Living la belle vie in Provence is a dream come true for American expats Gayle and Ralph. But their tranquil world is turned upside-down when serious birdwatcher Ralph suggests a year-long quest to find 200 bird species in France.
The eat-preen-love life cycle of birds does not fascinate the author, Gayle Smith Padgett, but an off-the-beaten-track adventure does. Ancient hilltop villages, vibrant outdoor markets, and delectable delicacies await! Aware that the mission is powered by passion and protective of their relationship, she insists Ralph go slow and savor the experience. He agrees … but is it a promise he can keep?
They’ll crisscross the country, from the Mediterranean to the English Channel, the Pyrenees to the Alps. Mother Nature’s mighty forces, heart-pounding alpine roads, and mosquito-ridden marshes challenge their resolve. However, France’s natural beauty, captivating culture, and astounding birdlife lead the way … to discoveries that surprise them both.
I like to think of myself as a bit of a birdwatcher, peering out of the kitchen window looking for the robins and blue tits, but quickly realised I’m nowhere close to being in the same league as Gayle’s husband Ralph! The couple’s journey to spot 200 birds in a year takes them across multiple beautiful regions. Each place they visit reveals different birds and experiences. Each area offers its own mini adventure. Sometimes they climb mountain roads through the alps. Other times they walk along white sandy beaches. Always they take time to sample local foods and wines. It sounds so dreamy.
Thanks to Gayle’s writing skills, I could almost feel the breeze lifting my hair. I could taste the delicious food and hear the hustle and bustle of the markets. It was easy to imagine each beautiful landscape and location.
It’s a lovely tale of how following your dreams and passions really can come to life while travelling. The added pictures of the birds that they spotted along their journey were great to see…
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