My Winter Adventure in France – Part 5

Bon Jour Mes Amis!

My journey continues on my trip to France last January of 2018 to Paris and the South of France. I am now in Antibes, between Cannes and Nice on my second week of being there. Enjoy the journey!

January 18

Pampering day in Antibes. Took my first Uber to nail salon, all in pink, so knew Lord directed me there. Cute girl Marielle did my mani pedi for 52 euros. Yikes. They don’t do color, that is extra. Very simple pedi done in a foot bath not big chairs. Wandered to main square to perfume shop and treated myself to a lemon toilette spray (86 euros on sale!). But I must smell good for Francois!

Followed the way to la mer and the music of accordion. I sat admiring the view. “Lord, I could live here very happily. The sea and palm trees remind me of home”. My stomach rumbling, I returned to my friend Vincenzi’s restaurant and was warmly greeted by all, he even introduced me to his uncle who kissed my hand! I ordered the special of steak, frites, salat, white wine and chocolate mouse, all for $15 euros, my deal for the day. Vincenzi threw a fit when I asked for leftovers to go. He is Italian. Need I say more?! Lord it is so decadent to drink wine in middle of day. But it is so French!

I have decided to stay the two weeks planned and concentrate on Antibes and Nice. It is just too much to travel to new cities like Cannes or Monaco and not know the layout. I want to take the train to Italy one day as it is so close. Bon appetite!

January 19

What do you do when the Lord asks you to do something strange? Do you obey him? Today, I did. It was not the first time, but I took a leap of faith and told Vincenzi why I was here, to meet my husband Francois and come live in Antibes. He did not know of him, but took my card with name of hotel in case a man comes looking for le femme American, Miriam. He did not think it was crazy, as he is an talian AND Frenchman, and they believe in love in crazy ways. He kidded with me and said. “Are you asking me to come to your hotel tonight?” “Non, I am a good Christian woman.” We both laughed. He did the French trick of asking me if he smelt nice and I leaned in to smell his aftershave and he turned and kissed me on the lips! “Do the women fall for this every time?” “Oui.” He is not married nor wants to be, so I know he is not Francois. I hope Jesus is not jealous with his teasing!

It feels good to have a friend and be known and welcomed at a place here. The girls at the front desk, Celine and Aurelia are so helpful and like me to check in with them every day to see if I got lost and hear about my adventures. They are even going to let me do a load of laundry here. God is good. I had a nice, relaxing day and slept into 11 am. Tomorrow is Nice. Aurelia has drawn me maps!

Januany 20

Nice

I just ate the best pizza in Old Town of Nice in a heart shape with eggplant, olives, mushrooms and arugula. I travelled by train, then took tram to Promenade du Anglese, the street that runs along le mer and where the tragedy of car ramming happened. The have cafes right on the beach and free blue chairs to sit in. The water is a baby blue with gray toned rocks pebbling the beach expanse. I am making my way to Marc Chagall Musee if I can find it! I walked arm in arm with Jesus along the promenade. I am so much more in love with him on this trip, he has taken such good care of me, which I know is from your prayers. Merci mon amis.

Part two of Nice: Took a ride in the bicycle with Armand, who didn’t know if he could make it up the hill to the Musee Chagall, but said he would try! Well, he did it, pulling fat me up the hills! I was overwhelmed with tears again to see my favorite Jewish artist, Marc Chagall’s works. He built the museum when he was in his early 80s to feel like a home, with olive trees and mediteranean plants.

His canvases are so big, and such detail, I had to sit and find the biblical details and meanings in each one. I especially loved his Song of Songs series in pinks and purples to express the love of King David and Basheba, whom the Jews believe the Songs were written about. He has Christ crucified in many painting, to supposedly represent the tortured Jew, but I think something else was going on in his heart. I couldn’t take it all in, so stopped, as I was very tired from walking all day on the promenade.

I spoke with an artist displaying his art about the tragedy, and he feels someone in France was in on the terroism, as the security stopped bicycles from going into the crowds that day, but allowed the truck onto the road. Today, they have large white posts to block any car coming unto the promenade.

Now a local, I picked up my baguette after I returned to Antibes by train, to have with my tapenade and cheese dinner. I love it here!

