Les Amis

There’s a weird grief inertia thing that makes everything take four times a long as it should, so I’m finally getting around to finishing the post about the visit of our dear friends Pascale and Jacky from La Rochelle . . .

David, Pascale and Jacky, June 2013 on Ile de Ré

They came to stay with me, along with Pascale’s daughter Anna, and were here from May 31st until the 12th of June. Here it is more than two months later, so high time to publish this post about all our adventures!

Although  Anna is completely fluent in English, neither Pascale nor Jacky is, so lucky for me we spent the entire time speaking French. Or rather they spent the entire time speaking French and I spent it trying to keep up (and having my mistakes corrected — which I had requested, to be clear, but a bit discouraging at times to find I’m still so very far from fluent). Still, I have come a long way!

I had planned to cram as much as possible into the time and it’s true we did a lot. They arrived a bit late on Thursday night the 31st, so Friday we took it easy, strolling around Old Town Fort Collins and lunching on the Rio patio, because . . . margaritas! I love France, as many of  you know, but the one thing you cannot find in France, or at least not often or easily, is Mexican food. Avocados, yes. Margaritas, sort of, sometimes. Mexican food, not so much. I love the story Courtney tells of her trip to France in 2014, when she was so discombobulated with jet lag she ordered a margarita . . .  at an Irish pub . . . in Paris. We were laughing so hard I never got around to asking how it was. But here? We’ve got margaritas nailed. And nail them we did, so then had a stroll up Mountain Avenue to walk off the tequila and introduce them to other dear friends, Tom and Christy, then home to enjoy a low-key evening.

Anna, Hewlett Gulch

Saturday we headed up Poudre Canyon. By the way, pronouncing it Pooder Canyon, as we do around here, is a bit startling to actual French people, but they coped. We made it up to Arrowhead Lodge and the Poudre Canyon Chapel, then came back down a couple of miles for burgers at Archers Grille, a favorite of David’s and mine. Then back down the canyon, stopping at Hewlett Gulch for a bit of a stroll.

Pascale and Jacky enjoying Colorado nature

The day was absolutely glorious . . . ↓

Hewlett Gulch

We had been on the go from early morning,  but they rallied later for drinks, tapas and jazz with Mark Sloniker in the Sunset Lounge at the top of the Elizabeth Hotel.

On Sunday we headed to Denver — the Denver Art Museum, a walk around all the usual highlights of downtown (with a bazillion other people), then a stroll through the historic district near the botanic gardens, then . . . something I did not even know existed. Anna had read something about this place online . . .↓

International Church of Cannibus, Denver

. . . and wanted to see it. Not really my thing, but it certainly was colorful. A little creepy the way the lights hang out of the eyeballs of the animals on the ceiling, but maybe that’s just me.  😉

All three of them came ready to see or do anything I suggested, and they were up for any adventure. Certainly Anna had done her research and had things she wanted to see, but they were easy and friendly and grateful for whatever I offered in the way of entertainment. Despite my ambitious to-do list, we also had to be sure to fit in time with Wendi, my former student and now friend, as well as their former exchange student. Wendi is the reason David and I met them in the first place — Thanks Wendi!

In the time they were here, they managed to fit in, not only the above, but a BBQ at Wendi’s house, and then a three-day side trip to Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon. Then back here for the summit of Trail Ridge Road, plus Estes Park, then dancing at the Sundance Saloon . . . ↓

At the Sundance Saloon with Wendi and her parents, Julie and Tom Russell

. . . then a dinner at Tom and Lexi’s (whom they’d met last year in La Rochelle). Then a few very hot hours in Boulder . . .

Pascale trying to cool off in the Dushanbe Tea House, Boulder

. . . then another BBQ with Wendi’s family before flying home on the 12th. Whew. Fortunately, they were indefatigable.

But the most important thing for me was that they had traveled all the way from France to see not only the sights of Colorado and beyond, but specifically to spend time with me and with Wendi and her family. Of course, we had all hoped David would still be here and well enough to be able to host as he loved to do, but it was not to be. His spirit of joy was with us, though, and so many memories of times together with all our treasured amis. I hope for many more!

 

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