Vacation in Biscarrosse

Vacation Holiday

Red Wines and Cheeses in the Bordeaux Region

C’est est temps pour moi ecrire encore.

Or, in plain English, it is time for me to write again. I wrote about half that sentence correctly. I am learning a few words each day while also forgetting a few. Hopefully, I am retaining more than I am losing.

I am still in Biscarrosse,  a beach town on the Atlantic in the Bordeaux region. And yes, I have had many red wines here almost all of which are from this area. In fact, we usually have wine for lunch and dinner.  Both meals seem to be the main events each day. We have at least four courses at each of the two main meals, and one more if I include the fruit at the end.  So, I am eating well.

I’ve tried a number of different kinds of hard cheeses—all of which are good. Bread, of course, is always a part (an important part) of each meal, and we make at least one bread

 run a day to one of the many boulangeries (not sure of the spelling). I’ve also

 enjoyed the brioche that tastes like Hawaiian sweet bread.

 

More On Food and the Routine

My hosts take turns cooking meals for ten of us. My turn came with my grandson, Matisse. By request, we prepared an American meal complete with hamburgers with buns. We sent out for fries and had--through considerable research--found a store that sells buns. 

To find the fries, we send someone to bike to the roasted chicken store to get them at the last minute.  

I am now just starting to get into sync with the timing of French families, including mine. Out of necessity, I take a rest after lunch because the days are long and vigorous. Yesterday, for example, I had 17,000 steps on my pedometer.

 I usually start the day with coffee and bread (I’m not much for pastries in the morning although they are plentiful and delicious), followed by an activity, then lunch, a rest, then more activity.

Then dinner and then yet another walk or activity.  Since I usually rise before others, my days start at 7 am and end around 1 am, I am forced to take a mid-day rest along with everyone else.

 

           

 

So Much Is Different/Vacation Holiday

One of the aspects of travel I’ve noted is that the sounds, smells and scenery are different. Even though I have been mostly in urban areas first in Montpellier and also here in Biscorrossee, I have seen no homeless people. Also, I’ve always felt safe. The sidewalks and streets must be cleaned often since they are always debris-free.  

I have to compare that to my last trip to San Francisco where I felt unsafe, and the streets were littered with debris.

I was also impressed at a free library beachside that I discovered on my morning walk, complete with magazines and books in English. 

Evidently, there is a military base nearby because on and off during the day, I hear jets roaring overhead, probably engaged in exercises to protect the country.

I also am surprised by the sound of horse hoofs outside my window occasionally passing during the night. The patrol is part of the mounted police who patrol the beaches. The horses are stunningly beautiful and don’t seem to mind being around pedestrians. I managed to pet one on the beach.

 

             

 

The Beach Scene Constantly Changes /Vacation Holiday

The first day when I went out and walked to the beach, the Atlantic was calm and glass-like. My son and I walked out perhaps 200-300 feet and still were not in water up to our knees. 

When I returned later in the day, the tide was in, and the waves rivaled any I’d seen in Kauai. The surf was too rough for me to tackle. The lifeguards keep people in the area where surf is breaking between the blue flags and away from riptides. Because of the high surf, the swimmers get knocked down quite a bit.  

The areas marked by red flags signal the presence of dangerous currents. Rip tides or currents are always a danger here on the Atlantic with lots of warnings. 

 

Silky Sand and My First Purchase/Vacation Holiday

The sand is silky smooth, as fine a sand as I’ve ever walked on. And the dunes are spectacular, some as high as the pyramids as I imagine them and require stairs to climb. The beach town is bordered by forest, one of the oldest planted in France, I’m told. There are also large lakes inland. Temperature is wonderful for sleeping at night and comfortable in the daytime, neither hot nor cold.

Today, after a walk on the beach, my son and I and worked our way to town where I managed to find open air retail shops. I  bought a dress made in Italy but very French in its look. Until now, I know I look so much like an American tourist in my casual California clothes. So I really wanted something to wear that looked like what others were wearing, something European. 

The rest is lightweight and cool for hot weather so of course, it is going to rain tomorrow.  But I can wear it back in Montpellier where it remains hot. I was surprised given how well it was made and designed that it only was only 29 euro ($32).

 

Group Lifestyle

I’m getting more used to the group lifestyle although it is still a stretch for me, partly because I need time alone to write but also because I am used to pretty much being alone much of the time.  Every now and then, I have to disappear for time alone when the “togetherness” becomes a bit much.

But I realize that having lots of hugs in the morning and my family around me on and off during the day (more on than off) is good for my morale. And I say “my family” accurately. My son’s relatives have taken me in as one of their own. Being surrounded by these loving, considerate people keeps me from missing my late husband so much.

We celebrated my daughter-in-law’s birthday Monday night. Her favorite meal was prepared by her father who grilled mackerel, sardines, and tuna.  Plus, he made a huge green salad with wonderful tomatoes, cheeses, bread, a fancy dessert, wine, etc. Since I like almost all fish, this was a great dinner for me as well.

I make no apology that so many of my blogs are about food. Food is a big deal every single day. This morning, we were discussing over breakfast what the menu was for the day.  

The joke is that when Americans go to a party, they ask each other “What do you do?” meaning, “How do you make your living?” When French people meet at a party, they ask “What are we going to eat?”  Steve insists I will lose weight here although that seems impossible given the wonderful food.

 

 

Ride A Ferris Wheel Whenever You Can

Two nights ago, I rode a giant, beautifully lit Ferris wheel at the beach’s edge, one of the things I wanted to do before I left. It was a huge one, the second-largest in France. At the top, we could see way out over the ocean. My son turned a bit green during the ride but I thought it was fun.

From the picture, you can see how beautiful the scene was.

 

 

Settling In

I am happy to report that I have set up my Amazon.FR account. This is important because I am not yet mobile on my own. And with my Amazon.FR account, I can get the necessary items for the apartment without bugging family members to make trips to the various stores. My needs are simple but varied. For example, I needed a night light, an office desk, a printer, an office chair, a file cabinet, and some file folders. My old computer didn’t perform so well in the high-speed environment I’m in, so I had to purchase a new one.

I am indebted to my grandson for being my IT guy and getting everything set up. I replace his cell phone as payment for his technical skills.

With my son’s help, I’ve set up an international bank account, and the bank has issued me a debit card so I can make purchases in stores. I also have an international telephone number and have given up my US number, my US credit cards and will shortly give up my US bank. It seems strange not to have a checking account but here everything is done online. So I have to get with the program.

For groceries, I walk about ¾ of a mile to a large grocery store.  To do anything more than grocery shopping, however, I need to learn how to negotiate the tram downtown and back.

Plus, I am debating getting a small automobile, that can be driven by anyone 14 years of age or older without a French license. My apartment rental includes a garage space so storing it is not a problem. I test drove one and although its top speed is about 45 mph, it would get me around town for errands. More on this later.

 

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