From our British getaway

Before we both head off and start our new adventures, we felt it was really important to take the time and go on a holiday together. We didn’t want anything fancy or exciting, just a nice and quiet place to rest, get our bearings, and reconnect after a few weeks apart.


I also decided that I really needed to see Mama Ocean, so we found a lovely airbnb apartment in a little seaside town called Folkestone. We didn’t really know anything about the place. Since we had to book really short notice, we just took the first thing that got offered to us, and a day after I got back to London, we headed off.

It didn’t start quite as idyllic as we would have wished for. That morning, I was rummaging around some of the boxes that had come in with our shipping, and we discovered that two of the boxes had most likely been pretty much soaked through – and not quite dried out again yet. One of the boxes contained Trev’s priced synthesizers, the othe a bunch of clothes, including some of my ballgowns and favourite dresses.

Of course we couldn’t really let all these things keep on rotting in those boxes, so we spent the better part of the day unpacking, assessing the damage, drying things out, taking pictures for the insurance claim, and then putting things away again somewhere safe and dry.

It was quite emotionally draining too, to try and come to terms with this sort of realisation slammed in your face unsuspectingly. So we were really ready for some serious relaxation when we arrived in Folkestone. Sadly, our trials were not quite over yet. When we arrived at the flat, we realised that the owners must have left the wrong keys for us. Since it was quite late already and we couldn’t get hold of anyone, we had to get a hotel room for the night.

The room was super awesome though, and all the hotel stuff so lovely and friendly that in the end we considered ourselves lucky to have landed there.


Our first day at the coast was super rainy, which didn’t vex us much since we hadn’t been counting on anything else than British weather. We had a quick look around town which didn’t take a long time, and then decided to hit the cinema for the afternoon.

The rest of our week was surprisingly very sunny and warm. Folkestone has an absolutely gorgeous promenade up on the cliffs overlooking the beaches and the sea. The cliffside itself has been turned into an awesome, almost mediterranian feeling park walkway. And once you get to the bottom, there are the beaches. It felt so good to just spend some time sitting watching the waves roll in and of course combing for beach treasures (mostly stones because that’s what you find on pebbled beaches, but hey! Stones are amazing!).




We had a few ideas of things to do for the week, but in the end didn’t really feel like much more than hanging out in a pub overlooking the harbour with pints of cider, watching anime shows whilst eating takeout pizza, and going for random walks around town.




We did end up on a lovely walk along the beach on a gloriously hot and sunny day because we wanted to see the chalk cliffs between Folkestone and Dover. We didn’t really anticipate a long walk, and so we rambled through the countryside at our leisure, taking pictures and snacking on blackberries as we went along.







When we got to the cliffs though we didn’t really want to stop and so we decided that we would walk all the way to Dover and then take the train back. I must have doubled the weight of my backpack on the way because I was collecting so many lovely stones. We passed secret campsites, abandoned boat houses, and nudist beaches on our way, but when we thought we had arrived, we realised we had only made it to the seaside quay that was the closest beach to dover and in order to get into town we’d have to get all the way to the top of the cliffs and back down on the other side.


(This is not a random picture: If you look closely you can see that the plant in the middle is actually wild kale, of which there was loads all along the path. It’s very tough and bitter though, so we didn’t forage.)


Luckily, there was a tunnel that cut off some of the height, but by the time we reached Dover, we were pretty knackered. Also, Dover is not exactly a pretty town, so we quickly found the trainstation and made our way back.






We were just in time to catch the magic hour on the Folkestone graveyard.


  All in all, we had a wonderful time, and feel more refreshed and rested than before we left. I am heading off to Somerset in a couple of days, so I am busy unpacking and repacking stuff for my trip. Life still feels pretty shifty and uncertain, but slowly and surely we are starting to see a bit of direction, which feels nice.

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A Swiss Summer

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Soo I never thought I’d end up spending my “summer holidays” in Switzerland! But it happened, and I have to say, this summer was definitely not the worst to hang out around here. Ever since I arrvied three weeks ago it’s been pretty consitantly warm (hot) and sunny.k

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I was in Switzerland for about a week earlier this year, but I felt like I didn’t really have enough time and peace to really connect with my family. So this time around, I didn’t really plan a lot of activities, but was just looking forward to hang out with my parents and my sisters.

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I did see a few friends and really enjoyed celebrating Lammas with some great witchsisters of old, but really, mainly, it was family and me time. And I did feel like I really needed that. Actually, I feel like I could do with even more of it, but it has to do for now because you can’t tread water forever, and I’ve been doing it for the better part of this year.

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I’ve been trying to look after myself and really solidify good habits like eating healthy, practise prayers, and exercise a lot. I’ve also been taking stock of what’s been happening so far this year, readjusting my goals and starting to concentrate on where to direct my energies.

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A new chapter is coming up, and I must admit, I’m equally excited and terrified. I take that as a good sign though, going with the old saying that if something scares you, it might be a good thing to try.

I took the decision where I want to go next a few weeks ago and all is arranged now, so I feel like I’m not hexing things by telling you. At the end of this month, I will be heading back to wonderful Glastonbury and my beloved Shekinashram, where I will be serving the temple as a resident for half a year.

It means I will pretty much do what I was doing as a karma yogi – helping out at the B&B, cooking, cleaning, doing rooms. Except I will have some more responsibility and I will live in a tiny little gipsy caravan of my own down at the bottom of the garden.

I am really looking forward to live the bohemian dream for a while – and I am praying for a long summer and a very very mild winter, haha!

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I will tell you more when I know more myself – because even though I feel like I kind of know what’s expecting me, I really try to keep an open heart and mind and start over completely fresh. It will be a different role, a different time – and I am very aware that my times at the ashram are always for a specific reason, but the reason is always different. So every stay has the potential to be completely different. I have a feeling it won’t be an easy time in my life, but I am ready for the lessons and the growth that it will surely bring, and I am determined to make the most of it.

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Until then, I still have a few days here in Switzerland before I fly to London on Sunday evening. It’s my baby sister’s birthday tomorrow, and I’m looking forward to celebrating with everyone. 21 – She’s not even a baby anymore!!
After that, Trev and I are planning to head out to the English coast on Monday for a week of quality couple time. He will be living and working in London, so we won’t get to see each other quite as much as we did for the past two years. I’m really glad we’ve done long distance (much farther and much longer) before, and I know that it is not necessarily a bad thing for a relationship.

Sometimes, you just need to keep your mind and eyes open, and there are rainbows to find in the most unlikely places (like, in the kitchen, between the bowl of cat food and the dirty broom!)

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I hope that I will be writing again soon, telling you about a fabulous seaside vacation! Until then, enjoy your summer, wherever you might be, and chill!

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A tiny love

Recently, I made a set of bean runes. I had some beans left over and decided to doodle around a bit… And ended up making tiny luvs to keep in my purse and hand out to lovely people, or leave out for lovely people to find. (The magic of tiny luvs is, only lovely people can see them!)

2015-07-15 18.18.57 2015-07-15 18.18.32 2015-07-15 18.59.40 2015-07-15 19.00.27  2015-07-15 19.00.50If you’d like to know: I used a chalkboard marker to draw the hearts. I think silver gel pen would work as well, or maybe even gold. Or you can use white beans and black markers.

Spread the love!

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Clashgour adventures, or why do we love the highlands again?

It was a long weekend in Glasgow last week and since it also coincided neatly with Stefan’s birthday, we had decided to go on yet another of our infamous outings with Team DickButt (don’t ask…!).

Tref and I took the train up from London on Thursday morning to arrive in time for some epic birthday drinks. We picked up this awesome balloon Homer as a present on the way from the trainstation and I still think it’s one of the best birthday ideas we’ve ever had. I mean, it just fits!

2015-07-16 15.17.45 2015-07-16 17.11.33Drinks were had and cuddles were had and jokes were made and beer was spilled and chips were stolen and unspeakable things were said that evening. Reunions as they should be.

2015-07-16 20.56.01 2015-07-16 19.31.28 2015-07-16 19.31.18 2015-07-16 19.31.11 2015-07-16 19.31.26The next day we went food shopping and as soon as everybody had been able to excuse themselves from the office, off we went, to our trusty bothy at Clashgour.

Since Tref and I didn’t have any camping gear or hiking boots, it seemed easier to use the hut instead of going off somewhere far to camp. Some people brought their tents and braved the midges in the woods, but most of us were pretty ok to barricade ourselves indoors especially during dusk and dawn when those little buggers were at their worst.

I usually don’t take a whole lot of pictures on those excursions because I’m actually quite glad to put my phone to the side for a bit. And also, there’s two really good photographers in our group. Since Stefan is off to China this week I’m afraid I won’t be able to share any evening pictures just yet, but Geoff let me steal his beautiful photos of our outdoor adventures.

When we arrived at the car park (the hut is a short walk from there since Clashgour is not accessible for unauthorised vehicles) a little before dark, it was raining and very windy. Luckily, we were the second car load to arrive and the party that arrived before us had already started a fire so we could begin with the traditional proceedings of trying to dry too many wet things around one very small oven.

It stormed all night, but Saturday was nice and sunny, so we decided to walk up the very wild river to a beautiful loch.

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The path was very boggy and flooded in many places. Then we had to cross the river and many of us (especially me in my jogging shoes) decided to ditch the shoes alltogether. From then on the walk was much more enjoyable, as most of it was on muddy, soft ground and grass. As always, the views of the highlands defied all descriptions. clashgour_july15_geoff (5) clashgour_july15_geoff (6)Saint Christopherus crossing the river (without holy child).

Swinging the bridge:clashgour_july15_geoff (7)You shall not pass!clashgour_july15_geoff (8) clashgour_july15_geoff (9) clashgour_july15_geoff (10) clashgour_july15_geoff (11)Since we were already wet, we waded through the waves to a little island to enjoy the view.clashgour_july15_geoff (12) clashgour_july15_geoff (13) clashgour_july15_geoff (14) clashgour_july15_geoff (15)

There were more shenanigans before our return to the bothy, but Geoff must have been too busy hurling rocks across the rivers with various home made slingshots to take any pictures!

When we got back we decided to make use of the good weather and have a bonfire down by the river. As we prepared for aforementioned, several people started to notice a weird itchy sensation around their feet and ankles… and once we got the fire going, we soon realised: THEY ARE HERE! The mitches had found us! And for the rest of the weekend, we would bring our blood sacrifices on their tiny altars. They are the zombies of the highlands!!!!

On Sunday, most of the troop made their way up one of the hills behind the hut, but I didn’t really feel like climbing a mountain barefoot or in soaked sneakers. So I stayed at the hut with a couple of other people, had a lovely nap, and cooked awesome food for the hungry travellers. I’ll still show you some of the pictures that Geoff took of the climb and the cloudy summit before he fell and submerged himself and his camera in a river (what ever did you go and do that for!?).

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Evenings were as always spent telling stupid jokes, drinking too much home brew, eating awesome food, and fighting over the most comfortable sitting spots. Mornings were for sleeping in and then cooking (and eating) too much breakfast until long past midday.

So what do we love the highlands for again? We love them for views, for walks, for still clear air, for wild and wondrous rivers, for beautiful wildflowers, muddy paths and still lochs, for booze and bivouaks, for friends and fires. We don’t love them for midges. No, we don’t!

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Weekend pictures: Horniman museum

Yesterday we went out for a walk and since it looked like it would rain, we decided to pop into a museum close by. It being Sunday afternoon, it was quite busy, but still worth it. There were quite a few different parts and exhibitions that were all very different from each other, but our favourite part was the aquarium, which is just amazing! So this post is really just an excuse to show you the pictures that I took in there.

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It started with frogs and starfish. I’m such a frog fan! I just think they are the cutest, moste cuddly thing ever! And did you know that starfish have tiny tentacles and are constantly groping around with them, like curious little snails? Aaawesome!

 

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Then came the jellyfish! Ooooh look at them go!!

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I never knew that seahorses like to hold on to things with their tails! And this yellow fish just kept photobombing my pictures! Him and his friend were pretty silly!

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There were also tiny baby starfish! What can I say? Tiny baby versions of things are just the best!

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The anemones are Trev’s favourite (he says no, it’s the corals, but I know what he went all whoo-whoo about!), but I liked the huge lobster with his beautiful blue legs too. He looked so friendly and content, nomming on some seaweed.

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The coral reef was absolutaly amazing. You could see that the corals were very happy and healthy… I don’t know much about fish, but they were pretty perky, too!

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And then there was this little guy… sitting in this hole, poking out his huge head like a curious neighbour. Riddiculous!

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He looks a bit Golllum-ish, don’t you think?
I liked the more exotic frogs, too, but they were a bit boring.

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Another part of the muesum was a room with huge plants and games where you could learn about how plants work and do things like try and defend your plant friend agains pests.

It’s for children of course, but it was a lot of fun!

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Then we went to the Asian culutres room and met some old friends. Om om Ganesha Hanuman Jay!

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Hope you had a good weekend! xx

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Summertime in London

I think I’ve collected enough pictures for a quick upddate on what I’ve been doing… because rambling posts without pictures are no fun at all!

It’s been super hot here in London over the past ten days or so. Sunny and bright almost every day. We are staying with Tref’s parents and they have a lovely back garden, so I’ve been outside most of the day most of the time.

Which is good for me in a way because it means less screen time. I’ve been reading a lot, and after two bleachy summers in Scotland, I finally have a bit of a tan again, which feels good.


I’ve been helping Tref’s mum take care of the garden a little bit. We did some repotting, weeding, pruning, and I got to use a lawn mower for the first time in my life. Garden work ist just so nice and rewarding. I’m hoping to maybe get some herbs and seeds this week because we have so many pots that could be used for some lovely summer planting. But all in good time. Today the ‘real’ gardeners are here and are trimming hedges and digging over beds and everything will look even lovelier than before!


The garden is also such a great way to be able to connect with nature and the world in general… I do a lot of pottering and just talking to trees and spirits… like the lunatic that I am. I built a bee hotel and snuck in two big branch piles so that little friends can find a home… and I made a prayer tower out of sticks, which was great fun, and I think it looks cool, too!


Since we have a lot of time at the moment, we figured we might as well make good use of it, and decided to get our fitness back on track. We’re working out a lot, and we’ve also cleaned up our diet – which was much needed after a period of impulsive eating and letting things slide because of traveling and occupied minds. Because we don’t eat a lot of dairy and no meat we decided to go with protein shakes for the moment. (Which is probably not an ideal solution, but seems like the right thing for now). Because our home made mixture has Spirulina in it, which not only has a very distinctive flavour, but also a very agressive green colour, we call the shakes our ‘green goo’. We both agree that the recipe needs tweaking….!


But summer’s making up for it with lovely fresh food to eat for the rest of the day! I have never loved salads as much as right now!



I’m not getting around London City so much because where we stay is just so much more relaxed and peaceful than the city center. But every now and again I will venture there… and take touristy pictures. Most evenings though we enjoy drinks and chats at one of the many local pubs or bars… and sometimes we discover gems like hidden roof terraces that nobody knows about and that we have all to ourselves!



It’s definitely not the worst of summers here! Hope yours is great, too!

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The ruined castle

I wrote this post ages ago but seem to never have published it… Well, now that the weather is fair and we are far from beautiful Scotland, it seems like a nice thing to remember one of the first ever exploring trips that we set out on with what would turn out to become great friends!

