A Travellerspoint blog

Sunny Side Up

sunny 25 °C

Wednesdays are pretty bright here in France. Every Wednesday, schools are closed & as as side effect... many businesses are closed. Mix this, with a dash of blue sky, a soupcon of sunshine and the mercury rising from 25 degrees on up and you have the recipe for a busy market day.
Today we visited the lively market of Lezignan. A less commercial market than Olonzac and this is clearly apparent from the start.
With merchants calling out their deals to potential buyers from their stalls, massive skillets of paella steaming and scenting the air, vats of olives and many other worldly delights, this place had a vibe that was unmistakeably fresh, lively and exotic.
Only open from 10-12, I made the most of my wandering by also visiting a few interesting side streets and the public gardens. Around noon, I found B and we made our way to a lovely Tapas Bar named l'Alegria where we each ordered a delicious Seafood Salad while we people watched and chatted about our market experiences. After this, it was back to Pepieux for the afternoon.
With a few hours to kill before dinner, I wandered off with my Camera and ended up in the next town, Siran. A beautiful and ancient village with craggy streets, narrow pass-throughs and character in everything ,including it's inhabitants. Welcoming the shady streets (since the path to Siran is on a sun blasted gravel roads) I stayed a while and thoroughly explored each street and each uniquely weathered building.
After another sun blasted walk back to Pepieux, I was feeling poached, so I settled into conversation with B. A little wine and a nice mellow evening at the gite.
Todays Pics
A sculpture from spanish artist Antonio Saura, in the Lezignan public garden. (A hint of the Spanish influence here)
& the quiet street where you can find Siran's Bakery (walking this quiet village, you can just imagine the past)...
ASaura.jpg SiranBakery.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 20:41 Archived in France Comments (0)

Market Day

sunny 24 °C

Today the morning wander had to wait. It was market day in Olonzac from 10-12. Again the main street was closed off, but things looked a little different then they did during the Vide Grenier. This time textiles, jewellery and gift items were along the main street, and down an adjoining long and winding alleyway there were food and practical items (like wine). The food alley was a vibrant feast for the eyes. Piles of olives, prepared tapenades, spices, breads, artichokes, fresh nuts, cheeses, meats and so very much more. After buying our groceries, and seeing all that we could see, we sat for a spell in the shade at the Cafe de la Poste. Sipping a beverage and munching a croissant before heading back to Pepieux for a laundry day.

Tonight we have been invited to visit a woman's home for wine and appetizers. She is a former Calgarian, now living in France renovating homes (inspirational) This should be fun. She lives in a little town (two towns over) called La Laviniere and the house she is currently fixing up has an interior court yard. We will be joining the owners of this gite (a British couple) plus another couple that are currently staying at a chateau in Olonzac. (also Calgarians) This chateau in Olonzac is owned by yet another Calgarian (Dave), who is renovating to sell off as finished apartments.
FYI...His place is right off the main square of Olonzac. A fab location for any of you inquiring minds!

For now, I must deal with laundry & prep for my evening by purchasing a bottle of wine from our local merchant Olivier...

Well, I'm back from a fantastic dinner, great conversation and an incredibly sensational home that our hostess has lovingly renovated to sell. Modern, bright and filled with limitless possibilities, this place was the perfect setting for a truly relaxing and enjoyable evening. It was to all of our dismay when the sun began to set and day darkened into night. So we parted ways with our host & the other guests to head back towards Pepieux. To my delight, in line with the road home, a beautiful plump strawberry pink moon slowly rose above the horizon. It glowed like a beacon, to light our road back to our gite. What a perfect end to a beautiful day.

Here are a few of images of today's market... Flavored cheese (tomato/ olive & pesto), Spices & some background music... Plus the setting for tonight's wonderful meal & conversation.

