you're reading...

euro scribbles: travels outside the tongue.

It turns out that I simply cannot drink all the time. Experience cannot only depend on the tale of the tongue. A few entries from my last few days…

July 17

Back at Pere Bise, I am sore from pinching myself. Each time I peer back out my window, it is still there– the diamond kissed, sparkly blue-green waters of the Lac du Annecy, complete with lush tree-covered mountains surrounding it. If one were to imagine the most surreal heaven on earth, I doubt they’d even allow themselves to take this much liberty of the mind. Impossibly serene, my eyes are drinking of this place as though it may never be allowed a sip of water again. Metaphorically, it may not! I am spoiled and fully in knowledge of that.

I have said it before in blogs of Geneva, that there is something eerily familiar about this part of the world. I thought it might just pertain to that city. But I feel it here as well. It is as though I have been here before. I anticipate each restaurant around corners I swear I have been. There is even an old seedy bar that gives me the creeps, as though something terrible may have occurred there.  For the most part, though, this place gives me good associations, and I genuinely feel like I am home. It is the strangest feeling, I swear… photo

This morning, as I stare out from the outdoor patio at the Auberge du Pere Bise with my coffee in hand, I am contemplating all the things one could do with the day ahead. Some might choose to paraglide (no thank you), as hundreds launch themselves off a cliff daily for a certain kind of high I don’t crave. There is the touristy, albeit, adorable old village that still holds some of the most in tact medieval castles, prisons and architecture in all of France. I can see people take advantage of the quiet lake at this time to waterski, fish (as Jonathan is doing at the moment, of course) and catch the first rays on their stand up paddle boards. I just got back from a run, taking advantage of their well-maintained bike paths where, of course, I saw many cyclists. There are others on kayaks, some in paddle boats and no doubt people tying up the laces to their hiking boots–there are so many climbs around here– both alpine and technical. This is a playground for children and adults alike. It is a wonderland to say the least. On the edge of Chamonix, this is a gorgeous hub in the winter as well, according to many locals. And as I learned a couple days ago, wine country is not far either, if you have a car.

IMG_1948More than anything, it is one of the first times in many months I have truly relaxed– no agenda or plan. I am catching up on reading, writing and although I still have work, it is very casual and welcoming in an environment like this. I have made it a point to choose careers that hardly feel like work, as they are my passion!

The restaurants here have, for the most part, been amazing. Namely, however, the Michelin-rated restaurant where we are staying has impressed me most with their comfortable gourmet approach to local cuisine– from lake perch to crayfish to the cute white cattle (Charolais) I wrote of the other day :/


July 19

My last morning in Tailloires was well-timed. Clouds were moving in and the water did not tease me. I enjoyed a fresh yogurt with some jam, a hot cup of coffee and watched as a group of ducklings tried on some independence in finding their food. Their mother kept a careful distance and a watchful eye. The run tripped over itself a few times in keeping up, and he seemed to take an extra moment and breath before leaping into the small pond his siblings launched into one by one. But he would not be left behind. even as they worked themselves out as quickly as they plopped in, he too trailed at the end, taking two wobbly steps for each of their single steps. It was one of those moments one can only savor if they have the time to pay attention to the spaces between in life. Once the focus shifts its gaze from the prose, one can finally allow the poetry beneath to surface.

It was not difficult to leave Annecy, for what was in store was sure to be the apex of my travels… We were southbound…

photo 1It will be a rare trip to France that Chateau Massillan in the heart of the southern Rhone doesn’t find its way into my itinerary. This chateau served as a ‘hunting lodge’ for Henry II– a gift for his mistress, Diane de Poitier. It is here, among the smell of lavendar and sounds of cicadas, the sunflowers that stand in upright attention, always facing the sun as its position shifts throughout the day– it is here, that I am complete. For some, it is the endless horizon of the ocean; for others, it is the magnitude of redwoods or mountaintops. For me, it is Southern France that pulls me together. It fills my imagination with nostalgia for something I cannot quite understand myself. I am at once removed from anything modern and pressing in my life. I even feel strange on a computer, as I am compelled to just sit by the pond on this property and analyse the goings-on of a fly for an hour or so. As I write this at 4p on a Saturday, I am nodding off… I am fading and happy…

The south of France has that effect, a lulling of sorts that pulls you back to earth and asks of you to simply enjoy life… simply. In the sounds, smells and flavors of this region, one is pressed into the texture of this area completely.

My first evening, I went on a long run through the vineyards nearby. I found one field that was clearly left abandoned. I couldn’t help but let my mind wander, picturing another life… A cacophony of insects belting out their best filled the otherwise silent atmosphere around me. Flies, bees, mosquitoes and butterflies seemed to understand they were in heaven. No need to migrate, certainly. Along the brush, there were bushes full of blackberries and raspberries. Not a car in site…




About mistralwine1982

Originally from Wisconsin, I moved to Colorado in 2005 in order to get closer to the mountains and rock climb. When it occurred to me that I would never make money with that hobby, I went to grad school. I received a masters in English and American Literature from New York University in May of 2009. I have since then opted not to pursue a PhD, for studying and writing about wine is far more fascinating (well, perhaps not moreso than Virginia Woolf, but still… for the long haul?). My favorite wines come from the old world, especially the Rhone, Burgundy, Rioja, Piedmont, and Tuscany. I am also smitten with roses, Italian hard-to-pronounce white varietals, and dessert wines from around the world. By day I run a wine shop. By nite, I sip and tell. It’s rough… but someone must do this.


No comments yet.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

tweet, tweet

%d bloggers like this: