Remembering that I don't speak or understand much French and, although Jean Lucien can understand some English and is improving everyday speaking English, there is a lot of room for misunderstandings to occur!! With Maryvonne busy with commitments most of the day, Jean Lucien and I were left to undertake the tasks of booking a hotel and a train ticket and going hiking! Sounds easy....well it turned into a mammoth task....not only were we slightly challenged with our own communication we were also challenged with our IT communications as well. Booking Hotels on the internet is usually fairly easy for me however after nearly 3 hours of trying on the slower than I am used to internet connection....I resorted to my almost last resort and begged Gary to stop anything he was doing (today was one of their most hectic days as the boat he is working on was going back in the water...) and help us!!! What an amazingly efficient Travel Agent he was....Thanks mate I really appreciated what you did as I was nearly in tears with frustration...The result of this was that I now have a hotel room for 2 nights in PARIS....Yes, the time has come...I am going to Paris this Wednesday 19 May and returning to Lyon Friday 21st. At the train station the lady didn't speak any English which added to our confusing three way discussion which nearly had me paying many, many € for a ticket even though I already have a Eurail pass....You just gotta laugh!
A hearty lunch with Maryvonne saved any indigestion worries from miscommunication...Jean Lucien and I then wound our way out of St Etienne, up into the hills where we braced ourselves from the bitter wind and fell into an easy stride together as we hiked across the plains not unlike those around the summit of Mt Bogong in Victoria.
I was almost in heaven...literally and emotionally....Those of you who know me well, understand my great passion for hiking and the High Country....and Jean Lucien is not so different from me in this passion! It was wonderful to be able to exercise vigorously after the extensive amounts of hearty foods I have been delighting in. Our walking sticks were needed as we carefully trecked our way along the final track to the Granite Cross at the summit of the ridge.
The view was extensive and we spent time identifying landmarks and areas of interest. I think I have an accurate understanding of the geography but I can't be sure I understood everything as it was explained!
We were talking about the trees at one stage during our hike, and I think my train of thought went in a different direction from Jean Lucien's. I was trying to say that the trees were tough to live in this harsh climate and ...as hard as we tried....we just couldn't work it out....we laughed and laughed and decided that was one for Maryvonne to help explain!!!
Returning to the car we visited a lovely chalet for afternoon tea but it had closed.
The usual snap shots were taken when Jean Lucien is very talented and artisitc so being rather creative.... so I thought... he asked me to stand on the chair ...so I did...as he wanted to capture a particular shot....so I thought.... Then he asked me to stand on the table...so I did.... and he took the pics. It wasn't until were were feasting ourselves on a generous slice of Tarte and Glace in a warm little restaurant, that Jean Lucien admitted he had thought he was asking me to sit in the chair and sit at the table and instead he had asked me to stand in the chair and stand on the table!!!.....Well..we lauged..and laughed....and laughed....and I know that whenever I see those 2 photos in future I will LAUGH each time!!
We drove the tourist track stopping at castle ruins and the old coal mine in St Etienne then home to another typically French gourmet home cooked meal.... Bon Appetite: Asparagus and bernaise sauce, fish souffle, a glass of local Rose, more incredibly tasty local cheeses and baguette, fruit, and finally herbed tea whilst we planned my trip to Paris!