Category: Share Barbara’s Travel Journey

Rain Stopped – Trip to Olive Refinery Store

2014-04-04 12.57.20When I was reading Peter Mayle’s books about France before I left, I remembered his comments about olives.  So I decided to explore and was told about an olive refinery that also had a gift store.  The rain stopped today, however, it was still pretty blustery out for walking.  So, I decided to check it out.

It is well known that olive oil is used in French cooking as it is in Italian cooking.  However, there are many other products that come from olives.

Here is what I found besides olive oil – along with the lovely drive through the French countryside dotted with medieval towns, castles and old stone fortresses.  Truly a unique landscape.

  • Olive soap is reputed to be wonderful for your skin.  Not only for skin, but for hair and also general cleaning.  Thought I’d try both the soap and bath gel/shampoo.
  • Tapenade – found one that tasted just right for me – made with black olives.  Only problem is I can’t find anywhere in the stores the kind of biscuits we use in Canada for tapenades.  Guess I’ll use bread instead.  It’s plentiful, as are croissants and chocolate croissants.  I’ve avoided the other tempting pastries so far.
  • This isn’t made from olives, but found a round of goat cheese (chevre).  Love goat cheese.  It’s popular here.

I’m really trying to adapt to what they eat in France, not try to find all the items I eat back home.  However, being a vegan, this is difficult.  Their main menu here is meat, bread and cheese.  Not my usual food choices.  They have lots of lentils which I’m using, especially the dark green French lentil.  Thought they grew barley here but can’t find any barley.  I’ll need to be inventive and hopefully, my friend, Monique, also a vegan, will help in the search to eat vegan in a French culture.  Hummm!!!!

Interesting Rainfall Today

2014-04-03 05.05.17This is something we don’t hear about or see in Canada – a rainfall with sand.  Apparently the rainy weather we’ve been experiencing is coming up from the south – Africa.  It’s carrying sand from the desert in it.  I’ve taken a picture of my car – it’s covered in this sand.  Now I have to find a place to wash it – no coin car washes in this part of France – at least none that I’ve seen.

Better weather is on the way for the weekend.  Yeah.   I’m washing all my cool weather clothes today – one more day of cool to get through.  Drying them, well, it’s on a drying rack in the living room near the space heater.  Hope they’re dry by tomorrow.

Steeped in History

2014-04-02 03.13.14This is the view from my bedroom window. As I sat having breakfast, people were walking home with their morning purchase of bread from the boulangerie. Life in simple terms, slower pace, no rushing, no texting while walking, just living.

When I went outside to open the shutters, workmen were already hard at work restoring an old building. Renovations from ruins to fabulous are seen everywhere. Keeping history with new.

Inside where I am staying, the walls are stone, the floors are tile, yet there are modern conveniences such as indoor plumbing, a wash machine, and a fully functioning kitchen.

At this moment of writing, the church bells are chiming the hour. A totally different approach to life. How refreshing.

Left Snow Behind – Embraced Spring in France

2014-03-30 14.37.28Looking out the window at the Calgary Airport, all I saw was wet snow and dreary. What a fitting day to leave.




2014-04-01 00.05.30Arrived here in Toulouse to a lovely spring day. Just had breakfast – a traditional French breakfast – croissant (not in picture, I ate it), baguette, juice and coffee. Not my usual, but hey, I’m in France!

Picking up my car soon and heading to Pepieux. Will see what it’s like to drive the Autobahn. Hear they drive fast over here.

Two More Sleeps – I’m Off

Pepieux closerWow, it’s really only two sleeps away. Still some last minute details to finish off before I leave. Lots of great wishes for a great trip are hugging me. Thanks everyone.

Winter Here – Spring There – Yeah!

pepieux (500x333)A few more sleeps and I’m on the way. I’m so looking forward to just being there, absorbing the environment. Keep tuned – you never know what I’ll share and what will show up.

Getting Ready to Leave

pepieux-through-the-treesThis trip has been six months in the making. It started with the thought to take the month of April off – a first for me. And now it’s only a few days away.

Preparations are pretty much done except for last minute things. Here’s a picture of where I’m headed – Pepieux, a small village of 900 inhabitants. I am so looking forward to just living in this environment, absorbing the French culture – and of course, their excellent cuisine.

And, the most important thing, taking time for me to just live in the moment.

More to come . . . .

It’s Coming – Stay Posted

You will see posts from my travels here soon….keep watching for updates.