6

Out of the Starting Gate—2017 arrives at our doorstep!

It’s hard to believe that just a week ago we were ringing in the New Year with our chocolate and bio-organic (delicious!) champagne.  A good start and a great week was had by us…..

January 1st found us out the door and on the boardwalk of Peyriac de Mer, and from there we made our way along the trails that circle the estuaries here and then up into the surrounding hills that offer the best of views and nice little niches for a quick bite and a hot beverage.

As it can be rather windy in this area, we were particularly happy that this first day of the new year was a sunny, clear and tranquil one.  There were many people out enjoying this day, but we never felt that we couldn’t have the peace and tranquility we so covet.  There is plenty of room for many people to enjoy the environs without stepping on other people’s toes.

I have gotten out of shape a bit since departing the Netherlands and my daily bike rides and long “weight-reduction-walks” (for Florence, not me!).  So I have been gradually increasing my distance with our frequent walks.  I am hoping that within the next week or so I will be able to tackle the hilltop walk that Paul enjoys so much.  He will be sharing some photos (in his post) that he took along the way so you can see how beautiful it is here.

Here is one of the birds we frequently spot in the lagoon. Sorry it's a bit out of focus!

Here is one of the birds we frequently spot in the lagoon. Sorry it’s a bit out of focus!

One of the things I wanted to do to start the new year off with a bang was to cook a nice supper, and then pull out the surprise party poppers to ring in the new year.  The supper was a hit (my favourite Chimichurri chicken), but the party poppers weren’t.  Paul said they make too much of a mess, so we will have to save them for another time and place.  Oh well, you can’t win them all!

The following few days encompassed a number of necessary shopping duties along with a new pump for our water system.  We thought all was well after it was put in, but alas, this was not to be the case.  We weren’t getting any hot water so obviously something was missing.   We found ourselves making our way back to Narbonne Accessories in Narbonne  (where we’d had the new faucet installed a few weeks ago), and they booked us right in.  They are very helpful and accommodating there, and have quite a good inventory of camper van/motorhome items, along with motorhomes for sale as well.  So if any of you motorhome aficionados out there find yourselves in need of such a shop, do stop by.  There are even a few people there who can speak English.

After Paul and I do our daily duties on the computer and any necessary errands, we are ready to settle down for a bit and read.  And the best part of doing this is what we see when we look out our windows.  Not only are the birds stunning to watch, but the sunsets provide us with a fitting ending to a lovely day.  What’s not to love??

Here is an example---taken just yesterday, the 6th.  Notice the fishing nets in the water....

Here is an example—taken just yesterday, the 6th.  Notice the fishing nets in the water….

The latter part of the week turned out to be sunny as usual, but quite cold.  We did manage a few nice walks in spite of the biting wind, and even took the dogs out for one of their favourite walks on the beach which they always love!  Tasha in particular loves to roll in the spongy sea grass that washes up on the beach and dries.  I will try to capture a photo in the future of her doing this.  It really seems to turn her on and she gets all revved up.  It is nice to see them both enjoying just being dogs!

Yesterday after running a number of errands–including a trip to our favourite organic open market in central Narbonne–we decided to pop into the local restaurant in Peyriac de Mer for lunch.  We have been there several times since discovering the area and love the local colour—the people and the surroundings of the cafe/restaurant.  I told Paul I needed a break from my kitchen duties, and wanted to eat a meal cooked and served to me by someone else.

Little did we know what a popular spot this was for the locals at Saturday lunch time!

We were asked if we had a reservation which we didn’t.  We were told it would be about a 20 wait so we took our by now familiar cosy leather seats in the sitting area by the telly.  This time they were showing a cross country biathlon event which was quite nice to watch, but not as much so as observing the locals.  There are a lot of colourful people that frequent this establishment and we love the vibe here.

We were seated at a nice spot with a view out to the square that has a number of plane trees situated around a (now empty) fountain.  It is a dreamy little village that bludgeons you with charm at every turn.

I had noticed a nice vegetarian curry plate with rice on the menu, so this is what I ordered.  Paul ordered what he thought was a chicken dish, but when he showed me the menu I realised he was ordering a fish dish, so he changed to a steak…..and what a steak it was!  All for 14 Euros!!  Take a look at this beauty–enough to feed three people!

Makes your mouth water doesn't it just???!!

Makes your mouth water doesn’t it just???!!

And here is my dish-----which would you choose?

And here is my dish—–which would you choose?

We took our time and enjoyed every morsel.  We shall return!

One of the things I have taken note of, is that whenever and wherever we have been that involves people and eating/drinking, is that none of them are on their cell phones or iPads.  They are actually having conversations, enjoying their food and drink and doing so without haste.  The fact that most businesses take 2 hour lunches is quite the good idea.  Gives one the necessary down time that we all need, especially those of us who are still working, and a chance to enjoy life–the food and drink and friends.  Such a nice way to live.  I think those in other countries who don’t have such a practice can learn from the french example.

We continue to find daily joy in our surroundings and we are so grateful we have chosen this lifestyle.  Many of the other blogs we read about motorhome living are replete with tales of how many miles they covered, how many countries they visited, etc.  For us, we prefer to find an area and really explore it–even get to know some of the locals.  This way it seems like home on so many levels and since the wild camping is so easy to do in France, we save a lot of money.  I would love the input from our readers as to their approach to living this way.  I look forward to your replies……and thanks for being such kind and loyal readers.  We are very grateful for any and all comments.  See you next week—from wherever we land!

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Click Here to Leave a Comment Below 6 comments
Laurie St. Lyon - January 9, 2017

No party poppers?? Paul you party pooper! What’s a bit of paper string to give this lovely lady a bit of pleasure?
“Shame, shame!” Lol!

Reply
    Paul Smith - January 10, 2017

    Hi Laurie,

    What Cynthia didn’t mention was that the party poppers where actually “confetti cannons” I suspect that they would have blown a hole through the HYmer’s roof!

    Reply
lewis cook - January 10, 2017

I like to read about your adventures and think you have a great outlook on life, thanks for sharing and best wishes for your future travels 🙂

Reply
    Paul Smith - January 10, 2017

    It’s the only outlook to have Lewis. This morning we were moved on by the police for the first time in France. We could have been upset that they had told us to leave such a beautiful parking spot, or we could have been grateful that they left us alone for five wonderful nights before asking us to leave. We choose the latter, then moved up the coast to somewhere equally as pretty.

    Reply
Andrew&Pam - January 10, 2017

Just to echo Lauries comment Cynthia , make sure he doesn’t turn into a typical British MOG ( miserable old git!) – joke Paul. You’re right that France is by far the easiest European country to be in. We live part time in the Auvergne area, bring the motorhome down and travel from there. We shall increase our time just to get away from this ridiculous Brexit debate- you’re well out of it! Best wishes.

Reply
    Paul Smith - January 10, 2017

    I am, beyond question, a leading light in the MOG society. The Hymer is such a small space that two seconds of party popping would have meant fifteen minutes with a vacuum cleaner. OK, so I’m a bit of a neat freak to!

    I’m delighted to say that we have completely divorced ourselves from society, as far as the news is concerned anyway. Neither of us have a clue what is happening in the world today. I made the mistake this morning of glancing at a news headline which popped up on my iPhone. “M1 motorway closed all day after police find body at 3am”. As far as the media is concerned, bad news is good news. I don’t want to hear any bad news, thank you very much. We’re both happy spending our life in blissful ignorance.

    Reply

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