Subject: Summer Plans and Recent travels
Hello Ziners,

We started our travel unexpectedly early this summer (spring, really), with a VERY last minute trip to our place in the south of France. There had been trouble with the hot water heater, and we thought we could just call the electrician and have it replaced. The more we thought about it, the more we thought we had better BE there. We were thrilled to get a "ree" next-day ticket on Air France with Delta miles. We keep accumulating the miles, but are rarely able to find a time slot when the airlines have available seats.

Last minute sure works! The replacement of the water heater, on the third floor, up two narrow spiral staircases, brought the response "C'est ne pas possible!" from the electrician once he had wrestled the over-one-hundred-pound giant into the courtyard. Kirk, my husband, pulled out a plastic rope he had used to hoist furniture up when we first bought the place, and the two of them hauled the hot water heater up the side of the house, through the large windows of the third floor. Then they had to lower down the old one,even heavier with calcium deposits! The work was completed within 3 hours, then in between doing more house-related errands for the rest of the week, we enjoyed a gorgeous spring week in the south. It was the first time we had been in Vias in early May (just got back Wed.) and we loved seeing the fields of scarlet poppies fronting the vineyards, & masses of purple iris among the silvery olive trees. Had fun exploring some new places - friends had told us about the lovely Chateau de Preignes, a wine estate on the outskirts of the village that has been a vineyard since Roman times! We enjoyed a wine tasting there, and brought home some bottles.

Summer is always the most travel-filled time of year for us, since that's when most of the music festivals take place. In June, we'll stop in Vias once again, before heading for the Amalfi Coast, then Tuscany. Later in July, Provence, for the La Roque d'Antheron piano festival, then Amsterdam for the Grachtenfestival in August. Lots of marvelous music, great food, and interesting people and places to enjoy!

Happy travels- Anne in northern Virginia