Are We There Yet?

I’m sure that friends and acquaintances are getting rather tired of us harping on about our pending departure for French River. More than one eye-roll has indicated the general feeling mirrors Lady Macbeth’s command to: stand not upon the order of your going, but go!

It is funny – both haha and odd – that where once we would pack our bags and in some excitement head to the airport to journey around the world we are just as excite these days about a 65 minute car ride from home. Is it the pandemic that has elicited this reaction? Or is it perhaps weariness, after many years, of long distance travel? Whatever the reason we’ll be on our way tomorrow to one of our favourite spots on the Island: French River and Yankee Hill.

The village of French River – two more kilometres and you’re in Yankee Hill.
Photo: uncredited

So what are we going to do up there for two weeks? Well Sunday we head over to the Indian River Festival for a concert and then dinner with friends at Sou’West, a favourite in the area. Another evening we’re going to the Watermark Theatre over in North Rustico for The Gin Game. While we there at the cottage we’ll be celebrating our 14th wedding anniversary with a BBQ with our friends Pico and Don. And our Lori, Cathleen, and Nora have promised to come up and explore the Yankee Hill Cemetery and have lunch at O’Neil’s, another favourite. A trip down to Holman’s Ice Cream Parlor in Summerside is mandatory for whatever ice cream treat they’ve whipped up that day. And I’m pretty sure there are hamburgers with our names on them at Backwoods Burger over in Tyne Valley. Plans are afoot to explore a bit Up-West and make a trip over to Lennox Island First Nation and possibly a bit further up the western end of the Island which we have yet to explore.

Other than that there is the sandy beach that stretches from the mouth of the French River to the Gulf. (A left click here will take you to a short video) Only the locals use it during the week and even on weekends 10 or 12 people is a crowd. And should it rain well I picked up two books to read. The Temptation of Forgivenes, the latest Donna Leon mystery – her 27th – will give me a chance to get reacquainted with Commisario Guido Brunetti, one of my favourite detectives. New London, the Lost Dream recounts the history of the Quaker settlement that was established in 1773 on the very spot we are staying at. It is a largely unknown bit of Island history.

And then there is the possibility of just sitting on the deck at the cottage sipping an iced tea (yes I’m still on the wagon) and watching the changing backdrop of an Island sky behind the New London Rear Lighthouse.

The New London Rear Lighthouse from Yankee Hill.
Photo: W. Bruce Stewart.

The threat of Hurricane Elsa seems to have passed us by – some wind, driving rain, thunder and lightening – and as I write this it looks like it’s clearing. The forecast for the next little while suggests a typical Island summer – sun, the odd rain shower, hotish days and cool nights.

Okay! Okay! We aren’t standing on any order and we’re going! We’re going!

The word for July 9th is:
Vacation /vāˈkāSH(ə)n,vəˈkāSH(ə)n/: [1. noun 2. verb]
1.1 An extended period of leisure and recreation, especially one spent away from home or in travelling.
1.2 The action of leaving something one previously occupied.
2.1 To take a vacation.
2.2 To leave something one previously occupied.
Late Middle English: from Old French, or from Latin vacatio(n- ), from vacare ‘be unoccupied’.

Salzburger Zeitung – 2013 Edition

Yes it looks like we’ll be making it back to Salzburg for the 2013 edition of the Pfingstfestpiele.  Its been a bit touch and go the past few weeks – are we going or are we not?  I won’t go into the sordid details except to say that the procedure at the Heart Institute last week determined that I do have a heart and that it is functioning, after a fashion, and should I follow a programme of exercise, diet and medication will for awhile yet. 

Now I’m not sure if the schnitzel at Triangl, Bazartost at Cafe Bazaar or Salzburger Nockerl at Hotel Bristol are on that diet but we shall have to see.  But I’m sure that a climb up the Kapuzinerberg and a stroll through Hellbrun Palace are considered exercises.  And the programme that Cecilia Bartoli has created for this year’s festival is sure to be as soothing and healing as any medication a doctor could prescribe.  So I’ll just look on this as following the doctor’s orders.

Actually this trip was planned almost a year ago – the tickets for the Whitsun Festival go on sale a day or two after the current festival ends.  In a gesture of mad optimism – and let’s be serious about this you have to be optimistic to book these things a year in advance at my age – I booked tickets for a rather full Whitsun weekend (more about that later).  As the months progressed the vacation plans became more elaborate with each passing week until we had a full two weeks of traveling in Germany as well as five days in Salzburg.

If things had been going according to plan this morning we would have gone to services at Dresden’s Frauenkirche and about now we would be entering the Semperoper for a performance of Halévy’s rarely performed La Juive – yes David I know another bloody French grand opera!  And tomorrow we would be boarding a paddle wheeler for lunch at the Meissen Factory.  However the “best planned lays of mice and men” often go up the tubes – to mix and mangle my metaphors.  As it stands now tomorrow evening (Monday) we will be heading to either Frankfurt than onward to Munich or London and onward to anywhere in Germany where we can catch a train to Munich.  Such are the vagaries of travel on airlines passes.

We’ll be traveling with our little buddy Sidd and he’s been given strict instructions to have me write a bit about our experiences at this year’s Festival.  So hopefully at his urging I’ll be posting another edition of Salzburger Zeitung.

May 12 – 1754:  Franz Anton Hoffmeister, German composer and publisher of the works of Haydn, Mozart, Beethoven, Clementi and Von Dittersdorf, was born.

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