A Travellerspoint blog

A month in the south of France

sunny 25 °C

Having spent a month each year for nine years at L'Institut de Francais in Villefranche-sur-mer I decided to try something different. Aude Fauche' was my first teacher there and we are Facebook friends. So having heard she was now giving private French lessons in person and via Skype I asked if she could fit me in. With Aude's help I found a nice apartment in the old town which was founded in the 1200's and had eight three hour lessons over a two week period. And I had made up my mind to live only in French while in France which has been easy to do in this town. The few people who switched to English to help me out were very happy to go back to French when I asked.

Fortunately for me my friend Susan Beckman, who helped me attain Advanced status at L'Institut last year, joined me for a week during which we treated ourselves to wonderful lunches at the Grand Hotel du Cap Ferrat and Le Colombe d'Or in St Paul de Vence. Our lunches and dinners in town weren't too shabby either. One day we took the train to Ventimiglia across the border into Italy. Another day we met a fellow classmate from the Institut, Janet Owens and her friend Steve for lunch and we also had dinner with Elizabeth, the Institut's Secretary.

Those who have followed my Facebook posts already know I have been swimming regularly and walking my legs off. I particularly enjoyed the first day of summer celebrations during which across France there are free concerts. And because Euro 2016 is underway I have followed the football games with keen interest while hoisting a pint at my favourite spot "Chez Betty". Betty has always been happy to help me with my French as has everyone else. Oh yes, I climbed up the famous Nietzsche Pathway between Eze-sur-mer and the perched village of Eze.

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B42EF5A7DCC7B19FAFD1F77423E15C25.jpg This picture of Aude and me was taken at the cafe where we spent the second half of each lesson, Les Palmiers on the seafront. The lessons were a real pleasure and I learned a lot too thanks to Aude.

Posted by douglasw 06:23 Archived in France Comments (0)

Vancouver visit from my son Doug and our weekend in Quesnel

semi-overcast 13 °C

When my son said he was coming to Vancouver on business and wanted to spend some time with me I was extremely pleased. And as it turned out his trip coincided with his sister Melinda's birthday. So I suggested we fly to Quesnel for the occasion. And we did! I have described Quesnel in previous Blog entries so suffice to say we had a great visit with lots of laughs, good natured bantering and probably too much eating and drinking. Then yesterday I met Melinda, my granddaughter Andrea and great granddaughters Kenzue and Erika at Vancouver airport on their way to Disneyland. And to cap it all off Doug treated me to an upscale dinner last night. I saw him off this morning on his way home.


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Posted by douglasw 17:31 Archived in Canada Comments (0)

Vancouver Canucks' California Road Trip

Spending a weekend in San Jose with the Vancouver Canucks and a plane full of avid fans.

rain 15 °C

I heard about this annual event some time ago and signed up. The team chartered a plane and 120 fans took off for San Jose after a nice breakfast in the airport. On landing we went directly to the arena for a Closed Practice. So we saw the players and coaches close-up. The kids in our group caught pucks thrown to them by the players. Then we had lunch at our hotel and a question and answer session with club president Trevor Linden and coach Willie Desjardins. A couple of Canucks' former stars accompanied us on the plane and kept busy talking hockey and signing autographs. After that we went to the SAP Centre for the very exciting game which Vancouver won......Go Canucks Go! High up in the rafters is a giant Shark's head which is lowered to the ice before the game. The San Jose Sharks skate onto the ice through the head along with smoke and flashing eyes. The head also puts on a show whenever their team scores. It was a wonderful weekend. Our group, ranging from kids with parents and grandparents to me, came from all over British Columbia and were a pleasure to be with.
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Posted by douglasw 18:27 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Spending a few days in Cincinnati

sunny 7 °C

Susan Beckman, who was instrumental in getting me into an advanced class at L'Institut de Francais last March by Skyping with me in French and encouraging me to persist, invited me to visit her and I did. She lives on a lovely small farm in Milford, Ohio near Cincinnati. We walked on a few trails, worked out with her personal trainer and enjoyed some nice meals out. One day we went to a lecture by Alexandra Fuller who talked about growing up in Africa and her best selling books as well as her life since. This was a charity event and about three hundred people attended. Another day we went to an event for "C'est La Chandeleur" (Candlemas Day) put on by the local Alliance Francaise. Crêpes and cider were served and since Susan, as a member of the Alliance had work to do I played Monopoly with her seven year old grandson Lachlan and kept an eye on little sister Maeve. Then we went to Susan's daughter's place to feast on Chili, finger food and desserts along with beer. Lachlan is so knowledgable about football and we enjoyed each other's company watching the Super Bowl. His sisters Olivia, Alexandra and Maeve along with their Mom and Dad were all great company. After four days of beautiful weather the day I came home was grey with rain and snow, so having ignored taking many pictures the ones I took that day aren't the best.

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Posted by douglasw 16:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)

Saying goodbye to 2015 and welcoming 2016 in the Cariboo

It's been quite a holiday season for me. First a week in Ontario with my son Doug and his family, then Christmas with my daughter Heather and her family in North Vancouver and finally seeing in the New Year in Quesnel with my daughter Melinda, son-in-law Wayne, granddaughter Andrea and her daughters Kenzie and Erika.

Flying from Vancouver is always a thrill going over and through the Coast Range to the rolling countryside of the Cariboo. The route pretty well follows the mighty Fraser River and leaves the mild wet west coast arriving an hour later in the frozen north.

So, to sum up the highlights I would say the laughing and teasing are very welcome; we are all very compatible and enjoy being with each other. Is it tiring being around seven and nine year old girls? You bet, but wonderful. Where do all their questions come from? We went skating....well I watched after a few mild attempts. Ice skating is not like riding a bike. You really have to learn all over again if you haven't skated regularly. Melinda and I ate our share of red meat at places like the Cariboo Hotel and Billy Barkers Casino since this is cattle country and we wanted to help the local ranchers. And we had home-made tourtière and other good stuff at home. Holding tightly to Wayne I rode on his snowmobile and another time Melinda and I walked out on the lake on a path her neighbour ploughed after she told him that was something I wanted to do. There are ice fishermen in their huts, skating rinks made by people living beside the lake, walkers and snowmobilers galore.

We celebrated the New Year at midnight Rio de Janeiro time(07:00pm In Quesnel) with champagne for the adults and cream soda for the girls, then we all went out on the deck with pots and pans, screamed, kissed and then returned to a raging fireplace. All was well and we all slept soundly.

So ends another lovely adventure.

The last few pictures were taken at the Quesnel Airport on my way home.

Posted by douglasw 14:50 Comments (0)

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