Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Our last days in Pouzolles...

After our friends leave, we realize we have to start preparing to leave:

  • On Friday the 31st, Nicole (the landlady) will arrive home, we will have our walk through and then we will take her to dinner in Roujan (need to clean house)
  • Saturday the 1st, Nicole will take us to Beziers to catch the train to Barcelona (need train tickets)
  • Overnight at the Rennaisance Hotel in Barcelona, have a lovely dinner and rest up for the flight home (need reservations at hotel and restaurant)
  • Then on Sunday we will fly home to Oakland, get a car and drive home to Pacific Grove (need to reserve car)

So, the weekend and Monday is full of computer time and it's hot so we take short walks in the evening.

The old bus stop
De Gaulle

The fork in the road

We decide to go to Beziers for the day to do last bits of shopping and buy the train tickets.

Gare de Béziers
We buy our tickets to Barcelona

Entrance to Poets' Park

The walk to the Allée and bus stop

The rest of the week is spent enjoying Pouzolles and I finish my painting of the Chateau and Church with Simon's tutoring.

Through Pouzolles and to the vineyards...

Pouzolles view from above the cemetary

The Chateau and Church of Pouzolles
My effort with the guidance of Simon Roberts

Next week are the last days in Pouzolles...

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Anna comes for a visit...and so does Amaia!

Two summers ago we went to Paris for a month because John was asked to be a guest lecturer
for Cecil Lytle's "American Jazz in Paris" class.

We had rented a home in the 19th arrondissement where we made friends with some of the neighbors in the block.  Anna and Miguel helped us a lot and Anna's friend, Amaia, from Bilbao was visiting, too.  We went on picnics, went to dinner, had pot luck dinners with their friends and just enjoyed each other's company.

Anna comes
for a visit!

So, we invited them to spend some time with us here in Pouzolles as we had the space and wanted to see them again.

Anna was able to "fit us in" on her camping adventure in the South of France while Miguel stayed home with the cats. Upon her arrival we catch up and drink wine. It's hot, so we stay in Pouzolles and rest up. 

Then Anna and I make a trip to Agde to pick up Amaia who has taken BlablaCar to meet us.
John says "Have fun!"

Anna and I leave for the day

Agde is an interesting place.  Anna and I arrive early so we walk around and have something to eat while waiting for Amaia's arrival

Buildings made of
black volcanic rock

Lunch fresh from the farm

Amaia is here!!!

The Cathedral of Agde
volcanic stone 
Now we drive back
to Pouzolles

Dinner with our friends at Le Petite Péché

Anna wants to go to Séte where Georges Brassens is from.  We went to his museum, listened to his music and bought souvenirs. The city is full of tourists, but we find a quiet street for rest and drink. It's a lovely place.

The sea that gave Brassens inspiration.

The walk into the city.
Outdoor Theatre up on the right

Anna looking for
a quiet spot
Best Friends

The fishing dock - there are faces on the far wall
I thought it would be a better shot.

The sun sets and the night life of Pouzolles begins - it's Friday!

At the Café des Allée
(the only place in town)

The park is having it's Friday community dinner and dancing. We on the other hand go to the Café.
(Can you see the crowd at the far end of the park?)

Anna and Amaia enjoy the music from the park party

Our friends' last day, Amaia and I want to go swimming (it's still hot, so no walking/hiking like Anna wants.) We head out to Lac du Salagou

We are on our way

we are in the area - red dirt

We park and swim here

From the lake, we make a loop to l'Orb river to have a swim by the Blue Lizard Café.
It's closed so we go on to Roquebrun where we eat at a Tabac and then walk to the river.

Happy to be together
to eat at the Tabac

The river's edge

Resting before our return home

This is just part of the area explored while Anna and Amaia were here.
It was a visit we shall remember for a long time.
Beautiful exploration and beautiful time.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Ten Days with My Guys - August 1 to 11

We spent a couple of days of preparation to ready for 
Dave and Anthony's visit here in Pouzolles.  
It is incredibly hot and 
we're wondering if we can make it fun for them. 
We start by renting a car in Beziers on the 31st of July.
Air Conditioned car - nice.  We may spend a lot of time in it.

