Wednesday, February 17, 2010
This Valentine's Day we had the awesome fortune to indulge in a proper French countryside holiday via Vanne, France. We happen to have a very wonderful friend whose family owns a beautiful home (and a ginormous barn) in what seems to be the middle-of-nowhere, France. We were lucky to have been invited for a peaceful, restful weekend filled with lots of communal cooking, locale exploration, Euchre playing and private (in der hause) wine tasting. It truly was an ahhhh...weekend.
Vanne is a lovely farming community in the Dijon region of France. The nearest large town is Vesoul and its neighboring small town is Ray-sur-Saône, home to the amazing Château de Ray castle and the thin, snake-like la Saône river. Vanne itself consists of about 25 houses, two dogs and one bread truck. No, just kidding...it isn't quite that small, but it sure did feel like we were in an abandoned town of sorts which was perfectly fine with us!
Our mornings consisted of sleeping in and then indulging in French pressed coffee, homemade muffins and fresh bread from the bread truck. Yep, the bread truck. The first day it was a guessing game as to how the honk-and-stop process worked, but after a bit of roaming around town and a very ambivalent French-German-English conversation with a sweet townswoman the mission was complete. By the second day we were pros and only had to walk about 30 feet (in our slippers!) to retrieve our fresh bread and pastries! Certain homes, including that adjacent to ours, even had enough clout to receive fresh bread delivered to their doorstep...sweet! It made me think, 'If only we had that in Basel. Fresh bread and raw milk on my doorstep each morning. Oh, the life!'
Our afternoons were filled with adventure to the nearby towns of Vesoul and Ray-sur-Saône. As you can see above I had my camera attached at the hip. I'm pretty sure everyone was cursing my slowness and 'just one more shot' under their breath, but they were troopers! The French countryside was incredibly beautiful and, unfortunately, quite difficult to capture with a camera. I found the wild mistletoe especially fascinating. It seemed to grow in healthy bunches in almost every tree along our journey at first we thought the green clumps (visible in the above lower-middle photo) were nests of some kind, but we were set straight soon thereafter. Funny story and so typical me I pouted on the way home after realizing I'd return to Basel without a token French mistletoe branch only to see it the next day growing in the trees along my usual running route. Typical, I tell you!
Evenings were brilliant as we enjoyed lots of time in the kitchen chatting over new recipes and games of Euchre. We enjoyed delicious wine and flop desserts, good company and a warm fireplace.
This weekend will go down in my book as one of the most memorable Valentine's holidays yet. Not because the man and I exchanged über-romantic gifts or because we indulged in the modern chocolate and flowers traditions, but because we breathed easy and we hung loose; we put our feet up and we unwound...all while spending quality time with eath other and those who are dear to us.