Monday, May 08, 2006

Correction: Le Bon Dimanche

Saturday in summary: Croissants: ½ ; Cheeses: 2 ; Chocolates: 2; Castles:0; Churches: 0; Rain: ½ (but fortunately not until after our hike); Patchwork Stores: 0; Kilometres walked:10+; Translation Faux Pas: 0; Strawberries: beaucoup

Sunday in summary: Croissants: 1 ; Cheeses: 2 ; Chocolates: 0; Castles:1; Churches: 1; Rain:0 (but threatening); Patchwork Stores: 0; Kilometres walked: un peu; Translation Faux Pas: 0

It turns out that this is a long weekend in France as Monday is VE day. So the plan was to have a quiet day at home and leave the scenic attractions to the holiday makers. The only problem was that every DIY monsieur and his favourite power tool also seemed to want to make the most of the day. Activate Plan B: a hike up the road to the small village of Artigues and a stroll around 4-5 kilometre forest trail. Springtime is beautiful in the Pyrenees – there is an abundance of wildflowers (I can sense a springtime quilt coming on) and the trill of songbirds, and the occasional cuckoo, fills the air. Such a contrast to the cacophony of parrots at Copacabana.

We managed to make it home before the weather closed in for the afternoon, and spent the rest of the day reading books with a bottle of wine and another punnet of the best strawberries ever. This is the beauty of a home exchange for an extended period- we’re both enjoying having room to spread out, to relax and the absence of urgency to fill every moment with some activity. There is none of that forced bonhommie that many B&B’s specialise in and we’re revelling in being able to self-cater from local providores.

This morning we ventured off to the Sunday market at Esperaza. There were vendors offering all kinds of produce. We declined the donkey sausages but came home with a collection of cheeses, salami, fresh vegetables, olives and bread. David is up to Letter “F” in Larousse Gastronomique (one of the few books in English in the house) so he is in charge of dinner but ‘foie’ (liver) will not feature in any form.

We took a quick jaunt up to
Rennes le Chateau (presbytery to Sauniere – the namesake of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code character) and admired the wooden carvings in the nearby chapel including an altar bearing two sculpture of Jesus (the twins?!) and a particularly fiendish-looking diablo character.

We realised that we had run out of wine (gasp!) and decided to drive on to Limoux where there are large wine co-ops. Of course they were not open but we wandered around town nevertheless and were able to replenish the cellar.

En route home again, we stopped by the small Roman thermal village of Alet les Bains. Being siesta time, the quaint laneways were eerily quiet:

but there were several groups pique-nique-ing down by the river and we decided to follow suit. Wishing you un bon dimanche aussi.


Blogger Deb H said...

Thanks for the virtual tour. The scenery is stunning, & I love ancient buildings & architecture.

May 08, 2006 3:56 am  
Blogger Delia said...

Ooo ee. this is great.

May 08, 2006 2:00 pm  
Blogger Françoise said...

Just a hint... in French, we say "un dimanche"...

May 08, 2006 10:53 pm  

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