It was one of those weekends where we set out in the search of a castle. Yes, I know, there are many of them in Scotland. But they are all special in their own way, and I can never get enough of them.

We certainly weren’t prepared for the adventure that was waiting for us on that Saturday afternoon though. Because when we arrived, we found this:


A ruined castle, big barbed wire fences, and signs saying ‘Danger! Keep out!’

Well, what were we to do? There was a fallen tree that served as a bridge across the fence. It didn’t take a lot of scrambling, and the mysterious world of the ruined castle lay before us.




Nature had already started to claim it all back, but there were still traces of the people who used to live here, long long ago… I don’t feel like I’m exaggerating when I say we got super excited and explored the heck out of that place!






Some stairs were a bit shaky, but it was kinda ok until quite high up, so we got to enjoy the view and to feel like we were inside one of these old temples in a jungle, Indiana Jones style!











In the end it was the waning light (and the fact that we had no torches – what a calamity!) that had us leave, we could have spent days in there!



Yes well… don’t tell anyone, ok?!

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Glasgow times

After Paris, we decided to hop back to Glasgow for a bit. We didn’t really have much to do and visiting the friends that we were missing seemed like a good idea.

It was good to be staying with people we knew well, especially since I spent the first few days being super sick with a fever and throat infection. I was relieved to have a bed to just rest in for as long as I wanted without worrying to take up somebody’s space.

When I started feeling better, it was luckily just in time for the West End summer festival. We had a little walk along the stalls and then watched the parade from out friend’s livingroom window.


I might also have got my face painted with glitter and butterflies, but that’s only a rumour.

Veronica made me this amazing little friend for my birthday! Isn’t he lovely? We decided to call him Donatello Sheeperson.
It’s quite incredible that Veronica learned to knit in fall last year, and in March finished her first scarf (she has made two more since), and now just whips up something like this!

We had a few wonderfullly sunny and warm days (probably the only proper summer days they’ll get, judging from Scotland experience), so I was out and about a bit, looking for nice and peaceful spots to read my book in the fresh air. I discovered a pretty beautiful backyard full of pretty birds and flowers…



Of course Glasgow wouldn’t be Glasgow without long evenings in pubs with burgers, drinks, friends, and hipster puns on your way to the bathroom.

We also rekindled old traditions. Our favourite one is: “Let’s meet up at somebody’s place and Trev cooks dinner for everyone and their cousin.”




These pictures are actually from two different evenings, because there were enough leftovers to last for a second dinner!

Sunshine makes every place prettier, and I kind of like the way these dainty shadows adorn what would otherwise be a very sad typical Glaswegian street corner.

Of course we made sure we got plenty of park time during the sunny days. Well, let’s say I made sure everyone got plenty of park time – regardless if they were willing or not!




We are currently staying in London and enjoying some family time. There’s not a lot to take pictures of at the moment, so I will have to think of another way to fill this blog. Maybe I’ll start writing poems… no, don’t worry, I wont!

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Princess Crêpes

For people who visit Paris from somewhere where crepes are not a common food article, it is probably a very exciting place. Traditional French crepes are yummi and there are definitely a lot of places in Paris where you can eat your heart out trying your way through all the sweet and savoury varieties.

However, in Switzerland, and probably other countries close to France, it is not hard to find crepes and so to get me excited about crepes in Paris, you need to take me to a special place.

And that special place is called Princess Crepes.



Right. So not only is it a creperie all in pink and ruffles and hearts, with stuff toys and the girls there are wearing cute maid outfits…. ALSO it is a creperie where you can totally order a crepe with ice cream, cheese cake, chocolate sauce and kitkats, and not be immediately sent to gluttony prison.




I don’t really know how and why, but the first time I came to Paris with Tref, we somehow ended up here, and ever since then, I have made him come back here every time we’re in town just so I can have a riddiculously sweet and crazy treat (really, they’re not even that good!…I swear!)

Oh and yes, I totally had a super vegan birthday and then a few days later came here and had this crepe… my life is weird like that at the moment.

