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Sept. 15, Sunday: being written on Monday the 16th

It is now Monday afternoon, Sept. 16, at 1:30 p.m. and I am just sitting down to write my blog post for yesterday, Sunday the 15th – and what a day it was! To begin, Cathy and I went to bed on Saturday night planning to take a boat from Le Lavandou port to the island of Porquerolles at 10 a.m. on Sunday morning, which meant taking an 8:40 bus from the top of our hill here in Bormes-les-Mimosas. We were awakened, each of us in our own rooms and not knowing that the other one was awake, too, at 4 a.m. by thunder, lightening and heavy rain. Just like the Sunday before! It hasn’t rained at all in between those two days! Remembering that the previous Sunday the rain had stopped and the sun had come out midmorning, I wasn’t too worried and fell back to sleep. But I must have been somewhat worried because I awoke again two more times and then finally got up out of bed at 5:30. Cathy was doing something similar, but since I didn’t know that, I stayed in my room so I wouldn’t wake her up. I took a shower, got dressed as if we were still definitely going on our trip, all the while thinking that we might just cancel. Around 6:30, Cathy got up and we had coffee and breakfast, while the rain kept raining and we kept trying to decide what to do. What the heck, we finally figured, let’s just take the bus to Le Lavandou and then decide whether or not to get on the boat.   We were dressed in our bathing suits (wishful thinking, by now) with our clothes over the top, but clothes meant for a warm and sunny day. We climbed our hill to the bus stop, about 20 minutes early (anxiety, I’m sure), and saw that folks were setting up for a craft market. I took photos of both our little bit of Bormes-les-Mimosas in the early morning rain and the craft fair setup going on. Finding myself shivering, I decided to run back to the apartment and get my sweatshirt. On the way back, I saw that the bus was already at the stop. I ran, thinking I was going to miss it, but, no, I’m in France. The driver had gotten out for a smoke, there was time. There were only two others passengers the entire bus trip, so this very friendly and relaxed bus driver took us right to the port, rather than to a regular bus stop. Which was great, as it was still raining. There were a good number of people lined up for bus tickets. Which reminds me, I must say something about lining up in France. It isn’t at all like lining up in the U.S. or in England. In France, it’s difficult to tell that it’s a line at all, looks rather more like a clump. And people cut in front without blinking and eye, and no one behind them seems to mind at all. On my trip to Bormes, when I needed to board a bus at Toulon, people clustered tightly around the closed bus door and inched, inched, inched little by little closer and closer and closer. When it became evident that the doors where about to open, the elbows began their work of edging their owners even closer still. Didn’t matter who you were, young or old, healthy or lame, it was all very democratic – no, it was Darwinian. That sort of intensity didn’t happen while getting our tickets for the boat, though. I’m guessing now that the intensity at the bus was due to the fact that once the seats were filled, you’d have to wait for the next bus – and there were lots of people wanting to get on this bus. The rain, plus the fact that it’s off-season, meant that there were plenty of seats available on the boat. So, back to my story. Unconsciously encouraged by the lineup for tickets, Cathy and I went ahead and decided to buy some and go to the island, good weather or bad. Tickets in hand, we had 45 minutes to wait, so we crossed the street, went into a cafe, ordered a croissant and an espresso for me and a cafe creme for Cathy, and joined the other patrons in looking out at the rain. Actually, I enjoyed it. The atmosphere was like being in a warm, cosy cave looking out at the chilly, wet outdoors. I took a few photos. When it was time to board, we returned to the ship. It rained during the entire trip to the island. I took photos out the window, just to give you the feeling of things. Arriving at the island – a miracle! – the rain