Saturday, June 27, 2015

Pardonnez Moi, Mais…I will be in Europe

My small village in the Auvergne
The famous chain of volcanoes in the background
Sky, nothing but sky...
My family's house in 2014
The house in 1972, shortly after my parents purchased it.

Many, who have read this blog over the past few years, know that I slip away to France for a stretch of time during the summer. So, while I am away from Brooklyn, I invite you along on my vacation, if you would like.

I am currently in Barcelona, Spain, then will travel to Andorra, through the Pyrenees, and then on to a small village in the Auvergne, France, where my family has owned an old stone farmhouse for the past 40 years.

Here is a bit of background:Since 1971, my parents have owned a stone farmhouse right in the center of France, four hours south of Paris, five hours North of Marseilles. They bought the house as a week-end place when my family was living in Clermont-Ferrand, France. It needed an incredible amount of work, so for five years, all they did was renovate it to make it livable.

When we moved to the United States, my mother insisted she wanted to keep it, though my father wanted to sell. She won that argument. So every year since purchasing it, my parents spent four summer weeks there. That is until 2003, the year my mother became gravely ill en route to this, her favorite place on earth. She was in a french hospital for four months and had five operations, during which she was unconscious for most of the time. One of the last sentences she whispered to my father before slipping into a coma was: "Take me to my house and I promise you, I will get better in a few days, I promise you."

She never saw her beloved house again.

After she passed away, my father, sister and I scattered her ashes under her beloved linden tree in the courtyard of the house. Since then, my husband and I have made the trip to France every year determined to keep her memory alive by keeping this old house in one of the remotest places of France in the family. It represents lots of work and time spent there means lots of repairs and projects, but it has been tremendously  I think my mother would have been proud of us.

The Auvergne is one of the most beautiful areas of France. The famous Bleu D'Auvergne cheese, Michelin tires, as well as Volvic water, come from there. It is a rugged, volcanic area that is so lush that it resembles Ireland, except with better food and spectacular mountains. The landscape is breathtaking. Curvy roads wind their way through beautiful valleys. They lead through small century old villages with beautiful stone houses, and right out again through fields of wheat and sunflowers. It is a magical place.
I will reach my little village and the house in just a few days, but first, Barcelona…

I hope you will drop by often, as I will post on my travels and adventure as much as I can. I will occasionally post about Brooklyn as well. So if you have a tip or a photo about Carroll Gardens, I would be more than thankful if you send it my way. Because Brooklyn is never very far from my mind.


Margaret said...

Bon Voyage, Katia - I am always happy for you when you go back to your family house, knowing how much it means to you. And your mother is there always.May the time go slowly.. I look forward to the projects, the market visits, food, and local stories there.

Mrs. G said...

Greetings Katia,

And awaaaaaaaaaay we go! Can't wait for "our" next stop!
Safe travels my friend!

Katia said...

Thanks, Margaret and Mrs. G.

Anonymous said...

I also love your travelogue. Seeing how it's rainy and gross in brooklyn, now.
I am curious. Is your father a French national? How was he able to buy property in France? And hang on to it?
Shengen laws? Old laws? No law? even pals in Normandy has to have someone French involved. Have a glorious trip!!!

Katia said...

My family is German, so we have European Union status.
No problems about owning a house as long as you pay property taxes.

Carina said...

So beautiful! Enjoy your travels!

Katia said...

Thank you very much, Carina.