Cynthia Smith

Author Archives: Cynthia Smith


Au Revoir France

On Friday 24 February at almost exactly 1200 (noon) we crossed the border from France to Switzerland.  Wasn’t much of a crossing–there was no one at the border station to greet us!  We had passports out and ready to go.  Oh well, no worries!  We parked just across from the border station, and walked to a gas station a short distance away to buy our CF (Swiss Francs) 40 highway vignette that allows us to drive on the Swiss motorways.

 I have considered Switzerland one of my homes away from home for a number of years, as I flew there so frequently during my tenure as International Flight Attendant.  I have always felt comfortable there.  And now I find myself feeling even more comfortable in France after spending the last nearly four months there. read more


Food for Thought—Eating on the Road

I am proud to say, that Paul and I have not darkened the door of any McDonald’s or other fast food establishments.  This wasn’t always the case for either one of us in the not too distant past.  We never found ourselves ordering “we’ll have fries with that” at Micky D’s, but we both have a soft spot when it comes to Subway.

Over the past 6-7 months we kept educating ourselves on appropriate food for sustaining good health.  This project mainly falls on my shoulders because I have the time to research it, and I am passionate about good, healthy food and staying well.  And staying well as the years progress becomes ever more important. read more

What a Week!

Sorry I am a bit tardy with my post this week--seems I neglected to charge my iPad during the night, and by the time I sat down in ernest to write, the darn thing was down to 3%, then died a few minutes later. As Paul was busy writing his part, I needed to wait until after he had finished to get mine written! And, I had written a totally different post a few days ago, but Paul was lukewarm on it so I pitched it. Oh well, can't win them all!


Finding Shangra-la…..Heaven can Wait!

Our recent landing in the southern French village of Esperaza has provided many benefits.  It’s a bit like the pebble-in-the-proverbial-pond syndrome.  The wonderful ripple effect.

I mentioned in my last post that we had met a nice gentleman, Gary Granville, whilst we were using the facility at the aire there in Esperaza a week ago Sunday.  Since that meeting we have exchanged some emails, and Gary has given us some wonderful suggestions of places we might enjoy visiting in the area.

One of these is Rennes les Chateau, only 8 km from the Esperaza aire, where we set off to last Tuesday morning after breakfast.  I was happy Paul hadn’t looked at the twisting, winding barely-a-road-more-like-a-trail route there on our Michelin map guide.  I think he would have been put off and not made the attempt. read more


PO’d—Lessons to Learn, surprises at every turn…

Well.  We are back in southern France after a very long and arduous three-day drive over a week ago to Malaga Spain.  We arrived in torrential rain that kept up all that first night there.  Luckily we were blessed with sunshine and a bit of warmth the following two days, which was great, because our walk to the Budwig clinic was about a mile and a quarter.

All went well that first day we were there.  We had left the Hymer about 9:30AM and didn’t arrive back until a little past 4:00PM.  We were both concerned about the girls going that long without a break to relieve themselves.  As it turned out, they were just fine. read more


As time goes by

Back in August of 2013, my then watch needed a battery to continue it’s life, and I opted out.  I decided then and there that I wanted to give it a go living without a watch.  For 27 years I had been a slave to wearing a watch—I was an International Flight Attendant and my life ran by the clock—sometimes to the minute.

Fast forward to this current year.  This past August I decided to purchase a FitBit because I loved the look and the fact that it could tell me more than time.  I had been counting on my iPhone to check the time, but it wasn’t always with me and often times wasn’t working because I had forgotten to charge it up.  I do like and use the FitBit, but not as much as I thought I would. read more


Making Mistakes vs Life Happens

This morning we set off early in order to reach our next destination about twenty five miles west of Vernet les Bains where we spent the last two idealic days and nights.

We stopped at the Intermarche super market in town in order to have our breakfast and stock up a bit.  This chain of supermarkets is ubiquitous here in France and they offer many services we find handy.  We also needed to discuss how we would deal with this ongoing battery terminal issue.  As we pulled into the parking area, I noticed that there was a place to dump our grey water which was also part of a do-it-yourself car wash–the kind with the wand that swings around as you move about the vehicle to wash it. read more


The Practical vs Folly—and some surprises

My dear Paul is BIG on practicality and I can’t agree more that this way of looking at life has its merits.  On the other hand, to balance it out, I adamantly believe one must incorporate a good sense of folly in one’s life on a regular basis.  This is the stuff dreams are made of!

A dear friend of mine once told me a couple of years ago that I am probably the only person he knows that really does make their dreams come true–and I have to agree.  For without my dreams, I would not be where I currently am doing the things I am doing. read more


The Kindness of Strangers

Shortly after we tore ourselves away from the tranquil and beautiful paradise of St. Antonin Noble Val, we realised that neither one of us was too excited about the day ahead.  Going to a fairly large city (Toulouse) was not exactly what we wanted to do, but we found it a necessity.  We were in need of LPG gas straight away, as well as making a stop at an organic food store, which we had found online, and a pet food store.

Our first stop was for the LPG.  As soon as we spotted the LPG dispensing station we knew we had some careful manoeuvring to do—there was a van parked by it that we would be blocking.  We proceeded to hook the nozzle up to our connection when the van owner appeared.  My first thought was oh-oh, he’s going to want us to move so he could get out.  But, no, he wasn’t a bit put off, he said to take our time.  Well, a few minutes later we were still having difficulty with the connection.  So the van man went inside and came back escorted by the owner of the Total station himself!  He couldn’t have been nicer, showing Paul how to connect the pistol to the nozzle.  He went back inside and then Paul found he couldn’t get any more gas to come out. read more


The French Way

Markets, outdoor markets.  The French are famous for them and my first introduction to these marvellous places was this past summer when I was in Provence.  I was lucky enough to visit several markets–some quite small, and one, in Bedouin, very extensive.

Paul and I made the decision to stay in St. Antonin Noble Val until Sunday morning so that we could incorporate the market experience for the first time together.

It was a bit of a dreary, cold morning, so we bundled up, grabbed our shopping bag and headed out at 9:00AM.  I knew it was important to get there early, and besides, I knew Paul had a lot of work to accomplish later in the morning.  Not to mention we wanted to miss the rain that was forecast for later in the morning. read more