Do you have friends that you know you are incapable of having just a quick visit with and basta cosi? Our friends in Nimes are of that sort. Actually, one of the very first of our meetings was the (in)famous ten hour day to night "lunch" (do not click on the link if you are hungry, be warned). Similarly, they were the instigators of The Wine Tree Incident, one of the most joyful, only in Provence type days I have had in the seven years of being in this incredible region.
So I knew that I was in good hands on Saturday night. I could trust them to take me as I was and not have to cancel the repas de Noêl that we had planned. A raclette had been promised and oh my it was delivered. The Muscat flowed like a river. Focusing on constructing each bite of just melted cheese with the right amount of smoked ham and potatoes distracted me and the conversation bubbled around me. They did not bring up the recent events, for which I was deeply grateful. The raspberry sorbet buche glacée de Noêl that I had brought was served after we had finally each hit our own moment of "Assez!" We had decided to stay over in advance--with Ben in tow--and at some point after the three AM mark, I excused myself and tottered off down the hall as tango music quietly echoed through their cavernous apartment.
After such a long evening, I would have been surprised if anyone else had brightly proposed that we spend Sunday together as well but not our dear friends. I suggested a visit to Uzes, one of my very favorite villages in the South of France, most especially at Christmas time when it takes on a special glow, one largely free of the rampage of tourists that block its cobble-stone streets in summer. The weather was so kind to us that we could sit outside under the arcade of the Place aux Herbes at a...burger joint. Yes, it was not as if we hadn't eaten enough the evening before (as we all kept joking to each other impishly). I was, of course, the only person at the table to actually eat the burger with my hands instead of knife and forks manipulated with delicate precision. Afterwards, we did need to stroll as long as our legs could carry us. And I wanted to share the beauty that surrounded us, so for a first, I am presenting the photos that I took...with my iphone. Sigh. Not the same but hopefully it will do the job. Sending thoughts of peace out over and over again, even if it is just a tiny moment of it like my friends and loved ones offered me with patience and understanding. I wanted you to feel it too.