a restorative weekend and the Moxy hotel

I never stay in a hotel when I go to Lille, I stay with my friends. But this time I decided, just for fun, to stay in a brand new hotel called the Moxy (it’s part of the Marriott chain). And boy, did I sleep like a log. The room was silent as a tomb and the bed firm and comfortable. At around 10 pm, I plumped my multiple pillows and turned on the television to watch an absorbing documentary on ARTE, the European culture TV channel.

The next day, Sunday, I took my 9-year old godson to a nice restaurant for lunch. Saturday, I sat on a park bench and watched him kick a soccer ball around.

“Look, Tata!” he said many times over. “Look!”

“Très bien!” I said encouragingly.

“Who’s your favorite soccer team – France or Portugal?”

“Errrrrr ….” I don’t watch sport. “France, I guess.”

Then his father joined us and we left the park to drive the 25 minutes to his small, secondary house on a small plot of land in the countryside. While his father puttered, I sat on a lawn chair and watched my godson jump up and down on a trampoline.

“Look, Tata!” he said many times over. “Look!”

“Très bien!” I said encouragingly.

The train ride back to Paris on Sunday evening – one hour – was very relaxing. As in any big city, it’s important to get away from time to time. The air and noise pollution in Paris is very stressful. What bothers me the most is street noise: the metallic whine of scooters. Cars and motorcycles. People talking loudly on their phones or playing loud music at 2 a.m. (My small flat overlooks the street.) There is intermittent birdsong, however, which is a joy. Right now as I sit here typing, I can hear a bird chirruping ardently. My dream is to live one day in a home not overlooking the street, and with a small garden.

So I’m all booked for Portugal in August. Until I spoke to a colleague today, I was unaware that the COVID situation, specifically around the Lisbon area, is particularly bad. I’ll be heading to Porto (north), but will have to keep an eye on the situation. For newcomers to this blog, I spent a perfect 11-day vacation in Porto last summer. Click on PORTUGAL up top to see my travelogue. It was so pleasant, I plan to return and do it all over again.

I’ll leave you with an excellent British travel website called SAWDAYS.

With a date for European travel swimming in and out of focus, it’s time for some armchair wandering through the places we’re missing so much, in the company of our overseas team.

They’ll take you shopping in the lesser-known French flea markets, trundling through Italy in a Fiat 500, basking at their favourite villas with pools, and on some socially-distanced sunny island hopping

If dreaming is all we can do, then let’s pour a glass of something perfectly chilled, get comfortable and drift off to Europe while we wait for the real thing to return. 

Six of the best European villas with pools – Sawday’s (sawdays.co.uk)

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