Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Time for Me to Fly

Pages From Jan's Travel Journal: April 13, 2015

My long-awaited travel day had finally arrived! After a short flight and a long layover on Sunday from Wichita to Chicago, I boarded the Boeing 767 for Paris. Imagine my delight when I discovered that I had no seat-mates! It was a first for me to be able to spread out and relax on an overnight flight. I was even able to sleep for a couple of hours, curled on the seats in warm socks and cuddling my own comfy travel pillow. As the plane approached Paris, the clouds thinned and I had a lovely glimpse the beautiful countryside below.

Approaching Paris. 

The terminal was surprisingly uncrowded that morning. I was able to retrieve my luggage quickly and easily. Upon entering the arrivals area, I spotted Darcy and Mathieu, who were grinning from ear to ear, as I was. It was so good to see them again! After hugs, kisses, and a few happy tears, we were soon on our way to Orléans in their new car. Traffic was heavy through Paris, but we made good time. The weather was gorgeous, sunny and cool, as we sped south.

I loved the new apartment! It's on an upper floor, which allows for cool breezes and better security. It is truly a comfortable home and even though Darcy and Mathieu had been living there only a short time, it was already nicely furnished and filled with good vibes. I loved the layout, with the two bedrooms being separated by a large entryway, kitchen, bath, and the living area. There were colorful pots of herbs on the wide windowsills, and even some cherry tomato plants! 

Colorful pots of herbs on the windowsill.

The guest room, which is also Darcy's office, was quite roomy and had a view of a small tree-lined square and several half-timbered buildings. A bar/cafe, a bakery, and other shops are just steps away. The river is very close, though it can't actually be seen from the windows. We stowed my luggage in the room and went out in search of a bite to eat. As we approached the cafe, we noticed a couple of friends, Fanny and Ficus, having lunch there! We pulled over another table and enjoyed our lunch as we visited with them. 

The charming views from my window.

The food at the cafe was very good. Darcy ordered the plat du jour, which was fragrant, herb-roasted chicken and potatoes accompanied by a zucchini gratin and ratatouille. Mathieu and I both opted for the croque monsieur, which was served with fries and a salad. Darcy had to leave for work soon after our meal, but Mathieu and I walked across the Loire to a market for fresh vegetables and continued on to the artisan bakery for some rustic chestnut-apple-walnut bread. It was wonderful to be strolling along those familiar cobblestone streets once again. I felt very much at home. We finished our shopping with a visit to the French Coffee shop, where we relaxed over tasty coffee creations before meandering back toward home. 

Rue de Borgogne, one of my favorite streets in Orléans.

After Darcy returned, we worked happily in the kitchen, where we roasted veggies and toasted the fresh bread. The bread was then spread with herbed goat cheese, layered with vegetables, and topped with thinly sliced ham. It was a simple and delicious meal that we all relished. I had brought Azur some kitty treats from America and began a nightly ritual with him of "foreign" food and pats from his cat-loving guest. Later, Darcy had papers to grade and I was worn out from traveling, so I went to bed early. I don't think I ever stopped smiling, even in my sleep.

My blue-eyed buddy, Azur, saying good night.