Showing posts from January, 2018


Needing someplace at least a little warmer than here in southwestern/central France, which has been inundated with non-stop heavy rains, plus fearing a 3-month attitude expat let-down (after the thrill of grocery shopping in new supermarkets has waned), and wanting to go somewhere I've never been, I chose a week in the Maltese Islands -- of which Malta is the largest of five-- though the country is still the smallest member of the European Union. I actually unwittingly chose to go the week of January 15-22, which turned out to be the launch week of Valletta as the "European Culture Capital of 2018".  Located between Sicily and northern Africa, Malta is an island country with extraordinary history:  the medieval (St. John) Knights -- or chevaliers -- of Malta; the Catholic Inquisition (noted as one source as "gentler" than the Spanish version); the 16 c defeat of the Ottoman (Turkish) Empire; the ouster of Napoleon after just two years; more than 100 year

Etre heureux (euse)

"To be happy..." Message by Pope Francis, sent to me by (French friend)  Lenaick Diallo-Vitre Etre heureux :  Pape Francis « Être heureux n'est pas une fatalité du destin, mais une réussite pour ceux qui peuvent voyager en eux-mêmes » To be happy is not a fatality of destiny, but rather a  success for those who can travel into themselves.   "Vous pouvez avoir des défauts, être anxieux et toujours en colère, mais n'oubliez pas que votre vie est la plus grande entreprise au monde. Seulement vous pouvez l'empêcher d'échouer. Beaucoup vous apprécient, vous admirent et vous aiment. Rappelez-vous qu'être heureux ce n'est pas avoir un ciel sans tempête, une route sans accidents, un travail sans fatigue, des relations sans déceptions. You can have faults, be anxious and always angry, but don’t forget that your life is the greatest  enterprise in the world.   Only you can prevent failure. There are many who appreciate you, admire you,


I was getting cabin fever from the overcast skies, wind and rain -- and the damn wood stove that needs my constant attention -- so decided to head out, despite the weather, on a bit of an adventure (and abandon the stove, or poêle à bois, as it's called.) My destination was Valençay, a bit more than an hour northwest of me, and my first stop was for lunch at "La Promenade", a charming restaurant where I had an entrée (first dish) of a delicious potato and leek soup, and then the plat (the main dish), "aligot" (mashed potatoes with cream and cheese) and local sausages, plus local ("table") red wine, and a coffee afterwards.  Parfait! ("Perfect"-- not as in dessert!) All totaled, about €14 (about $17).  Restaurant food in France is pretty expensive; lunch typically €10-15 (two to four courses --  your choices of entrée, plat, fromage, dessert, and always bread and water -- but without drinks); dinner easily upwards of €30. Sinc