I thought it was time to wrap up my Normandy posts after watching this video (link below). It doesn’t matter whether you speak French or English or neither – I think you’ll catch the drift.
I’m sorry to be so incommodius as to make you click over, but I cannot share it without violating copyrights. (Plus I can’t figure out how to do it).
When the host announced that there were three more carousels (after two hours of viewing slides), I started giggling, thinking of my Normandy posts. So I’m combining part IV (Honfleur) and part V (Thalassotherapie Spa, or « Managing Expectations. ») in this one post.
Honfleur is interesting as it’s a preserved midieval town.
Who cares if it’s touristy.
It has charming streets (kinda charming)
There are a lot of art galleries,
and it’s a seaside town.
But the thing I’m most excited about is having found these,
which provide the missing lampshades to two of our hand-blown bottles that Sir’s grandparents had transformed into lamps. They have been sporting empty frames in place of a shade. Now we just have to find another one for the lamp on our mantlepiece.
I’m also excited about having found these.
Everyone needs a proper coquetière to have oeufs à la coque. When we ate soft boiled eggs growing up, I think we let them roll around on the plate gathering shells.
Here you have them properly, perched on one of these cute little things, with strips of buttered toast to dip in the soft yolk. Compliment that with a salad and you have a meal.
So that was Honfleur, a rushed visit to a cool place with a couple of useful souvenirs to remember it.
I also wanted to tell you about my spa experience with the Thalassothérapie Spa of Deauville.
It was not what I had envisioned.
You know that point during a dream vacation where you’re just not content?
It can be when you get out of the shower, look at yourself in the mirror and realize that the sleep wrinkles are not fading as quickly as they used to, which causes you to frown in discontent. Then you notice that your frown causes more wrinkles.
It can be as you’re getting dressed to go out to a fancy restaurant and realize that the fabulous outfit you planned shows more bosom (or belly) than you intended. And you brought nothing else to wear.
It can be that the vacation is drawing to an end much more quickly than you would wish and you’re annoyed that this particular moment in time is not being filled with some mind-blowing experience.
Or it could simply be that you have unrealistic expectations.
I have only ever been to one spa before – Ella Baché in New York City, the day before my wedding. It was the pure pampering experience. Everything was bamboo clean, herb soothing, candle-lit, musically ambianced, terry-clothed, gently ushered to create an afternoon of spavana.
And I thought I’d get that at the Thalassothérapie Spa in Deauville.
But do not be deceived – you are not there to be pampered. You are there to be healed. In fact, it used to be covered by the national insurance – a trip to the Spa (including hotel?) – until the government decided to make some modest cutbacks, causing french people to strike everywhere.
So we went in (Sir was planning to use the pool and sauna while I had my pampering treatment) and received our worn terrycloth robes before being directed to our respective areas. The first step was supposed to be the bubble bath. I don’t remember exactly what it was called.
Already the waiting room did not bode well for any pampering. I was sitting next to an older barefoot man with a pot belly and a robe that barely covered it, with only the tv guide to distract my eyes.
When I was finally led into the room with my « bath » I stepped into it with my bathing suit on, felt the tepid water and tried not to think about how many people had been in it before me. The aide came in and asked me what herb I would want, squirted some in and started the bubbles (or jets, I suppose). I asked if she could turn the heat up and she said it would heat up slowly, so I decided to contain my disappointment and wait.
It occurred to me that I should manage my expectations. If I had been sent here to to be healed, everything would have had the touch of luxury. But because I was expecting to be pampered, I found that the whole experience did not live up to its name.
Slowly, wonderfully (as I was managing my expectations) it started to heat up and I finally started to get that euphoric feeling of being in hot bubbly herb-scented water.
And then the jets stopped. It was over. Just as I was feeling euphoric.
I then traipsed over to the next area in my wet, worn terrycloth robe (Sir had left some time in between treatment so we could meet up, but I was never able to find him). It was yet another waiting room that resembled a visit to the doctor’s office.
Here I chose the mud treatment instead of the seaweed wrap that Sir had signed me up for. It was supposed to relieve arthritic pain, and although I don’t really have that, I do have carpal tunnel from all the blogging. Plus the idea of being wrapped in warm mud seemed more appealing than cold stringy seaweed.
I was led into an office with (let’s face it) a doctor’s table, and was told to strip. (The door opened, revealing a quick glimpse of some guy out there – the french are notoriously immodest and had no concern for mine).
I lay down ready for my mud, and as she came in with a bowl, I thought « oh so that’s what that smell in the waiting area was! » She proceeded to slop this cold mud on my joints. Just the joints. To stop the arthritis. Gone was my warm mud bath illusion.
But as I lay there wrapped in saran wrap and splotched with mud (the mud bath should never be heated, says she), she asked me if I’d like to have the flourescent lights out, and I decided that this would be my opportunity to be grateful for what I had been given. I would close my eyes, live in the moment, manage my expectations and just be thankful that my joints were getting healed.
I managed my expectations as she accidentally turned on the overhead flourescent light when my treatment was only half way through, and left them on.
After I had washed the foul smelling mud off in the high school gym-style shower, I put the very wet, worn terry cloth robe over my bathing suit and headed off to my massage.
I asked if I could change the gentle oil massage for a deeper one without oil, but found I was too late and that person was booked. (manage expectations)
When the masseuse saw that I didn’t have a bikini (and therefore a removable top) she asked me to put on the disposable thong underwear so I could get a proper oily massage. And wouldn’t you know (blush) the thong underwear was too tight! I am not made for the life of luxury as much as I try. I rolled my bathing suit down.
I relaxed during the massage. It was a great massage in spite of not being the deep tissue that I had hoped for. I was feeling quite content as she finished my back and legs, and was getting ready to turn over, thinking hey – maybe this is not so bad after all.
But then she stopped. That was it!
Excuse me, but don’t the front of my legs need to be moisturized too? I mean that’s what they did during a massage at Ella Baché. Not like I want you to touch anything personal, but the legs and the arms? So as I humbly walked back to the changing room half greasy, half dry, I went ahead and threw my expectations in the bin along with the towel.
I decided it was time to be grateful that I even got a treatment at all.
And that I could have a husband who would plan something like that.
And that we could be in such a pretty place to celebrate being in love for ten (plus) years.
Because if you’re not careful, if you don’t manage your expectations, you start wishing you were married to him
instead of him.
And then you’ve missed the whole point to life.
That I could never wish for.