We are home. After driving more than seven hours from Avignon to Florence yesterday, we are a bit tired and taking it easy today.
Hmmm, in spite of having unsubscribed to all of my daily e-newsletters, during my absence I received almost 200 e-mails (GULP!). How did that happen??? Well, it is going to take me a while to sort through everything, so if you are eager to hear from me, please send me a new message, and I will do my best to answer ASAP. Thanks!
I have decided to write my holiday stories without following any particular chronological order. If a photo reminds me of an amusing episode, then that is what I will write about, so please be prepared for a bit of jumping back and forth between Burgundy, Lyon and Provence. Ah, I should mention that I took almost 2,000 photos…but I promise I won’t publish all of them (hehe)!
I took the above photo of a Charolais cow and her calves in a field near the self-catering cottage, or gîte, where we spent the first ten days of our holiday in Burgundy. Our cottage was located in a quaint little village called La Motte-Ternant, whose only store, a minuscule but well-stocked dépôt de pain, was open from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. and from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. (the sign can be enlarged by clicking on it, by the way). Rather odd store hours, eh. We soon came to rely on the dépôt‘s manager, a very cheerful and simpatico Dutchman who also runs the local campground and is full of great advice on things to do, places to go and so on. His weather forecasts really helped us plan our day trips. Merci, Robert!
But let me get back to the cows for a second. Last Saturday (August 23rd), as we were leaving La Motte-Ternant on our way to Lyon, the second “leg” of our journey, we were stopped by an elderly man waving his cane in the middle of a deserted country road. I rolled down my window, and he explained (in very fast French, mamma mia!) that his family was moving their herd of cows from one pasture to another, so we simply had to wait or else…!
With no herd in sight and not the slightest noise to be heard, we were a bit puzzled, I confess. But we had no choice. As we waited for the herd to materialize, I had a little friendly chat with our charming monsieur. And sure enough, as promised, about five minutes later a small herd appeared around the bend.
As you can see from the photo I took (one of many), the cows thundered (okay, ambled) straight toward us before being led into a pasture on the left side of the road about a metre or so from our car. If monsieur hadn’t stopped us, I hate to think how the car would have fared…! We thanked him and sped off toward Lyon.
End of Chapter One!