Start my workout with no ants in sight. About ten minutes in one scouts the area. His friends, only a handful today, join him. But this time they don’t bother to follow me down the terrace.
Our day really starts when we gather together and walk up to the hotel for our car. We have a plan. Our navigator has a map. BW pilots our big ass SUV along the winding, sun-splashed roads toward the village of Seillans. I may be spelling that wrong, but our trusty navigator (Kat) has the map, and she’s still asleep. [Note from Laura: I’m awake, I checked the Google, this is correct.] Lots of hills to admire on our serpentine way. And the curvy road narrows. Seriously narrows. I think skinnier than county roads in Ireland, but it’s pointed out we don’t have hedgerows crowding in, so there’s that. Round the roundabouts, the main reason I won’t drive in Europe as I want to save lives, including my own.
We find our village, and parking. It’s old and just lovely. Hilly and steep with cobbled streets, narrow and lined with buildings of stone, many with flowers spilling from window boxes. Most of the shops are closed today, but we came to explore, to see and eventually have lunch. From high perches, we look down on villas and gardens, and out to the hills. The breeze is frisky enough I have to carry my hat or lose it. We walk to a plaza where the panorama makes me sigh with its view of green hills and valleys.
We see little cat silhouettes painted low on doors here and there, and a few of the models napping among potted plants.
I can’t remember the name of the clever countess who started a perfumerie on her estate, to brings jobs and revenue to the village, and planted scores of Jasmine, roses, violets, etc. During the war, she converted it into a hospital. A smart, generous woman, I think. [Note from Laura — saving everyone the Google time: it was the Viscountess de Savigny de Moncorps.]
The church here is again old and lovely. When we walk in you feel the age in the air. A high curved ceiling, a reverent hush, the flicker of candles in the quiet light.
Up and up some more to pass a hotel. Les Deux Roc. Named for the two enormous rocks it faces across the little street. There’s a stone arch and a stone fountain, and a serious view. The arch rises where a castle stood, and the plaque tells us people lived there in the Dark Ages. The stone hums a little under my hand.
I look around and see, as is often the case, a dog has found Jason. The old girl lies belly up and in ecstasy as Jason gives her a good rub.
We wander in and out and back to the big, open-air restaurant. A large center fountain spills water into pails of flowers, so charming. Most of the many tables are occupied, but we’re in luck. And after the climb, wine. Lovely wine, pretty air, the clatter of voices, lots of families on holiday, a busy waitstaff in floral shirts. Fresh salad and bread, as the restaurant claims to be pain depot. An easy meal under the shade of just enormous, many-branched trees with bark that look like camo. They’re absolutely gorgeous.
On the way back to the car, we stop into an open art shop. The artist is working in clay on her table, and the shop is full of her sculptures, paintings, drawings. We converse in her careful English and my pitiful French. And I buy some postcards of her work to remember. I love particularly one of her sculptures, a slender, dreamy figure in blue, but have no place for it.
Revived, we decide to continue our adventuring with a trip to Mons. Much winding and climbing, skinny roads and switchbacks. Kat has become our Ensign Checkov. And so BW becomes Kirk. As Jason is logic, and is checking comms, he’s designated as a combo of Spock and Uhura. If the car had weapons, I might be Sulu, but as it is, it’s decided I’ll be Bones.
Damn it, Jim!
Mons is famed for its view, so we wind up the narrow streets and find a big dirt field where dozens of people play various games of Bocci. Dozens. Old, young, men, women, kids. And it appears to be fairly serious. Beside the field is a big trailer, a hair salon. I’m fascinated. Will the Bocci players take breaks for a fresh coiffure? There are venders for food and drink, public toilets that the men make use of. Kat and I pass as the accommodations are essentially holes in the ground.
The view is breathtaking. Miles and miles of hills. Green, green forests below, and some farms that have carved through with earthen spaces and red tile roofs. Hills rolling into mountains that fold their way to the sea hazed by distance, the toy-like huddles of villages scattered, and all under perfect blue skies. The sun’s white and brilliant. It’s a painting with no frame to interrupt the glory of the art.
Back down we go to wind our way back, roundabouts, curvy roads, vistas, forests. And now a stop at the market. A supermarket. Fun!
Cheese! So many to choose from. A baguette, and won’t that combo be yum. Wines, so many wines. Chips. I’m going to work, and my working brain requires the occasional munch. Peach juice for belinis! Ice cream, because why not. We haul our supplies back to the car, make our way back to the hotel after a fine adventure.
In our villa, we stock our kitchen, and I polish off the day with a belini. Not as glorious as those in the restaurant here, but not bad at all.
A little down time, before we clean ourselves up for dinner at the hotel.
A lovely terrace, a display of desserts that tempt as we walk through. Wine, bien sur. BW and Kat get rockfish soup as a starter. It’s a rich looking purée that comes with little dishes of shredded cheese, a pot of sauce and slices of baguette. Add those to the soup, they’re told. And both do just that.
I’ve chosen the Black Angus steak and it comes with tiny new potatoes. Both are heaven. I share as even though these are reasonable French portions, I can’t finish. But I can look forward to ordering this again.
And those desserts.
Kat has the name of the one she and BW split. Big dessert that our waitress in Eze explained as: pie, cream, pie. Kat looked it up and the authentic French method of creating it takes two days and a gelatin sheet. I choose a little pot of lemon cake with cream, oh my! I think Jason got something chocolate, but I was a little busy.
A long, lovely meal that ends under the stars. I’m grateful for the walk back.
I’ll workout hard today to make up for that meal, a good trade in my book.
The mourning dove brought a companion to the pool this morning, and the cicadas are singing in the forest. I might see if I can book a massage for late afternoon as, if my battery holds out, I’ll work. Otherwise it’s terrace sitting, maybe a walk, and more wine.