Candes Saint-Martin, my favourite spot in La Touraine.

Friday, 10 April 2015

Not France

A few weeks ago I mentioned that I had some important expenses coming up. Some of you were kind enough to suggest that you hoped they would be travel expenses. And yes, you were right!

Since 1984 my yearly vacation took me to France. Our means of locomotion being the car, it gave us a lot of freedom, but had an impact on the distance. When you take only a week's vacation, you don't want to spend too much time travelling to and fro. So the limit quickly became the Loire Valley. Which was perfect! Leaving Brussels at 5 a.m. on a Sunday morning, we were sipping our aperitif at the 'Café du Château' at the foot of Amboise castle at 11 a.m.

It became an annual ritual from 1999 till 2009. I made the same trip in 2010 and 2013 with my friends B. and J.L. And in 2012 with my Swedish friends M. and V. In 2011 I took a short break to visit Deal in the U.K. where I used to spend my vacations in the seventies to practice my English.

Last year - 2014 - I wanted to travel to Amboise by train to spend a few days in my beloved Loire Valley. But then my mother started having serious mobility problems, and I had to cancel my trip. Luckily the SNCF (France's train company) almost totally refunded the tickets that I had already paid for. 

I wasn't sure about what I would do this year, considering my mother's health. But then, in November last year we received the excellent news that she could move into a service flat. As you will remember, we signed the lease on Dec. 5th, 2014, started packing up over Christmas, had the flat painted in January. On January 30th my mother moved into her new home, which she thoroughly enjoys. She has made new friends, attends the on-site gymnastics class on Thursday morning ... and feels as snug as a bug in a rug.

Between January 30th and February 21st, our loyal and brilliant cleaning lady and I emptied most of our family home and on the latter date, the real estate agent put up the 'for sale' sign. Five weeks later, we accepted an offer of a potential buyer and are now in the process of getting all the papers ready for the actual sale.

Any idea what my destination is?
Note to B. in the US, please don't tell - because you already know!

After the 'for sale' went up I realized that I was dead tired and that I needed a break. A stress-less short stay in friendly surroundings, without too much transport issues. How I came to pick this island out of all the nice holiday destinations in Europe, is another (long) story, which will be the topic of my next post.

Btw, tomorrow is my birthday. We will be celebrating it on Sunday, cracking open a small bottle of Champagne, followed by a nice home-cooked lunch.


Craig said...

Looks like Corfu Martine?
A very happy birthday to you!

Jean said...

Happy birthday Martine!
Everyone I know who has been to where I think you're going had a wonderful time!

Rhodesia said...

Certainly looks like Greece to me, we are heading the other way and going to Amsterdam this year.

Have a wonderful birthday. Diane & Nigel xx

Anne in Oxfordshire said...

Happy Birthday Martine ,, wow you have been busy and yes I think you really do deserve a break !!

I think it is Corfu .. Have lots of fun .

Ken Broadhurst said...

Happy Birthday Martine. And happy travels. I'm so glad to hear that your mother has taken a liking to her new abode. My mother has been happy in her retirement apartment for 10 years now, with no regrets about selling her house, even after living in it for more than 50 years.

chm said...

Happy birthday, Martine.

Do you have any notion of modern Greek? With French and English you won't be lost. I didn't know Corfou was such a strange shape!

chm said...

Пасмурно! Such an intriguing way to say cloudy. When I noticed it, at first I thought you were brushing up your Greek. But some letters didn't fit the Greek alphabet. Then the only other alphabet with some of these characters was Cyrillic. And, bingo!, that was it. Hope the weather in Corfu will not be Пасмурно!. With latin characters it will be "Pasmurno".

Travel said...

Happy Birthday! Looks like Greece? Fun country. I am planning two weeks in southern Germany for this summer.

Carolyn said...

Happy birthday, dear Martine.

The Beaver said...

Joyeux anniversaire Martine

Anonymous said...

Happy birthday Martine. Cannot believe it is a year ago that we spent your previous birthday together in Leuven. Hope you have a great trip when you manage to get away.

Louise said...

Martine, I have been away from my regular blogs for a little while...I do hope you had a very happy birthday and will have a wonderful, and needed, holiday. Kind regards, Louise

Anonymous said...

I hope you had a great birthday and your holiday destination is fab, if like everyone else suggests it is Greece or Corfu. It certainly will make a change.

I am so happy your mum has settled in well at her new appartment as I am sure this gives you peace of mind and more freedom. Have a wonderful holiday xx

VirginiaC said...

Belated Birthday Greetings my dear Martine...hope you had a wonderful day.
So happy to hear that your Mum loves her new flat and has settled in better than anticipated...your mind will now be free to travel without worrying...enjoy your upcoming and well deserved trip.

ladybird said...

Thank you all for your kind birthday and 'travel' wishes. I feel honoured and touched.

As for my 'mystery' destination: it wasn't much of a mystery, was it? Like chm the shape of the island surprised me. I had heard a lot about it but never realized or even wondered about its exact location (I knew it was part of Greece, of course) or shape. Looks a bit like Italy, doesn't it? Moreover, it's closer to Italy than I thought. I thought it was further East. The flight from Brussels takes only 2.5 h which is just perfect. More to come in my next posts ... Have a nice weekend!