Saturday, October 4, 2014 — Provence gives us a spectaular welcome

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 2, 2014 — On Thursday afternoon, we trekked to MIA to catch our flight to Paris. We were delighted that the TSA PreCheck line open and breezed through in just a few minutes. A short hop in the train took us to our gate, which happened to be directly across from the Admirals Club.

We relaxed with a glass of wine until it was time to board, then headed to the gate just in time to hear the announcement that mechanical problems would delay – or cancel – our flight. Fortunately, the problem was resolved, and we got off the gate about two hours late, but Paris bound.

FRIDAY, OCTOBER 3, 2014 — Friday morning we arrived at CDG a bit late, but – after a long walk to and through Immigration – found our luggage waiting and immediately hooked up with Gerard, our amiable driver from Barons Limo. With the late arrival, we were worried about making our TGV from the Gare de Lyon, but there was light traffic, so arrived with plenty of time to spare. The weather was spectacular, clear and sunny with mild temperatures. A gorgeous day. In due course, and after another long hike, we found ourselves comfortably seated and on our way.

We arrived dead on time at the Avignon TGV station and were greeted with more gorgeous weather. The car we had reserved wasn’t available, and Europcar tried to substitute a huge van, but we declined. After some haggling, they gave us an Audi A3 convertible. A bit small by our normal standards, but with just the two of us, we decided it would be a nice change.

We headed out to St. Remy to shop for a few items at the Intermarché before going to the mas. The Intermarché continues to evolve, with more and better selections, especially in the range of foods they offer. We picked up some breakfast pastries, sliced meats for sandwiches, olive oil, vinegar, mustard and mayos, cheese and eggs, water, and paper goods, and were on our way to Eygalierès, our home in Provence. With the warm weather and rain that the region has had, we were delighted to find things still green and lush.

The mas was as welcoming as ever, with couches added to several of the bedrooms, and a few other nice new touches. David set up the computer in the den, and was up and running in a few minutes, including his new Jambox wireless speaker filling the mas with music. We stowed all our goods from the market, took a short nap, then headed down the road to Bistro l’Aubergine for dinner, which would be a welcome after all the airplane and train food we had subsisted on for the last 24 hours.

Alex and his wife Christine, owners of Aubergine, greeted us warmly, and our usual kirs arrived as we settled in on the terrace for our first meal in Provence. As always, Alex’s menu had changed to incorporate what was in season, and offered a wonderful range of choices. I went with  shrimp tempura to start, followed by osso buco. David had burrata with sweet grape tomatoes and cod. A bottle of Dalmeran rosé rounded out the meal. As always, the food was superb, as was the conversation with eight Americans who were seated next to us. They were old friends who had come to Provence to celebrate a birthday and were having a marvelous time exploring and enjoying the region. David helped them with the menu and we both gave some advice on the best local sights.

Our jet lag was catching up with us, and early Saturday morning is my first dialysis session, so we bade farewells and headed down the road to the mas.

SATURDAY, OCTOBER 4, 2014 — Morning wake-up rolled around too quickly, but we grudgingly got shaking and drove off to Salon-de-Provence for my dialysis session.  I was pleased to be greeted warmly by the same cast of characters, John-Michel et al. John-Michel never stops talking unless he falls asleep. That is rare a occurrence. Frederique the head nurse, was barking orders at the patients. She is never short of advice but always smiling.

David picked me up at 11:30 and we were off to the boulangerie at the round about in Orgon for a baguette and pain chocolate. The baguettes just came out of the oven and were still warm. The temptation to start tearing off pieces to eat spurred us to make a decision as to where we were having lunch. David called Bistrot Mogador for reservations at the Chateau d’Estoublon in Fontvielle, a perfect spot on a gorgeous day like today. The day was as spectacular as the day before, bright sun and warm temps. We perused the menu and ordered a kir. Mogador’s luncheon menu changed from the spring, but we decided to chose from the daily specials. I started with the pain perdu with parmesan mousse followed by the roasted lamb and couscous. David chose the Carpaccio to start and the salmon for his main course. As usual, everything was delicious. Jet-lag was catching up with us, so we thought a double café noir would be perfect to restart our engines. That worked and off we went to wind our way back to the mas and  catch-up with the resident property manager, Patrick. That was not to be, so we ambled to the Café du Centre where we were greeted warmly by Crystelle, the manager. Much to our disappointment she told us that Patrick had just left. Oh well, we had a wine, people watched, and then returned to the mas for a quick bite and early turn in. Upon reaching the mas, Patrick was waiting to say hello and catch up on what was happening. We decided to go the Festival of Ste. Therese in the village tomorrow, and hopefully meet up with Patrick.

We fixed ourselves a small bite to eat as we were still full from lunch. We turned in early.

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