Yesterday we returned from a trip to France. Much of it was lovely. I had the best bowl of strawberries I have ever eaten, while I was visiting a friend at her farm in southern France (the strawberries actually came from a neighboring farm, but who's counting). Driving to the Jura region of France to see the girl who had stayed with us was prettty delightful, though having to go up a windy mountain road, dodging bicyclists in packs, was a little scary. (They are likely always there, but I suspect that their numbers were augmented by people pushing to be able to say they had biked on the same road as the Tour de France, which is starting soon.) I could see several white-capped mountains in the distance, including Mount Blanc, which my wife refused to believe was named after the pen. Go figure. Northern France, in the almost-Belgium part where Lille resides, was fun, especially when we encountered happy-but-not-rowdy groups of Belgian fans on the Lille metro, heading for the stadium and the Euro2016 football matches. (France did pretty well, getting to the final, before being knocked off by Portugal.) We were in Nice, thinking about how terrible the traffic was, two days before other events there led to Solidaire avec Nice signs on the highway. Paris was good, even with the weather. My wife fnally got to see the Musee D'Orsay, which I thought was pretty, and we both spent time chilling in the Luxumbourg gardens. So that was fun.
The trip was not without incident -- mostly, nasty surprises as the European GSM phones we'd gotten failed to just work - turned out one phone was incapable of using a new SIM, while the other worked okay in Paris but only intermittantly in the countryside. We swore a mighty oath not to look at our credit card charges -- at least, at the part that shows how much we were paying for connectivity that was inadequate at best and non-functional at worst. Frequently, it was just irritating. I don't know how people get those awesome photographs from cell phones -- ours ended up looking as if it was raining or foggy, even in bright light.
The best part of the trip was seeing my friends. Their awesomeness cannot be overstated.