Most important, of course, is an update on David, so I’m very happy to report that he continues to do well. We walk a lot every day, starting with the marché every morning . . .
The marché is impressive every day, but only Wednesday and Saturday marchés are so huge they spill onto side streets like this one. We browse a while then buy what we want for the day, which happens to be mostly strawberries this week. Les gariguettes, an early season variety, are tender and sweet and we can’t seem to get enough of them.
After dropping everything at the apartment, we’re ready for a bit of wandering. We stroll rather than power walk, but we are definitely out and about every day, visiting our favorite spots.
We still love the verdant peace of Parc Charruyer . . . ↓
A stroll through the park can take us all the way to one of the beaches, Plage de la Concurrence, but we only stay if the breeze is not too brisk. Today we kept moving.
Tour de la Lanterne has been spiffed up since our last visit. It was covered in scaffolding by the time we left in October 2014, but is now practically gleaming. David is not quite up to climbing the towers, but we did that more than once the last time we were here.
There’s always something to see, no matter where we walk. Found this interesting little piece on the wall between Plage de la Concurrence and Tour de la Lanterne. ↓
Cours des Dames is still excellent for people-watching, so today David decided to stay there on a sunny bench while I went off to find a shop I’d heard about and to take a few more photos (below).
Sometime between noon and 1:00 everyday, we decide where we’ll have lunch. Today we chose the terrace at Brasserie des Dames, right in the center of all the activity of le vieux port. Bliss, once the sun came out.
In some ways it feels like we just got here, but the reality is we’ve now been here a full week. Until today I haven’t even had my camera with me, partly because it has often been overcast or even raining a bit, but also because I kind of wanted to pretend to be a local. Of course if I speak, no one is fooled.
It turns out no matter how comfortable I felt speaking French with the taxi driver and defending our seats on the train, the reality is that my level of spoken French has slipped since last time we were here, even though my comprehension is better. Pascale and Jacky were too kind to mention it, being friends. Although I certainly consider Natacha a friend, too, she is also my tutor, so basically required to give me a realistic evaluation. Ouch. There went all my confidence for a few days. Bit of an overreaction, I know, but my emotions are a bit more fragile these days. Natacha is strict but encouraging, so I’m hopeful of regaining and even improving on my level of spoken French by the time we head back to the states at the end of May.
David is also sometimes discouraged, not about French, of course. He’s absolutely carefree about knowing just barely enough to be polite. But being back in a place where he had routinely walked four or five hours a day, the difference is hard to miss. The reality of lower energy levels and the uncertainly of the future sometimes weigh him down (and me along with him). But it is also reality that he is doing so much better than expected, and there’s hope in that for both of us.
There’s a bittersweet quality to being here in beautiful La Rochelle, the heart and starting point of our grand adventure. Memories are everywhere of a time when anything seemed possible. The reality, of course, is that no one knows the future. We have today. We have now. We have hope. And today, in the now, we have each other. We are so very grateful for that.
Hope is being able to see that there is light despite all of the darkness. ∼Desmond Tutu
We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope. ∼Martin Luther King, Jr.
Wishing you hope and gratitude even in the midst of difficult reality.