Happy Wednesday! You made it halfway through the work week! Are you taking time to check-in with yourself and give yourself the care, love, and attention you need? If not, it’s perfectly okay to set aside time for yourself to do whatever you want/need to do during ‘me time.’ Maybe your thing is yoga, meditation, running, reading, tending to a pallet garden you built, sewing some pillowcases for your home decor, making a dress to match your homemade mask, paddle boarding, refurbishing furniture, tooling around with some new tools, or even playing animal crossing with family and friends, but whatever you want to do during your assigned ‘me time,’ make sure you’re doing it and giving yourself a break.
If you didn’t get a chance to read yesterday’s post - “Saucisson and delicious olives” - you can click here to read all about the magic that is the market in Aix-en-Provence! Otherwise, if you’re all caught up, buckle up and let’s continue this journey together! It’s our final day in France with my boyfriend, babayyyyy!
As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, we spent the end of the wedding weekend watching episodes of Spongebob Squarepants in French in our pajamas, which was the perfect, relaxing night to an awesome weekend! Our final day in France consisted of waking up somewhat early and touring a family-owned-and-run winery, Château Virant. My boyfriend’s brother-in-law did a great job of translating French to English for his wife, my boyfriend, and me, and the facility was clean, cool, and well-organized (which may seem like weird notes, but I am someone who very deeply enjoys clean organization). Our tour was led by the owner of Château Virant who, although she had retired from tour-giving and many of the hands-on of the day-to-day operations, agreed to come in and give us the tour as no one else could. Remember how I mentioned it was a family-owned and family-run business? That definitely worked in our favor when it came time to tour! Our guide was lovely, attentive, kind, and knowledgable, offering expertise on the process of wine and olive making, and also offering some insights into a wonderful family history.
If the tour set the bar for how great the experience would be, then the actual wine and olive oil tasting blasted the bar out of the water. Any wine tasting will usually offer me something I don’t really enjoy (since I’m not the biggest fan of white wine), but Château Virant proved how difficult it would be for me to dislike any wine if it was just genuinely good. I enjoyed - to varying degrees - each wine I tried, and I will say that there wasn’t one I just flat-out didn’t like. The same thing happened with the olive oils we tasted, dunking in our fresh French bread - all of them were good! The most surprising event of the day, however, was sampling Château Virant’s Moutarde. The dijon-like mustard was the clear winner for me, and my boyfriend bought a container of it (with some olive oil, as well) to pack and bring in his suitcase home. As soon as we finished the little jar of Moutarde here at home, I actually got in contact with Château Virant and they were able to ship me an order of three more jars… so now we have one-and-a-half left. What can I say? It really is THAT good!
After touring the winery, my boyfriend and I said our goodbyes to his extended French family and went to one final French lunch with his sister and brother-in-law. Stopping at a little roadside restaurant, we each got the special, which consisted of steak and frites (which was delicious) and shared a carafe of wine. It was a nice last meal before heading to the airport to fly to Palma de Mallorca, Spain!
Have you ever toured a facility where they produced a product you didn’t originally think you’d find? Like the Moutarde at Château Virant? Let me know! Subscribe in the e-mail submission box below and reach out, follow me on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, and reach out to me on the “contact” page. I’m so happy you're here and that I’ve been receiving a lot of really incredible stories, questions, and feedback from a community all over the globe! Other people’s stories that I’ve gotten to read via e-mail, text, tweet, DM, etc. recently bring me such smiles, and I am so grateful for all of it! I hope I get to hear all about whatever stories you’ve been thinking about as we’ve been on this virtual journey together! Also, I've said it before and I'll say it again, if you have any restaurants/eateries/pubs/coffee shops/ice cream joints/theatres/lookout spots you would recommend in other countries or even in your current home town or city, I'm absolutely 100% all ears!! I couldn’t do this without you! So THANK YOU! From the bottom of my heart, truly, thank you.
P.S. - If you want to catch up from the beginning on this series of travel adventures, here's a cheat sheet to the posts (in order in which they were published):
1. Won't you join me?
2. grateful for starbucks and sandymount strand
3. Once Upon a December in the National Gallery
4. plant a smooch for that gift of gab
5. may the 4th be with you: Dingle style
6. cinco de mayo: the best Mexican food in Dublin
7. pizza in roma
8. mussolini’s window and the philosophers’ metro stop
9. father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife
10. it's the vatican, not the vatican't
11. spoiler alert: i did not lose my hand
12. more pizza and gelato and Neptune, oh my
13. craft beer, romper season, and volcano magic
14. bus singalongs and the okey dokey karaoke origin story
15. the beginning of the journey to the land of outlander
16. the boy who lived and the musical rapper
17. oh i just can't wait to be kingggg
18. fudge and haggis, quite the dynamic duo
19. the banshee labyrinth... or, my first time trying buckfast
20. the world's most magical toilet
21. gwyneth paltrow's (improv) sliding doors
22. scottish sombreros and jam, thank you
23. bob seger, a cèilidh, and arthur's seat
24. the next maxim cover girl!!
25. you can vote now!!
26. kindness at… the airport??
27. conversations with strangers and #basic meals
28. aren't gas stations amazing?!
29. not just mac's... supermac's
30. American vs. European Cell Phone Providers
31. brown bread ice cream
32. Black Lives Matter
33. technology and theatre
34. a love of Dublin pizza: Manifesto
35. a love of Dublin pizza: Dublin Pizza Company
36. a love of Dublin pizza: with my dad
37. Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness
38. thank you! round 2!
39. a love of Dublin pizza: and every other pizza
40. ahh-oooooh werewolves of london
41. a special london edition nerd alert
42. defying gravity is a WICKED good time
43. that wanker Van Morrison
44. The Cursed Child at the Palace Theatre
45. LA girls love London green juice
46. Super Bowl LII Champs at Wembley
47. champagne fizz and fruity cocktails
48. How-to: DIY Pallet Garden
49. dublin tattoo magic
51. thank you! Maxim round 4!
52. dublin bog bodies
53. dún laoghaire ice cream
54. local celeb sighting
55. 13.1 in Dublin
56. thank you! Maxim round 5!
57. every girl likes a bad boy
58. poolbeg lighthouse
59. conflict, bias, and propaganda in belfast
60. bow to your lord mayor
61. HAPPY HAMILTON DAY!!
62. Maxim Cover Girl Quarter-Finals!
63. gulliver's travels in belfast
64. all aboard the HMS Caroline
65. all aboard the RMS Titanic
66. you know nothing, jon snow
67. cave-born shadow babies
68. afraid of heights?
69. giants and their egos
70. the Kingsroad
71. sunsets in Donegal
72. derry dining chains
73. Maxim Cover Girl Semi-Finals!
74. Spontaneity is Key
75. Dear Nana
75. blasket island centre
76. Nana's blue tin cookies
77. a dance lesson in Dublin
78. dublin to Royal Portrush
79. Shane Lowry's Open Championship
80. maxim and Belfast Chinese food
81. Irish beachy wild women
82. my Irish love, Cork
83. my Irish love, Cork: hot chocolate
84. my Irish love, Cork: knit life
85. my Irish love, Cork: English Market
86. my Irish love, Cork: Blackrock Castle
87. one year ago today
88. pastis and the French Riviera
89. French Alps swim session
90. French weddings
91. Saucisson and delicious olives