We knocked on Edouarad’s door after wrangling our bikes into a contorted position that would prevent them from rolling down the sloped gravel driveway. After a short time, Edouard answered the door with a smile on his face as usual. Aude came to the door shortly after, with their two children alongside. The graciously helped us to park the bicycles in the garage and haul our massive bags inside. We were a bit apprehensive to reveal our tarte, not knowing whether we had jostled it beyond repair, or whether it had melted in the afternoon heat. Much to our surprise, it looked much the same as it had in the bakery, even after nearly an hour of steep hills in our bags!
While many in the states would not consider their home very large, they make very good use of the space and as such live very comfortably. There is no waste in cabinets or shelves. Aude has a very artistic eye and has crafted decorations for the household, including all of the lighting fixtures and throughout the children’s bedroom.
Since we had ridden in the hot sun up the hill of doom, the first order of business was to shower and make our stinky selves less stinky. With that out of the way, we sat outside in their yard and chatted over lemonade, orange juice, and syrup with fizzy water.
Soon, it was time for dinner, and Edouard started a fire with which to barbecue. We helped where we could and mostly enjoyed playing with the children and then enjoyed a lovely meal of pasta, beef and sausage, and zucchini with a pizza as an appetizer. Our hosts graciously pulled out all of their best English for us and we spent a lot of time miming to the children.
Over dinner we spent some time getting to know one another and talking about our jobs, families ect. They laughed when I tried to explain what the purpose of the internet marketing agency I work for is (to help other companies make more money online), saying that that fit the stereotype of Americans perfectly!
As we discussed our plans for tomorrow, Edouard mentioned that there was a very nice lake near their house, the only problem being that “there is a mountain” right between us and said lake. We find that there is almost always a mountain between us and wherever we want to be! We decided to stay put for another night and ride over the mountain to the lake without our bags to enjoy a proper French lunch.
After dinner, Edouard and Aude got out a plate of cheese and had to help us along a bit as to exactly how we were supposed to cut and eat it. After all these weeks of camping, we needed a bit of a culture lesson! We sampled some local varieties of cheese that were very tasty. Hopefully now we will feel less overwhelmed by the cheese options at the French grocery stores.
We enjoyed the miraculous lemon tart for dessert, and then walked the dishes inside to wash. I volunteered to load the dishwasher and was dutifully pre-washing them, just as I’ve done all my life, when Edouard came into the kitchen and wanted to know why on earth I was washing the dishes just to wash them in the dishwasher! We laughed and laughed and I got a proper lesson on how to get rid of the big pieces and load them correctly.
By the time we were finished, it was practically bed time, and we marveled over the concept of sleeping indoors on a mattress that doesn’t even need to be blown up. We have been sleeping in our tent for so many weeks it was quite a change to be inside where it is so, so quiet!
We are so glad to have met our new friends and so very appreciative of their hospitality. We have felt so welcome and our visit here is sure to be a highlight of our trip!