Sunday, October 14, 2012

End of the Vacation

Well, we've been back for two days.  We're both pretty tired.  I've been passing out at about 9:30.  The first morning we were up waaaaay too early, but today we did much better.  We'll probably be back in this time zone soon.  However, that early get up gave us time to do six loads of laundry and put everything away.
Flying home was not without angst.  Our original flight from Marseilles left at noon; it was cancelled and KLM rebooked us on the 9:25 flight.  Note the words, KLM rebooked us. Since we were unable to use online check-in the night before, we knew something bad was in store for us.  At the airport we gave the ticket agent a copy of the email from KLM, and she started sucking her teeth, looking dour and asked us if we had consulted our travel agent.  We said no, it was an internet booking.  She picked up the phone, called someone, spelled our last names, started shaking her head and looking doom-ish.  It didn't look good.  Then the supervisor came over, they spoke in French for awhile, and then the supervisor looked at us and said "its OK" and walked away.  WTH?  I am glad we were at the airport really early, that flight was completely booked.
It was a long trip.  Here are some random thoughts and observations.
Clothing:   I did not wear any of the dressy stuff.  Of course, only in the GPNW would we consider yoga pants and Mephistos dressy.  The black pashmina was a good thing in cold restaurants.  I did wear the khakis once.  However, if it had been cold, which was possible, they would have been good to have.  Same with the bike clothes, at no time did we need the jackets or tights, but we might have.  Packing for the variable climates is difficult.  Other than that, I wore everything.  We could be accused of some over packing, but that was off set by not having to do laundry as often. 
Miscellaneous:  It was good to have the antibiotics for the ear.  The ear went off again, but this time I was spared the trip to the ER due to my good doctor giving me drugs before hand.  We did learn that most hotels have a mobile doctor they can call, which I probably could have done in Germany, but it didn't occur to me.  The light fuze voltage converter is good.  The Nooks won't charge off the netbook USB port for some reason.  Maybe I need a new netbook.  We were also charging tooth brushes and Jim's razor. There are very few outlets in Europe.  We generally had to give up a lamp or two for charging stuff.
Food:  The food in Italy is salty.  I don't cook with salt, our palates have adapted, and we really felt the abundance of salt.  In France, at the Auberge, there was an expectation that one would eat a lot.  They have a degustation menu that is 5 courses.  When we kept declining the cheese course and dessert, there was considerable surprise on the part of the wait staff.  Several tables did opt for many courses, it was entertaining to watch the amount of food being put away, by relatively slender people.  I guess they skipped breakfast and lunch.  This is Jim's plate the second night.  That is a big hunk of lamb that was so good it made us moan.  The vegetables were also good, it was all swimming in butter. 

This is the back of the hotel room door in the Auberge.  Someone painted that.  It's such a nice little detail.

We spent a fair amount of time in heavily touristed areas in France, such as Gordes.  It is now my opinion, with not a huge sample size, that it's virtually impossible to find good food in those places; sort of like expecting good food at an airport.  We ate in Gordes one night and did not go back.  Down the road in Coustellet, which is basically a large intersection, we found a Thai/Vietnamese restaurant.  This is the Salade du Maison.  It was wonderful.  It's a combination of warm and cold sea food over greens and vegetables, dressed in a light oil and vinegar with ginger dressing.  Moaning we were.  We ate there two nights in a row, it was so good.  As in Germany, the ethnic restaurants saved us from the local cuisine.

This is it, the Pearl of Asia.  Skip Gordes, eat here.

This is our rental car - a Ford C-max.  It's a tiny turbo diesel, 6 speed manual transmission.  It got really good mileage and was fun to drive.  I would not want to own a manual, but it was a good rental.

Driving in the cities was somewhat unnerving.  Italians drive aggresively, but they drive well.  One should not dally when entering a round about, or they will pass you on both sides.
We saw this gentleman in the Marseilles airport while waiting for our flight.  He's praying, and I should probably be chastised for taking the picture, but it was just fascinating to watch the process.  First he had to put on the tefillin.  Those are the boxes with scripture that you see sometimes on Orthodox Jewish men.  It's quite involved, there is wrapping on the left arm and then the second box is placed on the head.  Placement is very precise.  Then he put on the shawl, and stood for quite some time with his lips moving.  After the prayers, the tefillin were removed.  It must be done every weekday.  I wondered how it felt to be so separate from everyone else in the airport.

This is a little kid in the Amsterdam airport.  Cute, eh?

So, that's it then.  The journey is over.  We're back in the GPNW where it's dark and raining.

No comments:

Post a Comment