A Bridge to Somewhere

When the bells woke us up, we were just glad to be there!!  Ray scurried down and moved the car as it parked it in an awkward spot.

It’s hard walking downstairs with your tail between your legs.  But we managed.  Our hosts were quite forgiving.  It seems that the man with the young, engaged woman was staying there for 10 days.  But they hadn’t seen him yesterday.  They think he came in at 4 a.m. but it was 10 and he had not made his presence known.  When we left to go back to base camp, he still had not appeared but we weren’t too concerned about that because we had other fish to fry.  Our host didn’t take credit cards and we didn’t have enough euro left to pay him cash.  Not to worry.  He gave us a bill and his back info and we would electronically transfer money to him.  So gracious.

We had breakfast out on the terrace to start with a great Irish couple that had arrived in our long, long absence.  She had been on the “telie” (TV) and was quite well known in Ireland.  Her husband apparently was an “unknown” since we didn’t know at all his background.  Anyway, a fabulous visit over croissants, poached apricots with fresh white peaches and nectarines, bread, coffee etc.  Mid-meal we had to move in to the house as a light rain started.  It was, however, warm and wonderful.

Martin was a man of many talents.  He and his wife had owned a restaurant in Ireland.  She had been a school teacher and he cooked at the restaurant.  In conversation with the Irish TV host and her husband, we discovered that he does some radio.  Apparently he does a program with an Irish station.  And he talks about his adventures of living in France.  The TV host’s mere (husband) was Michael.  She Marion.  They own a place in the south of France and spend a good deal of time here.  Anyway, they had to have their place re-wired when they bought it and someone gave him the advice to mark exactly where the switches for lights should be located.  If he didn’t, his switches would be down lower than he would like because all the men of their village were short and they located the switches where they would like them to be, which of course, would be lower than normal and stooping to turn on the lights would be a drag.  We all agreed that it sounds like the french don’t have building codes…or if they do, they don’t follow them.

The building we were in was called Le Presbytere because it was across the street from the church and the nuns lived there.  So, it was very, very old.  Much renovation was required.  That is the way it is here.  The old ancient places look old on the outside but they are quite modern on the inside.  It is very cool.

I wondered how the Irish folks were accepted by the locals.  Apparently just fine.  They both speak francais which is a huge help.  When I came down for dinner the first night, a neighbor was in the kitchen window (that was located above the kitchen sink) chatting up a storm.  Quite lovely, really.

It is quite interesting that the french had the foresight to install such big windows everywhere.  No small rectangular windows anywhere.  If there is an available large wall, you will find french doors or very large windows that open out from the middle.  Lovely again.

Shutters are ubiquitous and are used for insulation and security.  Most windows have soft, wispy fabric that you see through but that provides privacy.  Okay, so that’s the scoop.

The bridge that I’m posing in front of is fabulous and new.  Going through the mountains was a wonderful experience.  There are fabulous old french villages located mostly on knolls or hill tops throughout the region.  We left and took a different way home so as to see more countryside and we are so glad that we did.

This bridge was located by Millau.  Quite a fete of engineering.  We had to walk up a very big hill to get these shots.  So worth it.  It cost 8 euro to cross the bridge.

And the top of each “pole” has lights on it to protect it from aircraft I suppose.  As you look to the left, there were para-gliders jumping from cliffs.  Too far away to photograph.  It was all together beautiful.

Above is a village, blurred because the picture was taken thru the windshield.  The other picture is a motorist that surely filled up with the wrong kind of gas.  And the truck looked just like the truck that picked us up.  Ugh.  Then a movie to show you the condition of the road, the feel of the speed.  Plus this is how we spent a large amount of our time.  In the car.  Below, another little snippet.

Another thing.  Look at how smooth their roads are.  All the major highways are in excellent condition.  No potholes, no seams where they dug something up after the road was laid and then patched.  And clean.  No litter anywhere.  And you did notice the sky I hope.  The clouds of  France are stunning.

I know I haven’t taken many pictures of bridges but there are bridges everywhere.  It cannot be overstated.  I’d love to know the count.

For those of you that have been to France, I hope this isn’t boring.  We just love it and wanted to share the pictures.

Anyway, we arrived back in La Ferte and were glad to be back.  After aperitifs, walked to dinner, came home and retired.  Much to do tomorrow.  Remember, I am getting my hair done in francais!!  If it’s orange when I return, it’s only because I mispronounced something important!!

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