11 August 2017 : Sarphatipark


No, I did not sneeze, silly. Sarphatipark is the name of the park I ran in (and around and around) this morning for 30 minutes. You can, and should, learn more on Wikipedia. Below is what the park looks like from the perspective of a satellite (I assume you can locate the expanse of green space). Oh, the shaded blue area to the right is where our apartment is located.

So, yes, it was easy to get there this morning. It was a fun place to run, too, in that the trail weaves in and around a pond and a beautiful fountain. There are multiple benches and, as you can see in the image above, lots of green space. There is a workout area that has permanent installations of equipment for doing exercises like pull-ups and push-ups, among others. I was in the company of a lot of other health-minded people, the kind of thing that keeps a person incentivized.

Speaking of images, if Google Translator is to be believed, the expression in the photo to the left says, “Our Sarphatipark is a public park.” My experience bears this out.

I liked the park so much I went back and ate a picnic lunch there while Melinda and Christine went shopping.

8 August 2017 : The Spoils of Line 2

So you know how I said in today’s earlier post how I had no luck getting a souvenir from the construction work taking place along Line 2? Well, Bernard, being the good city host and ambassador that he is, took one look at that post and said, “Let’s go.” The following photos document what happened next.

Arriving at the construction site and having stepped into the work zone.
Looking through the lower dumpster for a treasure.
Bernard is crawling up the taller dumpster for a look inside.
He’s over and in, hoping to find me a small piece of discarded Line 2 rail.
I say something like, “Well, one way for me to stay in Nantes longer is to get arrested.”
Bernard is sorting through the discarded rails. Way too big to bring home.
What I did take, the spoils of Line 2 in Nantes!

8 August 2017 : A Series of Selfies

I took another long walk in Nantes today, providing me the opportunity to document my day through a series of self-portraits. Put aside the obvious narcissism this entails and join me…

Andy and Nantes, a story…
I met my date for the day at the University of Nantes (Melinda was busy).
Walked past Ella’s old school…
Waited for Line 2 to come… It never came, but the rain did.
Discovered the reason for Line 2 being closed. Showed appropriate concern while wondering if I could snag a souvenir stone. No luck.
Discovered fun graffiti to cheer me up!
More happy graffiti!
Shopped n the center of town. Chloe is pleased I did.
Remembered a fun bar at the top of this building.
Walked past our sabbatical home.
Turned the corner toward the Bertail home where I’m about to make dinner.
Kisses from Nantes!

7 August 2017 : More From Normandy

We’ve had a relaxing day here in Nantes, the Boudeaus having given us access to their pool while they’re away. I’m providing you some additional photos from our weekend in Normandy.

The four people on the left are a family from Paris with whom we had breakfast each morning at the AirBnB at which we stayed. They were beyond friendly, even giving us a jar of their homemade jam to take home. The woman on the right runs the AirBnB. She went well out of her way to make sure our stay was not just enjoyable, but wonderful. She also gave us a jar of her homemade jam. Why so much jam? It’s a delicious staple of a French breakfast, along with a baguette and butter, as well as a hot beverage of your choice.
Here we are at the 60th anniversary party on Saturday night. What fun and what an honor to be included.
Melinda and the Sheep could be the name of a new reality TV show! Set in Normandy, it follows her from place to place as she tries to get them to eat from her hand.
Sunday, after mass, we all returned to the Bertail home for a delicious lunch served outside. The Nantes Bertail clan, minus the boys, kind of agreed to pose for me. Their album cover?
Speaking of the lunch, it was prepared by Bernard’s brother Dominique and his partner. It was so good that I asked Dominique, seen here with me, the protocol for getting the last tasty remnants off the bone. He showed me one way, and I proclaimed the chicken to be “finger lickin’ good.” We were the only ones to finish our chicken this way, if the answer to the protocol question interests you.
Celeste contributed two lemon cakes to the lunch, the best one and the second best one. I suggested the second best one was the worst one but she was having none of that nonsense.
Monsieur Bertail is rockin’ that hat!
And speaking of hats, do you see that this one says “Ricard” on it? That’s my favorite French drink! I asked Bernard to take my picture. Unfortunately, I have that large Smallman head (Celeste said it must be to hold all of my jokes – about cakes?) so it just didn’t quite fit.
On our 3 hour drive back to Nantes we saw that some precious cargo is being transported across France.

5 August 2017 : Bonnebosq

It’s just about 4:30pm as I write this, 30 minutes before the start of the big 60th anniversary party for Bernard’s parents. Before heading over, Melinda and I are relaxing for a few minutes at the incredible AirBnB home at which we’re staying. It’s on the outskirts of a tiny village called Bonnebosq, one of many such villages scattered throughout Normandy. They are all picturesque and quaint, and every person we encounter is very friendly. The pace of life here is slowed way down. When driving, you pass lovely farmhouses and apple orchards, as well as horses, cows and sheep grazing in the fields. It really does feel as if you’ve gone back in time.

Late this morning we took a short walk into the main part of town. I snapped a picture (above left) of the sign along the road indicating you’ve entered the town proper. We wandered around, me snapping this selfie to give you a further sense of the place. We spent the most time in a simple grocery store, buying some eggs that we hard-boiled back at our place that we had for lunch, along with some fruit. I also bought a tiny bottle of Calvados liqueur for me to have back in Seattle.

Of unique interest, actor Yul Brynner owned property here and made it possible for the town to have a soccer field. Learn more in the photo below (click to enlarge it) that I took outside the field.