January 21

Guess where I went for a matinee today? The French theater here in Antibes. A group of actors were staying at my hotel the last two days, and I met one in the elevator, John Baptiste, and so I thought I would go. While inquiring at the desk, a quiet, redheaded gentleman heard me and being the production head, he offered me a free ticket! His name is Francois, wasn’t he kind? It was exciting going, I met a nice Italian woman, Laura, who has lived here for 20 years, while having a coke before the show. It was titled Un Air du Famile about a normal, dysfunctional family that meets in a cafe every Friday night for dinner. I understood some of it, but ACT 2 was very funny, with crying and dancing and just universal themes that were expressed through drama. Isn’t the Lord good to let me see live theater here? He is full of surprises.

January 22

Today was a simple, outdoor day taking the bus to Eden Roc Villa, famous hotel where F. Scott Fitgerald, Rita Hayworth and The Kennedy Family would stay. It is closed but I got a peek through the fence. I then walked on the sentinel path along the Cap d’Antibes, stone steps along a narrow path falling to the sea. I sat and watched the waves crash on the stones, many looking volcanic in nature. Roc means rock in French.

On the way back in town, I finally found a cheap, good salad for 4.9 euros, which I have been craving veggies. I am al breaded out! I discovered a famous pastry at a bakery, which Napolean ate and to which Marie Antoniette said, ‘Let them eat cake.” Here is a pic of them and the sea walk. Enjoy.

Check back in July for the final week in Antibes before heading home after my month long trip across the Atlantic on the Queen Mary and three weeks in France.

A Bientôt – Miriam


My Winter Adventure in France – Part 4

Bon Soir!

I write this late at night looking out at the star filled sky with the bright moon winking at me! I love to write at night and am a night owl, but today I would like to share my continued adventure in France this past January 2018. I traveled to experience my writers and artist dream; to see the master’s artwork and write where the famous authors like Hemingway and F.Scott Fitgerald wrote. This was a trip of a lifetime for me and one I waited five years to take.

In my journey Part 4, I am in Antibes, South of France, right on the Mediterranean Sea. I begin my first two days there on a wrong bus and a trip to the Picasso Musee. (Catch up on my story on my previous blogs.)

January 16
“J’suis perdu.” (I am lost.) I told myself as I sat on the deserted plage (beach) on the cap du Antibes. I had gotten on the #2 bus at the bus station, a 10 minute walk from my hotel, and told the driver as the receptionist taught me:”I want to go to square Albert 1 and the beach.”

“En Antibes?”

“Oui”.

Well, I rode for awhile getting nervous and he finally dropped me at this little hotel and said “le mer is tout droit.” (straight that way.) So I begin walking through these huge homes with gates, and the fear starts to come.”Lord, I do not know where I am.” Some workers point me further down and voila, there is the plage Keller. I encounter a closed snack bar being renovated and the man there gives me some more water, to which I am grateful. I have two pieces of fruit in my bag, a kiwi and tangerine, so I know I am ok for awhile, as I am a diabetic.

I start to walk along the path of the sea and find a nice place to admire my fist look at the snow covered Alps, and a sea filled with azure and turquoise waters.I start to relax knowing I am not lost, Jesus is with me and I put my head on his shoulder.”Alright, Lord, send Francois to rescue me!”

People walk by on their hike and when every man passed by I asked the Lord, “Est ce lui?” (Is this him?) Finally, the sea having done its magic and refreshed me, I say, “Lord, I just want to enjoy the sea and have fun. I am not going to look for Francois or worry about him anymore.” Let me know how long I should stay in Antibes and when to book my return ticket.”

As I am waling back up the hill, I come to a fork, not knowing which way.”Lord, help me.” I look up and see a police car.The officer stops. “Escuzi moi Monsuier, je sues pedru.” (I am lost) He directs me up to the street to catch the bus and when I arrive it is there, so I hop on. I enjoy the view as we drive along the cap back to Antibes. I had wanted to walk along the cap to the Eden Roc Hotel but it is too far and closed. Most hotels and restaurants are closed up here for winter until mid April.

On the walk back to hotel, I stop at the bakery and get a slice of pizza for 2.45 euros and at the grocery for lemonade, Diet Coke, chips, yogurt, cambert cheese and Little Boy chocolate cookies, which are better in France. I am surprised how cheap the food is here in Antibes, compared to Paris.I paid 1.15 euros for a large container of yogurt, .89 cents for limonaid, 1.50 for a large round of cambert. My hotel does not come with breakfast here, so I will save money filling my small refrigerator with food.

It is windy, with 60 degree weather and sunshine all the way to Monaco. Tomorrow I am going to the Picasso museum in the castle he lived here in Antibes.For now a nap. Enjoy the pictures!

