Sinking into the plush down of a king sized bed. Chocolates on the pillow. Bright green apples in a black ceramic bowl on the end table. Lattes in the morning in white cups with saucers, firelight, flaky croissants and tall slender glasses of orange juice.
Walking cobblestone streets in the icy cold. Like a family of dragons, our breath clouding up around us every time we spoke or laughed. Quilted down jackets. Shearling gloves. Bean in a snowsuit with so many layers of wool and fleece beneath it, he could barely bend his knees.
Carnival horns, and ruckus cheering. An ice palace. Snow sculptures. Dog sled races, paws pounding down a snowy path through the turning streets of the old city. Hot mulled wine and French onion soup. Clouds of steam rising up from the hot chocolate gripped in Beanâ€™s mittened hands.
Collapsing into bed with milk and PBJ sandwiches for lunch, wearing long johns and watching Inuit cartoons on TV. Bean sitting on the wide windowsill showing his monkey and cheetah the giddy five story view below.
Sipping dry red wine and eating warmed olives and toasted spicy almonds in the lounge, remembering what it feels like to be an adult with some place to be after 8pm. Shimmying close on the couch and kissing. Playing Gin. Winning. Laughing.
Stopping at a tiny bakery to buy delicate almond, orange & chocolate cookies, crispy and thin. Perfect discs of sweetness to melt in our mouths. Eating crepes hot of the griddle, chocolate everywhere.
Riding the plummeting drop in a little glass rail car, with the wide sweep of the St. Lawrence below us. Stopping in small shops to warm our fingers, Bean jumping from every stoop. Street musicians with cold fingers playing the fiddle, frozen snow breaking under foot.
Sandwiches on warm baguettes and then the long ride home, sun drenched across the wide flat expanse between here and there. Snow covered and wind swept fields, the sun sinking west. Full of joy to finally have had time to simply be: a family, a lover, a wanderer in a foreign city. So good. A perfect, perfect birthday weekend.
Photos here. I'll be putting more up, once I've found the other flash card in our luggage.
PS: thank you SO MUCH for all your awesome birthday wishes!