In Sickness and in Health

When we picture ourselves in a beautiful part of the world, we picture everything being absolutely perfect. Perfect blue skies, perfect sunshine, perfect food, perfect company and perfect temperatures. We never imagine something average, or heaven forbid something below average. We want to, in fact need to keep these dreams alive. These are the things that keep us going on those dark, cold winter nights.

 One lone rose amidst the olives.

One lone rose amidst the olives.

Alas, perfection doesn’t exist. We all know this, we just don’t want to give up the idea of it. So when I pictured my last weeks in Provence I imagined cycling every day in hot weather, the sun beating down, followed by an apéro on the terrace. Sounds idyllic. But as these things go, that’s not exactly what happened.

First, the weather has been bizarre. It’s not been as hot as normal, we’ve had wind more frequently and a decent amount of rain.  It’s not bad at all really, just not what I’m used to. And according to my winemaking friends, it’s been an amazing harvest. The wine from 2015 is predicted to be outstanding. So there is that…

 Sunsets are often so beautiful, it's impossible to capture them.

Sunsets are often so beautiful, it's impossible to capture them.

What I wasn’t counting on was being laid out with a full-blown cold. Not a few sniffles but a hacking-non-stop, nose raw from blowing, the town pharmacist knows-me-by-name kinda cold. Hmmm. Thankfully the timing was pretty good, it waited to arrive until after Rome, and just in time for a few days of Mistral. So ultimately I didn’t feel too terrible missing out, as I wouldn’t have been on my bike anyway. So I took a few days to recover, but promptly got back on my bike the minute the wind left us, though I was still sick as a dog.

I know, I know. Most would think I should have just stayed in, sat in the sun and had chicken soup. Well I’d done two of those things: I made myself some wholesome chicken soup and spent many hours reading and resting in the sun. But I just couldn’t help myself. I have such a short time left, how could I miss any opportunity to ride these magnificent routes through vineyards and over cols to see the most breathtaking views. Even in the haze of illness, it’s nothing short of spectacular. And this past weekend the weather was glorious. Who could pass that up? Sniff, sniff.

 Ventoux in the distance from a vineyard in Roaix.

Ventoux in the distance from a vineyard in Roaix.