Friday, September 18, 2009

Sept 2, 2009 Trip to Biarritz

We arrived at Mado and Beber's house on Thursday. Our trip was a bit eventful. We took the TGV, high speed train from Lille to Paris to Biarritz. In Paris we had to change train stations. We went from Lille Europe to Paris Montparnasse first. To get there we had to take the metro for 40 mins to go from one gare to the next. Luckily we had 1 1/2 hrs to do it. The gare in Paris is huge and noone is very friendly. Also, you have to go up and down these huge stairways to get from one point to another. The signs are not very clear and being nervous to make the connection does not help either. This, in addition to lugging heavy luggage makes for a bit of a difficult situation. We finally got on the metro when I quickly realized that we were heading in the wrong direction. DH said me that we were alright, but after 2 more stops and my insisting that we were not going the right way, he did agree. Then we had to lug our stuff off the metro, go up the stairs again and then down the stairs to get to the opposite direction, buy metro tickets and find the right metro. Finally after finding the right metro and the next train, watching armed military men and women walk up and down the station with their pointed machine guns and their dogs at their sides, we were finally able to board. The rest of the ride was great.
We were greeted at Biarritz by Mado, Beber, Laurent, Nicole, Laurence, and Lisa. After lots of hugs and kisses we went to the Mourguiart's lovely home. Later on Patricia, Patrick, Marilyn, and Audry all came over too. Mado and Beber have a lovely, immaulate, very pretty home which they have lovingly decorated themselves. Beber has done most of the woodwork, trim, papering, cupboards, etc himself. The inside and outside of the house both are absolutely spotless. Everyone was soooooooo nice. We had such a great visit. We talked and talked every day and far into the night. There was many a night that DH and his brother and sister , brother-in-law and others stayed up until 1:00 or 2:00 in the morning. There were so many memories to talk about, so many questions to answer about the church and our work with the JA's, so many things to reminise about. We also spent lots of time eating. Lunch was usually about 2 hrs long and dinner was often 2 1/2 to 3 hrs long. Dinner was always very late too. Sometimes we didn't start eating until 9:00 or even 10:00 We always started out with drinks and aparatif's. Many of them had alcoholic drinks, but we and others had soda, schweps, water, or water with mint or a syrup in it. The little snacks were usually green olives, crackers of all kinds, peanuts, pretzels, baby size croissants, and little things like that.
This is a picture of a special ham that they bought in Spain. It is very, very thin and is either cured or smoked (not sure). This was actually served quite a few times after the soup course. On top are little butter curls. You eat it with french bread (of course).
Patrick and Marilyn, Dh's nephew and his wife. Patrick works with computers and is in charge of quite a few people. Marilyn used to be a lab technitian, but after having children she stays at home. She now babysits and is associated with a group of women who babysit also. This co-op has quite a few activities together each week, so the care givers and the children all have a really good time together. Both of them speak English. Patrick is fluent and Marilyn does really well too. Their daughter Audry just returned from Ireland, doing an internship, and she also speaks perfect English.

Mado, Dh's sister, cooking in her little kitchen. She makes the most delicious food. We ate lots of yummy food. We had soups, ham, seafood, fish, potatoes cooked with zucchini that was so fine that you couldn't see it, but you could taste it. We had thick bacon that was served as a main course meat. We had rice that was cooked with large red pimentoes sauted with onion. We ate sausages and pates of all kinds and cheese of every sort you could imagine. The French say that they have a cheese for every day of the year and I do believe that. Dessert was usually fruit, but we also ate gateau basque and almond cookies. We had salads; green, with asparagus, with beets, etc. We had plates of tomatoes and green peppers.

Laurence, Nicole, and Patricia. Laurence is a secretary. Nicole is retired and Patricia is a supervisor and trainer at the electric company.

Patrick, Dh's nephew, is in the red shirt. All of the stained glass has been made by Beber.

Lisa is 6 years old. She is a delightful, friendly, affectionate little girl. She is also a little coquette, as they like to call her. She was so cute with me. When I told her that I only spoke a little french, she said that was okay. Whenever I made a mistake, she would very softly correct me. I had a lot of fun with her. We were able to understand each other. At one point she pointed to my eyes and said, "Do you have make-up?" When I told her yes, she sighed and said, " Tu est belle. Oh, you are beautiful." All it takes is a little make-up and one is beautiful in the eyes of a little girl. Lisa's brother, Matthew, died 3 years ago and it is still extremely difficult for everyone. We were able to talk to Laurent and Laurence (his parents) and tell them about forever families and about having eternal life. We spoke to them about families being able to be sealed for time and all eternity. They were very interested and although there were some tears shed, we had some very special, comforting, intimate conversations with them. We were able to teach them about Christ and His atoning sacrifice for us.
Nicole, Dh's sister-in-law.

Laurence and Lisa.

Mado, Laurent, Dh's brother, Nicole, Laurence, Dh, Beber, and Lisa in front.

The bedroom where we stayed with the bathroom to the left.

Patrick's old room. Now it is also a 2nd guest room.
The front door and hallway.

The living room.

Mado and Beber's bedroom.

Dining room

Side yard.

Front of the house. I can't believe I forgot to take a picture of the whole house. It is very cute. At the back is an enclosed area with a table, chairs, bar-b-cue, flowers and plants.

Almost all of the homes in the Basque country have names.
Most of the homes are white with red tile roofs. The trim on each house is the individual's choice.
We also did a lot of walking each day.


The Wendler Family said...

I loved reading this post! What a magical experience! I am so glad you were able to eat great food, spend time, AND share the gospel with those you love. :)

Yvonne said...

What a wonderful experience. I loved reading about this. The pictures were all great.

(And yes, there is a cheese for every day of the year ; )