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Published: July 16th 2013
Yet another 30+ day and so it will continue.
It's the birthday girl's Big Day. Welcome to the Club, Karilyn. After the birthday wishes and breakfast we headed for St Emilion earlyish since we had heard that it gets pretty crowded after midday. All too true. It was nice and quiet when we arrived but soon many people arrived to look at this lovely medieval, historic town which is an UNESCO site. It sits on a limestone plateau not far above the Dordogne Plain and is the centre of wine making in this area.
St Emilion was a monk who came to the area, if I remember correctly in the 8th
century and lived in a natural cave. By all accounts miracles happened and others came and soon the town flourished. A monolithic church was built into the limestone during the 11th century and is now a huge cavernous structure of high vaulted ceilings underground with the belltower built over it above ground which creates pressure over the cavities below - this is being monitored constantly for any movement.
We booked a tour of the catacombs and church for 2pm and filled in the time doing a train
tour of the vineyards surrounding St Emilion. We felt a bit silly riding in a little train but it was worth while and who knows us anyway? It showed the huge extent of the vineyards in this area as one of the prime wine producing areas in France. It spreads as far as the eye can see across the hills and into the river plains beyond. The wine ranges from Premier Grand Cru through to the local Emilion standard. There are chateaus (small ones) everywhere producing their particular brands but most appear to be red merlots or roses. St Emilion itself is flush with wine shops everywhere which is somewhat overdone. There were also other speciality shops like those making just macaroons.
After lunch we went on the underground tour through Emilion’s cave, through the catacombs and then the church. It was nice and cool and quite fascinating to see how people worshipped God so long ago. It is a far cry from Hills Community Church in Mapua. It all seemed a bit weird and off putting that we would gaze upon sacred sights with such a casual attitude.
On the way back to Montcaret, we stopped at
Mosaic floor from Roman bath at Montcaret
The bath is part of an excavated Roman house with a separate bathing area. Much of the mosaic tiling is still in good order
the Roman Ruins there which were found at the site of the existing church. They contain the remains of a Roman villa and bathing area from the 1st
century and had many of the walls, mosaic floors, baths and rooms still remain in part. There were even skeletons of bodies that had been buried in the walls or just under the floor. The local town has made a good job of exploring it and opening it up for people to view.
The temperatures were now soaring above 30 again so we were pleased to get back to the house and relax with a swim and a drink until we go out for Karilyn’s birthday dinner.
At 7.30 we all headed down to Harvey's Restaurant at Montcaret to celebrate Karilyn's birthday. It was lovely to sit outside on a very warm night in convivial company and enjoy several courses of food over the hours until midnight. It should be a birthday to remember for Karilyn and it would have been made so much more enjoyable having the whole family together for the occasion plus Jo and Gary and Us as friends.
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