|Dinan is known for its half-timbered houses. |
This is the house Auguste Pavie was born in.
He was an explorer of Indo-China.
|there are flowers, flowers EVERYWHERE!|
|Looking over the Rance River. 'La Vignette' is just out of|
sight if you follow the river with your eye.
So, I will begin with the journey here. The trip consisted of one flight to Paris, a connecting flight to Rennes, and then 3 bus rides between the Rennes airport and Dinan. On the flight from D.C. to Paris, I had planned to sleep as much as I could, because I hadn't slept much at all the night before. But I didn't sleep at all. I was sandwiched between two of the most talkative people.... an elderly Hungarian man named Suprich (I've Americanized it because the keyboard won't allow me to spell it in Hungarian) and Lisa, who grew up on a dairy farm in Texas. Suprich spoke very little English and wanted to teach me Hungarian, and he wrote all of the 42 letters of the Hungarian alphabet out for me and encouraged me to repeat all the sounds. Lisa, who was on her way to India, was full of all sorts of stories... like how she drove across New Zealand all by herself and how she was once engaged to three men at the same time before deciding on her husband, who is her complete opposite but that she's been happily married to for 21 years now. Every time I closed my eyes to rest, Suprich or Lisa had something to say, but really I didn't mind because they were so interesting. At last we landed in Paris, and for the rest of the trip, I was like a narcoleptic. I kept accidentally falling asleep in chairs, bus stations, buses.... on the last bus ride, I woke up every once in a while. The bus driver was a really good whistler and he liked whistling along with the radio. He got really excited when an American oldie came one... I don't know what the song is called but it has a nice syncopated beat and some of the lyrics say 'It's not unusual to be loved by anyone... it's not unusual...' Well... I'm actually not sure if those are really the lyrics but that's what I've always thought the singer was saying. Anyway, the bus driver loved that song and he was whistling it in a really loud, trembly way with lots of flair. I think it's called vibrato when singers make their voices tremble... that's how the bus driver whistled. There were all sorts of bright wild flowers all along the roads, and I saw a herd of fat Guernsey cows munching grass in a little meadow. It was like patches of sun and cheery whistling between bouts of dozing off on the bus.
|Espaliered Roses in the|
When I finally arrived in Dinan at the main bus station, there wasn't a taxi in sight. My plan had been to catch a taxi from the station to the cottage. There was just one girl in front of the station and no one else. I walked the whole length of the building but I still didn't see any taxi. A car pulled up next to the girl and I realized if I didn't ask her where I might find a taxi, I would lose my chance. So I asked her. And she said there weren't any taxis around that station, only at the previous bus stop, which would've been a long haul with my huge suitcase. She said her mother (who was driving the car) would drive me to the other station. Then the mother got out of the car and said she would like to drive me all the way to the cottage! Her name was Suzanne LaCombe and she was one of those people that makes you feel close to them in a short period of time. She told me that she had five children (the girl at the station was one of them) and that she was a retired English teacher. Her daughter was just meeting her at the station to drop off her suitcase from school and then was joining her friends for a trip somewhere else. I can't believe what a lucky miracle it was that she happened to be at the station at the exact moment I needed her. When we got to the cottage, the two ladies from Les Amis de la Grande Vigne who were coming to meet me weren't there yet. So Madame LaCombe sat with me on the little bridge that goes over the creek next to the cottage and we talked. She was very beautiful with long white hair pulled back in a twist and an loving, open face. I also liked her shirt, which was old and navy blue with little flowers all over it.
|creek beside 'La Vignette'|
When the two ladies from La Grande Vigne arrived, Madame LaCombe left but she said she would come visit me one day because there are bike trails all around the cottage and she loves riding bikes. I hope she really comes - I want to see her again! The ladies from La Grande Vigne were also very friendly and they showed me the cottage, gave me the keys and then one of them took me to the grocery store to get a little food and drove me through the village so I would have a general idea of it. In the grocery story parking lot, the air was filled with the scent of cow poop, and the lady said, "Ah, the air smells good!" This is one of my favorite things about it here - it is a bustling village, with people and shops galore, and cars racing over the cobbles, and is ancient and rural and natural and modern all at the same time.
|staircase in the cottage|
|Inside St. Sauveur. Founded|
I think around 1100.
Yesterday morning was the market... the BIG market that happens every Thursday morning. I set the alarm for 6:32 a.m. so I could get there at the very beginning. It was glorious!!! I bought chestnut blossom honey (there are lots of tall, old, old chestnut trees here and they are all in bloom right now) and a bottle of sparkling alcoholic apple cider from the local apples and then I drank half the bottle while I was painting yesterday. I bought one sardine, which I painted. I've never painted a fish before and I enjoyed it very much.
|from the market|
I could go on and on and on... but now I'm going out in the sunshine to explore more, and then back to the cottage to paint! Oh - and one more thing - it doesn't get dark until 10 p.m. here!! I'm sorry for all the mistakes that must be all throughout this entry... I don't want to edit right now!