Monday, October 17, 2011

A taste of Sunday out of the mountains

On a Sunday - Ladies drinking Pastis at the Place d'Armes, Monaco.
A few days ago, the children's school fall holiday began and we hopped in the car and drove south. Six-and-a-half hours later, we arrived in the Principality of Monaco. When we left the Alps, mid-day temperatures hovered in the single digits; and when we arrived at our destination around midnight, we rejoiced at feeling 18 degrees C.

During out stay in newly married Prince Albert's land, I was struck by more than just balmy temperatures. While enjoying a black coffee and writing post cards under the arches of the Place d'Armes, I sat back and observed the scene around me.

It was Sunday, yet a produce market was in full swing. Stylish women wearing sunglasses and carrying wicker baskets picked up and sniffed red peppers; salespeople argued loudly about politics; children played at a nearby playground while their care-keepers chatted.

My eye stopped on a bevy of smartly coiffed women at a nearby table. They spoke in fast French, chain smoked, and drank a cloudy beverage that was most likely Pastis. They gestured and laughed in a way I have never seen women do back in Switzerland. That they seemed at ease, as if socializing in their own living rooms, drew me to the conclusion that they were locals.

I have yet to witness such a produce market in our village on a Sunday, as the Swiss reserve this holy day for church and for family.

I love getting out of the mountains, especially on Sundays.

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