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.