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Aisling I
Home for a Visit
05/23/2008, Halifax

A 4.45 a.m. wake-up call is never a good way to start the day. It went further downhill when we reached the Nice airport, where I discovered that I had left my purse in the hotel room. Luckily, the hotel was near the airport, and I was able to run back there (literally) and get it. I must have been a sight, tearing along the boulevard with my new black European-style scarf streaming behind me. I had worked up quite a sweat by the time I got back to the terminal, where Rick was still in the Lufthansa lineup being regaled with stories by a couple from North Carolina. They had found a cheap flight from Rome to Nice, but had ended up paying more in extra baggage charges than their tickets had cost. They did have a lot of luggage, but that's still kind of disturbing. If you're not on your toes you could run out of money pretty quickly in France. Don't even ask what Katherine's phone call from the Frankfurt airport to our French cellphone cost. And when we filled up our rental car outside Cannes on Monday, gasoline cost 1.50 euros/litre. The $1.33/litre we paid to fill up in Halifax this morning seems like a real bargain by comparison. In fact, after only three weeks in France, almost everything here seems inexpensive, although I haven't bought any wine yet.

We arrived back in Halifax at around 2.30 in the afternoon, and promptly got busted by Snoopy the sniffer dog for the serrano ham that was in our baggage, but they let us keep the boquerones in oil and the manchego cheese. It was great to see Christopher waiting for us at the exit, and he cooked us a delicious supper when we got back to the house. The grass is green, the leaves have returned and the first run in Point Pleasant Park was wonderful, with a light mist rising over the harbour and chickadees singing. The air is a bit cool compared to the south of France and jumping back into work isn't so great, but we really don't have any right to complain.

A lot happened here while we were away. Ursula Kellum finished her BSc degree at St. Mary's and will graduate tomorrow. My brother James was appointed Chairman of the new Stewart McKelvie partnership board. (He swears this won't make him any busier and I believe him, because it's not possible for anyone to be busier than he already is). The other big news is that our niece Liz made the NS Girls provincial basketball team!

It was hard to leave Aisling behind in La Ciotat, but we were fortunate to meet some other cruisers who have kindly offered to keep an eye on her. Chris and Sandra on Deep Blue will probably start making their way toward Italy soon, but we are looking forward to seeing Jean-Louis and Christine on Jersey and Paul on Boysterous when we return next month. We actually met Chris and Sandra through sailblogs- there is a neat little function that alerts us when other sailbloggers are nearby.

The picture is from our last road trip, when we visited Nimes, the Pont du Gard, St. Remy de Provence, Isle Sur La Sorgue and Gordes. It was a lovely little adventure and hopefully we'll post a few notes and pictures soon.

All the best from Halifax!

Southern France
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05/26/2008 | Janet Hart
I am a stranger following your blog and enjoying your progress. My husband and I leave this summer from the Seattle area for Mexico. We hope to make our way thru the canal and over to Europe but it will be a few years. Meanwhile I'm enjoying reading about your trip. Have you found it a problem finding places to leave your boat for trips home. That is what we will need to do too.

06/01/2008 | Mary Leslie
Hi Bonnie and Rick,
We have just arrived home from Spain.It was a wonderful time. We went on lots of excursions, so we really had a good look at some of significant places around the Costa del sol. We also went to Morroco. Very inter esting.
I wished we could have met for dinner somewhere but you were traveling just too fast. What a great time you are having. I'm so glad to be reading all about it . You are both very good writers. I hope that we see each other soon. Congratulations to you on your daughters graduation. I feel that parents should receive a piece of paper too.
Cheers, and enjoy your travels. Life flies by too too fast.
Mary Leslie
06/15/2008 | Pip Harris
Hi Bonnie & Rick, thanks for your note on our blog, and obviously you are not far away. We're planning to finally leave Port Napoleon this week and head east, so hopefully our wakes will cross. In the meantime we have updated our blog. Take care and fair winds. Sarah & Pip
Lingering in La Ciotat
Bonnie and Rick
05/15/2008, La Ciotat, France

If you've ever studied introductory Psychology, you may remember Maslow's hierarchy of needs. I have developed an extension to this theory, which I have named Salsman's hierarchy of laundry. It goes like this: having a washing machine will not necessarily make you happy, but being without one for an extended period is pretty much guaranteed to make you a bit grumpy. Ergo, when I tell you that I spent the better part of Mother's Day afternoon in a laverie in La Ciotat, you should not assume that I was unhappy about this. Au contraire. Even better, while I was happily watching the dryers spin, Rick was cleaning the boat top to bottom and preparing a feast, complete with flowers and special treats from the market. We felt sad about not being with our mothers and our children on Mother's Day, but otherwise it was a really nice day.

