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StCirq Nov 12th, 2019 02:59 AM

Another fan of fromage blanc here, but now that our bio store carries honest-to-god cottage cheese, I'm hooked on that.

There's no equivalent to fromage blanc in the USA that I ever saw, though it's relatively easy to make if you can find the right culture.

Winter is really setting in here. It's around 0C at night and if we're lucky gets up to 8C or 9C during the afternoon. Tons of fog and rain as well. Lots of logs going into the fireplaces.

jtpj777 Nov 12th, 2019 05:03 AM

Pyrenees have had a good dump of snow with mountain restaurants calling it a, “ gift from the skies”.

People in Nice also now in their winter garb; however, in my experience they don their doodoons(sp?) as soon as the temperature drops below 20 - 25 degrees C!

gooster Nov 12th, 2019 09:08 AM

I am still enjoying your reports, as we head into winter. It'll be interesting to see how you find things in the winter; I've only been to Nimes in the spring and summer. I'll be heading back to Nice in a couple of weeks, and am hoping for better weather.

We have fromage blanc in the US in the specialty groceries and co-ops; maybe even at Costco in the past. It may be a local thing (Northern California), since I've most commonly seen it from Cowgirl Creamery.

kerouac Nov 12th, 2019 09:26 AM

I was in a restaurant once with an American friend and the dessert was fromage blanc. After one tiny taste with the tip of her spoon, she gave her dessert to me, so I had to eat two of them :love:

cheska15 Nov 12th, 2019 09:39 AM

Originally Posted by kerouac (Post 17015355)
I was in a restaurant once with an American friend and the dessert was fromage blanc. After one tiny taste with the tip of her spoon, she gave her dessert to me, so I had to eat two of them :love:

my husband always gets half of my dessert as he can eat anything and not put on weight. I sadly am the opposite

cheska15 Nov 13th, 2019 10:41 AM

When coming to France it is important to remember that things that take us 10 minutes to do in Australia take a lot longer here. If you want to purchase items it is not like popping into JB high-fi.
My husband lost his IPad when we were going through security at Changi Airport Singapore. I won’t bore you all with how it happened, so today we went to replace it.

We caught the fabulous T1 fast bus out to Family Village Costieres Sud. where there is a Boulanger store.

We found the IPad he wanted and the young assistant spoke little English and very nicely found a colleague who could speak English. Luckily we had purchased items previously so all our information was already online. If this had been a first purchase they require all details and ID to be entered into their system.

Sadly the IPad wasn’t in stock, and they will text on Monday. He was given three pages of paper,( we don’t knows what it says as we haven’t translated it yet) through the checkout to pay for it, and then came to meet me. All up about three quarters of an hour. Interestingly if you don’t pay for it they don’t order it. The woman on the checkout made sure that my husband knew where to pick it up from.

This is not a complaint about the store as all the staff were very helpful, or a critical post of France in general. It is recognising that things are done very differently.

We have had a quiet time these last few days as I have been recovering from a cold. My husband has taken the opportunity to play squash three times this week, with other players asking him to join them. It’s really great to see him settle into this new group of people. I was concerned before we left that being together 24/7 could be tough. So far it hasn’t been any problem, and that is because he is doing something that he loves on his own. Great for both of us.

rhon Nov 13th, 2019 01:49 PM

All these small experiences and differences are what will make this adventure of yours so memorable. Your year is going to fly past and you will look back on it with much satisfaction.

Are you keeping a journal? I am old fashioned and like to keep a hard copy journal of our trips. I sit down each evening and write about our day, what we did, what we ate, how we felt about what we saw. They sit on a shelf and are a reminder of a part of our lives that gives us a great deal of pleasure.

cheska15 Nov 17th, 2019 10:13 AM

A few photos of Nimes from earlier posts. Just worked how to attach them.
Tree lined street of Nimes
Gorgeous area near the arena
Love this view.

cheska15 Nov 20th, 2019 08:54 AM

We have had a relatively quiet week with normal things. Had my hair coloured , and was really happy with the result. About the same that I pay in Australia.

The exciting event this week was the arrival of a electric blanket. We ordered it online, and it was delivered by the fabulous postman. Whenever he has anything for us he calls out Bonjour, and out we go. It was really good getting into a warm bed last night.

As mentioned previously this house is damp and bloody cold. We have purchased a de humidifier, and that has helped a little with the mould, also turned the heater on in our bedroom for an hour before going to bed. We are really missing our well insulated house in Australia. Before leaving Aus I had read an article regarding how to warm up a place if you are renting. Things like bubble wrap on the windows, sealing where there is a draughtt, keeping doors closed etc.

All these little things has made a small difference. We came home today at 6.00pm and there has been no heating on since we left at 9.30am,and the place was still warm.

We had planned a day trip to Valence today, and unfortunately because of snow on the tracks, electricity off in lots of areas we decided to cancel, and went to Montpellier for lunch. There is always so much happening in Montpellier. Currently the town is preparing for the Christmas season, with lights hanging in the streets, a big globe is currently under construction, and the Ferris Wheel is up. Not sure who did the drawing of Australia for the globe but they have taken out a big chunk of WA.