January 17

Hello from Antibes,it’s 54 degrees and sunshine on this beautiful winter day. I journeyed into the Old City today to see Picasso’s museum in an old castle overlooking the city walls.I walked without getting lost, as Aurelie, the night receptionist here at the Best Western Inn, drew me a hand map.Picasso worked here between 1946- 1948 after the war and created ceramics, and linocuts, new mediums for him.

The man who owned the ceramic factory in nearby Vallerius taught him. I met his nieces, two French/British ladies the other night outside the gelato shop and they told me their story. One lady, Lynette, shared she held one of Picasso’s sketchbooks wearing white gloves.The family sold the factory and she just bought a home in the new development.This pricked my interest as I believe the Lord has a home for me here too, and one day I will be a home owner.

It was another ‘ahah moment’ as I walked on the squeaky wood floors of his studio, with the little shuttered rectangular windows letting light into his studio. He had started to engrave a mural into the walls of this large studio, but stopped suddenly.You can still see the engravings.I felt his presence so strongly here. His unseen works exhibited here feature things special to his heart here in the Cote d’ Azur: sea urchins, octopus, owls, bulls fighting, to name a few. He also liked doing fauns and of course, nudes. I wasn’t really a Picasso fan until today. If you want to read book about his life here in Antibes, I recommend the book Cooking for Picasso, a fictionalized story of the young girl who cooked and fed him every day while he was here, and came to have his baby.

After the museum, I wandered down the narrow cobbled stone lanes of the Old City and came upon the Holy Spirit church and went inside.They were playing operatic music, which I found strange, but I was able to sit awhile and hear from the Lord more about his plans for my time here. This was good for me, as I was feeling so depleted, spiritually and physically, from all the travel. I came upon the marchee, or daily market, and bought some goodies: baby eggplant tapenade, some truffle cheese (at 12 euros enough to last all week from a pushy marketer), some dried figs and a baguette for.89 cents. I love how the French ensure their people have bread and keep the price so low.

I ate my picnic lunch outside the city entrance overlooking all the big yachts on Millionaire Row.This is the largest and wealthiest harbor in all of Europe. Perhaps Francois owns one, you can all come for a free boat ride! I walked the ramparts out to the giant sculpture of a man made out of letters, overlooking the harbor.

I almost bought the new John Grisham book at an English bookstore but it was 34 euros.($40) It would be nice to have something to read as all the television is in French.

Enjoy the master’s work! (Both God and Picasso)

Stay tuned next month for my continued journeys in Antibes and Nice in part 5 of my winter adventure in France.

A Bientôt (See you soon!)

Miriam


My Winter Adventure in France – Part 3

Bon Jour!

It is now spring and my hope rises to return to Paris to see the flowers and swim in the sea in the South of France. It may still be a little cold, but we shall see!

Continuing on with my adventures this past winter in France, I have included two of my Facebook posts to friends as I traveled to the Riviera. May you enjoy the journey along with me!

January 15 Fifth Day in Paris

My last day in Paris, I visited the neighborhood of Montmartre in the rain, on the famous martyrs hill where St Denis, first bishop of Paris, was decapitated. Legend is he picked up his head and walked down the hill, then up this small hill and died! The church of Sacre Couer is here (sacred heart of Jesus) with domed mural and sacrament of Eucharist on display. Prayed and had some time with Jesus. View from steps is famous to come to see sunrise or set over Paris. My first ariel view since I did not make it up Eiffel.

I wandered to the town square where artists paint, and where famous artists of 1920’s and 30s, like Picasso, Matisse, Renoir, and Chagal, exhibited on this same square and had their studios nearby.

A painter, Miro, offered a portrait of me in a new medium of Japanese markers. I laughed and giggled as we stood in the square in the cold and he painted me as he saw me. He gave me an artist 50% discount and I was pleased! This was the souvenir I was looking for, original art et moi!

Wandering around, a tall good-looking artist, Jonas, approached me and said he wanted to sketch my eyes, they were so beautiful and full of light. For free. I agreed and I told him the light was from Jesus which opened door to talk about our faith and how he says racism and anitsemitism in France is not like media portrays. He does not care that I was Jewish or American, people are people. He admired my all purple outfit. “I am an artist and I dress in color.” Everyone wears black in Paris. He asked to see my art, and I showed him my glass sculptures, which he admired.

