Welcome Home Soup

It was a difficult journey home,  and Florida greeted us with old friends – mosquitoes, fire ants,  a thunderstorm, and a hurricane.  We had had trouble with a misunderstanding at the airport.  I thought Ethan had checked the Teenager’s bag beforehand, and we didn’t have enough money to check it when we got there and…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 22: OLD FRIENDS

The last installment of this crazy adventure was spent in Crest, a tiny medieval town with a lot of bohemian inhabitants in the Drome, very close to the homestead we stayed at in Ardèche. There is nothing in particular about the town that I stopped in for, except that a very old and dear friend…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 20: REFUGIO ELISABETTA, WHERE CAMPING IS FORBIDDEN

My guide book, which at this point had become a joke, says that after “what will have been two fairly taxing days,” this part of the hike was supposed to be relaxing. When we first started the path looked very flat and straight, and a beautiful snowy peak was directly in front of us. We…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 19: THE WWI BUNKER

As soon as the tourist office was open the next day, I was in front of the desk asking about buses, anywhere, we didn’t really care as long as it was away from this place, which a quote from 1864 in my guide book called “a wretched little hamlet”. The only bus, which was really…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 18: THE HARD TWO DAYS

After we left Le Pontet, it was a long, long way all uphill. The Teenager was briefly impressed when we passed a big pile of stones to mark where someone had keeled over and died. It was grueling, and the path was packed. It seemed like everyone and their sporty girlfriend were hiking there that…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 17: LES CONTAMINES

I woke up at 5:50 and started quickly packing as per orders of the grouchy woman at the Refuge du Fioux. We were all exhausted, so I offered to trade packs with the Teenager, who being young and strong, plus spending the whole vacation complaining that he’s losing his chest and abs, was carrying the…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 16: THE START OF THE TOUR

So I MIGHT have been temporarily insane when I planned this part of the trip, and it had been causing me anxiety attacks the whole time when I woke up late at night. For this part we met my dad and Rose at a hostel in Chamonix to hike the Tour du Mont Blanc over…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 15: THE MOUNTAIN HOMESTEAD

We stayed this past week in the gentle, curving mountains of Eastern Ardèche. Shapes of hips and shoulders, knees and elbows form the landscape.Everywhere golden light spills through the tall, dark fir trees.The forest is littered with smooth, narrow pine cones, and the rocks glitter with hidden twinkles in the sunlight.The Romans left their mark…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 14: THE HERB FARM

This isn’t the Teenager’s favorite week of the adventure, but it might be mine….we are staying at a farm that grows herbs and processes them into balms, essential oil, infused oils, and soaps.We’re staying in a tiny little town in Doubs, described by a guy we met in the bus as a “little Venice”.There are…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 13: THE EXCAVATION

After staying at the sheep loft for four days, we had an opportunity to help on an archaeological dig in Sainte-Marie-Aux-Mines, the small town where my great grandmother was born. The building we stayed in was (I think) an old mill, and a stream of water ran past outside. It had the interesting layout of…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 12: SHEEP RODEO

We helped in a minor way with shearing the sheep while we stayed in Alsace. It’s a difficult job to restrain a wiggling sheep and shear thick wool away from its skin without hurting it, so our job was just to catch them, turn them into a sitting position (much harder than it sounds), and…

TRAVEL JOURNAL 11: Alsace

We are staying very close to the German border, among the low, rolling mountains of the Vosges. The air is much thicker here than in the alps. Tall pine trees cover the land except where it is cleared for pasture or hay, and the little houses far away look made of gingerbread. It is a…