Summer in France 2011 – Visits & Community Events

July 18, 2011 in French Adventures, Summer in France 2011

Monday, July 18, 2011

Visit from Friends July 12-15

Getting together with friends is great fun

Getting together with friends is great fun

Kyle & Marge Bevers from Rockford, Illinois visited with us for a few days on their way up to Germany to work on their family history research. We picked them up at their hotel in Barcelona and walked the city a bit to get to a Tapas restaurant they had wanted to visit – which was delicious! Then came the 3 hour drive back up to France through the Pyrenees Mountains. It’s the less traveled option from Barcelona to Axat, but quite frankly it didn’t take any more time than the major highway option and it is 4,000 times more scenic! It’s wonderful to watch as the landscape changes from major city filth and sprawl to rocky, dusty scrub land, to arid hills and mountains similar to what I would expect in Sedona, to Alpine meadows, to lush mountain greens so thickly forested you cannot determine one tree from the next. This is truly breathtaking countryside! The narrow, twisty roads through the gorge caught their breath a few times (as it did ours the first several times through) and inside car handles were grasped tightly as we passed oncoming campers and semis…all the time their looks of wonder drinking in this very different terrain. This is not the farming countryside of the Midwest.

Ancient trebuchet at Chateau Puivert

Ancient trebuchet at Chateau Puivert

During their visit we drove to several castles, ate sumptuous meals (including flaming prawns!!) and had the opportunity to catch up with each other. We topped it all off with Bastille Day fireworks shot from the center of the lower village, as viewed by us from the overlook next to the ancient church in the high village. These people know how to do fireworks!! Wow! One upon another, never a break in the action. Beautiful ground display a la the waters of Bellagio and a high energy finish to dazzle the eye!! Kyle & Marge slipped into bed as Joe & I danced and partied like it was 1999 into the early hours of the morning at the community disco complete with DJ. It was a good visit and we wish them well with the continuance of their journey in Europe.

Loto Night July 16

Lord Kyle holds court

Lord Kyle holds court

One of the annual High Village events is Loto Night. The Place du Maroc is transformed with rows of tables and chairs into an outdoor bingo hall complete with screen for visual record keeping to aid those who don’t understand French number calling. Last year we were sketchy on our numbers, but this year we were Rock Solid. As they called number after number we marked our cards with Tic-Tacs picked up from the Tabac Store just for the occasion. One for the card, one for my mouth. Aaaahhhh the cool freshness kept me alert into the wee hours of the morning as we neared the 24th round for the final prize. And prizes were plentiful! Desk chairs, shredders, blenders, bags of groceries, whole smoked hams!! This isn’t some silly ‘win a lunch pail’ event my friends. Halfway through the evening we all took a stretch break to enjoy beverages and sugary crepes sold by member of the High Village Association. With 3 crepes and 2 coffees in me I was set to finish the evening. Jean is a master at calling numbers as he interjects local humor such as attaching the region name to some numbers: 3 – Champagne, 31 – Toulouse, 51 – Pastis…avec l’eau. It’s good to ‘get’ the jokes this year :-) All hands are on deck to clean up plates and cups and put away tables and chairs following the final game and the Place du Maroc is transformed to it usual communal parking area. Next event is coming up the 24th as everybody cleans out their attics and basements of unwanted ‘stuff’ to sell during Vide Grenier. I hear there will be moules & frites this year!!

Nostradamus slept here - Really!

Nostradamus slept here – Really!