We are still loving it here and canít believe two months have passed already. We havenít taken as many day trips these last two weeks as there has been damage south of us due to flooding a few weeks ago, and to the north ( sort of ) heavy snowfalls. We always knew that there maybe weeks where we wouldnít do as much for various reasons like weather, train strikes, etc. it hasnít bothered us in the least because we either go out for a long lunch, or stay home and have a lovely long lunch.
The weather forecast is better next week so it maybe time to hire a car again for a week.

StCirq Nov 20th, 2019 11:19 AM

Hi, cheska. I appreciate your comments about cold and mold and can relate completely. When we decided to move to this stone wreck in France we knew full well that we would be sacrificing a lot of creature comforts, and maybe it was my New England upbringing that made me want to take it on. I look around at the octogenarians and nonogenarians who live here, with their healthy cheeks and cheery outlooks and fairly spry limbs and I think that maybe living with heat from wood stoves, which means hauling logs in every few hours or so, isn't so bad, and walking up and down the hills searching for those few things like mushrooms or wild mint, gets the blood going. And when it's blisteringly hot in summer, closing the shutters and resting in the afternoon just seems as natural as can be. I don't think I could ever live in a contrived environment again.

It's been a very cold and rainy fall. We wake up often with blue noses and stiff fingers. We have a pair of gorgeous stained glass doors on one side of our living room, and we've had to stuff cardboard into the crack between them or else the wind howls in. The owls are screeching madly this year, and it seems to be connected to the heavy fogs that have been shrouding our valley. It's been an eerie fall, and I'm sure it's different in NÓmes, but you're getting a good taste of what living in France outside the hotspots is like. It's very real, and you are lucky to be privy to it. It's a million miles in distance and mindset from renting an apartment in the 6Ťme in Paris.

Stay warm.

cheska15 Nov 20th, 2019 11:37 AM

StCirq. Hope you stay warm too.

TDudette Nov 20th, 2019 05:09 PM

We found a wonderful cheese shop in Montpellier. It was long ago but I'll find my notes.

Continued bravas!

Trophywife007 Nov 21st, 2019 08:02 AM

I'm still following you on your adventure and loving every minute of it!

Christina Nov 21st, 2019 09:00 AM

I don't care for eating cheese as a dessert or for breakfast, but fromage blanc is fairly easy to find in the US, at least where I live in the mid-Atlantic, and is just called the same thing. There is a cheese company/dairy in Vermont that makes and is in this business and it's sold in lots of regular grocery stores. I know Wegman's has it, I imagine Whole FOods would.

cheska15 Nov 25th, 2019 10:37 AM

When planning a trip of this magnitude the budget was to include
Cost of visa
Health/travel insurance ( visa requirement)
Accomodation ( visa requirement)
car lease.
$1.000 set up costs.
These were what I would call big ticket items (cost a lot)

Airfares were $7,000 premium economy another longer story
Visa costs were $300 (€99 pp) on application paid when you attend your appointment. Unbeknown to us then another €250 pp on arrival in France (A $800)

Health/ Travel was $1800 through Woolworths as this gave us the best coverage for what we needed. However we have been able to put our private health cover in Australia on hold, so we are actually ahead.

I had no idea what to allow for accommodation. Basically I picked an amount and thought $20,000 should be enough. So far for the eight months of accommodation we have planned the cost has come in at $10.319.

The next big expense is the car lease. Apparently this is the cheapest option, although you can only enter into this agreement for more than three weeks and not more than six months. We are leasing a car from February to July. Cost $8.000. While I prefer train travel, and eight grand would give you a lot of train travel, to get to a lot of places you do need a car. We have done the sums of ‘ what if we catch a train to the bigger towns, and then hire a car.’ It does work out cheaper to lease. This is only the second time that we have driven on our trips. We have hired a car this week for seven days and the price was €350 (Aus$568).

We always knew that we would have to spend some money on what we have called set up costs. We have purchased a toaster, kettle, bbq, and dehumidifier. We will leave the bbq for the owner as he is moving back into this place, and will either donate to charity the rest or sell. We needed the dehumidifier to try and remove some of the moisture from the rooms, as this place like a lot of houses in France has damp issues. The owner will fix the damp before he moves back into the property

The rest of the budget is what I call discretionary. This is not the view if my husband. So far we are doing pretty well, and haven’t had to ring our daughter and say ‘ help not only have your parents spent your inheritance, now we need your money’. Not that she would care I should add.

I hope this helps if ever anybody is thinking about doing what we are doing.

kerouac Nov 25th, 2019 11:50 AM

It looks to me as though you have planned and budgeted quite wisely, even if there is still a long way to go.

cheska15 Nov 25th, 2019 12:22 PM

Thanks kerouac. I spent a lot of time reading and researching and taking the advice that people on this forum ( like yourself) and other forums provide. To achieve the most out of any travel research, research, and more research is the key. Also not to let your ego get in the way when asking for help.

Adelaidean Nov 25th, 2019 12:55 PM

Lots of helpful information, cheska, even though most of us will never do this, it’s so interesting to read about the planning and the logistics, as well as the day to day stuff.

cheska15 Nov 25th, 2019 02:18 PM

Adelaidean if someone had told me ten years ago that we would be doing this I would have said you are completely mad. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought this option would have been available to us. So you never know.

geetika Nov 25th, 2019 08:19 PM

Cheska, my admiration for you only goes up, not only you have spent time, thought and effort planning this stay in France, you are also detailing all of this for the benefit of those who might consider something similar in the future. Kudos to you, I wish your year in French is all you envisaged and more...!

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