Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Provence - Saturday 9th July - The Final Day :o(

Time for the long trek home... (Trek?  I doubt you’ll be walking far... LT).  Well you know what I mean!  Anyway, we got the car all packed up – I don’t think there was an inch of space:

And we did a check over of the gite:

And LT chopped up a pepper for lunch – it was another one of those giant ones that could have eaten me alive!

The woman that manages it was over an hour late and then she had a huge argument about whether or not we’d cleaned it!  Huh, it wasn’t exactly spotless when we got it!
So I have my seat, where’s LT’s mum going to sit?

We drove all the way up to Lyon, stopping briefly for a picnic, and stopped to get a photo in front of the train station end of the airport before we checked in:

Then the farce began... There are 2 flights that go at the same time from the tiny terminal 3, the one to Edinburgh that were on, and one to Marakesh.  They didn’t open check in for any of them until less than an hour before the flight – can you imagine over 600 people crammed, with luggage trolleys, inside a teeny, tiny space with no air conditioning in over 30C heat?  It wasn’t pleasant, and I only had to peer out the top of LT’s rucksack!  Then they opened all the desks for check in for both flights, but still no-one moved.  THEN they decided the Marakesh flight was going to be delayed by half an hour, so they’d prioritise the Edinburgh check in, so we had to try and squeeze past everyone.  It was a complete mess and very hot for little bears in fur coats! (It wasn’t that great for humans in vests and shorts!  So much for checking in online too – LT)
Eventually we got on the plane, and then the man across the aisle from LT threw up as we came into land.  A LOT.  It was icky...
After that we were lucky that lots of things were running late, as we got straight from bus to train to a small wait for a train to home, but it was after 9pm UK time when we got home, which was after 10pm on our body clock time in France!
Okay, so I’m ready for the next trip, where are we going? (Ha, nowhere for a while, that was quite enough! – LT)

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Provence - Friday 8th July

Another day, another market missed, although LT says she practically ran round the one in Carpentras this morning before going to the Auchan hypermarket in Avignon.  They got loads of goodies to bring back home.
This afternoon though, there was an absolute travesty!  I was LEFT BEHIND!  I was supposed to have gone up Mont Ventoux with LT and her dad, but she’d popped me in her bag for the evening out already, and forgot to take me with her.  I might forgive her.  Eventually...  Anyway, here’s a few photos she took without me:

(This is the memorial for Tom Simpson, who died in 1967 at this point in the Tour De France.  Tradition has it that cyclists who pass and stop here should leave something behind – LT)

 (This is how close he was to the top of the mountain – LT)

(This cyclist, now on his way down, checks out how close he got – LT)

Eventually they came home, and took me and LT’s mum out for a final dinner to compensate.  Here I am with my final aperitif of Beaumes De Venise:

Followed by a kir royale:

LT forgot to take the photo at the beginning of the starter AGAIN!  You just can’t get the staff these days.  Anyway, this was us about half way through our salad with goat’s cheese on grilled tomatoes:

She actually remembered before the main course of scallops, which I washed down with a nice little white, while she had more diet coke – blech!  You’ll notice everything sliding down the plate, our table was on a bit of a slant!  We think that’s why the plates are turned up at one end, to catch the food before it slides off altogether...

And at last, pudding of a chocolate fondant with fresh raspberry coulis and Chantilly cream:

All washed down with a little coffee:

And a lovely digestif of the house, an apple and almond liqueur, which was made by our waiter’s grandfather, and which slipped down rather nicely:

I took rather a strong whiff, it would certainly knock you out if you weren’t careful!

It slipped down a little too nicely, I wanted everybody’s!

We wandered back past the evening craft market in the village square:

And also the weekly boules league matches:

Monday, 25 July 2011

Provence - Thursday 7th July

This morning I went lavender hunting with LT and her dad, but there weren’t really any places for me to climb out and pose, what with them stopping a lot of cliff edges and scrambling about in prickly weeds, so you’ll just have to trust I was here:

After we came back for lunch, and put our paws up for a bit (like you really needed to relax! – LT) Huh!  We went off to another cave to taste wine, but I didn’t get to go in this time!  LT says it was for my own good, but I found a few winey things to keep me going:


Sunday, 24 July 2011

Provence - Wednesday 6th July

Today was not a day for venturing far afield for LT and her mum and I.  LT’s dad went on a very long walk, so we wandered into the village and went out for lunch to recover from the shock of such exercise!  LT and I took her mum out to lunch at a cafe at the bottom of the village (excuse me, WE took her out to lunch?  What did you contribute exactly? – LT)  My appearance fee from here of course, everyone knows that as a world famous bear I command an appearance fee, I donated that... (Uh huh – LT)  This wasn’t exactly described as a salade geante, but it wasn’t really that small either, and this is after LT’s eaten some of it!  After Italian yesterday, today was warm goat’s cheese on tapenade covered bread with sun dried tomatoes and olives, plus some normal tomatoes.  There were anchovies too, but they were quickly released onto LT’s mum’s plate...

