It’s such a privileged to have friends all over the world, and the opportunity to pop in and visit them in their homes. It’s like having family everywhere, always ready to open their door for us, and of course we will always do the same. We get to see things we otherwise never would have and get that extra bit of local insight.
Philippe who we stayed with on a walnut orchard just outside of the small village Villesiscle, France, happily welcomed us with just a two day notice. He kept saying, “What a lovely surprise to see you girls!” when we arrived at 10:30pm on Monday night. We stayed with him back in the fall of 2013 when they were harvesting the walnuts and that was really cool to see. I remember him telling us then, that the trees forming a tunnel over the little road leading to the plantation were planted back in the day for the army, so they could repair and build wagon wheels if they needed the wood. The history in Europe is beyond fascinating and I love hearing Philippe’s stories of the surrounding area.
He was busy telling us all about the large piece of land where his father lives, which has been in their family for hundreds of years with records dating as far back as the 1500’s! His family had a long history of being simple peasant folk until one of Philippe’s distant relatives from his Dad’s bloodline, took up the insane quest of joining the Crusades in hopes of requiring land! Being lucky enough to survive such a gruesome time, upon his return he was, as promised, granted the large property which is Philippe’s future inheritance today in 2015! WOW! Now how’s that for a crazy family bedtime story? He showed us old documents for the property which stunned me. I stared and marvelled over those papers and the handwriting for ages. If you know me at all, you can imagine how special this was for me to hold in my hands. I was envisioning the machines they used, the ancient first computers, and the hand that wrote on that piece of flimsy paper hundreds of years ago. Was it done with an ink and quill? Wow. Wow. Wow. Thank you to Philippe for sharing that with me.
Philippe has been a friend of the family in Vancouver since before I was born and was Dad, Ammon and Sky’s karate teacher back in the day. When the parents first knew him, aside from being a master in martial arts, he was a top-of-the-line, groomed business man dressed in suit and tie, living in his penthouse with a view overlooking the ocean. He lived in Paris as a young boy until he was 26, and that is when he moved to Vancouver. I asked him why Canada? What was the draw to go there of all places? And you know what he said? Because he wanted to meet Canadians. Since he was 10 years old he said he would go to Canada and become Canadian. Now that is passion and I so admire his determination to make that dream a reality! Since we left Vancouver on our 4 year globetrotting extravaganza Philippe has lived in China and Martinique and now lives in the gorgeous countryside of southern of France. His current home has a long history of its own that dates hundreds of years back, just like everything else around there.
Philippe has the craziest stories which pretty much cover all the avenues of life. Serving in the military in Chad, trial testing the super old-fashioned, round army parachutes, living the high class city life in Vancouver to becoming the local hardcore biker dude with tattoos in his French village are just a few examples. And I promise you that is not even the start of it! Luckily, he has been working on a novel that incorporates his autobiography which is played out by fictional characters. I have absolutely fallen in LOVE with these two photos of Philippe. The old and the new. The picture of him captures the innocence of his youth and I imagine he is looking into a portal of his future and everything it holds.
Mom and I dropped Philippe off at the Dojo in Mirepoix to teach his weekly karate class, and we spent a few hours having the greatest time exploring the countryside and all its little villages.
After his class, we drove out to visit his new horse Iba. I loved the smell of fresh cut grass and that earth ranch air. Iba, the two year old, black and white gelding lives on a large ranch with rolling hills and lots of other horses.
Mom and I enjoyed the sun, playing fetch with an adorable dog, Fugi, and watching Philippe brush down Iba. We didn’t get the chance to go riding this time, but it was great to spend time with the beautiful animals.
Despite being exhausted we found our last bits of energy and went to visit one of Philippe’s best friends, Charlotte. She lives in this super old, giant villa which simply belongs in the movies. She should honestly rent her house out to the film industry. Actually, I should have asked if she has! As it was Tuesday and 7 o’clock, I had to excuse myself to her fabulous library to join #TRLT for our hour chat. I can admit, I have had some pretty awesome global offices, but this one made me feel the coolest! I felt like I was a character from some old book. And then the ridiculously friendly orange cat came and practically laid on my keyboard, purring and demanding my attention. I’m telling you, right out of a storybook.
I loved how Philippe spoiled us in the morning with the most delicious freshly bought croissants and bread with butter. I must admit I was surprised I wasn’t given a glass of red wine with my breakfast. In Holland you are offered coffee at every stop whether it’s a friend’s house or a shop, but here in France instead of coffee it’s red wine. At every stop. It’s a good thing we only had a two day stay in France otherwise I would be crawling out on my hands and knees from my overly blissful wino buzz in this romantic country.
After a four hour drive this afternoon, we arrived in Lloret de Mar, Spain and are staying the superb Rigat Hotel!
This morning we woke to this stunning view outside our old French plantation villa and tonight we go to sleep with this view.
Feeling very blessed. Tomorrow we will be going on a Catamaran in the Mediterranean Sea, a complimentary cruise including dinner and drinks all thanks to #TBEX! I’ll definitely be updating you on that adventure, but my next post will be ALL about sharing photos of the countryside!! I can’t wait.
PS The dress I’m wearing is a Diane Kroe travel design made special versatile, lightweight and wrinkle free for travellers like me who love comfort, beauty and the luxury of throwing stuff in a suitecase without worries! You can get FREE shipping on any of her products at www.dianekroe.com with the magic coupon code: Savannah! Yay!!!
Categories: Savannah Grace