Wednesday, September 2, 2009


Anna and I spent our first day together in the Provence region visiting the local areas. We started easily enough, walking up a deceptively steep hill (looks like a gentle slope, but is not!) to her nearby village, Vacheres.
It was such a lovely morning, you really could not have asked for a more beautiful or peaceful beginning to our vacation. Vacheres is small and quiet, and not much seems to be happening, but Anna assures me that "a lot more is going on behind closed doors than you would imagine." Lots of social activities that an English-speaking visitor like myself is not likely to ever hear about...
Naturally, we could not begin our day without first breakfasting off Anna's fig tree in her backyard. All summer the leaves fill out and by September the tree is loaded with ripe fruit, attracting large black butterflies and wasps, too. I think I must have consumed at least 10 figs before the day was done.
Here's a picture of Anna, taking a picture of me, taking a picture of her. Doesn't she look sophisticated? I can't imagine wearing a dress every day, but Anna feels more comfortable on a hot day wearing a dress than pants and T-shirt. I think she's probably very wise! As for me, I looked like the typical American tourist in my comfortable shoes and pants, and the usual T-shirt. Anna could pass for a chic French girl, but I wasn't fooling anyone.
In Vacheres, we met a perky little girl named Lou and her two tiny guard dogs. Pictured here you see Lina, zealously guarding her backyard territory. I took a short video of her, yapping and growling at us, a tiny terror. Lou introduced herself to Anna and me, very courteously spelling out her name so that we'd be sure to get it right! What a charming little girl.
The day finished with gusto: a beautiful tart made by Anna's husband, Michael. He started with rolled-out pastry dough (quite prevalent here in France supermarkets) and cherry tomatoes from the garden, a few herbs, feta cheese, all liberally doused with fresh virgin olive oil. Mmm-mmm good!
Thank you, Michael.

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