Dear Everyone,

This morning I went swimming in the outdoor pool at Terre Blanche before breakfast. We’ve had some light rain, so it was cloudy and the sun coming up over the hills was pink behind the clouds.  I had the whole place to myself, the water felt silky and the air chilly, making the heated water feel that much better.

This pool was built for beauty. It was at least twice the length of an American Olympic sized pool but there were no black lines telling you to stay in your lane. Just tiny tiles in shades of blues and greens and an invisible edge where the water flowed over and sounded like a waterfall. After I padded back to my room in my thick terry cloth robe and showered and packed, we met in the restaurant for breakfast. The breakfast was a buffet, with fruits, pain au chocolates, eggs–everything you could possibly want. French toast is called ‘pain perdu’ in French, I learned this morning. That would translate as ‘lost bread’, probably meaning that the bread got stale and you could salvage it by making it into French toast.

We’re in the hills here and it is quiet and lovely. This is definitely not the Provence most tourists see, it’s off the beaten track, away from the glitz and crowds of Nice, St. Tropez and Cannes.  I love it. Southern France feels a lot like California, with many of the same plants. I saw a pomegranate tree, which I remember from growing up in Escondido. It’s rather dry here, so the rain was welcome.

My room key was in an envelope that said ‘Diane Mary Covington’ when I arrived yesterday. Growing up, I was only ‘Diane Mary’ when it was either really good or really bad. Now, only the most important documents have my full name on it–IRS tax forms, my house closing papers, my passport. I guess they had that name because of my passport and also, in France, they’re used to double names–Jean-Claude or Marie-Louise. But it just made me smile to see ‘Diane Mary’ and I could almost hear dad saying:  “Diane Mary, come here’ and I would be trying to figure out if I was in trouble or going to be congratulated on good grades or something.

We’re at a golf resort and then this afternoon headed to Chateau Sainte Roseline to visit a chapel and taste some wine. Then another Chateau de Berne, where we’ll spend the night, located on a vineyard.
A bientôt, Till soon, and photos to follow later,

Diane

'Fall in Provence' 2008

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