. A perfect Sunday brunch food. 
We sat at the bar in front of the chefs
We also took an outing to the beach, of course. Isn't there something about February that makes everyone want to go to the beach?


The sun was warm and the beach was inviting, but we weren't crazy enough to go in, although we saw some people going in wearing wet suits, and another guy inching into the water while wearing only a tiny speedo. 

Last week, my friend's mother died and we traveled to her funeral. It was my first French funeral. It was catholic, so that felt familiar, even though in French. 
The church was amazing. (I only took this picture after the congregation had filed out.) 

I wasn't sure about going to the burial, picturing a long procession of cars driving to some far away cemetery. But that's not how it happens here. Instead, everyone walked behind the hearse as it made its way through town, police stopping traffic, and we wound our way through the streets to the cemetery just outside of town.
It felt very intimate to walk behind the coffin and escort it to its final resting place. Prayers at the cemetery and then people filed past to say their final goodbye. Very touching.

The sun shone during the burial, but in the opposite direction, the sky turned dark and ominous. 
Grateful the rain held off during the service

Tonight we have friends coming for a simple dinner of tartiflette and salad.
Tomorrow we go to another friend's house for dinner. 
That's winter life in southwest France. Enjoying the sun during the day, enjoying the company of friends and eating hearty foods in the evening. 






Thursday, February 03, 2022

Weather Wars

 In our hometown, in Columbus, Ohio, they're under a winter storm warning. Schools have been closed.

I checked with our sons and they are safely snuggled up with their girlfriends in their apartments with enough supply to wait out the storm, plus they're still working from home, so they don't have to go out to work. 

One son checked in with us. The freezing rain had turned to snow. "What's the weather like there?" he asked, probably feeling like the whole world was a winter wonderland. 

A swirl of clouds contrasting the blue sky

"You probably don't want to know," I said. But I sent him pictures anyway as we wandered along the Mediterranean at Banyuls-sur-Mer, sipping coffee at a beachside table, 

So picturesque

then walking to a marina. 

Finally we drove over some mountains to Coulliore and had lunch at a table with a view of the gorgeous water. 

Some scaffolding on the church as they do work. 

The sun heated the air into the 60s (16 C) and we felt quite comfortable in the sun. 

There’s something to be said for snuggling up in an apartment during a winter storm, but there’s a lot to be said for walking Ali g the Mediterranean in the sun, too. 

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