Actually this wasn’t the last train ride for the baby girl and I, this train ride was the one bringing us to the last stop at a relative’s house. We left Avignon and headed out to Sainte-Etienne to stay with my cousin Vincent, the doctor, and his lovely wife, Veronique and their children. We were invited to celebrate my Tonton and Tantine’s fiftieth wedding anniversary and we also got to see my cousin, Anne who is Vincent’s little sister, and Frederique and their nine children. The baby girl and I really loved looking around the table, seeing all these relatives speaking over and amongst each other, laughing despite huge age disparities and being included within all the loving chaos. Makes you feel real good and happy.
The train ride was also eye opening, I had to capture the terraced fields of crops and vineyards, I had seen it before with vegetable and flower gardens but I had never seen it done with vineyards. I thought that aside from being brilliant in terms of efficient cultivation, it is beautiful as well. One thing that I have found to be true of all of my train rides, the French countryside is incredibly beautiful; from sunflower fields that extend for kilometers to olive tree groves and lavender fields and kilometers of vineyards. I know that here in the States and in every country in the world there are gorgeous countrysides and I am reminded with every picture that these are our gifts and it should be our duty to try to watch over our beautiful bounty.
A word on my hematoma, it took three weeks for it to heal, that is how bad I banged my leg against the side of a boulder, all in the efforts to climb up higher to get a view of the magnificent countryside that is shown in quite a few pictures. Thank goodness my cousin, the doctor, who has a gorgeous office by the way, was on hand to treat my wound. He took excellent care of me as did Veronique, she grabbed a huge steak out of the freezer that did wonders in reducing the swelling. The things we do in the name of sightseeing, lol.
The dried sausage was included in the photo fest because it is not every day that you see a homemade six foot long piece of dried sausage made in honor of a fiftieth wedding anniversary and my cousin who was showing it off for pictures is a cutie as is young Kristen, one of my younger cousins from Anne and Frederique. The whole celebration was a hit, good food, great company and a flurry of young hands to help serve and clear all the merriment.
It saddens me to think that these are the last photos that I will be showing you of my trip to France but there you have it. My 2012 trip to France, the one that lasted 36 days, the one where I dragged my daughter through old streets, ancient ruins, train station and bed and breakfasts. I loved this trip and I loved writing about it.