Flat Stanley Goes to Catalonia

May 18, 2011

Salut de France!!!!!

My nephew Gabe sent me Flat Stanley in the mail hoping I could show him around, fold him up and send him back over to his school by May 20th . I almost wrote this sentence, “Just in case Flat Stanley doesn’t get there in time here are some pictures of our tour and some interesting facts about the region of France he visited.”

But let’s be honest, I only mailed the package off yesterday and Flat Stanley in’t gettin’ there by the 20th. Pretty ironic that the family technophobe is sending her Flat Stanley last minute via wordpress. But sometimes you just have to join them right?

Dear Gabe,

I hope this blog finds you in time for your class project. If all is going as expected I’m still folded up and on an airplane flying over the Atlantic Ocean back to you in Florida. Or maybe I’m already there! Either way, here are some pictures of my trip to France.

I rode in your aunt's back pack up to Can Rigall, the mountain lodge where she works.

Let me tell you a little about where I visited your Aunt Avery. She lives in the very southern part of France in the Pyrenees Mountains on the border of Spain. Her house is only 20 miles from the Mediterranean Sea. The region where she lives is called Languedoc Roussillon. In France the regions are made up of departments. Aunt Avery lives in the Pyrenees-Orientales department of the Languedoc Roussillon region. The historical name for this region is called Catalonia and that’s why people here speak both French and Catalan. How many languages are spoken in your state?

Click here to see a map of France:

http://maps.google.com/maps?f=q&source=s_q&hl=en&geocode=&q=Arles-sur-Tech,+France&aq=0&sll=43.591236,3.258363&sspn=2.776969,7.064209&g=Languedoc,+France&ie=UTF8&hq=&hnear=Arles-sur-Tech,+Pyr%C3%A9n%C3%A9es-Orientales,+Languedoc,+France&ll=42.455888,2.636719&spn=5.656658,14.128418&z=6

Here I am in Arles-sur-Tech, the town where Aunt Avery lives.

Here I am with the Arles-sur-Tech abbey behind me. This photo was taken from Aunt Avery's living room window.

What I liked most about my visit to this region was seeing the olive trees, the cork trees and all the grape vineyards growing.

Olive trees like to grow near the Mediterranean and I saw many of them growing here. You can see pictures of olive trees if you click here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olive

Cork oak trees are really cool. The bark is cork! The bark is harvested and used to make all kinds of things but most famously it’s used to make bottle stoppers for wine bottles. Uncle Alain even installs cork floors for people in their houses! He says that there’s not a shortage of cork like people think, that the reason why wine bottlers are starting to use plastic corks is because plastic manufacturers want them to! You can see pictures of the beautiful trees if you click here: http://www.fauna-flora.org/species/cork-oak/

And the grape vineyards! Wow, are they beautiful. The grape growing region here is called Roussillon with the grenache grape being the most common one used. But there are many other grape varietals grown as well. You can learn all about them if you click here: http://www.terroir-france.com/region/lr_roussillon.htm

Grapes, lots of grapes. Aunt Avery rode her bike to the sea and I hitched a ride in the saddle bag. Those are the Alberes mountains in the background.

HOPE YOU GET TO VISIT SOON!

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3 Responses to “Flat Stanley Goes to Catalonia”

  1. Charlie said

    Uncle Alain is right about the cork shortage, but there are two other reasons wine makers are switching to plastic corks or (!!) screw tops. 1) they cost half as much 2)you can never get a corky, spoiled bottle of wine with a plastic cork or twist-off top. Save the cork for flooring, which is really cool!

  2. Marian said

    Bon voyage, Flat Stanley!!

  3. Mrs. Riblett's class said

    Thank you for sharing! We had fun reading about Flat Stanley’s adventures in France!

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