Thursday, September 22, 2022

French Friends

Exploring the town

When we arrived here one of the first things we did was to purchase a phone card for our phone so we had one phone ‘just in case’. The SIM also provided data so it allowed us to use Google Maps and Google Translate while away from the apartment’s excellent internet. This SIM worked perfectly and the phone was instantly up and running. Unfortunately the extra data we bought did not automatically get added; you had to register, identify yourself, provide passport information, etc. Then however you had to call and connect the extra data to the SIM. Of course the phone was automated and all in French, and we could not figure it out. Fortunately the apartment owner, Patricia, had English speaking friends who were happy to drop in and sort out the problem. 

An old salt lagoon

Enter Bernard and Fiona, a couple from Victoria Canada, who now live here outside of Narbonne where they are renovating an old French house and were only too happy to come help some fellow Canadians in need. In 30 seconds Bernard had the phone up and running fine. You just had to press “1” at the appropriate prompt and all was good. That day we spent a pleasant afternoon chatting with them about France and Canada, and they offered to come back and take us out for a drive to show us some of the French countryside.

French Countryside

We received an e-mail from them and with a few back and forths via e-mail and phone calls, they arranged to come pick us up and show us around. Bernard is originally from Canada, and Fiona is from the UK, but they lived for many years in Victoria. However in his happy-go-lucky younger days, Bernard spent time in this region of France and always wanted to return. The urban sprawl was threatening to spread to their house outside Victoria and with retirement, they decided to “go for it”, and came to France looking for a house to buy. After renting various houses including some from our landlady they found a place they liked and have begun making it their French dream house. 

Sort of a 'Castle'

We spent an enjoyable afternoon driving around the countryside outside Narbonne. Not having a car, we would have never had a chance to see some of the beautiful scenery in the area. We visited a lovely little town on the coast with old salt lagoons which provided a great walk, both through the quaint town and around one of the lagoons. We then went from the seaside into the hills and stopped at a ruined castle where we did not see the “DANGER - NO ENTRY” sign before we explored the ruins of a “Castle” overlooking the town and acre after acre of grape vines. 

Back at the apartment, Regis displayed her growing skills in French cooking as she made Ratatouille for dinner and we consumed some of the delicious French wine the region is known for. A lovely afternoon with our new Canadian/French friends.

Selfie with French Friends

Oops, did not see the sign . . . . . . .

1 comment:

  1. So nice to have the local perspective. They know all the good spots to go.