Sunday was our last day in France and the sky was matching Julien's Marseille FC jersey perfectly. Everyone was a wee torn from the previous nights birthday celebrations, so we hung out in a small apartment in Pont St Espirit drinking coffee and petting lazy dogs. The bridge itself of this adorable town was bombed during WW2, on photo #7 you see that the restoration of the bridge does not match its original parts. Fun fact of the day!
Our week in France coincided with a nationwide petrol strike, meaning we could unfortunately not visit all the places we had planned for. At least not if we wanted to be able to return to Marseille airport on the Monday. (As I write this the rain is literally pouring down in Aberdeen so having been stranded in France does not sound all too awful...)
One of the stops we did get around to was Orange (here's my queue for "Orange, when are we going to Lemon?"but as that joke was a complete flop in Baguetteland - I shall now skip it), as Julien's mum had an errand there. We climed a hill to watch the amphitheatre, lost Julien's credit card in a cigar shop and had Chinese for lunch.
In the afternoon we got in a 4x4 with some of J's friends and drove to the shore where we used the river as our beer cooler. C'est a difficult life indeed ;)
On the Thursday morning we got into the car again, this time heading to the neighbouring village of Mornas. We were going to climb that castle on the cliff you can see down below.
It was only about a 2 kilometre walk up to the castle, but goodness me was it steep! Especially so in a sizzling 27°C morning.
The castle has been restored close to its original shape thanks to volunteers from across the globe.
I took a bunch of photos like these and with a pleased voice told Julien "so much profile picture material!". He did not agree, complaining that he was merely a pinky finger against the stone wall. Clearly some people do not appreciate art, aye!
(And yes, let’s just ignore the fact that it is very blur – it all adds to the artsyness)
After our castle adventure, we had lunch down in the village. This thing with Pastis is a bit strange to me; the French drink it as an appetizer before a meal, but its distinct aniseed flavour makes me think of the cough medicine I had to take as a kid. Not the most pleasant connotation!
But their coffee sure is fault free, look at that delicious crema!
We had drove past this village a couple of times and I kept nagging on J that I wanted to go there for a proper visit. So after lunch was completed, we walked around to explore the teeny streets.
Very impressive with the wall of the mountain so close by!
Back in Mondragon we took Yoda for a walk...
... through this lush greenery.
We stopped to try and take a nice dog portrait of Mr Da...
... but he was not very interested in starting a modeling career, to be honest.
In the evening we went to a friend of Juliens for dinner; pizza on the lawn whilst playing a game similar to Swedish Kubb. It must be said that never have I ever been to a party of any kind where people are so obsessed with the aromas and colours of their wines, as in France! I'm like ok withdraw your noses from the glass - let's drink it already!
For the first third of our trip to France, check out: > France Day 1 + 2: Vines and Château Pesquié.
The past week's radio silence has been due to me and Julien travelling to France to visit his parents. I was a little worried before take off as
a) they hardly speak any English
b) I hardly speak any French,
c) they seemed to think pate of duck liver is a vegetable
Point C was probably what I had been the most worried about, like you don't want to meet the "in-laws" for the first time and come across as a fussy eater. However, the real struggle was in the communication! I did not get very far with my school book-French and in all honesty the first few days were super stressful for me, not being able to communicate properly with all these people we met.
The silence did give me more time to take photos though, so wreck yourselves for a few posts loaded with photos. Let’s get straight to it:
Last Monday, we flew from Aberdeen via Amsterdam.
I passed the flight time beading necklaces out of small stones from Aberdeen beach.
Around 5pm we finally landed in Marseille, after a 3hour delay in Amsterdam. By then, we had already been awake for about 12hrs as my dear boyfriend seems even crazier than me in terms of “making it in time to the airport”. (We were at Aberdeen airport at 6am, when the flight left around 9…..)
On the Tuesday we went along for a hike with Julien’s mother and two of her friends. Passing through fields of vines and dusty roads.
Living up to their reputation of massive cheese fans, we made two stops on the way back home to both a goat's and a sheep's farm. Both had a little farm shop where you could buy their produce.
I was a little overwhelmed by the smell going in there, to me it just smells like rotten milk but that is probably because I am (certainly) not French. Their noses must contain a refining system that makes them think eating smelly cheese is a sane thing to do... I mean, just look at Mr Depardieu's crane.
On Wednesday we got into the car to drive to the foot of the mountains…
… ending up here, at Château Pesquié – a winery run by Julien’s uncle + cousins. They had invited us over for lunch.
I got a delicious carrot tart, pasta with artichokes and for desert we had a lemon curd cake with a strawberry salad drenched in olive oil, lemon juice, a bit of sugar and fresh mint. I will definitely try to copy that into a recipe of my own sometime soon!
There was of course also plenty of good wine.
IOn our way back we made some stops in the villages we had passed by on our way there. I was sat in the car going "This is just ridiculous... This town is ridiculous!" In my book, ridiculous translates into something such as unbelievably pretty. Just look at it!