July 31, Dave arrives Barcelona.  He proposes to stay in Barcelona until Anthony comes in on the 2nd so they can travel to Pouzolles together.
It is so hot here in Pouzolles, John and I propose we meet them there so we can get out of the heat into an air-conditioned hotel room.
Dave finds a hotel for the three of us. We rent a car for the two weeks Dave and Anthony will be with us.

Aug. 1, John and I drive the 3.5 hours to Barcelona and meet Dave at the hotel. The hotel parking is across the street and secure (this is very important for the future.)
With Dave, we walk La Rambla and eat at the Boqueria.  Dave and I sit in the roof top wading pool in the hotel while John naps.  We try a Tapas at a restaurant along La Rambla. Anthony texts us... 
so won't arrive until the 3rd at 1:30 pm. We can't extend our stay in this hotel, so we make reservations at the 4 Points Hotel.

On the road to Barcelona 

La Boqueria
for lunch with Dave
Walking La Rambla
Lorenza Hotel stairwell

Aug. 2, Have breakfast at the Leonardo Hotel, then pack up the car and drive to see Sagrada Familia.  Check in at the 4 Points. Lunch, nap and then shopping at the Glories Shopping Center.  While Dave takes a 3 hours nap, John and I have some cava at a place at the shopping center and chat with the owner of Odkhuss, who reminds us of Anthony.  Dinner at a restaurant nearby and then to bed.

Off to
Sagrada Familia

Sagrada Familia

Mother and Son
Sagrada Familia

Father and Son
Sagrada Familia

Back Entrance
Sagrada Familia

Mosaic added to the fruit
since 7 years agao

View from the 4 Points Hotel
View of Sagrada Familia on the left

Aug. 3, Breakfast, a quick stop at the Shopping center and then to the Airport to pick up Anthony.
From the airport it is supposed to be a 3.5 hour drive - horrific bumper to bumper stop and go traffic - after 6 hours, the traffic clears and no clue as to why. We arrive Pouzolles in the dark of night. That means we've been in the car from 3:00 pm to 10:00 pm. Not a good start for Anthony.

Anthony has arrived!!!

We are arriving France after
5 hours of driving

We only have an hour to go...then

Aug. 4, A day for adjustment and rest for us all.  We enjoy Pouzolles.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           
Café au Lait and Croisannts
Walk to our "maison"
Dinner at the village restaurant
with C'Dric for entertainment

Mom and Dad

Enjoying the food and entertainment

Aug. 5, We go to Avignon - an easy 1.5 hour drive.  Beautiful and enriching.

Our first glimpse of Avignon


Spires and clouds

View to the other side of the river

Sur le pont d'Avignon

The family...

Aug. 6, We go to Beziers - another lovely French City that was built by the Romans.  Ancient and modern.

At the Polygone Shopping Center
to eat and shop
the modern part of Beziers

The path to the Ancient City...

Approaching St. Naziares

The Church Gardens

The Bridge of Beziers
goes to the Canal du Midi

A candle lit for John Jay

Walking through the
ancient city

Aug. 7, Dave leaves for home on the 8th - to get out of the heat again, we return a day early to Barcelona so Dave can spend a day with Anthony in Barcelona and we can be sure that he gets to his flight. We stay in the Gothic Quarter again for one night. No hotel parking, we have to use the public parking down the street. 