stopped and the sun came out! It remained windy and a bit chilly for the afternoon, but the sun was warm and the sky a beautiful blue. We wandered about the small village of Porquerolles, which doesn’t take very long as it is quite tiny. The first thing we did after that was to try to locate a winery so that we could attend a tasting later that afternoon. We found it, but it was closed for the harvest. Then our next choice was to walk directly across the short part of the island to the lighthouse, Le Phare, about 40 minutes, only to discover, when we got there, that it was closed. But, as I hope the photos show, the walk was worth it even with nothing at the end of it. The trails are just beautiful and peaceful and it was great to be outside in nature. From the lighthouse we found another trail that took us to the Calanque de l’Indienne, and I have included photos as this was a truly breathtaking sight. After that, we walked more beautiful trails back to the village of Porquerolles, where we had begun. We had been walking for about 2 hours and we were hungry. Not wanting to give up any time to a long lunch, we bought sandwiches and ate them sitting on a bench at the dock watching the boats, people, and dramatic clouds in the sky. Our energy revived, we rented bikes. First we road east along the southern coast of the island, along the length. The trail runs along the beach and there are many small paths that one can take from the main trail to numerous beaches. We stopped at just a couple of them and I have included photos here. The water was that gorgeous turquoise that everyone talks about, along with light and dark blues, just stunning. I don’t think that my photos do justice to the experience, but they will have to do. Feel free to use your imaginations!! We road almost to the end of that direction, turned around and road back, then road west of the village for awhile. We rode for almost 3 hours and decided that that was quite enough – neither of us were in biking condition, and we knew that we would have to show up to garden at 7:30 on Monday morning. We turned in the bikes and spent our final half hour on the island watching people play boules. The visibility on the return trip was far superiour to what we had experienced on our way over. I will include a few photos. Arriving at the port, we were picked up by Nicky in her car since there were no buses at that time on a Sunday evening. There had been mention of a possible potluck dinner at her house that night, but last we knew it wasn’t certain. Well, it was now certain and planned for 7:30. We got back to the apartment at 7. No time to write my blog post! We fixed ourselves up just a wee bit (a very wee bit), gathered our fruit and cheese that we had bought to contribute to the potluck, and walked up the hill to Mick and Nicky’s with S and T, who toted their quiche. It was a really lovely dinner! The group consisted of Mick, Nicky, their daughter Laura (who we were meeting for the first time), Nicky’s sister Pat, S, T, Cathy, and me. We started with a rose (dry, not sweet, delicious) and appetizers, then melon, then we moved on to red wine and the quiche (excellent), a vegetarian moussaka (I’d like to have this recipe: lentils, potatoes, eggplant, tomatoes – yummy), and a salad. Then the cheese course with peaches and plums. And, finally, a dessert – which was very good, but I’m not sure what it was called. Interesting conversation, lots of laughs, good company, good food and wine – who could ask for more? Except that Cathy and I were about to fall asleep! We said goodnight at 11 and went back to the apartment and passed out immediately. This morning our 6 a.m. alarm woke us up very very deep sleep and dreams. Oh, it was soooo hard to get up! But we did. And we were at the garden at 7:30. This gardening is not for the faint of heart. It is rather strenuous. But it is also very satisfying. We left at noon, had a simple lunch (you can probably guess by now – bread, cheese, fresh figs, carrot sticks, and a glass of Pinot Noir), Cathy has gone off wandering and I am writing this blog post. It’s 2:15 now and I am going to begin the photos, which will probably take at least an hour, maybe more…let’s see.
Bormes-les-Mimosas at 8:30 a.m. in the rain.

