My parents arrived in Paris on Friday morning and proceeded to konk out for my entire work day. Which was good, because it meant that I didn't have to feel too badly for being at the office on their first day in town.
Saturday morning very early, we got up and boarded the TGV and headed south to Aix-En-Provence. None of us had ever been there, so despite the fact that the friends we'd be staying with wouldn't arrive until the afternoon, we opted for an early train so we could check out the city before heading back out of town toward their house in Cotignac. Aix is a really beautiful town, and we had a great lunch in the center of the old town before spending a couple of hours wandering around and shopping and finally catching up with our friends.
I hadn't seen them in 19 years, when our family and theirs met up in Europe for a couple of weeks in France, Switzerland, and Italy. It was the same trip where my dad didn't know how to say the word butter in French and somehow ended up mooing like a cow at the breakfast table in order to make his request understood by the waiters... who surely understood exactly what he was asking for in the first place. That was the precise moment I decided it would be a good idea to learn every single language on earth in order to never embarrass my children.
Other highlights of that trip included a tennis match on a clay court in the mountains in Interlaken where we were so inundated by horseflies that we ended up swatting flies more than tennis balls, and poor Nicole took the majority of the attack and ended up with massive itchy welts all over her body. From the horseflies, not from us hitting her with rackets. Of course, we also went on amazing hikes in the Swiss mountains and stayed at a cool old hotel on a little Italian island. It was a good trip.
And it was great to see them again, so many years later. After catching up over dinner and drinks on Saturday night, we went out with the kids for some rock climbing while the parents went on a long walk. Such a great relief to be outside in nature, and with the sun shining and our shoes off after so many weeks of rain and cold in grey Paris.
On the way back Sunday night, we were starting to prepare to get off the train when suddenly we ground to a halt and were informed that the train ahead of us had hit a boar and that we'd be stopped for a while. Half an hour later, we were still in the same place, and the conductor came over the loudspeaker to tell us that it wasn't a boar, but a herd of them. Finally, an hour later, we finished the last fifteen minutes of our trip into Gare Lyon and were able to head back home. When you're with me, even the simplest of train rides is never boaring...