Next thing I know, he draws my full face, I felt he got my eyes, nose and mouth, but my face was too wide. I offered him $10 euros which he kindly took and kissed me, a warm, long kiss on my cheek. “You are the first Frenchman to kiss me…but not three times.” “In Paris we kiss four times” so kisses 2, 3 and 4 followed, By now I was swooning. “Miriam, you are a princess”. I thought, perhaps this is my Francois? But alas,no,he is in South of France. We took a picture and I walked away with a big smile.

Around the corner, I ran into Miro again and showed him the portrait by Jonas. “He made my face too wide”. “That is because he does not have my eye and he did not know that you were not fat!” “The light in my eyes, Milo, comes from Jesus.” “Ah, Jesus.” Another artist, Vasco, with wild long hair and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth, starts cutting a silhouette of me. “I have no more money. I need to get some lunch.” He too wanted a picture and got my last 5 euro.

I will remember this day forever, hanging with the warm Parisian artists in the square of such history. God is so good to me, and has planned such surprises. Tomorrow I head to Nice on the train. Please say a quick prayer no one takes my luggage from the communal luggage area. People steal things here in France. Ask for an angel to sit on it for me!

January 15 First night in South of France.

Je suis en Antibes, Sud du France! My luggage and I arrived safely. Thanks for praying. It is like home here, blue skies with fluffy clouds, wind blowing the palm trees, turquoise blue sea, red tiled roofs wth pale light colored houses in coral, pink and beige. So refreshing after dark, gloomy Paris. My room is even decorated in a beach theme! Lord knows how to pick them.
The scenery down was wonderful to see. Castle’s nestled on top of hills, small villages along the river, naked vineyards in burgundy, grey and black. Marie-Claire was a beautiful, older Parisian woman who sat next to me on the train and translated the announcements. I am off to dinner downtown for my first seafood meal and to see millionaires row, all the yachts in the harbor Antibes is famous for.

My first official dinner in France with owner Vincenzi at his French Italian restaurant in Old Town in Antibes. I had the Red Snapper drizzled in oil with veggies and garlic puréed potatoes and fresh rolls. It tasted so French. He and his staff laughed when I asked to take leftovers home for tmw night. I guess the French don’t take leftovers so he presented it wrapped in foil! He threw kisses to me and I caught them and threw them back. What is it with French men? A girl has to economize! Feeling full but happy! Bon Nuit!

Stay tuned for Picasso, the blue sea, and a wrong bus stop that lead to a fun adventure in my next stories.

Ciao and A Bientot!

Miriam


My Winter Adventures in France – Part 2

Bon jour mes amis – (Hello my friends!)

My adventures in Paris continue in today’s blog post of my winter trip to France this past January 2018. It was my dream trip of a month abroad, starting with a transatlantic crossing on the Queen Mary 2 from New York to England, complete with a hurricane! As an artist and writer, I wanted to see all the famous spots artists and writers of past generations had lived and worked. (Read up on it on my previous post on this blog site.)

January 13 – Third day in Paris

Today my dream came true to visit the Cafe Deux Magot (two chinamen) in German de Pres where Hemingway wrote his early books over a cognac, and write some of my next book. I could not bring my laptop for security reasons so my iPhone had to suffice. I ordered a capuchino (yes, they are better here) from a quirky waiter with sunken cheeks and a twitch, or was it a wink?! who grunted at me. How appropriate for Paris. I had wanted to write Becoming Miriam in Paris, and in a way, I have! You wait and wait on the Lord, then voila, the day arrives. Feeling happy today.

Later that day:

Shabbath Peace! Today on Shabbat I went to the Jewish part of the Marais and had the best falafel ever, with shnitzel (pounded fried chicken) and eggplant. The place, with a star of David over the door, was loud, crowded, with a swarma (lamb) spit, and played Israeli music in Hebrew, which made me cry again, to be celebrating my Jewishness openly in anti-semitic France. I met an Israeli, Allan, who lives in Paris and got to speak some Hebrew. There are only two blocks left of the Jewish quarter, most Jews have made aliyah (immigration) to Israel. There was a Yiddish/Russian place, a deli, a social service place, and a store that sold Menorahs and such. Alas, they were closed because foolish me forgot it was Saturday!

I then stopped at a bakery and tried my first macaroons, one caramel, one pistachio, divine! I also visited Luxembourg Gardens with the naked trees all lined up in precision and the large pond children sail toy boats in.

I had a long and rough day in the Metro getting around, you really go into the bowels of the earth to find your right platform. You must know the color, number and name of the end of the line you are on, and the lines all mix crazily.

