OK: I will brave the nasty keyboard. Thanks to all for the suggestions for gifts. We will be bringing a simple bouquet to our dinner tonight; the same if we visit the big house in the country (they have had a death in the family); and leave a bottle of cognac for our hosts, who return from their adventures a few weeks after we leave.
(Nasty Keyboard: It is all too easy to accidentally highlight and delete. Such has happened a few times.)
Since I believe that with frugality, more things are possible than without, I thought some might be interested in knowing our costs so far. We are frugal now by choice. More difficult than the money for most would be the time: because we are frugal, we can say NO to summer teaching. Because we are teachers, we have a chunk of time off in the summer.
Cost so far:
Flights: $2400.00 These include a stop in Massachusetts to visit my mother, which we do every summer anyway.
Paris: $250.00 for hotels, about $60.00 for transportation, about $$40.00 for rather make-shift eating.
Nantes/Reze: lodging FREE(!!), about $7.00 each time we take public transport to the city; about $10.00-15.00 for simple meals every day, including a few walks to the bakery and some visits to markets.
Next week, we shall rent a car ($250.00) and spend a week in the countryside. Reze is a rather rustic suburb and we spend a lot of time walking on the river. There is much to see and do in Nantes as well.
I have dreamed of a vacation like this for many years. Truly, I feel as though we are in paradise.