Before and after: From apéros to cycling

Apéros, which is a shortened version of apéritifs, is probably best translated as “cocktails and appetizers” or “drinkies.” An invitation to apéros is a French tradition that we quite like, and my wife and I often indulge — either as hosts, or as guests of friends and neighbours.

The range of  apéros is fairly wide. The time spent can be relatively short, and the nibblies fairly mundane — salted nuts, pretzels and so on.  Then there is a mid-range of apéros, with more substantial nibblies like devilled eggs, cocktail sausages, and cold shrimp. And finally there is the kind of evening we had last night, at the beautiful holiday home of friends, high on a hill above Daglan and looking out over the green countryside. For that kind of apéros, the event lasts most of the evening, and the nibblies are much more elaborate.

Last night our hostess set a very high standard for the treats she served with our drinks — ranging from spiced shrimp to a hot blue cheese dip to smoked salmon on cucumber slices to sunny-side-up quail’s eggs. Have a look:

A stunning array of treats.

A stunning array of treats.

I didn’t photograph the drinks that went along with all the lovely food. But we (there were six of us in total) did not hold back, and so the Aperol Spritzes, the red wine and the white wine flowed, along with interesting discussions, quite a few jokes, and a lot of laughter.  As my late father-in-law often said, when asked if he would care for a drink: “Any given amount.”

In any case, that was the “before” part. The “after” part came this morning, when I decided that I didn’t feel like leaping out of bed at first light. If you get my drift.

Rather, my morning consisted of a slow and somewhat steady progression through eating breakfast, shaving, and checking out what was new on the Worldwide Interweb. And then I realized that I should follow the brave lead of my wife Jan, and get outdoors to clear my head, stimulate the blood-flow, and (if nothing else) develop an appetite for lunch.

Jan had been itching for a nice long walk, and was frustrated this morning when rain started to spatter down (again). But then the rain stopped, the sun came out, and Jan headed out the door.

Eventually, I followed — but on my hybrid bike, comfortably kitted out in my best Dark Knight outfit. Here I am on the trail that runs up from Daglan to Castelnaud (in case you’re wondering, Jan took the picture, because our paths crossed while I was heading out from Daglan and she was returning from her walk):

Here I am, on the road again. Le Peyruzel is atop the hill at the upper left.

Here I am, on the road again. Le Peyruzel is atop the hill at the upper left.

The day was cool, and at times there was a pretty strong breeze, reminiscent of early April more than late May. But it was good to be out and about, enjoying the flowers and flowering trees and shrubs along the road. Like these poppies:

At this time of year, poppies are pretty much all over the place.

At this time of year, poppies are pretty much all over the place.

And this explosion of yellow flowers was another lovely view on this morning’s ride:

Yellow flowers along the road.

Yellow flowers along the road.

In the end, I didn’t set any records for distance cycled or speed attained. But my head was cleared nicely, and my appetite returned. Which is a good thing, because Jan is just about done preparing lunch. À table!

This entry was posted in Bicycling in the Dordogne, Exercise and fitness, French food, Life in southwest France, Weather in the Dordogne, Wine and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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