I booked my train ticket to Nice today, I leave on Tuesday for a 6 hour trip there, then on to Antibes. You have to print your ticket at the station, all this is so new to me, which adds stress because what if it doesn’t print and I spent 92euros? lol Travel days are hard too. Tomorrow I must do laundry at the Lavaganic five minutes walk away. And yes, my shower is working again! Enjoy the pics!

January 14 – Fourth day in Paris

Sunday. A day of rest. Sunshine for first time! I did laundry for 5 euros a wash (!) which was computerized and a nice Parisian helped me. A Saudi Arabian man spoke with me as we waited on our laundry, which you must watch or it is stolen. He told me their new King Mohammad du Suleman is liberating the country: women don’t have to cover or wear burqas, they can now drive, have equality. They now have movie theaters and can steam Netflix. This is good news to hear. But gays are abandoned and thrown out of country. Some things do not change in a Muslim country.

I stumbled upon Sunday Market and boy what a feast. You have to que up to buy. Fish, escargot, chickens with their heads on, free samples of duck pate, nougut with pistachios and figs (yum, I bought), belts, clothes, computer gadgets, and my favorite brie with truffles slathered in middle for 49 euros a pound. I kept asking the man to repeat the price because I wanted some and finally had to say I could not afford that. They laughed when I asked for samples of cheese. A faux pas!

A nice Madame helped me do the ATM machine to get euros for Nice. I keep them locked in my room safe. Now or a nap, these old bones are tired!
I am so grateful to the Lord for this time here as I love traveling internationally and can’t wait to live abroad, him willing. And I love sharing with you, it gives me a chance to write and keep a journal of my trip. A Beintot!

Stay tuned for the next section, with me traveling to the South of France and the Riviera!


My Winter Adventures in France – Part 1

Bon Jour mes amis- (Good day my friends)

Yes, it happened. I finally went to France for three weeks and fell in love with it! God opened the door for me at the last minute to take the Queen Mary 2 from New York to Southhampton, England on a transalanttic crossing. It was like Downton Abbey at sea. High tea every day with delicious gluten free scones, canapés and petit fours. Dressing for dinner, royal balls and walks around the deck after our two day hurricane adventure where I was seasick, but recovered nicely. We passed the point where the Titanic went down and it gave new meaning to the tragedy, as I could imagine what they felt, now being on a ship.

I arrived in Southhampton, where I took a shuttle to London, and then the Eurostar to Paris, arriving in early evening. My first look at Paris from the taxi was bigger than I imagined and somehow different. I cried when I saw the Arc du Triumph, the Louve and Seine. My room had a view of the muddy-brown Seine and the very next morning I got up before the sun rose at 8:30am and walked along it, counting the bridges till I reached Notre Dame, an hour later. That was what I wanted to do most, as if you recall, my desire to go to Paris and be like Sabrina in the movie of said name, was to write my book Becoming Miriam there.

Well, six years later, I arrived, and did get to sit in the booth Hemingway wrote his classics at Cafe Duex Magots and write some on my second book which highlights my journey to move to France. God fulfilled my dream and I ended up staying one month with me taking the train down to the South of France, to Antibes, where I fell in love with the blue blue sea and snow covered French Alps. More on that later…

I will be posting my journal I wrote every day and posted to my friends on Facebook for you to enjoy in a part of a series of my travels in France. I hope you enjoy them and my pictures of all the wonderful memories and friends I made along the way.

First day in Paris
Oovercast weather, walked all along Seine counting the bridges doing my Sabrina thing 5 Kilometers to Notre Dame, with stunning sculpture. Visited the Deportation Mermorial where 200,000 resistance fighters and jews were deported to death camps, along with the Memorial du Shoah, that has the 67,000 names of French jews deported engraved on walls. Very moving for me as these were the first authentic sites I have seen. Some nice British ladies helped me on my first harrowing ride on the Metro. The French do like Americans and practicing their English. Fun lunch with my waiters of French meatballs, frites and salad. No one tips here even taxis.

Day 2 in Paris
Today I ventured out on metro to Musee de Orsay, featuring the impressionists and a special exhibit of Degas. Tears have come to me in many unexpected places while here and looking at the beauty of brush stroke and color of Monet was one of them. I have been praying about a new vision for my art, and given I saw a modern impressionist exhibit in the art gallery on Queen Mary, (famous British artist Sheree Valenine-Dianes), I believe I will try leaning this style. Grabbed an apricot crepe and walked through Garden du Tulliniers, past the big Farris wheel, and danced down the Champs Elysess with Jesus to the tune of Ten Minutes Ago I Saw You, from 1960s Cinderella TVspecial. He had promised me we would, and boy did we. Yes, I got a few funny looks from the French, but I didn’t care! At the end is the Arc du Triomphe, such impressive sculpture, it blows my mind! Now a pro, I hopped back on Metro back to hotel for a break, then off to Eiffel Tower at night tour. I am depressed how expensive things are here, it really is ridiculous and a bit dark and gloomy, but hey, it is winter and it is Paris!

