To celebrate/commiserate our departure from Chateau Niorlieu, our new friends decided to throw us a going away party - Australian themed - on our second last night. The Aussie Party consisted of Aussie clothes, green and gold decorations, green 'face' paint (the remnants of the green paint I had been using to paint the fence - here's hoping it was non-toxic..) and plenty of beer. It was a fun night that got a bit wild at the end, resulting in a vision that neither Abe nor I will ever forget. So many thanks for that, Team.
After a fleeting visit to Lyon (one day was definitely not enough time to explore France's food capital), we headed further south to Rosans for our second HelpX stay with Michele at her B&B, La Ferme de La Rose. Rosans is a gorgeous medieval town set into the foothills of the Hautes Alpes
. La Ferme de la Rose is on the outskirts, about 2.5km from the centre of Rosans.
Michele's B&B is lovely, it's a renovated farmhouse from the middle ages, that served the Castle in Rosans town centre. There are 3 B&B rooms, and the most amazing kitchen
Just a lazy lunch at La Ferme de La Rose...
I have seen. It's actually 3 kitchens, a big room with a massive island bench (drool), a sink, cooktop and oven, a little room off to the side that houses the pantry, fridge, freezer and another little table, and ANOTHER room off that, that contains a dishwasher and another sink. It is amazing. One day, when I'm a grown up, I'll have a kitchen (or 3) like that!
The lifestyle in Rosans is very luxurious. We have breakfast at 8.30am (which is normally some of Michele's amazing freshly baked bread and some of her home-made jams). We start work at 9am, which so far has consisted of weeding her courtyards and carpark and a bit of whipper-snippering. The weather has been sunny, so we are enjoying being outside again! We finish work at 1pm, and Michele serves us lunch. The lunches have also been to die for - a perfectly cooked omelet (still gooey inside), terrine and salad, and yesterday's feast of fresh goats cheese, proscuitto and ripe tomatoes that Michele picked up from the local markets. The dinners have also been exquisite! So far we've had veal, duck confit, beef and tomato stew (so simple but
so amazing - I think it's all to do with the riper than ripe tomatoes that are in season at the moment) and proscuitto pasta. We have a different wine each night, all from the region, and a dessert afterwards. We are very spoiled indeed!
We have the afternoons free, and have been aquatinting ourselves with the local hiking tracks. We have a guidebook of the area and maps of the tracks, but of course, it is in French. So we must look a sight, traipsing round in our shorts, hiking boots and backpacks, with the map in one hand and the French-English dictionary in the other. We've only been lost once so far, so quite an achievement, I think!
On Sunday, our day off, we conquered the highest peak in the region - La Fourchat
. It was a 7 hour hike, and we climbed over 1000m to reach the top! Michele packed us a delicious picnic to take with us, that we enjoyed at the peak in the company of a deaf, hiking monk. Well, that was our explanation of him anyway. After we surveyed the views at the top and had just
Hiking to the top of La Fourchat.
started tucking into our picnic, up popped a small man wearing a very strange long brown robe. We cheerfully gave a 'Bonjour!', however he looked away (didn't respond at all) and stood about 10m away from where we were eating for a good 15mins before disappearing back over the peak without a smile or a word.
We're spending 10 nights in total here in Rosans, and it's nice to have a bit of down-time. Abe and I have both been devouring books - the most recent one we both read and enjoyed was 'Labyrinth' by Kate Mosse (No, not that Kate Moss). Part of the book is loosely based on historical events in the south of France in the 1200s. Carcassone, and many surrounding towns were invaded by the Catholics as part of one of their many crusades against non-believers. This particular crusade was to eliminate a Christian sect called the Cathars. We enjoyed the book so much (and are continually blown away by how old everything is in France) that have organised to spend a few days in Carcassone before we head off to our new HelpX in the Pyrenees. I completely accept that it is
Abe taking in the views from the top.
terribly dorky to go visiting towns based on your enjoyment of them in books - but we can't wait!
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