When determining the best way to get from the Saumur in the Loire Valley to Cecina, Italy, we figure out that training back to Paris, then flying to Pisa, and eventually training to Cecina is the best route. Once the path is settled, we start finding accommodations. We email back Constance, whom we had rented the art studio apartment from on our way out. She responds that her apartment is booked but that we can stay with her and her daughter in their own Paris flat. We arrive at the flat, settle in to her children’s rooms, and ask how much we can pay for the room. She explains to us that she cannot charge someone to stay in her flat and we are made speechless by her generosity. We had chatted with Constance over tea and snacks for about an hour when last in Paris, and all of us got along very well, but this act of kindness was so far and beyond anything that we expected.
Gabe and I stay in her son’s room, which was better decorated than I have or ever will get my room. He had historic coca cola bottles from all over the world to go along with his guitar collection, bike parts, music posters and great sports memorabilia. Gabe and I were impressed by the son’s room. In the evening, “we” cook dinner. The “we” deserves to be in quotes because there were a couple conflicting kitchen philosophies melding. I stick to opening up the wine and cutting up a couple vegetables and then I stay out of the way. That said, the vegetable medley we had hit the spot. We had eaten a lot of cheese and a lot of bread, but our diet had been missing those colorful vegetables. While we wait for the vegetable medley to bake, we play Crazy Eights using Katherine’s seemingly made-up rules. (We later confirmed that there are a lot of possible rules that can be used in this game, and Katherine happened to be using at least semi-true rules.)
In the evening, Constance is somehow able to convince Katherine that she should go out. Before Constance’s help, Gabe and my powers of persuasion were being tested. We have a fun time, return before its too late, and wake up to Bach playing and a table set with croissants, jams, juice, and tea. As a thank you gift, we give Constance some nice tea and several jams; however, there was no gift that could show how appreciative we are for Constance’s generous hospitality.
Despite loving Constance’s flat, the three of us did explore the city some. We walked around, enjoyed the park outside the Louvre, swung by Notre Dame, and tasted fun snacks including crepes from a small street side window and macaroons from Laduree.