How many times have you wanted to just stop the clock? The older we get, the quicker time seems to fly! Les & I have been here 4 weeks already--1/3 of our summer has just slipped away. We've enjoyed every minute of it, & feel good about what we've accomplished.
Our little kitchen project is done, & we love it. Les' new home gym, located in our "little garage", is installed, & working well. And, as usual, we found some interesting weekend events to expand our knowledge of French culture. We are continually reminded that here in France, TIME stretches so much farther back than it does in the US.
Several Saturdays ago, we spent the day in Marseille, one of our favorite French cities due to not only its beauty, but its wealth of museums. The Roman Dock Museum was new to us, but the things in it, huge Roman vats for storing wine & olive oil, were NOT NEW, illustrating the thousands of years the French & other Mediterraean cultures) have been growing, storing, shipping, & using these 2 important liquids. From there, we visited a favorite museum called "muCEM", dedicated to the Mediterranean culture with in-depth exhibits that connect the long past of this area to its current issues. This summer's main exhibit deals with cities: what works, what doesn't, & why? What can we learn from the past to create a better future? See our album called "Marseille Magnifique" for pictures & explanations of Marseille's many charms, including fabulous food & art relating to food.
Another Saturday found us attending a "Multi-Era Re-enactment", a gathering of passionate history fans, in costume, of course. How fun is it to see a Roman Senator chatting with a Napleonic soldier? Or a Crusading Knight explaining his clothing & his role in history? Or watching people from the Romantic period dancing with Romans? World War I & II were well represented, but so was the French Vietnam (Indochine) War. What an amazing look at France's long & varied history.
And how about a day dedicated to an ancient custom re sheep, shepherds & dogs? Every summer thousands of French sheep gather to start the "Transhumance", switching gears from the plains of southern France to the Cévennes mountains, where the grass is abundant & sweet. "A Noisy Wave of White" features some fun pictures of sheep & their guardians, as well as how French famiies enjoy their time at festivals.
We also squeezed in a trip to Northern Italy, to explore the small village from where Les' great-grandparents emigrated in 1900. With the help of 2 Francescas, one Alessandra, & one Franca, we have found an entire new line of "cousins". A very personal walk back into TIME. See "Newly Discovered Italian Cousins" for a look at our discoveries, as well as the beautiful mountain villages & some fun "typical" Lombardy food, not to mention a goat or two!
We went back through time in Lake Como as well, traveling (mostly by tunnel & ferry!) to Bellagio, where we met with long-time Swiss friends Ruth & Hans to explore the beautiful lake & a few of its lovely towns. Gorgeous flowers, beautiful views, villas everywhere, as you will see if you check out "Bellagio & Varenna, Lake Como".
And how's this for TIME? We leave this Wednesday for Finland, to connect with some Finns (again, cousins of Les) in a city in the northern area. One of Les' lines supposedly can be traced back to 940. Wouldn't that be a fun walk in time?
We hope you are enjoying your summer as much as we are. May your days be sunny & long, & your time well-filled with friends & family. And who knows, there may be a new family connection coming your way!
All the best,
Elise & Les
nd we just got back from trip #1 with wonderful new Italian friends (& a newly discovered cousin! & long-term Swiss friends.