France 2018 :: Girona – Paris :: Days 8 & 9

Another good night of sleep! This time I woke up at 3:30 but I WAS SANDWICHED BY BATES AND CHIEF! Like, literally sandwiched. Furry bodies just pressed up against me. If I had been a club sandwich, Scheissehund would have been the toothpick holding it all together, lodged in my crotch. Ahh, perfection.


Goddamn that looks good.

The three amigos pinned me in place and I went back to sleep until 5:20 which is actually a perfect time to wake up.

So, Girona and Paris!

You know how much I love Màrion Crampe, she’s that little molecule that binds perfectly with the receptor that makes me feel like I’m floating in a warm pool of familial love and acceptance.

In a culture where people apologize for the gross infraction of lightly brushing someone’s arm as they walk by, she is the kind of person where touch is essential. I find myself running my fingers in her hair, walking with our arms entwined, my hand on hers as we sit side-by-side, and she just receives and then radiates back. I feel like a mother/sister/daughter around her.

Fully cared for, fully loved, fully seen.

My mother stopped touching me early. Hugs were rare, never any kisses. Physical affection, affection of any kind was hard won, rarely given. I think what broke my heart the most the last time I saw her was how she wouldn’t hug me at the airport. Instead she deflected me by pointing at her luggage. I don’t know how much more rejection from her I can take.

Actually, I do … none. It’s a deep wound, Màrion soothes it over and reminds me that I can find that love elsewhere.

It is a beautiful, soulful connection that I soak up. She lives in Girona with her husband David.

Girona is a small city (the size of Boulder) in Catalonia, the politically beleaguered community on the Iberian Peninsula that is fighting for independence from Spain.

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There is a strong Boulder/Girona connection as triathletes flock to both cities to train. David did a stint in Boulder a while back and Taylor Phinney has homes in both places. Given the unbelievably reasonable real estate prices in Girona, it would be on my short list of places to keep an European pied-a-terre. If I was in the market, which I am not.

On our travels Sideboob and I have walked many a narrow cobblestone path and wondered what it would be like to live in such a place, what it looks like behind the tall stone facades of the closely pressed homes that line the streets.


Yeah, she lives here.

At the end of our penultimate drive from Lourmarin to Girona (a pretty painless four hours, says the person who never had to get behind the wheel) the GPS led us to the street pictured above with a pulsating dot on one of these buildings.


To preserve her privacy I am not posting photos of the interior, but what we found at the top of three flights of winding stone stairs was the most delightful, most chic, most European of pads. Le wow.

I’ve known lots of traveling pole instructor/performers and I’ve seen some of their homes. Many are simply landing pads, places to store their things between tours. Not Màrion and David’s. It was an oasis of home, full of mementos from Màrion’s travels, friends, and endeavors.

David’s art was casually displayed leaning against walls, he had a glass case of curiosities, her wedding dress (custom made by a courturiere and friend) hanging from a tread of her circular stairway, works in progress.


GIrona was a feast

Yet there wasn’t an iota of clutter, everything was intentional and precise. The plaster artfully peeled away in places to reveal the stone walls underneath, the ceilings showed the original beams, the colors were bright yet elegant. It was the perfect mix of modern industrial with historic. I fell instantly in love. Of course this is where she lives. Of course this is how she lives.

Màrion always tags her photos from home as “Girona Cathedral” which I thought was some kind of artistic statement about the sanctity of her home. Actually, it’s because the Girona Cathedral is RIGHT THERE.

We set our things down in the flat and then took to the streets.

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She took us to the gardens surrounding the castle and cathedral and we walked on top of the long wall the once protected the city.

Back at home I took a quick nap and then snuck out for a little time to look around on my own. I really only had one thing on my mind …

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While I was out getting my potatoes and wine on, Sideboob was photographing.

David came home, we went out to dinner at a lovely restaurant, but honestly my favorite thing was to sit in their kitchen, drink and show each other things that make us laugh.

The next morning we went to Cadaqués, on the Costa Brava of Spain. It was about a 90-minute drive on a winding two-lane road. That little road was the only way into Cadaqués by land (kind of like going to Estes Park from Boulder, but without any passing lanes) and deposited us into an adorable seaside village.

Màrion said that in the summer and on weekends it is bumper-to-bumper the entire way. Oy. It was smooth sailing for us and we started by visiting a park the overlooked the city.

We parked in the village, had lunch, and spent the afternoon flopping around on the sand.

Here are some of my pictures from the day …

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Sideboob can’t resist an open, unheated body of water and despite seeing jellyfish near shore, she picked a spot and swam around while people on the shore gaped at the water and pointed at her.

I went over to see what all the fuss was about.

Yeah, no.

A day of sun and wine and food wiped me out. I like checking-out on car rides, passively listening in on the conversation up front and letting my mind go. My dad would often stretch out on the couch at casual gatherings and doze, he called it “drifting” and I find that car rides have the same appeal for me.

Màrion noticed me being quiet in the back and asked about if I was okay, I told her about my dad and she said, “Yes! I had an uncle who did the same thing! Every time people would get in the car to go somewhere, he would ask if he could come just to enjoy the ride. His name was Falière so now we call it doing a Falière.

falière (v) to go along for the ride, to quietly observe, to enjoy the moment

But did he look like this …



I’m gonna blame this on Sideboob’s wide angle lens (SB, you don’t have to correct the record if it wasn’t a wide-angle, just let me dream).

You know what? Revenge.

Aprés a night of too much champagne in Paris. Heh heh.

Back at home Sideboob found out that our train from Perpignon to Marseille (where we were catching our train to Paris) had been cancelled due to the strike so she got on the phone, changed the drop-off site for the rental car to Marseille, and calculated when we had to leave in order to make it to the station on time.

100% had this been me, I would have shown up at Perpignon with my stuff and no car, only to find out my train had been cancelled and I would be lucky to make my flight out of Paris the next day, much less get there in time for an afternoon of sightseeing and a show at Crazy Horse.

Thank god for Sideboob, she made this trip so easy for me by absorbing all the stress about travel and planning so I could obliviously take in France and Spain’s lovely gifts. Thank you, Nina, it was amazing. And I’m sorry about the pictures of you passed out in the cab. But not really.

So, dinner in Girona …

… to bed and then up at 7 to drive to Marseille.

The rest was a blur. We caught the train to Paris, dropped our stuff off at the hotel right next to the Gare de Lyon train station, and then an afternoon of strolling around Paris, dinner at a really wonderful Italian restaurant with a friend from Boulder who happened to be in town …

… and Crazy Horse


We had the BEST SEATS and absolutely fell in love with the cabaret singer who entertained us between dance pieces. She and I sang this song together …

I have no idea why I know all the words to this song, but I do.

It was the perfect ending to a wonderful trip. Thank you again Nina for taking me on an adventure I will never forget. Thank you for helping me see the world. You are a most wonderful friend and I am so lucky you are in my life.

And PS, Getting up at 6am to photograph that engagement picture was totally worth it!

It’s all cold and drizzly out. Now that I’m done with my necessary writing, I think I’ll take Chief out for a quickie and snuggle into the couch with all my animals for a little mid-morning Friday Night Lights binge. Why not?


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