First of all, I want to wish a New Year full of surprises and joyful moments to you, my readers. Thank you for following my adventures and for taking the time to comment, it is always very much appreciated. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas break, ours was different this year but Sexy Hubby, Cute Doggy and I had the most wonderful time.
My daughters were spending Christmas with their Dad and I must admit that in their absence, I do not see much point in having a big family celebration. It was also our last chance for a holiday for a while as Sexy Hubby is starting a new job. We pondered flying somewhere but for a week only – as it was then our turn to have the girls for New Year – it seemed a bit short. Plus we would have had to leave Cute Doggy behind. Then Sexy Hubby had a stroke of genius and suggested heading to the South of France. He did not need to say this twice and after stopping at my Mum’s on the way for a lovely lunch, we arrived in Gruissan in the evening.
Sexy Hubby has said that as soon as he gets there he feels totally relaxed. I agree, and the fact that we had no phone or Internet connection that week made it even more peaceful. Apart from one day with showers the sun shone the whole time, providing with us with much needed energy. We slept in, went for long walks on the deserted beach, ate simple but tasty food and enjoyed the fabulous local wines. We settled on the balcony wearing just a jumper or cardigan and moved our chairs along to follow the sun until it disappeared behind the wall. I read six books during that week… Some evenings were spent with our friends who live there the whole year, others just the two of us, cuddling up on the sofa to watch a movie together. We had the most chilled out Christmas Day ever. Our “plans” went out the window as Sexy Hubby played guitar only once and I only had one yoga session too. The temptation to be outside was simply irresistible!
Gruissan was not as deserted as expected but the atmosphere was certainly different from the summer crowds taking over. The market was smaller and the harbour quiet. No avoiding hundreds of trolleys while food shopping. We loved that new experience.
Our Christmas Eve meal was an assemblage of starters, followed by a slice of Yule log “pour deux”. We decided to attend the midnight mass – which was actually starting at 22:00 – in the Narbonne cathedral, expecting something really special. Now in Switzerland or Germany you have to be there at least an hour early if you want to sit down. We therefore arrived at 21:00 and first had to walk around the whole cathedral to finally discover the only door unlocked. Once inside, we joined the other… eight people already sitting! We will know next time: the vast majority of worshippers arrived between 21:55 and 22:05, and mass started at 22:10. It lasted two hours and by the time we left, we were deep frosted despite winter coats and in my case, a woolly hat and a pair of gloves. No chance to warm up as not a single café, bar or restaurant was opened. The texts read during the service struck a chord with me, but I was disappointed by the lack of choir and the poor sound system. I think next time we will settle for the earlier mass in the more simple Gruissan church and head to the Café de la Paix afterwards for a vin chaud!
Because there will be a next time. Most definitely.