Sunday, July 26, 2009

Arriving in Durfort

When I arrived in Toulouse a year ago, I rented a car and drove to Durfort, which is about an hour to an hour and a half away. I was a bit nervous about driving a car in a foreign country with road signs in another language, especially since I would be alone, jetlagged and driving a stick shift for the first time in several years but I did fine, if I do say so myself. Didn't get lost, that's a good sign! It was a beautiful drive through quintessential French countryside and of course, the most amazing thing to see was the fields of sunflowers. I was afraid to stop the car and get out to take pictures as the shoulders of the road were quite narrow and the road was mostly two lanes with winding curves but I slowed down to look whenever possible and got some good photos over the next few days in safer locations.

I made my way to the home of Vero and Bernard, who live about a mile from La Cascade, as I would be staying in their B&B the first night. They live in an old mill that has been converted and I went for a walk around to check out their gardens and a little bit of the countryside around them. Then I had a wee bit of a nap before driving to little town with a lake, called St. Ferreol, only about 10 minutes away by car, which Vero had directed me to. I had a look around and then found an outdoor cafe to have a meal. I believe I ordered a crepe dish, if memory serves - I wanted to eat something light but French!

I had an early night and slept well, in a room on the ground floor of the mill. It was lovely and cool, as the stone walls did a good job of keeping out the heat. The next morning, Sunday, we had breakfast outside beside a river and I tried out my rusty high school French with Vero's husband Bernard, who didn't speak any English. Shortly afterwards, Kate arrived with Jennifer, another woman from the workshop, and another woman named Shevaun who was staying nearby whom they had befriended, and we headed off to the vide grenier (flea market).

What a wonderful treat that was! They are held every Sunday but in a different town or village each week all summer. We spent the morning wandering around, checking out all the stalls and finding great treasures (some I bought, some I had to leave behind). Then we climbed back in the car and headed off to another vide grenier we had heard about, which was maybe a half an hour's drive in another direction but took us slightly longer to find as we got a wee bit lost, but we eventually got there after asking locals for directions in stilted French. This one was a bunch of stalls set up in a large open field and we found more fascinating items there as well.

Once we finished shopping, we headed back to Vero's, picked up my car and my stuff and went on to La Cascade. As the first to arrive, Jennifer and I checked out all the bedrooms and picked the ones we wanted. She picked the room closest to the waterfall behind the house, which I found to be too loud so I picked the next room down the hall, where the sound of the water through the open windows was slightly more muted. The others arrived in various stages as the late afternoon turned to early evening and eventually, we all headed out to dinner on the porch of a restaurant. The food was delicious and we all talked and started to get to know one another. It seems strange to remember that first night when we didn't really know each other, compared to how close we felt by the end of the week, but of course, this was just the beginning...

1 comment:

Sharon said...

What a wonderful idea to share your trip with us. I can't wait until tomorrow to find out what happens next. It's like being there. Sharon