We’ve been housebound since late September, first with my hip replacement, and then my broken ankle, so have really been looking forward to our trip to France and our “home” in Eygalieres.
Our trip began with the car ride to Miami International, which went smoothly. The airport was fairly empty, which was good, as the TSA PreCheck lane, which makes check-in so easy, was closed. To make up for it, we were delighted to find that our departure gate, D24, was directly across from the security point. We normally depart and arrive at gate D60, which is located just south of the Florida Keys, so this was a treat.
We parked ourselves in the new wine bar across from our gate and munched on some fresh shrimp and a glass of Chardonnay, then sauntered to the gate just as they opened the Priority Access boarding lane, so were aboard and seated right away. We pulled back from the gate a few minutes early, and were off right on time for Paris.
The flight went smoothly. The meal was virtually inedible, a far cry from the days of gourmet meals in First Class. We both had something chicken-like in a 10W40 motor oil sauce, then grabbed some sleep before our early morning arrival in Paris.
We landed and cleared immigration quickly, and our baggage was almost waiting for us on the carousel. We met our limo and drove to the Gare de Lyon to catch the TVG (Train Grand Vitesse – 300 kpm) to Avignon. With a three-hour wait, we took the escalator up to the Premier Café, where we had an espresso and club sandwich. Delightful. Time for the train arrived, so we boarded and three hours later we arrived in Avignon.
We signed for our rental car, a BMW 335 diesel, tossed our luggage in the trunk, and went off to the Intermarche (large supermarket) in St. Remy de Provence where we bought what we needed to tide us over the weekend.
Finally arriving at the “Mas” after 24 hours of travel, we realized that jet-lag had caught up with us. We unpacked, and caught a power nap before heading out around 8 for dinner at the Bistrot l’Aubergine. The owner/chef, Alex, was delighted to see us again. A quick update for both of us, health-wise and restaurant-wise. After a trip to the U.S. last year, Alex was inspired to get back into the kitchen to create and help out with new plates with an international feel. The results were terrific. Reviewing the menu, we couldn’t decide what to order. The choices were difficult. We decided on tagliolini and steak for me, while David went with the asparagus with scrambled egg to start and the Royal Burger, which was like a “Dagwood” sandwich loaded with vegetables and varied flavors. David said it was the best burger he has eaten in many years. We said our “adieus” and were off to the farmhouse to try to catch up with our jet-lag.
Saturday rolled around early for dialysis, but we arrived at the clinic on time. We met our friend the head nurse, Otila, and her tech, Peter. A delight catching up with both. After dialysis, it was lunchtime and we drove to St. Remy and dined at Les Olivades, a tiny little spot tucked into a courtyard. We had eaten there before and enjoyed it, but found that other people had ‘discovered’ it, as virtually every table was taken. In any event, the food was delicious – entrecote for me and salmon for David, with a bottle of Vallon des Anges rosé. The staff was friendly and the sun crept over and warmed our table. After lunch, we got Euros at the ATM and went searching for the missing ingredients so I could make ‘rib0litta’ soup. Ribolitta is a Tuscan peasant soup based on broth, vegetables, and bread. The name means re-boiled, and stems from the fact that it is a soup you keep on the stove day=after-day, adding ingredients and repeatedly bringing it to a boil. We had found everything but kale, celery and basil on our foray to the Intermarche the previous day. We could not find decent kale, so went with a green cabbage. We got the celery and basil so were pretty much set. Having finished out list, we headed back to the farmhouse. Still feeling the time difference, we just made a sandwich and salad and called it a night. Sunday, we were to meet the owners of the “mas” after renting it for 10 years.