Saturday, 23 July 2011

Provence - Tuesday 5th July

We went to Fontaine De Vaucluse today.  This is supposed to be where the Vaucluse river springs from, but, well, it didn’t quite spring the way I expected it to!
This was on the way into the village.  We’re very glad we didn’t have to carve the things on this house too!

Then I met some strange guy slaying a dragon.  LT had absolutely no respect for my welfare and placed me right in its jaws, I could have been a goner!

After we booked a table for lunch later on, we started walking up to the ‘source’, stopping in at a few shops in the ‘underground’ shopping centre on the way.  Here I am with even bigger meringues than they had in Sault, these were at least 3 times my size!  I thought LT was very mean not spending the €2 to see if I could eat my weight in meringue!

At the end of the underground centre is the paper mill, and there are lots of old pieces of mill lying around.  Here I am on one of the ferocious looking things:

And here is looking down to the workings that are moved by the mill wheel outside:

Here I am outside the mill looking up stream – this source is going to be HUGE, I can feel it:

And this is with the mill wheel.  You can just see all the green moss that grows thickly on the end of the paddles:

Once we’d climbed all the way to the very very top of the path to see the source... we had to climb over a fence and scramble all the way down a steeper slope to actually see the water.  I don’t think we were actually MEANT to climb over that fence mind you...  Anyway, here it is, the source, isn’t it blue?

And just to prove I was there too:

And after all that, we scrambled all the way back up the slope.  This is at the top looking down.  At the height of spring, the water rushes up over here and on down the gorge to the village:

And here’s the sign that LT ignored, as always!  I’m sitting on top of a bin here, a BIN!  I think I’m going to write to the Bear’s Protection League (They won’t give you alcohol though... – LT):

Then we started to walk down, at which point LT decided to climb down every little path she could see off towards where the water should be.  In the spring, the water comes from the source right to the top of the slope and gushes down over loads of rocks, but as it’s mid summer now it just kind of leaks out of random rocks further down:

When the water is flowing from the top, it leaves some very strange dents in the rocks, just perfect for my little bear behind to fit into:

It does look a bit messy though when the water’s leaking like this, there’s huge boulders just sitting around looking like a large bird dropped them by accident!

We found another little spring a little further down:

And just a little further down again it opened out into a HUGE river – there must have been lots of leaks by then!

We didn’t go into the shops this time, and walked past the resistance museum instead.  LT said it was a shame it was closed on Tuesdays as it was really interesting, so we spent some time working out where we would hide out in the hills around the village like the resistance did.  Here’s some photos of the outside:

Across the river from the museum, we could see the old castle perched high on the rock.  It has a flag pole on it, but LT says she’s never seen a flag on it, and she’s been coming here on and off for 20 years!

A little further down we could see this house below the castle.  We thought it might be quite nice to live here:

This is looking down into the village from above the lower entry to the underground shops:

And then, as LT went down to get another shot further down, we met a new friend.  This grasshopper looked like it had a broken leg, but LT wouldn’t let me climb down to help it, she said it would make it even more scared.  As if!  Honestly, who would be afraid of a wild bear...

Anyway, we left it alone to limp home, and wandered down to the bottom of the village as we had rumblies in our tumblies and it was time for a little something.  Alas, no-one had explained to the waitress what her job actually meant, so we waited 25 minutes just to get this aperitif!  Hmph, glass of the house special aperitif, blackberry flavour for us, and some pretzels to keep us going:

I’m not impressed, the bottles of wine are getting smaller too! (We’re trying to dry you out – LT)  Hmph, the cheek of it!

The meals, however, are not getting any smaller.  This is LT’s ‘salade geante’.  I’ll say it was giant!  I think there was half a pig in the jambon cru alone!  Still, I think we’ve safely got in several of our 5-a-day here, especially with the blackberry in the aperitif...

There was a point we thought we were in serious danger of dehydrating completely after the waitress totally forgot our diet coke – obviously she thought we REALLY needed a diet!  I almost nose-dived into it when it arrived:

This is the shop opposite the restaurant where we had lunch.  We were chuckling that it was called The Marmite Of Flavours, when LT’s mum told us that a marmite is just a cooking pot to the French, not the revolting ‘love it or hate it’ British spread, how boring!  We preferred our version...

I was beginning to think that when LT said they were looking to ‘dry me out’ that they were going to squish all the wine out of me when we walked back up to the underground shops...

However it turned out she only wanted me to model on the paper mill tools of years gone by:

*Gulp* did she have to pop me on the edge of the guillotine?!  (Ha, that’ll teach you for being so cheeky – LT)

We stopped for another drink at the bottom of the village again, and had a nice view over to the castle hotel, with the castle above it.

After that we wandered over the bridge to see what was on the other side.  Hmm, is that like the joke about the chicken crossing the road?

This is from the far side of the river looking up to the cliffs above the village.  You can see how the resistance hid so easily around here, look at all the caves:

This is looking over towards the paper mill.  If you look closely you can see some of the local teenagers standing underneath where they were resting from swimming about in the water.  We would have loved to jump in too, but LT’s dad said he wasn’t taking soggy people or bears home:

Doesn’t it look fun though?


The Bear's Blog said...

Hi Jack,

Very lovely photo tour, thank LT for me. About that dragon and danger - little one, it's only a statue, there was no danger and LT should have explained that to you.

About "drying" you out - didn't they explain to you that red wine in good for your bear heart? Well, it is.

Happy Weekend, little bear, happy weekend.


Alan said...

I'm glad you enjoyed another day. The wine bottle was smaller because we had to drive. I know red wine is good for your heart but not if you drown in it. I recall that the following day the status quo returned :-)

As for swimming, not only would you have been soggy, you might have been swept away in the strong current and that wouldn't have been good would it?