Stay tuned for Part 2, coming soon!


40 Cloves of Garlic and a Chicken? French Recipe You’ll Love

Yes, you heard right. 40 cloves of garlic and a chicken. A traditional French recipe, I stumbled upon in my “a little taste of France” cookbook. What? Really? What do you need 40 cloves for? But knowing the French are experts at cooking, and trying to increase my repertoire of French dishes, I tried it. And loved it.

First of all, I love baked garlic cloves with bread and this recipe allows you to soap up all the juices of chicken and garlic with the bread. So if you are feeling adventuresome, give it a try! Serves 4 people.

Ingredients
2 Celery Stalks, including leaves
2 springs of rosemary
4 sprigs of thyme
4 springs of flat-leaf Italian parsley
1 x 1.6 kg (3lb 8 oz) chicken
40 garlic cloves unpeeled
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 carrot, roughly chopped
1 small onion cut into 4 wedges
250 ml (1 cup) white wine
1 baguette, cut into slices
small springs of herbs

Preheat the oven to 200c or 400 degrees. Put a chopped celery stalk and two sprigs each of the rosemary, thyme and parsley into the chicken cavity. Add 6 cloves of garlic. Tie the legs together and tuck the wings under.

Brush the chicken liberally with some of the oil and season well. Scatter about 10 more cloves of garlic over the base of the large casserole dish. Put the remaining sprigs of herbs, chopped celery, carrot and onion in the casserole.

Put the chicken in the dish. Scatter the remaining garlic cloves around the chicken and add the remaining oil and wine. Cover and bake for 1 hour and 20 minutes, or until the chicken is tender and the juices run clear when the thigh is pierced with a skewer.

To serve, carefully lift the chicken out of the casserole dish. Strain off the juices into a small saucepan. Use tongs to pick out the garlic cloves from the strained mixture. Spoon off the fat from the juices and boil for 2-3 minutes to reduce and thicken a little.

Cut the chicken into serving portions, pour over a little of the juices and scatter with the garlic. Toast the baguette slices. Garnish the chicken with sprigs of herbs and serve with the bread to be spread with the soft flesh squeezed from the garlic.

Bon Appétit!


My Alaskan Adventure – Meeting God in the Wilderness

I just returned from a five day spiritual retreat in Juneau, Alaska, which was the 50th state I have visited in America, and my first time here. This was on my bucket list and I am happy the Lord gave me the vision and resources to go.

Prior to leaving, I had been in such a dry, dead place spiritually, following a year of grieving my father’s death and a car settlement case with an attorney that had been so difficult. I so longed for some time away with Jesus, and to experience the beauty of the Alaskan wilderness.

I chose Juneau as it had a retreat center and Shrine to St. Therese of the little flower Jesus, whom I had been named after, my given name being Teresa. It is an old gold mining town with the Mendenhall Glacier and tram up to Mt. Roberts, in the middle of a rainforest. I picked to stay at Grandma’s Featherbed Inn, in anticipation of the comfortable bed, which turned out to be like sleeping on a cloud, and the whirlpool bath. The owner, Mel, was so helpful, packing me a free lunch each day as I trouped out with my Lyft driver to the unknown.

I was first stunned how the clouds dance up and down over the huge wooded mountains and a layer of fog and mist rests upon the gray-blue water of the channel that Juneau resides upon. The St.Therese Shrine had a long walkway out to a wooded island. There I was alone in the chapel, where the Lord began to do a new work in my heart: Repentance, healing and deliverance all supernaturally occurred as I walked the beautiful gardens and sat before the sea, hoping for a whale to surface, or a bear to come lumbering along. I heard his voice so clearly in the silence as I munched on my delicious sandwich, with hardly a person in sight. I saw His majesty, His power, His love in the nature around me and in His tender healing of my heart. He gave me a new heart of flesh, from my heart of stone (Ezekial 36:26) and filled me with His love for others.

On a walk the next day to the glacier and Nugget Falls, along a path where a bear had been the day before, I stood under the pounding, loud waterfall and felt Him deliver me from many bondages in my life. Primarily to a bondage to self, which was keeping me from loving people. He pressed upon my heart to live a new life in holiness, like St. Therese, to follow her ways of simplicity and showing love in simple ways to others, and to sacrifice and do everything in love for Him.

