Shopping and sleeping and eating... 7:49 p.m. 2006-01-03

This morning, I slept in late again! I'm on vacation!!!! It is sooo calm in my hotel room... no messy house or unfinished projects looking me in the eye... If I had to cross an ocean to get that, well, hell!!!!

I was pondering how much easier computers have made travel right now! Over 20 years ago,my mother, a family friend, and I arrived in Strasbourg late at night, and we had to flail about to get a hotel room. Of course, I was the French interpreter, so that was a lot of pressure on me... but I will save those issues for my therapist. As soon as I had my tickets for the train, I was absolutely sure that my reservations made through Travelocity would ensure me a room in Avignon. I didn't really need to take a taxi, but that was a luxury to avoid stumbling around at midnight.

Speaking of Alsace, I had choucroute alsacienne for lunch today at a chain restaurant called Maitre Kanter. It was sauerkraut, a frank, a slice of garlic sausage, a side of bacon (it looked like it!!!!) and a half a boiled potato. I had a terrine de campagne for appetizer, so that was a good chunk of fat I had for lunch. It was good, thought, and I convinced the waitress to substitute a bottle of Diet Coke for the glass of wine or beer.

I went to the train station and made my reservations for tomorrow. I will leave at 9AM and take a bus to the other TGV train station in Avignon. From there, I will take the TGV to Paris. I have about 4 hours to go back to my friend, Laurence's, place and exchange clothing for my trip to Poitiers. I am taking the TGV to Poitiers at about 4PM and will be in Poitiers at about 530!!!! I will write some postcards on the way.

I also did some pretty nice shopping. I got some gifts to bring home, but I am trying to not go out of control!!! I went by a couple of Provencal specialty shops, but I just couldn't commit to tablecloths, or clay cicadas, or anything like that.

I seem to have gotten some of my cutest things in chain stores, so I walked into Casa, a home shop sort of inspired by IKEA (there are many of those here!!! All of the products have one syllable names!!!). I liked Casa, though, because it does have some French items. I got the cutest ceramic containers that are shaped like French houses, boulangeries, and cafes. I also bought a couple of beautiful baguette purses (no,they don't really look like bread!) with sequins and embroidery.

Finally, after I made some poor lady put back the blue ceramic cicada at a specialty store, I stumbled upon Oliviers and Company. There, I hit a gold mine of gift options. I was really disappointed that this big candy store I passed by yesterday and the day before was closed tonight for inventory. That was a big bummer!!!! But I was able to get one copy of the candy items at Oliviers. I also got some really neat cooking spices and herbs that I may split up and give as gifts.

At home, things seem to be going well. My dog shook my husband up a bit by going AWOL, but she was found by a guy with a cell phone, who let Wheat know where she was. She was really only in the office parking lot adjacent to our subdivision. Now that she knows how to get around the fence, we will have to be more careful!!! I just did my first AIM (instant messaging) a half an hour ago, with my husband. It's fun, but I don't think I will get addicted!

I am in a different Internet cafe tonight. I am having dinner at a little restaurant across the street called L'Orangeraie. It looks good! Then, I am going back to the hotel and pack and set my alarm for tomorrow morning's departure. A tout a l'heure!!! (that's French for "toodaloo!"

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