Sunday, September 21, 2008

Cathie Galas & Dan Ingalls!

Last week we had visitors from Santa Cruz, and it was wonderful!

Cathie Galas has been a friend of mine since she joined Toadal Fitness several years ago. She started out as a Spin regular in my classes (right in the front row, where I always appreciated her smiling face), and she was also one of my personal training clients.

When we moved from Santa Cruz, Cathie and Dan (her husband) hosted my going away party in their gorgeous Rio Del Mar home. That’s how sweet they are!

Dan has a series of talks he is doing in Europe for business this month. They started in Porto, Portugal, and they had some time to sight-see before his next talk in Paris. Fortunately for us, they decided to use some of that free time in Bouzigues!

Originally, they only planned to stay overnight in Bouzigues. However, they had so much fun their first afternoon that they stayed through Wednesday. That says a lot for:

  • The charm of Bouzigues and the South of France
  • The charm of the Billats
  • Both!

On Saturday, we filled the entire afternoon and evening with fun. We started at St. Guilhem le Desert, which is an amazing village 45 minutes away. The church there was built in the 900s, and it has one of the most beautiful pipe organs I have ever seen. The village itself is also breath-taking. Check out the URL, too.

Next we took the tour through La Grotte de Clamouse. That is an amazing cave about 45 minutes away. I wrote about it in a blog post last month, if you want more details. It turns out that Dan has explored many caves in Virginia, so he really enjoyed La Grotte.

We ended our outing with a short sightseeing adventure around La Pont du Diable, which is a bridge near La Grotte de Clamouse. We climbed up the side of the mountain like billy goats to get the best pictures. It was completely spontaneous and really, really fun!

That night, we had dinner at La Cote Bleue. La Cote Bleue is the only hotel in Bouzigues, and they also have a restaurant that the locals rave about. Poor Mike decided to be daring, and he ordered the Bouzigues equivalent of a Fisherman’s Platter. Picture this: a huge, beautifully arranged platter full of oysters, mussles, clams, escargot, whelks (another type of snail), shrimp, and crayfish. Sounds good, right? Hah! It was all raw. He choked it down, but he wasn’t smiling. He wasn’t smiling the next day, either.

Over the next few days, we brought them to a Farmer’s market, had them over for dinner twice, visited Pezenas, and introduced them to Reed (Debb was out of town on business). They also did some sight-seeing trips of their own around the area.

I know this sounds truly corny, but I will cherish the memories of their visit. It was so magical just to spend time with them. Having friends here in Bouzigues, seeing what our new life is like, is truly special.

Thank you Cathie and Dan for being here!

Love to all!


kat said...

We loved visiting the Billats in Bouzigues and would recommend that more friends from the states come to see them. One correction: we are Cathie Galas and Dan Ingalls. Dan is talking all over Europe and we had some free time to visit Gayle, Mike, Josie and Mas--what a treat they ALL are!!!

The Billats said...

I figured out how to edit a post, and I fixed Dan's name. :-)

lvb726 said...

I love reading about all the adventures and seeing all the photos. Please keep it up.
I love you all,

Lori Harasta said...

Thanks for sharing your adventure! Nice blog! I'm a long, lost friend of Cathie. Can you connect me with her? Strangely, my maiden name is the same as her husband's--Ingalls. Cathie, do you remember me, Lori Ingalls, one-third of the Rudy Benton brigade??

Hugs, Lori