I’m not trying to make too much publicity… I’m always positively surprised to find that they still haven’t made it into a Lonely Planet or something, and there aren’t scores and scores of tourists queuing outside… But I’m always afraid someday that will happen!


I’ve told so many people about it thought that I thought I’d show the pictures so you can see what it looks like… and yeah, if you happen to be in Paris and want something fun to do for an afternoon, do give them a shot!


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Bonjour Paris!

We had decided to go to Paris from Switzerland pretty spontaneously, because Tali had never been there.

Paris is a weird place for me to describe. It was one of the first places I visited on a city trip. I liked it but, never harboured a personal attachement or passion for it (for France, these feelings are reserved for the South, I’m afraid). For some weird reason or other though, it is one of the places across Europe that I ended up visiting again and again, so that by now it feels quite familiar.

And even though I can’t say I’m in love with the place, there are a few reasons why I have soft spot for it. One of them is that Trev and me got together after spending a weekend in Paris with friends. Yup, we hooked up in the TGV Lyria somewhere between Paris and Basel… I’m not sure if that sounds adventurous or just super weird, it definitely was neither of the two.

It felt pretty funny then, to sit on the same train together once more, and to imagine that the same landscape was rolling by our window just like all those years ago. (And then this happened: Me – “Funny isn’t it to think that last time we barely knew each other and now we’re talking about out future and stuff.” Tref – “Now we’re married my dear.” Me – “Oh yeah, I forgot about that.”)

Something that I’d definitely never realised – because so far I’d always traveled with a comparably light backpack – is that the Paris Metro is a maze of different levels, all connected by randomly placed stairs, no escalators, and very few lifts. With my 20kg suitcase, I definitely got a good workout from our way between the trainstation and our first stop.

We got a cute little place through airbnb and as soon as we saw this we knew it was a good place!

Whilst waiting for Tali to arrive from Berlin on a later train, we went for a random walk around the neighbourhood and then stopped for the first Pastis and beer of the trip.

We were talking randomly, and at some point our conversation turned to Dule, who is an old friend of Trev’s from Zurich who now lives in Paris and who we were going to meet later in the week.
I’m really not exaggerating when I say that not two seconds after Trev uttered his name, Dule came walking around the corner.

Strange things happen and Paris is smaller than you think!

 

This lovely chance meeting proceeded into impromptu wine and chats sitting by the side of the canal with some other friends and a lot of strangers who were all also enjoying the evening sun (and luckily were more prepared than us and had a corkscrew with them!)

The next day was my birthday and it was a lovely day of relaxing, food, and socialising. The day after we had to move to a different place to stay which was a bit annoying, but also good because the new place was in a lovely part of town and was also really cool.

Tali went off to do the touristy stuff and Trev and I just had a relaxed stroll around Montmartre, enjoying the sunshine, scouting for street art, and meeting ugly little kitties.





I really wanted to take this one home! He was so derpy and his eyes were really pussy and disgusting, but he was so desperate for cuddles, so we tried to pet him without touching his face…

When we went shopping for dinner in a neighbourhood store, we found this:

  Tali had to leave the next day, and we went to stay with Dule and his partner for the rest of the week. It was awesome to see both of them again after such a long time. We cooked a lot of food, mixed a lot of drinks, and Dule and Fabrice were so nice and welcoming, even though they were both super busy.

For some weird reason, I had got lots of mosquito bites at some point during the week (never noticed any mosquitoes, and neither of the other guys had any bites…). I have had this weird thing happen to me over the past few years that sometimes I overreact on bites. So not only were the blasted things so itchy I could barely think straight, but a few of them started to blister and made my ankle swell up. It’s nothing super dramatic, but it’s not comfortable, and it eats away at your nerves.

I’m not sure if that also weakened my body a bit because a couple of days before we left I started to get sick with a throat infection.

I’m super glad it only happened towards the end though and it wasn’t too bad until we left so I could make the most of my time in France.

By now I am sure that one way or another, we’ll be back!

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