Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fun with Language, Part 2

We're now back in Barcelona at the same hotel (Gat Xino) as before--we successfully navigated the maze of highways to get the car back to the agency with 10 minutes to spare. We were also driving on fumes which is how it was supposed to be. For some reason we had to return the car empty. It was all a little nerve-wracking to say the least. The ride into the city on the train was a lot smoother than the first time due to our familiarity--boy, do we feel like old hands on the BCN public transit!

Yesterday was another wonderful day of communication successes. We went to the museum at the Faculty of Pharmacology where our friend teaches. The woman who showed us around did not speak much English, however she spoke slowly and clearly in French and we understood her pretty well. I thanked her at the end "Merci Madame pour a vous parlez lentement" (I am not sure if that is grammatically correct) and she replied that she appreciated not having to use her English because she had learned it while in NYC with her young children watching Sesame Street!

After this visit to the museum we drove north out of Montpellier to the town of Lodeve where there is a fabulous art gallery and a temporary exhibition of Louis Valtat who was a peer of Renoir and Matisse--one of the Fauvres (wild beasts)--the impressionists of the early 20th C. It was a fascinating show of his work in a variety of techniques and mediums, from oils and pastels to wood block prints and ceramics. I loved getting up close to see how deceptively simple brush strokes created impressions of faces, clothing, trees, flowers, rocks and so on. I got a little too close for the security guard's comfort "Ne touche pas--c'est tres risque" I think he said--I replied "Je comprends, je ne touch pas!"

We then capped off the afternoon with a tour of the Societe Roqueforte caves and had an hour long tour of caves that are the equivalent of 11 stories underground--where the famous Roqueforte cheese is made and matured. We tasted some wonderful cheese that paired beautifully with some honey cake.

I am so pleased to get over my initial reluctance to try out my French learned long ago in Miss Graham's classes at Point Grey High School some 40 years ago...and the more I tried, the more the language came back.

We leave Barcelona tomorrow June 23rd just before noon, arriving in Kelowna at 10:30 PM--about 20 hours in transit. Tonight we will take it easy--repack, make lists for customs, and maybe take a stroll thru' this city of balconies, enjoying the narrow streets and the cosmopolitan feeling.

Adios! Au revoir! Ces vacances est terminee!


  1. Janet,

    Really enjoyed reading about your adventures. I have also been told to stand back in art galleries. More than once. The guards just don't get it, do they?

    I am envious. Roqueforte is my favourite. I always think about the caves when I eat it.

    Safe journey home.

  2. I like to think that I was keeping the guard from getting too bored! These were paintings collected from private collections all over the world--undoubtedly very expensive--and there was a staff person in every room.