August 04, 2007

The Girl on the Bridge...

Dreamy. There are people who write a few simple words that inspire dreams.

Yesterday’s NY Times gave me these eight words: Down the Nile. Alone in a Fisherman’s Skiff.
I haven’t even read your story yet, but Rosemary Mahoney, you make me dream!

it was titles like that have always made me want to run away toward adventure. Since those first school holiday summers when reading Kontiki in an Arizona desert, watching Audrey Hepburn in the Congo in 'The Nun’s Story' on an old B&W set, or playing French maidens, Monique & Colette, during War II in an unfinished apartment building, I always wanted to run away toward adventure. I have done well enough these last years.

So what does a barge captain/French cooking school/ Camp France counselor do that still blows my proverbial skirt up? Life here in the Gascon wilderness is a twenty-year-old adventure and still counting. I continue to invent little distractions to keep me sharp. For over 25 years have always, ALWAYS traveled with my passport in my wallet…just in case.

Last week, I came home from my own small summer adventure. With friends. The New Grand Tour of the New Europe- Croatia, Slovenia, Serbia ( I know. Not!), Bulgaria and then almost Macedonia. And Turkey, not quite EU Turkey. What began in Italy as a gastronomic, wood-oven workshop, tag team festa in Chianti with Judy ‘the Diva’ Witts, continued with Elaine Tin Nyo along the Adriatico at Clandestino beach bars between Le Marche and the Abruzzo and finished with the Brothers Corbin in Istanbul on a ferry on the Bosphorus. Along the way, there and back, we drove 7000 kilometers weaving in and out of the Balkans.

My favorite souvenirs:

Drinking Illy coffee in Trieste.
Roadside Pigs spit-roasting in Slovenia.
Truckstop lunches with pork and fresh cabbage salad in Croatia.
Walking ‘the Ramblas’ in Belgrade on a hot Saturday night.
Spying the Danube for the first time… (I’ll be back, honey.)
The Hotel Moscow’s elegant front desk manners and little bottle of well-aged wine labeled ‘Made in Yugoslavia’.
‘Domestic Prosciutto’ from Montenegro served with black olives and ‘feta’ cheese.
Bulgarian village Donkey & Cart taxis
Peace offering at the market in Veliko Tarnova of two large apricots.
Drinking Rakia before noon and perching on the ‘crone throne’ outside TC’s Mindya house.
ICONS, icons and more beautiful icons of gold-washed saints in hidden monasteries with black cloaked nuns weeding the shopska potager.
Q.P.-Bulgarian Pizza served with mayonnaise and ketchup and French fries covered with feta cheese.
Seeing my own favorites, Croc shoes, on everyone across eastern Europe.
The trashy/slut/beach clothes worn on city streets that shouts SUMMER from Nice to Sofia.
Then there was Istanbul… just Istanbul. Because that’s another list and the photographs wait sorting and posting.

Until then, I turn to my own backyard for little French Kitchen Adventures. Guests return to Camont seeking their own French Summer Dream and there is dry rosé to chill, roses to gather and beds to make up with sun-dried cotton sheets. The French Summer begins for me, too, and there are new hammocks to hook up, mint and verveine to gather for iced tisane, and hundreds of nasturtiums going begging for a recipe.

Make this summer an adventure!

Girl on the Bridge...Bosphorus Summer 2007


L Vanel said...

It really looks like you had a good time, Kate! Wow what a road trip!

Divina said...

great to have you back!

Reagan said...

You are the one who makes ME dream!
I am totally inspired to live on a boat, having friends in all the little towns on my route.

and--I ALWAYS have my passport on me.