6-29–It’s hard to believe we’ve been traveling for 13 days now. Writing the blog has been enjoyable but also challenging in the last few days as we haven’t had very good wifi. I’ve had to post every two days instead of every day. But keeping the blog has been a great way to record our activities and thoughts. I recommend it to every traveler!
Today we pulled up stakes (literally), dismantled our campsite and headed for France. Our destination was Poitiers, a mid-size city about two hours south of Paris. Our goal was to visit Peter’s cousin Andy, who has lived in Poitiers for 25 years, since he was an exchange student here in college. He is married to a French woman and has two children, one in college in Paris and one who is Thomas’s age. He is an artist and also does translation work.
The drive from Spain to Poitiers took us about five hours. Fortunately our exchange family’s car has a GPS, but it is 10 years old. We can’t always trust it. When we got into Poitiers it had us going down some one-way streets the wrong way. Eventually, we figured out how to get to our hotel and were pleasantly surprised at the size of the room and the fact that we had free wifi and A/C. This is the first hotel we’ve stayed in thus far and after sleeping on the ground for three days, the bed, with its puffy white down comforters, looked inviting.
Our hotel is only about a five-minute walk to Andy’s apartment. We strolled through the little cobblestone streets to join him for dinner. He treated us to a real French feast: first, some sardines and some bread with an olive tapenade spread and a pimiento spread. Then an assortment of brie, goat and hard cheeses. Next, two types of pate with pork. Normally I don’t like pate but both were very tasty. Finally we had a dessert of raspberry sorbet. All was enjoyed with liberal amounts of white and red wine.
Andy’s apartment is tiny by American standards, but quite comfortable and cozy, filled with lots of art, books, CDs and cassette tapes. The best part is the little terrace overlooking the city park. The terrace is just big enough for a table for four and the kids sat out there while the adults sat around the dining room table. The whole family speaks English, which is a good thing as our French consists of about five words maximum! Peter and Andy enjoyed reminiscing on their past times growing up in California and we heard a little about French life, including the big exam Andy’s daughter just completed at the end of 9th grade.