Blistering Sunburn, Hole in Ozone

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Grande Motte

 

Grande Motte

Our first guests in the rental apartment!

Akos and Angela from Budapest Hungary are here to celebrate her 43rd birthday! Angela is Alfonz’s cousin and they share a similar birthday, and with our recent move here, they decided to celebrate with us in France!

They started in Paris and did 4 days of non-stop exploration on foot, and then 4 days with us in Capestang.

Monday they came in from Beziers on the 7:00pm flight from Paris, and Alfonz and Daniel happily went to pick them up.

Mondays I have choir practice, and with our concerts coming up June 8, 9 and 10, it was a much needed 3 hour stint. With the clean up from the renovations, and getting ready for our visitors, I ran through the day, and shockingly left the cooking for after practice, something I would rather not leave for the 11th hour.

I got back at 6:00pm and started by cleaning up the Angelina’s disastrous room. While I was gone, Alfonz and Adrian managed to clean up the rest of the sunroom, put the outdoor furniture in order, cleaned the van, put up curtains, and even put stoppers on the furniture. I was impressed!

My little helper Angelina helped out by mopping up the sunroom with a bucket bigger than her. She loves to clean!

Then I started cooking. Making a beautiful fresh salad with roasted red peppers, trays displayed cheeses, salami, olives, and tapanas (olives mashed into a paste) with fresh baguettes. I threw some pounded pork loin with Memphis rub onto the grill, made rice and a vegetable stir-fry with fish oil to go with it.

Angelina offered some help and set the table for 7 in the now cleaned out sunroom with the curtains drawn and a breeze lightly travelling through. She has an eye for design.

No sooner were we finished did they walk through the door and supper was ready to be serve. It was so good to see our family and they are genetically fine looking people, with big personalities and positive outlooks to match. We immensely enjoy their company, talking about life and sharing our experiences with them.

It was a late night, and the next day Angelina was leaving on her 3-day field trip to the local animal farm with her classmates. It was her first time away on an overnight since Bakonysarkony, Hungary when we left her and Daniel with my cousins while we explores Gites in France last September.  My Bakonysarkany

I had managed to pack her bag on the busy Monday, and she carted that big suitcase to the waiting bus just outside her school by 8:45. We waved goodbye before our company even woke up. I was the only mom openly crying after the bus left. Not sure if it was her leaving that caused me to cry, or the fatigue I was feeling but I was definitely in a state.

From here we ran to the store for some breakfast and lunch supplies and ran home to pack a brown bagged lunch and serve breakfast to our family before heading out to the Valrus beach.

We got there by 10:30am to the nearly deserted beach. It hadn’t quite warmed up enough for the locals but to us Canadian folks it was a hot day at 27 degrees.

We made our camp for the day close to the water’s edge, and Ange is what we call Alfonz’s cousin (Angelina’s her name sake) and I lay on the blanket while the three men went for a long walk along the sandy beaches to see what they could find.

Our day consisted of idle chatter, listening to the waves lapping the shore, and the birds singing in the breeze. We took turns swimming in the cool Med Sea, that hasn’t quite warmed up to the temperatures I remember from last year.

As the day progressed, the weather warmed past 30 degrees, I noticed more people and fewer clothes, and eventually we were in the middle of a topless beach. Heck when in Rome!

A word to the wise- the sun in France is strong, very strong, and when your little bits have never seen the sun before are exposed even with sunscreen on, be very careful. The sea is particularly salty and it washed off my level 15 sunscreen leaving me totally exposed to the harsh sun rays.

We left around 3:00pm to visit Francoise at Domaine de la Provenquiere to pick up a wine sampler for our guests to be served before and after dinner, and by then we were fried to an extra crispy version of ourselves. Domaine De La Provenquière, Françoise Winery Tour

We came home in time to grab Daniel from school, and by then, my sunburn had taken on a very deep colour red. I was charred.

I took a cool shower in hopes to stop the process, went to the pharmacy to buy an after burn and he gave me what he thought to be best, a 97% Aloe Vera gel. It wasn’t cheap but thank the gods above, it may have saved me from hospital.

We got ourselves ready for dinner at the Le Chat Qui Peche that translates to ‘The Fishing Cat’, where our contractor’s mother-in-law runs this pretty little restaurant along the Canal du Midi in Ageliers.  http://www.lechatquipeche.eu/ I couldn’t stand anything against my fragile skin, and wore a toga like outfit.

Swallows skimmed the waters under the bridge looking for an insect snack, as we waited for our drinks. The picturesque scene was topped with rustling leaves and a cool breeze off the canal.

Daniel found baby ducks in the tall grass along the shore, and asked Guy and Dawn, the lovely owners for some bread. Guy probably thought it was for a sweet hungry boy, and gave him a big piece of bread. Daniel then ran to the ducks and made some new friends. The little ducks waddled right up to him to eat out of his hands.

Daniel also met up with the restaurant owner’s two kids, and played near the banks for the whole evening. Daniel brought his new beach ball paddles and everyone took turns playing with him.

The food was amazing, especially; the bass and the prawns, the seafood cumin appetizer which they have the secret recipe guarded better than the Queens jewels and the decadent chocolate fondon with a flowing centre for dessert. It was a unique experience, one that we would recommend to anyone travelling in the southern regions of France.

Our Hungarian guests thought so too, as they sipped local wine, sampled new to them flavours, and enjoyed long walks around the restaurant taking pictures.

The next morning the sunburn was a fierce reality for us all, that kept us covered up for the duration of the next day. Carcassonne Castle has shaded walking paths through the old city that were a blessing for our blistering skin. Robin Hood’s Carcassonne Castle It is too funny, but I was tarped from head to toe in what looked like to most people as a sari. A long shall covered my head, Alfonz bought me a big hat for more coverage, I was virtually cocooned.

We stopped for a quick baguette lunch, and with full stomaches we took on the castle tour inside the inner walls of the old castle. A treat for any Robin Hood fan, it is easy to imagine once living between the thick stonewalls, in fine dress of the times, and servants roaming the corridors catering to our every need.

Daniel managed to suck us into buying him a mini crossbow, a replica of the times. Alfonz bought me a pretty dress for our choir concerts for this coming weekend, and a pair of stainless steel costume earrings. We are totally spoiled.

Alfonz and I must have had sunstroke. The next day we were wiped. He gave his cousin the keys to his BMW motorbike and sent them on their way to the Minerve city that clings to the side of the gorge. Minerve, The Cathar Village Clings They spend their day freely taking pictures of the beautiful village, and exploring the surrounding areas, in a style most people would only dream of, rolling through the countryside, hot chick on the back, wind in hair…

They arrived to another beautiful meal around 7:00pm, one that Angelina was home for and we stayed up chatting until the wee hours of the morning. She told us all about her farm adventures, and how she didn’t feel homesick at all, yet clung to my side the next few days. She’s a tough girl.

The next day we pulled the kids out of school and took on La Grande Motte for a bucket of muscle lunch and a dip with the kids in the sea and a rushed visit to Montpellier before dropping Ange and Akos off at the Beziers airport. Place De La Comédie Montpellier  Montpellier For Kids!

Our time together went far too fast, truly they could have stayed an extra week just to see Montpellier’s sites alone.

In retrospect Angelina would have been better at home with us to spend time with her godparents. They spoil her so much. Daniel and Akos get along so well, however, and it was nice to have Daniel to ourselves.

If people are staying in Le Petit Platane this is a very typical route around the area, hitting a few of the best spots the Languedoc has to offer.

If anyone is interested in staying with us, please visit http://lepetitplatane1.fatcow.com/ to book your stay.

 

That’s Hamori


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