Bormes-les-Mimosas at 8:30 a.m. in the rain.

The craft market setting up in the rain near the bus stop in Bormes-les-Mimosas.

The craft market setting up in the rain near the bus stop in Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Another view of the craft market setting up.

Another view of the craft market setting up.

Once again, insufficient footwear! This seems to be a steady theme with me. Does it constitute a SERIES?

Once again, insufficient footwear! This seems to be a steady theme with me. Does it constitute a SERIES?

The beach at Le Lavandou. Beautiful in the rain, isn't it?

The beach at Le Lavandou. Beautiful in the rain, isn’t it?

Another shot of the beach at Le Lavandou that rainy morning. Seems that this one might inspire some art work...hmmmmm.

Another shot of the beach at Le Lavandou that rainy morning. Seems that this one might inspire some art work…hmmmmm.

The port at Le Lavandou.

The port at Le Lavandou.

Lining up for tickets.

Lining up for tickets.

The ship we took to L'ile de Porquerolles.

The ship we took to L’ile de Porquerolles.

Le Lavandou in the rain.

Le Lavandou in the rain.

Our "cave" - the cafe where we watched the rain with the other morning patrons brave enough to come out in the rain.

Our “cave” – the cafe where we watched the rain with the other morning patrons brave enough to come out in the rain.

Cathy, undaunted by a few raindrops.

Cathy, undaunted by a few raindrops.

Debi, mesmerized by the rain (and waiting for the espresso to kick in!)

Debi, mesmerized by the rain (and waiting for the espresso to kick in!)

Inside the boat.

Inside the boat.

Socks!! Now the footwear is MUCH more sufficient!

Socks!! Now the footwear is MUCH more sufficient!

View from boat window: rain: Photo One.

View from boat window: rain: Photo One.

View from boat window: rain: Photo Two.

View from boat window: rain: Photo Two.

View from boat window: rain: Photo Three.

View from boat window: rain: Photo Three.

View from boat window: port at Porquerolles.

View from boat window: port at Porquerolles.

Leaving the boat at Porquerolles.

Leaving the boat at Porquerolles.

The port at Porquerolles. See the blue sky!!!

The port at Porquerolles. See the blue sky!!!

The port at Porquerolles. Weather improving!!

The port at Porquerolles. Weather improving!!

Another view of the port of Porquerolles.

Another view of the port of Porquerolles.

The village of Porquerolles: Photo One.

The village of Porquerolles: Photo One.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Two.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Two.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Three.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Three.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Four.

Village of Porquerolles: Photo Four.

Wandering around looking for the way to the winery.

Wandering around looking for the way to the winery.

Street scene along the way.

Street scene along the way.

Another scene as we wandered. Note the puddle in front - the day cleared up, but the puddles didn't - we had to watch our feet all day.

Another scene as we wandered. Note the puddle in front – the day cleared up, but the puddles didn’t – we had to watch our feet all day.

We found the road to the winery.

We found the road to the winery.

A glimpse of the vineyard.

A glimpse of the vineyard.

The winery - closed - probably just as well, we might have fallen off the bikes.

The winery – closed – probably just as well, we might have fallen off the bikes.

Hiking to the lighthouse.

Hiking to the lighthouse.

Still hiking to the lighthouse.

Still hiking to the lighthouse.

Yup, still hiking to the lighthouse. By the way, the sky color is washed out in some of these photos. It had turned blue by then.

Yup, still hiking to the lighthouse. By the way, the sky color is washed out in some of these photos. It had turned blue by then.

We reach the lighthouse and it's closed. Bummer.

We reach the lighthouse and it’s closed. Bummer.

We try another path. Ever wonder why I'm always the one behind? Such a slowpoke!!

We try another path. Ever wonder why I’m always the one behind? Such a slowpoke!!

We arrive at the Calanque de l'Indienne.

We arrive at the Calanque de l’Indienne.

I took many photos, but none of them capture the amazing grandeur of this scene.

I took many photos, but none of them capture the amazing grandeur of this scene.

Here's another shot.

Here’s another shot.

And just one more.

And just one more.

And...we turned around...and...Debi sees the light!!!! (groan! please forgive us, we just couldn't resist.)

And…we turned around…and…Debi sees the light!!!! (groan! please forgive us, we just couldn’t resist.)

We walked further, along trails just like what I've already shown you, to this lighthouse, that has been rebuilt to historically correct specifications.

We walked further, along trails just like what I’ve already shown you, to this lighthouse, that has been rebuilt to historically correct specifications.

Here's the inside, looking up.

Here’s the inside, looking up.

