Here is yet another (and much belated) installment on the France trip. Unfortunately, I cannot figure out how to copy the photos from Flickr to my desktop so that I can then put them in my blog. There is a back story here. I lost my camera the second day I was in France. We went mushrooming at the ass-crack of sawn in the mountains. I was trudging around the woods with my camera in my pocket and it fell out! I did not know until we got back to the car and there was no way to back track when we had been zigzagging across the side of a forested hill looking for mushrooms and not paying attention to any particular landmarks (like the thousands of pines that all look alike). So, I used Becca’s camera and downloaded them to Flickr every night. This was not really an issue until today. I had to replace my computer because it is on its last leg. I decided to go over to the dark side and we bought a MAC. Now, I have to say I am in love….but there is no “right-click” which means I can’t steal my own photos back from Flickr. AGHHHHH.
So, here is the link for those of you who are really curious. http://www.flickr.com/photos/slippingthroughmyfingers/page12/
Agde is the largest resort town in the south of France and a destination for French wanting to escape the cities and frolic on the beach. It is beautiful. The beaches are very rocky….even the sand is black from the pulverized rocks and shells. The contrast of the black against the heartbreakingly beautiful blue of the sea and the sky is stunning. Of course, it was pretty cool when we were there, about 60 and not many were swimming, but many were walking the beaches. Remi and Alex got a bit wet, but even they decided it was too cool for much of a dip. The town is full of stores on a boardwalk kind of area. Many of the stores were closed for the season, but there was still plenty to be had, should we have had the need for questionable beachwear or some moonwalk stilts! The boardwalk area is right on the sea. The docks are on one side of the walk and the shops and building on the other. I found a boat named “diane” at the dock and I asked Becca if the name Dianne was popular in France. She snickered and asked if I really wanted to know. Of course, I did….she said that men name their best hunting dogs “Diane” after the goddess of the hunt. Christophe said she was correct and he even owned a dog named Diane at one point and she was an excellent hunting dog. Oh well, at least they reserve my name for the BEST dogs! There are pictures in Flickr of my boat.
One of the most interesting things I saw in Agde was the monument hill to the Americans who fell fighting for France’s freedom in WWII. It was a beautiful hill and looked out to the clear sea. I took many photos of it, both detail and overall, but I know I was unable to capture the full effect….but I am certain there is no way I can write about the place. It was moving and eerie and odd to find something dedicated to Americans in France. Common myth is that the French don’t care for Americans and never have and never will. I think things are a lot more complicated than that and this monument is tangible evidence that in some way, our country has made a positive impression on the French.
Christophe and Becca both told me many different times how great the area is that they live in and I think I have to agree. In a weeks’ time Christophe took us to the beach, to the farm, to the mountains and to the city all within an hour from their house. Christophe said the region of Caux was the best for him and I think it is the best for the kids and Becca as well. There is so much to do and see, the people are kind and generous and the air feels squeaky clean. It was amazing. Browse through my pictures….I think you’ll agree.
On my way to France I chose to work on my second sock of the Nutkin socks by Beth LaPensee. I had finished the first one over a month ago and just couldn’t make any real progress on the second one. I had managed to cast on and make the fold down top, but that is all. I am seriously wondering if I will ever be a sock knitter, as the pair took over 4 months to complete and Wendy is on her third pair of socks after we started together. Anyway, I knit through a good portion of our flight to France and some on the TGV. By the time I got to Becca’s I was ready to turn the heel. I finished the socks after three days of being in France. I would have finished them sooner…but Christophe was busy making sure I did not miss anything of interest in the south of France.
The pattern is easy to remember and very intuitive, so I did not have t lug out the pattern when I knit. I only needed it to remind me of the number of repeats. I did change the heal to an eye of partridge as I had done the short row heel as suggested on the first sock and found it to be thin. I had to rip that out. I did not want a sock that I spent so much time on to crap out on the heel. I also did a standard toe rather than her toe. I like the look better. Of course, my Kitchener is less than spectacular, so the toe on the pattern would probably have looked better. I used ShibuiKnits Sock. Unfortunately I don’t remember the colorway. The bright sun in the south of France make the variegation really stand out. In person, the difference in the purples is much more subtle and not so distracting from the lace pattern. I have not washed these yet, but my girlfriend made her first pair with the same yarn in a different colorway and they faded terribly. The socks started out as vibrant as mine and after the first cold water handwash looked very dull. I hope that will not be the case with mine.
Here is the Ravelry link for those of you on Ravelry. http://www.ravelry.com/projects/Slipping/nutkin
Here are the photos that Becca took in her back yard….doesn’t it look like I’m at a resort!
I wore my socks on the plane coming home. They are very, very warm! I had to take them off for the last flight as I was about to pass out. If I stick with knitting socks, I may have to find a lighter weight yarn!!!
I am planning on posting about France in several parts as I do not have the ability to sit here linking photos and blathering on for hours at a time. I get bored and frustrated when a post gets to long. (Oh, on side note…I cannot tell you how relieved I am to be typing on an English language keyboard.)
Caux is a little town in the south of France. It’s population is about 2500 according to Wikipedia (I’m pretty sure that’s close). The village used to be a fort as you can see in one of the photos. French cities are so different from American cities. The town centers are packed together buildings with winding stairs leading to open courtyards, crooked halls leading to a front door or nowhere and buildings that belie the interior lives. The buildings are so closed that it looks as if no one lives in the town until someone appears from nowhere or a window may be open two floors above the street. I really don’t know how to describe it. It was so beautiful. I have to say tha it was a little creepy in that with everything always closed and the streets so twisty and little enclaves so hidden, that I felt someone could jump out at any time! Of course, i wouldn’t happen…it was just eerie and I was out of my comfort zone.
The center of town loosens into free-standing structures as you move out-of-town toward Becca’s house. The houses are fairly close, much like the area where I live. The have small lots that they use to maximum advantage. Most yards had at least a couple of fig, nut or olive trees; many had swimming pools; and many herb or vegetable gardens. All houses also have shoulder-high walls around them. The architecture is very Mediterranean as they are just 30 minutes from the Mediterranean Sea. The houses are stuccoed with clay tile roofs in washed out colors that are usually of a warm tone. The place is so safe that the kids can walk the 5 minutes into town together…without needing an adult.
I have to say the overall impression I got of the town was that of a fairy tale. It was so quite, relaxed, peaceful. I really liked it and would recommend the area to anyone.