My son and I are leaving our small town in southeastern United States to live for a year in a small town in southeastern France. It couldn't possibly be THAT different, right?

Thursday, May 17, 2012


    After completing a pilgrimage to Santiago, Spain, a very tired Klyn Carr showed up at the Montélimar train station on Mother's Day around 9:15 p.m.   What did he want most of all?  A shower, clean clothes, and sleep!  Nice boy that he is, though, he called his mom in the US to let her know that he was safe, and he made an attempt at conversation with us before collapsing.
    I had to work on Monday and Tuesday (that IS why I came here, presumably!) so Klyn and Sam were on their own.  I think that sleep and TV were the main order of the day for both weary travelers.
    I shook them out of their stupor on Wednesday, though, when I made an early wake-up call for our trip to the Pont du Gard.  The weather was beautiful, and I didn't want the day to get away from us.  They were very cooperative with their taskmistress/chauffeur so we arrived at our destination around 11:30.  

    This was Jed's fourth trip to the bridge this year so he brought along a soccer ball to amuse himself while I gushed over the Romans.  It turns out that he wasn't the only one who wasn't interested in my gushing, though.  The guys wanted to eat, skip rocks on the river, and relax.  Jeesh!  I need a new audience for my tours.  :)

    A quick pick-up game of soccer with a French school group and chocolate crêpes for the young men ended our visit to the Pont du Gard.  We then rushed home for Jed's fencing practice and dinner afterwards at a café with our friend, Tristan, who is working on a documentary about the pilgrimage that Klyn made.

    Klyn had steak tartare for the first time and let me taste a bite.  I had been scared to try it before, but something about Klyn's courage before this hunk of raw meat inspired me.  Guess what?  It was delicious!  And since I am writing this post more than twelve hours later, I assume that Mad Cow Disease will not be what claims me in the end.

According to the inscription on the big rock next to it, this olive tree was born in 908 in Spain and moved here in the 1980's.  

I never get tired of bringing visitors here!

A clear but cold May afternoon.

A picnic on the pebble beach.  We had the place all to ourselves.  The only sounds were the singing frogs and kayakers fighting the strong winds.  (Is there any way NOT to make that sentence sound like the frogs were fighting the winds?!)

Rock-skipping experts.  Mine all plunked into the river.

There are two people camouflaged in this photo, believe it or not.

Smile, Klyn!  I know that your mama taught you how to pose for a photo!

The sun in the eyes makes it harder.   Meby, I think that he had a good time despite the stern faces.  :)

Thursday was a national holiday (Ascension) so we did not have school again.  We slept in, ate soft tacos, and then set out for the Palais Idéal du Facteur Cheval with Dom and her boys.  

I had never heard of this little gem in the middle of nowhere before coming to France this year so I would imagine that most Americans do not know that it exists.  

It is the work of a rural postman named Cheval who was a self-taught sculptor.  He had never travelled, but he had seen photos of far-away lands on the magazines and postcards that he delivered so he decided to create a castle that combined all of the styles of all of the countries and all of the eras.  He worked alone for thirty-three years on his masterpiece which he finished in 1912.

It is possible to walk in and out of the corridors and up staircases, but the palace was never intended to be inhabited.  With children at every turn, it seems more like a giant stone play land.

Oops!  Sorry about your head, Jed!

This smile is for you, Meby!

I asked Jed to pick his favorite spot for a photo with Sam, and this is it.  He then found about five more favorite spots.  There was so much detail that it was hard to decide which was the most impressive.

Eytan tried to keep up with the big boys, but they were too fast.

After leaving the palais, we drove over to the Labyrinthe de Hauterive to lose ourselves for an hour among wisteria, lavender, cypress, and forest mazes.  Jed and Néo raced through each maze with ease while the rest of us made a few wrong turns.

The easy maze.

The lavender maze---not yet in bloom.

Feeling good after conquering the lavender maze.

The cypress maze was not so easy!  Néo, Eytan, Dom, and I went around in circles for quite a while.  The tall trees made me feel a bit claustrophobic.  

Klyn exiting the final maze---"passionately."  The five exits were named after the five possible endings to the sentence, "Il m'aime..."  which is the equivalent of "He loves me, he loves me not."

After running through all of the mazes, the little boys were pretty tired.  

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