I got a Jack sized coffee to wash it down:

Before we wandered down the village to the municipal carpark, to boggle our minds a bit with the hedge carving:

Then we stopped to look back up at the villages from the wine cave, firstly Crillon Le Brave, and then Bedoin:

Before walking down to the vineyard just outside the village, with a view up to the village of Crillon Le Brave:

This is the roundabout as you come into the village from Carpentras.  As Bedoin is the last village on the road up Mont Ventoux, it’s the main base for people trying to cycle up it, trying to pretend they’re doing the tour de France.  They wear some very silly outfits to do it mind you!  You can see the white top of the mountain in the background – apparently it’s white in summer because it’s so windy it blows any grass and things off the top.  I wish there was some wind blowing today, it was very hot out!

‘Look ma, no paws!’:

The lavender beside the road was really humming, and I don’t mean it smelled!  Look at all the bees crawling all over it:

Adverts on the way back into the village for my favourite thing, the local wine :oD (We’re definitely drying you out! – LT)

We stopped at the cave again on the way back, do you think they’d notice if we stole one of these?

This is the roundabout at the bottom of the main village street looking up towards the church.  The French aren’t very good at roundabouts, you can tell by all the black marks on the bits they aren’t meant to drive on!

This is the Centre Culturel, and it was certainly multicultural today, with Danes, Dutch and French from all over the country parked outside it:

This is looking up from the carpark outside the Centre Culturel towards the church.  Those aren’t headless people on the railings, by the way, just dummies from the clothes shop across the road...

They have some funny paintings on the buildings here too, but not like in Avignon.  Look how rude they are!

Here’s the full wall, an advert for the estate agents in the building:

This is the primary school in the village square, but it’s all closed now for the summer:

It was definitely time for another drink, especially after we saw that it was 34 C outside in the shade!  Unfortunately LT was insisting on sticking with the diet coke option:

As we walked back up the village, we saw a sign for a giant aioli on the 13th July.  LT and I had visions of lots of people crowded round a big bowl with vegetables and things to dunk, but apparently it’s a sort of local alternative to a barbecue, with paella and all sorts of other things.  No aioli though apparently...

We passed the grand ‘boulodrome’ on the way back too.  We had to laugh, because the next village on the other side of the mountain has a very big and elaborate sign on either side of their boules pitches, but they only have about a quarter of the area that Bedoin has.  Obviously they’re cheaper on this side of the mountain...

And here are the old men playing boules:

Here are all the signs you see on your way into the village from the gite:

This is the house next door to the gite:

And this is the gite itself.  Isn’t it tiny? (I think the phrase you’re searching for is bijoux – LT)  No, I was definitely looking for tiny!

We had a bit of a rest for the remainder of the afternoon before we headed up to Le Mas Des Vignes again for dinner.  It’s such a tough life!  LT’s mum and dad got the house special champagne cocktails to start, so I acquired some:

With all the funny weather that rolled in in the afternoon, we got an interesting sort of a sunset:

Man, I hate to see good wine go to waste:

Still, at least I got a bit of food to mop it up:

LT completely forgot to take a photo of the main course, but she did remember to catch me with the wine bottle:

Before she made me hit this stuff instead – mean old LT:

Decisions, decisions (you can bet which one he made too! – LT):

LT thought she would get me to do another death-defying stunt by perching me on the wall of the restaurant where I could have fallen down onto the road below! (Not unless you’d leapt, that wall was about a foot and a half wide! – LT)

Next up was another cheesy shot.  We certainly weren’t going to be worrying about vampires tonight with all that preserved garlic!

LT said I was lucky I didn’t just get this dry crust after all the wine I’d been drinking!

But she did concede to share desert with me, which was chocolate delice with fresh strawberry icecream:

Of course we had to have the macaroon biscuits and pomegranate marshmallows again too to round things off.  LT’s mum had already eaten hers by this point: