We shared breakfast with Edith and Alex and said reluctant farewells......(I have had to do so many farewells and none of them get any easier!!) as Edith had to go to school! Regardless of the fact that it was a public holiday, her school had been told to work however the majority of the staff had decided to strike = no students and a handful of dedicated teachers planning next year’s curriculum....Edith is retiring at the end of this month, so her day was going to be totally wasted....apart from being paid that is!!!
Alex.... a question for you....I am curious: “Did you actually buy a suit..Did Mum have to take the hem up ...and, did your interview go well........?!!
Bernard drove me to Vienne where we met Maryvonne and Jean-Lucien. Bernard and Maryvonne had taught at the same school for many years, consequently the reason for both of them having exchanged students with BMG and having met me!! As Bernard is in the last weeks of the school year (and his teaching life!!....congratulations to both of you for your impending retirement!), he had a pile of corrections to do so returned to Lyon to reduce the pile.....
Thank you so very much, Edith and Bernard, for sharing your time, knowledge, wonderful generosity and hospitality with me. I know you are busy people especially at the moment, so I understand the sacrifice you have made to make my short stay with you so memorable! Alex, it was great to have another English speaking person around to help Mum and me with our communication.....it was easy and enjoyable being with you. Thank you all.....and..... Trinity Beach is waiting for your visit.....Save for 2 years because that’s when I will be back from Africa and can be the perfect host for you!!!!
With the sun shining again, I learned about Vienne, visiting the following destinations of history and interest:
• St Maurice Cathedral: constructed during 11th – 16th Centuries, its remarkable combining of Roman (rounded arches) and Gothic (pointed and intricately detailed) Architecturewith its imposing facade and rich sculpture.
• Mt Pipet which rises up between 2 steep gullies and Mt Solomon on the opposite gulley. From this vantage point we had an overview of the whole town and looked directly down onto The Roman Theatre nestled on the west side of Mt Pipet. The statue and chapel are a place of Christian worship of the Virgin Mary.
• Lunch= Les Allobroges in the middle of the restaurant precinct. Mediterranean Salade, Fish & Ratatouille and Crème Glacé...huge serves of all courses necessitated more walking so, having Frederique join us, we continued on our discovery tour....
• The Breniers have a street named in honour of their cousin, Joseph, so it was the first photo stop.....
• Temple Augusts et De Levie: A temple dedicated to the Roman cult and Augustus...it began between 20 – 10 BC....and was a church in the Middle ages.
• Cybele’s Archeological Garden = remains of Gallo-Roman town.
• Théatre Antique = Roman Theatre: built between 40 – 50 AD. It is one of the largest and has been restored to its original 130 metre diameter...seating more than 13,000 spectators. Today it is the venue for the renowned Jazz festival about to begin 25 June – 9 July 2010, featuring many international guests.
• Reluctant Farewells yet again!!!! Frederique is moving house next Friday then heading for a short time to Brazil for work, so needed to finish packing and getting organised...good luck with everything Frederique, and thank you for your kindness and friendship...you have made my stay very comfortable and easy. I have enjoyed getting to know you and hope that I will have the opportunity to show you our wonderful country one day!
• Our journey back to St Priest took us through Pilat National Park. The steep ascent and descent took us through some spectacular wine country...in particular E. Guigal..one of Breniers favourites.... and multi coloured green forests where, unexpectedly a baby deer crossed our road!....Many small, alpine towns: Condrieu, Chavanay, Pélussin, over the dandelion covered summit near where Jean Lucien and I had hiked to the Granite Cross, le Bessat where an old lady nonchalantly drove her 2 cows slowly down the main street......eventually down into St Etienne and back home.
Maryvonne had been busily baking during the previous days in anticipation of our dinner with their friends, Michel and Moneque: aperitifs...French Champagne!!...salade/scallops, meat/ peas, cheese - white or mixed...everyone else chose white but I love their cheeses so selected the mixture...(Gem....white cheese and cream is a very popular delicacy in France...I did smile when I learned this!!), strawberries, apple tart....Pommes Gateau(?) which only Maryvonne can produce to taste so special! And finally Maryvonne’s special herb tea to help us unwind and sleep well!
The night was filled with laughter and many, many questions directed at the Aussie...Michel was genuinely interested in so many things but my inability to answer a lot of the questions made me realise how ignorant I am to our own facts and figures(....GT where was your reliable, detailed memory when I needed it??)....I know I will have to brush up on these details before going to Africa!