Christmas is a wonderful time to be in Iceland, especially for the food and lights, and New Years Eve in Reykjavik is like nowhere else on earth, but this was also a nice time to travel since so many others are also on holiday now.
I met an American in Tuscany 6 years ago and we stayed in touch over the years. She came to Iceland in 2016 and met me in Mauritius for my birthday 2017, and we decided on meeting in Paris to celebrate 2018. It was going to be a cheap and cosy holiday, since we had my friends flat in Republique to house-sit, but when he dropped off the face of the earth without leaving any keys, we were pretty much homeless in Paris.
Luckily for us, Stef had a friend who was housesitting and we crashed with her for 2 nights. Those nights were well spent, eating cheese and drinking red wine. We ended up out for a night near the Moulin Rouge, and dragged a Christmas tree home with us on the 4am saunter back past all the open sex shops.
We had 10 more days in France without any attachment to Paris, so we decided to travel. We went to Normandy to see the infamous Mont Saint Michel, which looks unreal even to the naked eye. We carried onto Bretagne, where we visited the riche towns of St. Malo and Dinard and stayed in the capital Rennes.
Facebook told me I had a friend in Bretagne I had forgotten about – I couchsurfed with a metropole named Al in French Guyana 6 years ago and he lived in Corlay. It’s a village most have never heard of but they are famous for inventing their own breed of horse (who are great steeple chasers) and Al’s brother had a cottage there. We celebrated New Years Eve at midnight there, and barely missed it since we were the only 3 people in the village and couldn’t see or hear a sound of life from anywhere else. It was the quietest NYE party I’ve had yet, but the most champagne bottles drunk per head.
Our trip carried on thru some more charming places in Bretagne, like the Abbaye de Bon Repos and the lighthouse and pink rocks of Ploumenach. We found a cheap blablacar to Tours and thought “we’ve never been there” and went. It has a nice church and a yellow cobblestoned city center, but the most beautiful chateaus and wine villages around the region are more worth the visit.
My wandering in France ended in Lyon at a horse friends house. She works in a hospital and offered to photograph me with her x-ray machine. I picked my left shoulder as a subject, since it clicks sometimes and thought maybe we’d see why. She had a day off and took us to the mountains, Annecy at the edge of the Rhone-Alpes and up to the snow in Semnoz to have a snowball fight. We ate raclette, and bread and wine and more cheese, for most meals of the day, until my flight home the 5th. But it was Alicia’s birthday the 5th, so it was appropriate to have cheese and bread and champagne for breakfast and my last meal in France.
Now its time to cheese and wine detox, at least a couple of kilos, and stop eating so much white bread. How do French people stay so slim?