We are still at the dock in La Ciotat and growing more fond of this place every day. It's a bit disconcerting that the toilets in the marina washrooms don't have seats, but I suppose the theory is "Would you really sit on them?" Everything else is great, and each day we seem to discover another nice aspect of the town. Yesterday the fish we bought for dinner was so fresh that some of the ones on display were still alive. We had intended to sail to Porquerolles island, but the weather forecast for the next few days is not ideal. So instead, we've booked a rental car and will get to work on the long list of places we'd like to visit in Provence. Maybe we'll get to the Porqueroles in June. Next week, we'll head back to Canada for Katherine's graduation from University of Toronto School of Law. That will be a big day for the whole family!

We're always excited when someone leaves a comment on the blog, and recently we realized we've been a bit remiss about posting responses. Thanks Martha and Wally, Al, Mary Leslie, Linda, Liz, John and Lucille and others, for the comments you've added! Our site counter shows us that people are signing on from some intriguing locations... Israel, Costa Rica, Romania, Australia, etc. etc. (lots from France too, but I think that's us.) Anyway, we hope more people will add notes. If you have any questions or would like other information about sailing or traveling in the Med, we promise to answer, either on the blog or with a direct email.

We've also added some photos to the gallery. If you click on "photo gallery" in the right hand banner, it will take you to the main album and the sub-albums are listed below, with the most recent at the top.

A quick note from Rick:
After spending an hour at the Bureau de Poste arranging to send our 200 Euro deposit for this winter's boat storage in Tunisia (which has to be in their hands by the end of May) I decided to explore a new area and stumbled across a small gourmand type store selling special wines, foie gras, cheeses, oils etc. While I was there the proprietor asked if I would like to do a tasting of five different olive oils. All of them were medal winners, either gold or silver and all were from Provence except one from Tuscany. He explained that two of them won local competitions and two won competitions from all of France. They were all very good but honestly it was difficult for me to discern very much difference. What was most interesting was his explanation that this one was better with fish, that one with crudites, that one with something else etc. So we learn something new every day. For me it was that these oils all had a unique food focus. When we get back I intend to delve into this a bit further and see what else I can learn. By the way, each 300ml bottle cost between 17 and 20 euros, the whole exchange was in French and I surprised myself by understanding most of it!

All the best from Aisling 1

Southern France
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05/16/2008 | Martha
Your comments and photos continue to enchant...I can relate to the laundry story - I get out of sorts myself if it piles up too much and as for the differences in olive oil, I can tell you when Wally and I got home and went to use our olive oils, which have been sitting in the cupboard I'm sure now for 6 months, we threw them out...small bottles of really good olive oil is the way to go, I say! Home you have a safe trip home. Are you in Halifax at all?
05/16/2008 | Rick Salsman
Hi Martha, hope you will be able to tell us where to get the good olive oil when we get home! So far, following your lead has served us well! We will be back in Halifax on Tuesday afternoon, save us some time for an evening of Provencale cooking and story trading!
05/17/2008 | Karin & Luis Pulido are all canadians incredibly cool? In Les Beaux we first met sisters Anne and Katie from Alberta and Calgary who tell us hippy stories of living in school buses in NYC and SF and sculpting out of whale teeth. Then we meet Rick and Bonnie who are crossing oceans and are modern sea gypsies. Can we say Oh-la-la!?! We had a great time chatting with you both and your travels inspire us. We are not going to venture out into the Atlantic for 18 days...but we will take the tip of jumping into a VW bus and hitting the open rode.
We wish you safe travels home and we wish your daughter Katherine a great graduation! Can't wait to read about Tunisia. Thanks for a fun evening in St. Remy de Provence. Auvoir
05/18/2008 | martha
wow - St. Remy and Les Beaux are just gorgeous places to visit in Provence...can't wait to hear to your stories and to see more photos...will look forwward to an evening or two of wine, stories and photo sharing. Safe traveling...will be thinking of you at Hotel Ibis tomorrow night. Have a safe trip home. xxoo Martha & Wally
05/22/2008 | Rick Salsman
Karin and Luis- thanks so much for sharing the evening with us, it was so great to meet you! Congratulations again on your marriage and I hope we meet again when you visit Nova Scotia!
06/22/2008 | sam karrel
Hi Rick and Bonnie :
I wrote to you on June 17th., 08 ,when you were still in Halifax for Catherine's Graduation. Congratulations. My wifw and I had two graduations this Summer also for a daughter and a grand daughter. Bonnie , youe father was with me in the Masonic Lodge, and ofcourse I know Kay. I spoke to her several weeks ago. As I said in my previous notes, I am getting a great lesson in History and geography, and navigation.. I know you are now back on the boat, I hope tyo meet you bothe some day in Nove Scotia. I keep my boat in Baddeck. I hope you have smooth sailing. All the best, Sam

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