Posted by: Corri van de Stege | July 5, 2007

T7 – still in France

I have now finished the first draft of my ‘Helena’s story’ and have tried to use different time frames and think it might just work.  It is quite extraordinary to get up, still sleepy, walk downstairs, switch on my computer and let rip.  It all seems to be there, I wake up with it and then it happens and I write.  The illusion won’t last long though – soon I’ll be back at work!

The weather has declined further; it’s cloudy and quite fresh but it does not matter.  There’s plenty to do and enough space to relax totally, become engrossed in books or writing.  Yesterday we went to La Rochelle, and drove via Marans and Esnandes, the latter providing a detour to an uninteresting dilapidated place on the coast, gone to the dogs and reminding me of some of the villages in the south of France, away from the glamour where small villages seem barely able to survive, a few old people here and there and tiny grocery shops with basics.  The dirty swamp provides the high spot for an ‘excellent view’, but the one taverne on the beach is firmly closed.  No huiles today!  The landscape is flat as the map indicates.

La Rochelle is vibrant with tourism, the harbours full of pleasure yachts, clean and sparkling as well as old and dirty ones, with names ranging from the English pretentious ‘Lady Caprice’ to Mamielon and Salaccia. They’re all waiting to be taken out, buoys hanging by the side.  The place exudes a liveliness that’s full of promise.  We wander around the harbour, climb the St George tower, which, although built in the 14th century appears almost new so clean and light are the bricks.  From the top the merlons with loopholes and the crenels provide vistas across the town and away towards the sea with in the distance tiny looking boats leaving another harbour full of yachts.  There are numerous places to eat, around the harbour and slightly further back, away from the crowds, the Café du Bassin and Brasseries as well as Escales en Asie: Japon, Chine, Thailand Vietnam.  We descend on what seems to be a local and French frequented brasserie, the Café du Nord and remembering an earlier holiday I have a plate full of mussels ‘moules en Pinard et cognaq’ with the special small tasty frites and some salad, polished off with a glass of local wine and lots of sparkling water.  We are quite content and as we start walking back to the car the sun breaks through and it suddenly feels very warm.

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