It’s true: I spent most of last week gallivanting around the
So, Bev, a very dedicated and respectable woman living with her husband Olivier, daughter Anna, and son Stephan near
Leslie and I stayed in a bedroom in the ‘git,’ which can house eight people and is rented to vacationers throughout the year through the ‘git rurale’ program. Our porch overlooked the valley, including the river
They inhabit the top two floors while people tour the bottom three. It’s a strange castle, because the majority of it is Renaissance, except for the two towers up to which the castle is built, which are medieval. It’s a bit difficult to explain, but it reminded me of the
It felt good to be part of a family for a little while. Bev even gave us hugs! I realized about a week ago that I had not been touched since I’d arrived. The classic French ‘bisou’ (kiss on both cheeks) doesn’t count. It’s much less personal than a hug, or even an arm around the shoulder, or a hand on the back. Leslie and I discussed it and decided that we had permission to ask a hug of each other whenever we were feeling ‘untouched.’
Go give a hug.
It’s true: I spent an afternoon harvesting grapes in a vineyard in the Loire Valley of France. Bev arranged it, and Jean-Noel of Domaine du Petit Clocher in Clere-sur-Lyon was amiable to having two American college students working with his jovial crew of thirty-some people of all ages, backgrounds, and personalities. Mostly we worked with Chardonnay grapes, snipping each bunch off, putting it in our bucket, dumping our buckets into larger backpack-type buckets, which were then emptied into trucks, which took the grapes back to the property. It was amazing. I learned that in 1850, a blight destroyed almost all French vineyards, and so the vines we were working with were actually French vines grafted onto American roots. I learned that even the overripe and spoiled grapes are collected and put into wine, and sometimes, to make the sweetest wines, only these grapes are used. I learned that the vendange, or grape harvesting, lasts about three weeks this time of year.
And at the end, we returned to the property and Jean-Noel’s wife was kind enough to show us the process, let us taste the grape juice, pour us a glass of the sweetest white wine, and (I still can’t believe this) give us a box of THREE BOTTLES of wine from the vineyard, ‘a gift from Jean-Noel.’ Please imagine and admire the red, white, and rose wine bottles sitting on a shelf in my room.
It was definitely a series of good