I traveled to the south of France to meet with Julie’s whole gang: mother, father, brother, sister-in-law, aunts and uncles, their husbands and wives, nieces and nephews, cousins, their boyfriends, a dog and a couple of cats. For the first few days, we stayed in a small village called Vers Pont du Gard.
Almost exactly a year ago I was cycling through this same area with my bike, on my Andorra to Albania +++ tour. Julie on the other hand never visited this area before. As an “expert” on the region, I gave her a little tour: Pont du Gard, Avignon, Nimês. I profited from this as well: being without a loaded bike allowed me to visit places I missed last time, such as the Palais des Papes in Avignon.
One day I got on my Brompton (yes, I brought it with me) and rode to nearby Uzés, a pretty little town with a medieval castle and cathedral. It was pleasant to cycle on bike-friendly roads.
Julie and I then drove to Puymule, a tiny village a few hours away in the Périgord region. The route, once again, was going through places where I cycled last year: Béziers, Narbonne, Carcassonne. We stopped in each for a quick tour. What took me a week of hard pedaling last year took us two hours to pass by a car. Not as rewarding though.
At the end of the day, we arrived at our destination where Julie’s sizable family gathered. We got there right on time for champagne.
Hosting this reunion were Roger (Julie’s uncle) and Laurene (his wife). Their house, dating back to the 18th century, sits on top of a hill with a glorious view of the surroundings. For the next few days we mingled, drank countless bottles of rosé, and ate good homemade food. Julie and I found time to visit a couple of close-by charming villages and even went on an underground boat ride. I also put Greengo to good use, exploring the surrounding hills.
On our last night, we fired up a three centuries old brick oven where we baked bread we had just kneaded and cooked lamb shoulders with vegetables (under the supervision of Christian and Ghyslaine, local artisan bakers). One word – delicious!
Next morning it was time to say “A la prochaine!” to everybody and embark on our next trip.
This week in numbers:
61km – distance cycled
22 – family members gathered in one place at the same time
99m – is the depth of Gouffre de Padirac, the cave we descended into