Several days without entering any updates due to the whirlwind of activity during the past several days. I wanted to mention what a great time we had in Carcassonne as we met up with my brother and his family for two days. The city itself, as Mary Anne described, was amazing. A couple of photos are below.
All of us, save Mary Anne who is taking the photo, inside the city.
Partial view of the walled city, which dates back to 200 AD.
We parted company with the Texas Kobylkas and journeyed to Toulon to meet up with Patrick and Marlene. They rolled out the red carpet and since Friday, July 11 we have had a fabulous time. I’ll let the photos serve as the guide to what is the perfect finish to a perfect vacation.
Our hostess Marlene provided us with sumptuous meals of bread, cheese (excellent!), fish, quiche, and of course wine. We lounged around in their house and on Saturday evening the boys and I went with Patrick (her husband) for a great swim in the Mediterranean Sea. They also had a swimming pool where we spent several hours.
Here is Mary Anne with Mr. Rizo, the outstanding gentleman who showed her such kindness and friendship when she lived with him and his wife in 1980. Their friendship goes back 28 years. On Sunday July 13 we traveled to his home in Menton (close to the Italian border) and spend from 11am – 9pm at a festival hosted by an organization to which Mr. Rizo belongs. The day basically went from lunch (paella above) with good wine and beer, to games, to more drink, to dinner, to more drink and of course non-stop conversation. Simply a wonderful time. Interesting to note that while wine and beer was plentiful, I did not see one person drinking to excess. A well behaved and fun gathering.
David and I with Patrick. I cannot say enough about Patrick’s friendliness and ability to make us feel welcomed, relaxed, and comfortable. Menton (as Toulon) is on the Mediterranean Sea and is in the background.
Monday has us going to lunch at the house of Bernard and Odette. Odette is the other daugher of Mr. Rizo. Bernard (her husband) is a chef and prepared us leg of lamb roasted on a spit. It was delicious!
Here we have Marlene with her daughter Jenny. Jenny will spend 4 weeks with us in August. The fellow wearing the Mariner tee shirt is Jonathan (son of Bernard and Audette) and he spent 4 or 5 weeks with us in 1999. His sister Celine spend about the same amount of time with us in 1997.
The lunch and dinner with the Rizos (went from 12:30pm – 10pm) also included my brother and his family so they received a healthy dose of French hospitality!
We certainly ate well with the Rizos. My favorite comment – which may help you understand the Rizos. Arlette was making Pesto vegetable soup and M. Rizo announced – “Jean – come with me, we need some Parmasean cheese – I need to go to Italy.” That sort of sums up their philosophy – If you need Parmasean cheese – you go to Italy. Mais oui!
On Tuesday, one of Mr. Rizo’s friends took us on his boat and we had another swim in the Mediterranean.
Patrick and David in for a swim.
A view from Mr. Rizo’s apartment. Here is his son John and his daughter Cloe. She and Alex had a great time together.
Mary Anne, Marlene, and Alex today at lunch. After lunch the Kobylkas went for naps, the Rizos went swimming! Tonight we go back to Bernard and Odette’s for dinner and tomorrow we depart for Seattle.