Kevin and I left Minneapolis on a Thursday evening and arrived at the Nice airport via Amsterdam the next day about noon. After collecting our luggage, we found our way to the SIXT car rental. With a “Bonjour” from us and a “Hello and welcome to France” in response, the delightful sales assistant upgraded us to a BMW sedan. This was our second experience with this car rental. I would highly recommend them if you are ever traveling to Europe as we have had exceptional customer service both times.
After more than a few minutes attempting to figure out the GPS, Kevin returned to the office to ask for personal assistance to figure out how to get the blasted thing to work. We thought we had it figured out, but then proceeded to drive immediately into the airport parking garage. Around we went in the garage only to follow the SORTIE signs to get out. Finally, off we went following the A8 signs for the auto-route. Needless to say the GPS was not much help and we ended up finding our directions the old fashioned way, via a map — you know, those paper things that fold out into the size of a dining room table?
With a few U-turns at various roundabouts, we finally made our way to Bramafam (which means braying donkey) and up the drive to La Pitchoune. We were met by the Shetland ponies, Mr. Donkey of course, the ducks and geese. Having been to La Pitchoune before, it was like coming back to the summer cottage much like Julia and Paul might have done during the many years they visited Bramafam.
The wisteria growing over the terrace was in full bloom and the pink rose vines overtaking the columns near our bedroom door were just starting to bud out. Even with the large amount of snow (by Provence standards) that fell last winter, the rosemary and thyme shrubs didn’t seem fazed, as they were full of tiny blue blossoms.
We settled in to our room, which by this time was nearly 4:00 pm. I so much wanted to crawl into bed as I was exhausted, but I resisted as the best way to get on local time is to follow a regular sleep pattern. Instead, Kevin and I explored the property, checking out the olive and almond trees, lavender bushes, with Kathie pointing out to us the bay laurel tree. I purchase bay leaves in those plastic claim shells for $2.99 a piece. Kathie has a tree that is about 10 feet tall.
We enjoyed aperitifs later in the evening, followed by pizza that Kathie had ordered. Then, it was off to bed after a very long couple of days.