I have no photos of us eating lunch sitting on a bench at the port, nor of us renting bikes, nor of us riding bikes (of course! how the heck would I do that?). So there is a big jump in the narrative now to when we are bike riding on the trails. In this photo we have parked the bikes and walked down one of the foot paths from the main trail to the beach.

I have no photos of us eating lunch sitting on a bench at the port, nor of us renting bikes, nor of us riding bikes (of course! how the heck would I do that?). So there is a big jump in the narrative now to when we are bike riding on the trails. In this photo we have parked the bikes and walked down one of the foot paths from the main trail to the beach.

Photo of the beach: One.

Photo of the beach: One.

Photo of the beach: Two.

Photo of the beach: Two.

Another footpath to the beach.

Another footpath to the beach.

Me and my trusty bike. Too bad my lower half is in shadow - my black socks with my beige sandals looks particularly fashionable with my pant legs rolled up!

Me and my trusty bike. Too bad my lower half is in shadow – my black socks with my beige sandals looks particularly fashionable with my pant legs rolled up!

Cathy with HER trusty bike. No footwear fashion issues here!

Cathy with HER trusty bike. No footwear fashion issues here!

While biking: Beautiful View One.

While biking: Beautiful View One.

While biking: Beautiful View Two.

While biking: Beautiful View Two.

While biking: Beautiful View Three.

While biking: Beautiful View Three.

While biking: Beautiful View Four.

While biking: Beautiful View Four.

We spent our last half hour on the island watching people play boules in the center of the village.

We spent our last half hour on the island watching people play boules in the center of the village.

Back at the port, on our way home. The wind is getting fierce, the temperature is turning cold, the skies are cloudy again, but it didn't rain. I was on the boat looking out the window when I took this photo.

Back at the port, on our way home. The wind is getting fierce, the temperature is turning cold, the skies are cloudy again, but it didn’t rain. I was on the boat looking out the window when I took this photo.

On the boat again, on our way home.

On the boat again, on our way home.

A shot out the window of the boat on the way home.

A shot out the window of the boat on the way home.

Another shot out the window of the boat on the return trip.

Another shot out the window of the boat on the return trip.

And my final photo of the day, again through the window of the boat. Unfortunately, I didn't take any photos at the potluck dinner. Again, my iPad battery needed charging, so it had to stay home. I'm going to have to find a solution to the battery running out situation for future trips.

And my final photo of the day, again through the window of the boat. Unfortunately, I didn’t take any photos at the potluck dinner. Again, my iPad battery needed charging, so it had to stay home. I’m going to have to find a solution to the battery running out situation for future trips.

Martha
September 28th, 2013 at 2:57 am

Your photos are wonderfully compositioned! (I guess not an official word, but it seemed to fit); They will be a collective work of art when you are done……I’m thoroughly enjoying your efforts.

Carol lee
September 22nd, 2013 at 1:18 am

Don’t know if his went thru or not, new to this. Have a great time.

September 22nd, 2013 at 5:12 am

Hi Carol! Great to hear from you! Yes, your comment went through. I have set this blog up so that I have to approve the comments before they appear on the site, so there is a delay before you see what you wrote appear. I figured I would tell you this here so that others will also know. So, anyone out there who has tried to send a comment and have thought it didn’t work, remember, I have to see it first and approve it, then it posts to the blog site. I love hearing from everyone, so everyone send comments!

Carol lee
September 22nd, 2013 at 1:17 am

Yo, hang in there with the France, just try talking to them in their language, even if you mess up, they like it. The pics are wonderful, looks like you are having fun and tasting vino, yumm!

Marie Fortin
September 18th, 2013 at 3:49 am

Beautiful photos Debi. Looks like the trekking was worth it.

Vicki
September 17th, 2013 at 10:46 am

You guys are such troopers! Sounds like a wonderful day.

Denise
September 16th, 2013 at 8:49 pm

Beauitful- both of you and the scenery.
Next trip to France will definitively have this location on the agenda.

great relaxing visit with Carl this weekend ( well, except for the cat bite)

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Debi Pendell Artist by debipendell.com