Returning from the falls, and singing at the top of my voice to scare away said bear, out of the corner of my eye, I saw a flurry of golden brown fur go by in the bushes off the path. I quickened my step but kept singing Yankee Doodle Dandy. You’d be surprised what comes out of your mouth when stumbling upon one. I became more brave while in the wilderness with Jesus, as I realized if I could trust him to protect me from bears, certainly he could protect me from all my fears and problems waiting back home.

One afternoon I spend the day wandering throughout the old storefronts of Juneau, marveling at the talent of the local artists, learning the story of the native people’s heritage through a museum mask display and old-time Indian trading post that carried pink suede moccasins lined in white fur, ivory carved polar bears, and fur pelts for any decor. I stopped for a nonalcoholic drink at the Red Dog Saloon, where I chatted with cruise ship tourists in dock for the day, in this famous 1840 drinking establishment serving gold miners on the last stop on the gold highway.

God restored my heart for sharing the gospel when he gave me many divine appointments, where I was able to share my faith and speak hope and love into people’s lives, especially the Mormon’s who ran and worked at Grandma’s Inn, and who showed me such love and kindness. I was able to tell them about my book, Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God and give them my card to find it on Amazon.com. I hope they will read it and find the truth of who Jesus is and the free gift of grace and salvation He gives to us. Alaska is in my heart and I am so grateful to the Lord for gifting me this wonderful experience of seeing Him in all His glory both personally and in the beauty of nature.

I highly recommend a trip to Juneau and feel free to message me with any questions!


Parlez Vous Francais? Simple Online Language Lessons by Mango

Bonjour! (Good day, hello)

Today I would like to share my journey into re-familiarizing myself with the French language as I prepare to visit France. I took French for one semester 35 years ago while at U.C. Berkeley and for the past year, I have been watching movies with French subtitles, but needed more.

My local librarian introduced me to Mango, an online resource free through the library system that teaches online language lessons, including French. It is available also for a fee through the mobile app and at mangolanguages.com

I am thrilled to say I have been able to bring back the language through these simple, easy to understand and speak, interactive lessons. You will find them under Online Resources on your library website.

I am sitting here at Peets Coffee, smelling the freshly ground coffee, on this hot 96 degree summer day, probably annoying my fellow Peetniks by repeating the French phrases outloud!

Do you want to learn some easy French? Here is a sampling:

Bon Soir! (Good evening)
Ca Va? (How are you?)
Bon, ca va très bien, merci (Well, I am very well, thank you.)
Vous parlez anglais? (Do you speak English?)
Moi? Oui, je parle un peu anglais. (Yes, I speak English a little.)
Bien. Je ne comprends pas le français beaucoup (Good, I do not understand French very much.)
Bon, A tout a l’heure. (Well, see you later.)
Au Revoir, and Ciao. (Goodbye and Ciao)

See, I learned all this in the first five lessons, and I trust I will be able to get around Paris and the South of France. After all, the French appreciation it if you try to speak the language first, especially waiters, and then don’t think we are horrible Americans!

Please come back to my blog and learn more about France and my upcoming trip!

Salut and Ciao (goodbye and Ciao)

Read my spiritual journey and my path to moving to France in my new book Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God
available in paperback or ebook at amazon.com


A Walkabout for Art Lovers in Nice, France

This Fall I plan to visit Nice, France, on the Cote d’Azur (blue sea) in the South of France. Also known as the French Riviera, it was a playground for artists – inspiring them to create art in a way that Paris could not, with the sun, sea and ocean breeze as subjects of their modernist paintings.

As an artist, I am looking forward to visiting the Marc Chagall Museum in Nice. Having a Jewish heritage myself, Monsuier Chagall is a favorite. I first saw his genius in the stained glass windows of the chapel in Haddassah Hospital outside Jerusalem, on my first tour of Israel. I was moved by his biblical scenes and my messianic-Jewish tour guide (a Jew who believes in Jesus) gave a delightful commentary as we visited the chapel. My favorite Chagall painting, La Mariee, is of a bride with violin-playing goat.

The Musee Marc Chagall was created with the cooperation of the artist himself, with large paintings illustrating the first two chapters of the Bible, Genesis and Exodus; and Solomon’s Song of Songs or Canticles, which is a biblical meditation on love.

