May 27, 2012, Sunday evening -- Reading Vsévolod Vladimirovitch Krestovsky -- Capestang, France

On her balcony on a rooftop in Capestang, France (a small village a 3 1/2 hour drive north of Barcelona), reading Slums of St. Petersburg, in the original Russian, by Vsévolod Vladimirovitch Krestovsky.   The website describes Krestovsky as, as popular in his time as his contemporaries Tolstoy Dostoyevsky and also compares him to Charles Dickens, writing about "thieves, beggars and prostitutes in prisons, basements and taverns."
She is from Ukraine and the co-proprietaire of a gite (lodging) at which we had lunch and played petonque with 6 motorcyclists from Lyon and their wives, who were visiting Capestang for a long weekend.

They proprietors have a dog named Lenin.  We had a lovely conversation about Russia (I'd lived there in 2001-2002).  On the walls of the game room, in which there is a ping pong table, a beautiful mural of the cathedral in Red Square is painted.
With their own hands the proprietors refinished the lovely gite which has stone walls crawling with limey green ivy and a swimming pool in a lush garden -- very much *not* the slums of Capestang.