An Cat Dubh

Trip Start Dec 15, 2009
Trip End Aug 27, 2010

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Flag of France  , Bourgogne,
Sunday, August 8, 2010

It's good to be back in Europe; for starters the trains are way better than many of the countries we travelled in, not quite Japanese standard but our journey from Xativa (nr Valencia) to Perpignan just across the French border was very smooth and enjoyable … thanks in part to the lunch that Sonal had packed us – we love AliOli (a type of garlic spread). Once in France we found our hotel easily enough and had a lengthy stroll around the town looking for food before returning for the night.

En route to the train station the next morning to pick up our rental car we found a little "patisserie" and bought some wonderful pain aux chocolate and pain aux almandes which we quickly munched our way through before arriving at the station. This brings me to the second reason for enjoying being back in Europe - the food and wine…… Fortunately for our waistlines we’re only in France for three days ;-)

For the remainder of our time in mainland Europe our base will be a car and so having picked up our Renault Scenic (grande) we set off in a mostly northerly direction. A little later getting away than planned (no surprise there) we didn’t have time to make it to Marseille and instead settled for a picnic on a rather pleasant beach not too far from Perpignan before making our way to Villefranche-sur-Saone for the night.

A short drive north is the town of Chalon-sur-Saone, where Kodak France was once based and Derek lived and worked for about sfive months about fifteen years ago. Nearby Givry is a small village where our friends Laurent & Laurence and their children Antoine & Alice live and had invited us for lunch. We were treated to a wonderful lunch with excellent wine and had a great time catching up with the Beau family. The kids had lots of fun, swimming in the pool, playing piano (Alex) and playing with their cats (Lauren). Lauren was particularly enamored with a three month old black kitten called Chuck (Norris) and spent most of her time watching or playing with it ;-) Chuck is so named because of the Chuck-like poses it takes before striking. BTW - If you're wondering - "An Cat Dubh" is Irish for "A Black Cat".

It’s always good to make time to catch up with good friends and we were sad to not be able to stay longer, however we had to leave the Beau family in time to make it to Paris to collect Granny (Derek’s Mum) from the airport. Granny arrived right on time, received a big welcome and after a night in Paris we will continue our journey Eastwards……
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