Waterside Eatery
Dave's last looks at Barcelona port

Our last supper with Dave
Delicious Tapas

Aug. 8, We have reservations at the 4 Points for 3 days so Anthony and I can tour Barcelona. We drop off Dave at the airport  and proceed to the 4 Points. Just before we arrive at the 4 Points, the car alerts us that the back passenger side tire is flat.  A guy on a motorcycle says to follow him to a tire place.  The tire place is closed, the motorcyclist leaves us.  We are two blocks from the hotel.  We unload to go to the hotel and leave the car. This is when I notice my purse is gone (with ALL my cards - credit, insurance, medicare. driver's license.) 
   It is hot, it is humid, we are upset, we go to the hotel - they are not ready for us we have to wait at least an hour. John goes back to the car to see if there are any phone numbers we can call and if there's a tire place nearby (he gets some help from the front desk of the hotel.) Anthony and I wait in the lobby, eat lunch and wait; John comes back having changed the tire, he's hot, sweaty and upset - couldn't find a tire place got lost looking. He then parks the car in the secure hotel parking lot.    We get our room. We get our bearings, I have found an Enterprise office near the hotel, John and I go there - Spanish and French Enterprise don't help each other, we have to call our office that we rented from.  By the time we get back, the French office is closed - we will have to wait until tomorrow morning.  In the mean time, I call the Public Parking Garage we used to see if I dropped my purse there - "No, but I will check and you can call back in 20 minutes" he says in Spanish. I call back and they don't have any idea what I'm talking about. I then proceed to try to cancel the cards via the internet to no avail - my tablet can't support that kind of extended access - I don't want to use the hotel computer (I just hope the cards aren't used until I can reach the banks, etc.)
John showers and goes to bed.  Anthony and I go to Glories Shopping Center to shop and have a nice dinner. Then shower and bed for us.

At the bottom of La Rambla
Last Café with Dave before taking him to airport

The walk back to the Hotel
before the "unfortunate incident"

Aug. 9, After a night's sleep, John figures out that the tire was punctured at the public parking lot where my purse was stolen...makes sense, but we carry on. Breakfast at the hotel. John uses the day to find out if he can get a new tire for the rental car and to contact the Beziers Car Rental Office.

   Anthony and I have reserved seats on a Hop on Hop Off Bus Tour.  This Tour Bus Line has 3 lines that go throughout the whole city.  We hope to do all three, Starting on the green line to the Red Line to the Blue Line.  We go by the Olympic Village, then through the Old parts (the Red Line), see the Gaudi Apartments and then to Park Güell (the Blue Line).  Lunch in that area and then on the Blue Line bus again back to the Center of the city. We are tired and  need showers, so we catch a city bus back to the hotel.  


We are on the Bus
It's raining so the top is covering the bus

It stopped raining so the cover is brought back and this is what we see...Sagrada Familia


Park Güell View
Another View of the City from Park Güell

Great tapas here
Good Air-conditioning, too

At the hotel, we meet up with John who has been searching all day for a place that will give him a tire.  He found a franchise tire place that found the tire for him.  He will go there tomorrow morning.
John has a drink and a sandwich then to bed.  Anthony and I go back to the shopping center and have dinner at Odkhuss where John and I had cava.  The owner, Odkhuss says hello, asks about John and then is gone, leaves us with his sister to serve us. We are tired, so we go back to the room for the rest of the evening to sleep.

Aug. 10, Morning coffee and then John and Anthony (as navigator with GPS on his phone) go off to find the tire store to get a new tire so we can drive home.  I work on cancelling all my cards (credit and debit) with Anthony's laptop.  By 11:00 the guys are back successful in their mission as I am successful with all of my credit stuff. 
    Anthony and I have reservations for a tour of Sagrada Familia at 3:00. So we go off to see Piccasso before our appointment with the Holy Family (oh, and try to fit in lunch, too).
    When we return, we find a happy John Berteaux who is refreshed and said he got some work done on the paper he was working on.  We then go to dinner and try to find some pajamas for John at UniQlo Barcelona. Then to bed.

Arch de Triumph
Barcelona on our way to Sagrada Familia

Leaving Picasso

The Holy Family

Beautiful Light

Golden hues 

Afternoon light
Under the Cathedral
is where services are held

We have lunch at a cafe with
a glimpse of
Sagrada Familia

Aug. 11, We say goodby to Anthony at the Airport who's flight leaves an hour earlier than expected - luckily we left for the airport in plenty of time for him to get there 1:45 minutes before his flight leaves.  
   We start back to Pouzolles.  Again traffic going north, bumper to bumper, stop and go traffic for 2 hours.  We are glad to make it back to Pouzolles in 5 hours in time to stop at the Super U for food supplies for the weekend.
    It was a wonderful and pleasurable week with our "boys." Got to spend alone time with Dave at the beginning and Anthony at the end and being a family in between. Even the robbery and slashed tire made us all work together and be a problem solving team.  Dave wants to do this every year.

The Berteaux Men 💕