THE LIFE OF CHAGALL

Marc Chagall, born Moishe Zakharovich Shagalov; (1887 –– 1985) was a Russian-French artist of Belarusian Jewish origin. An early modernist, he was associated with several major artistic styles and created works in virtually every artistic format, including painting, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramic, tapestries and fine art prints.

Chagall was born into Russian poverty (his father was a herring merchant) and he went on to live a life encompassing nearly 100 years. He lived the Russian revolution, arrived in Paris not speaking a word of French, returned to his village to marry his fiancé and was then trapped in Russia during WWI. He returned to Paris to become one of the Modernist masters, but even this couldn’t save him as a Jew during WWII and his family had to be smuggled out of France to America. During this time his Jewish hometown was decimated from a population of over 200,000 to just 118 survivors.

Despite this, his work is infused with joy and optimism, whimsical dreamlike symbols, and always evoking his humble childhood and faith.

CHAGALL ON THE RIVIERA

Chagall lived his final years in Saint Paul de Vence from 1966-1985, where he was constantly in motion on new projects, even up to the day he died at age 97 (his tomb can be found in the Saint Paul de Vence cemetery). His works can be found up and down the coast – and sometimes crop up in surprising places, like at the winery Sainte Roseline where a Chagall mosaic covers a wall in the chapel, or in the back of L’Ane Rouge restaurant in the Nice Port, where you can find a red ceramic donkey, a gift to his stubborn red-haired mistress, Anne, who he nicknamed L’Ane Rouge, and who then gave the name to her restaurant.

How to Get There:

Take bus Bus #15 Rimiez/St-George, which you can catch behind the Nice Etoile Shopping Center, behind Galeries Lafayette, or on rue Geoffredo. Once the bus is well up the hill and you have a great city view to your left, you know your stop is getting close. After you pass the ‘Rolland Garros’ stop, push the red button and get off at the ‘Musee Chagall’ stop. The museum is via the road on your left. The museum is on Avenue Docteur Menard, which is just off Boulevard de Cimiez.*

Voyages heureux à Nice – Miriam

Check out my memoirs available on Amazon.com in ebook or paperback
Becoming Miriam: A Life Transformed by God.

*adapted from Allison Coe – Best of Nice, Blog.


Paris Here I Come: The Best Falafel in Paris Review

Yes, I am excited to say my long planned trip to Paris is finally coming to pass. I have been waiting for the Lord to provide the money to go, and voila, I have received a nice settlement from a car accident which will allow me to travel to France.

One of my desired things to do when I get to Paris is visit the Jewish Quarter, the Marais, and have a falafel at what I have been told is the best falafel restaurant. I hear they are out of this world, and having spent much time in Israel, I love to eat them. If you are going to Jerusalem anytime soon, the best place to get one is in the Jewish Quarter in the Old City. They put French fries in them, which I love.

In the Marais district of Paris, long lines form in front of a tiny, dark green storefront, where tourists and locals alike await what just may be the best falafel sandwich in all of Europe. At least according to Lenny Kravitz, whose picture adorns this always crowded kosher eatery. Yes, while the City of Lights is renowned for its Michelin-starred restaurants and gourmet cuisine, one may not always feel up for a multi-course meal.

If you’re looking for something delicious and budget friendly, (a classic falafel pita cost 5 euro and will satisfy your appetite for hours and hours), head straight for the Marais district and don’t stop walking until you get to 34, rue des Rosiers.

The neighbourhood, the traditional Jewish quarter of Paris, is full of falafel joints, but L’As du Falafel is widely-known to be the best (Paris resident and professional food writer and blogger, David Lebovitz, puts L’As du falafel at number 2 on his list of 10 Insanely Delicious Things You Shouldn’t Miss in Paris). Give your money to the Israeli guys standing outside, and get in line to pick up your order from the take-away window.

What you’ll get is a pita stuffed to the brim (you’ll need a fork and lots of napkins) with super-crisp, garlicky chickpea fritters, creamy hummus, lightly pickled red cabbage, salted cucumbers, fried eggplant and just-hot-enough harissa (ask for extra sauce piquant).

One word of advice: don’t save this meal for your last day on a Paris visit. Once you have one of these falafel sandwiches, you’ll want to come back again for another.

L’As du Falafel
34 rue des Rosiers (Métro Saint Paul), Paris
+33 (1) 48 87 63 60
Closed Saturdays

Bon Appetit! Wish me luck in my travels! – Miriam

Check out my book/memoirs: Becoming Miriam: A life transformed by God – click above or for sale at Amazon.com