20211224 Orléans

Up before six today.  Not my fault.  Everyone has been retiring early.

Finished writing about yesterday but haven’t published yet since I need some names spelled.  I’m sure everyone is on the edge of their seats awaiting the next chapter.

Started off to take a walk after nine but Flo caught me in the hall and told me to check with Lola and Carlos who were in her apartment.  Carlos taught me how to exchange contact information for WhatsApp which is easy and good to know (sharing a QR code).  I left with Nina and Lola who were searching for some last minute gifts.

We pass some stalls being arranged on one street (street closed) and one is filled, filled!, with sausages.  Another is similarly arranged with cheese.  Mental note to return.

They have no luck finding one particular item and they enter a shop that sells make-up and perfumes and the like.  This is too much for me.  The smell starts to give me a headache and my eyes water.  I bid them adieu and run off in search of a bit of bread for those aforementioned comestibles.

The first couple of boulangerie I see are packed with a line, so I make may way further from the festivities in town toward a district with more Muslims.  The boulangerie I find there has one person in front of me.  I buy a baguette and two pastries.

Takes me a bit to find those stalls again since as I followed Nina and Lola we twisted this way and that and all I had was a couple of photographs to remind me.  Found them though.  Bought ten sausages for 10e.  It’s like they were giving them away.  Maybe I should buy more.  I bought three cheeses (tomme de savoie, morbier, and fourme d’ambert).

I will give most of the cheese to F&R since I think I have eaten all they have now.  Terrible house guest.  Vive la France!

Seriously though, everyone here is incredibly nice.  Could it be the season?  This doesn’t strike me as the sort of thing one unpacks once a year.  I think this is just normal here.  The other day I saw to people nearly collide (one on a bike and the other walking).  They each stepped over themselves taking blame and apologizing.

Anyway, came back to the apartment for a nibble and to leave the food.  I will go down and deliver the cheeses for Flo now.  See what’s next on the agenda.

Of course I interrupted lunch for them.  But I managed to hand off the cheese without causing to much ruckus and extract myself more or less gracefully.

Again I walk along the river South.  You really have to wonder what Washington will be like in a thousand years.  More pictures of course.  I walk out for at least forty minutes and then turn again toward the center of the village.  I want to eat some ice cream and I noted a place in Maps called Moustache.

I have a hazelnut caramel ice cream and a pistachio ice cream.  I sit and eat it there before returning here to write this bit.  Still a couple of hours before dinner so I will rest.  Also published the post for yesterday and sent the Italians the pictures I promised.

Ok.  So dinner.  Well, that was amazing.  Let me just dump here.

There were some little nibbles with Champaign before dinner.  There was a fire.  Not a bad fire but in a fireplace.  It was a nice fire.  Once we got it going.  That was a thing.  And the nibbles.  Probably a dozen different things.  Including the smallest cheeseburger ever built.  Maybe you’ll see a picture.

After that there were presents.  Even they got me a present but I realize now it is down on the couch.  Some chocolates.  I’ll get those tomorrow.  Lots of presents and talking and laughing.  A little I felt like an outsider but the last present was for me and that made me feel at home more.

But then there was dinner.  And again I’d like to outline all the dishes but there were many and I don’t have all the time and mind to list all that out.  Just think of many courses with several different options.  Each delicious and none dominating.  I did spend probably fifteen minutes thinly slicing those lox mentioned earlier.  Man, salmon is the bomb.

Oh, you know, then there was cheese.  I think eight or so cheeses?  I really lost track.  Maybe it was the wine or maybe it was because the details stopped mattering.  Why did the details stop mattering?  Because it was more about these people and all the love in the room than about any dish or whatnot.  Yes, all the dishes were wonderful but maybe any dishes would have been wonderful.  Or maybe these dishes contributed perfectly to the wonder.  Anyway, you know I love cheese.

But then there was dessert.  And a selection of course.  I won’t, again, bother to list out all the options.  No one went unsatisfied.  This is the sort of meal you get.  Did I mention who was there?  It was R&F and C&L and Nina and Hugo and Manon.  These really are some of my favorite people.  Who could ask for more?

After that we played a game called Esquissé.  You start with a word and alternate between pictures and words until you come full circle to see if your word has survived intact.  Hopefully your word has generated enough laughter to power a space station.  I think that’s in the rules.

Anyway, we all won.  Except Flo who slept on the couch under the watchful eye of Redbull.  After which we all went off to bed.  That’s where I’m heading now.  See you!


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