Tomato_n_Basil_Cheese.jpg Spices.jpg Accordian_to_who.jpg 2_tier_terrace.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 08:47 Archived in France Comments (0)

Catch of the Day

sunny 23 °C

Having to speak another language is like coffee in the morning. It gets your brain firing on all cylinders, stat. That is how I started today, coffee talk with 3 of my neighbors. They are really such a delight, and so eager to help me practice my french. After this, I snuck off to Rue St Michel at the outskirts of town to visit the local donkey: Jo-Jo. J.J. has already caught on to the fact that feed him the "good stuff" (borage) from across the road. So he bee-lined it over to the fence when he saw me and followed me down the road as I foraged for him (with pleasure). After I said my goodbyes, I spent some time listening to the frogs sing and after talking to two local frog hunters (a young boy and girl) I managed to snag the pic you see below.

After my wander, it was time for an actual morning coffee and then we were off to Narbonne. A lovely city by the sea. The goal was to explore the old city and that is exactly that we did. Churches, gargoyles, gorgeous sculptures, art, roman ruins, a main square & long canal way lined with shops & cafes. We walked for hours, we saw a ton and I am a wee bit bit pink on the edges. And yes, I am wearing my 50 SPF. A cold Heineken was a welcome homecoming.

Today I will share a bit of my morning since we will be returning to Narbonne for their market later this week or next (will post Narbonne pics then).
Here is Jo-Jo with Pepieux in the background, as well as the promised, catch of the day.
Jo-Jo.jpg Frog_Catcher.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 12:36 Archived in France Comments (0)

The Happy Wanderer

semi-overcast 23 °C

Well, there is something to be said about travel. You never know exactly what lies around the corner. (Literally & figuratively.)

Today started in a usual coffee sort of way, but a smidge earlier. B. had arranged a hike with some expats who were checking out a running trail. I bowed out of the trek in favor of some small town exploration.

After arriving in the town of Olonzac, the trekkers left for the hills (literally) and I finished my Cafe Creme (coffee w/Cream) at the Cafe de la Poste while people watching. I then started wandering down the main street which was closed off for their Vide Grenier (Attic Sale) Lots of junk and a few great finds, like you'd see at any community garage sale.

The whole wander itself was brilliant. Full of colour, culture, intoxicating rose gardens, imaginative french style, winding backstreets, a charming rector and a couple of hilarious 15 year old boys (who found it quite amusing to check out what I was doing, let me listen to their music and show me the bike tricks they could do)

The day also gifted me two spring fevered swans that kept the onlooking children giggling & whispering amongst themselves. It looks more like a attempted murder than anything else, but the happy dance they did together afterwards reflected a different perspective.
Returning to Le Cafe de la Poste, I ordered a Leffe Rose (Ruby) to wash down what I had experienced before heading back to the hood. Another good day!

Pictures for the day: Those two boys, thrilled that they could pose for me & the infamous swans.
DSC_0748.jpg SwanSong.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 12:18 Archived in France Comments (0)

You never know what you will find in France

semi-overcast 20 °C

You honestly never know what you are going to run across in the small villages of South France.
A gorgeous door, a breath-taking courtyard or colourful confetti filled street gutters. Maybe you'll even find someone's pet tortoise (including doghouse) in an otherwise typical French garden or a mid-town chicken coupe, perhaps nude sunbathers, kitchy gnome filled window sills, a boat graveyard, lush wall gardens, massive fig trees and definitely a stray cat or two...or 3... Yep, I ran across all this today and a whole lot more!

My day took me on a walk around Pepieux this morning, a two hour coffee break with Barbara on our front stoop and then two small towns nearby (Olonzac & Homps). It also brought me to the local lake (Lac de Jouarres), and a pretty walk along the Canal Du Midi from Homps to a country Tea House located few kms down the canal at one of the canal locks (& back again).

I also filled up in Diesel today, or as they call it Gasoil... really?... GAS-OIL... could you get more confusing? and not really something I'd like to be confused about! Not only that, the gas payment system was a little more intuitive than instructional. All was good in the end thankfully, the car is topped up & still running. Another bonus was that I again found that my mediocre french was enough to communicate with locals and get me through another day. Phew!
(My brain & conversational french aren't quite friends yet.)

Today's pics are courtesy of my morning walk. A snarly door knocker & a pretty cool shutter holder.
LionsGate.jpg ShutterHold.jpg

Posted by Vagabondage 11:59 Archived in France Comments (0)

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