Friday, August 9, 2013

Sorry... delay in new pics

Sorry friends! 
Apparently my computer contracted a major virus while I was gone! :( 
Trying to get it figured out... it may need a trip to the doctors!
So sadly this virtual french tour is going to be put on delay until I can get my computer back up and running!
Wish me luck!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

La Roque Gageac - More eye candy!

Are you tired of pictures yet? :)
All of the following are from a little mideval village called LaRoque Gageac  - perched above the Dordogne river... and ancient beginnings. (Here they have proof of people having lived IN these cliffs... if you look closely you can see windows and small openings in the cliffs. The stairwell that had been built much later for tourists' sake was disintegrating and currently being rebuilt).  

We got to enjoy a small market - food (always food! lol) and wares. There were handmade raw silk scarves that I was absolutely drooling over. Only 35 euro... almost caved and bought one. Wishing I had! LOL! 
Then, after sight seeing for the first half of the day, we had a picnic lunch and then set up our easels to paint.

 Castle across the river...

 The sunflowers were just starting to bloom. (remember all their crops are running late because of the long rains) At this time of year, they would normally be at their largest and in full glorious bloom!

 The Dordogne River... with LaRoque Gageac on the left...
 the cliffs above/behind the village where prehistoric man once lived

 Sausages of all kinds!
 le fromage!
 desert wines
 the silk scarves that I SHOULD have bought! lol! Gorgeous!!
 olives, antipasto makings
 fun little baskets with screened coverings
 Nuggat - over the top expensive!
 rotisserie duck... mmmm!
side view of the church, high up on the mountain

 I LOVE alleys in these villages! They are tiny.. one, maybe two people wide.. and yet, shops and homes are tucked in here! Would you just look at that stone work?!?!?

We finally made it to the top... the old church... wish I could remember when this was built!

 The view from up there..... amazing, right?

 one of the little shops tucked into the mountain... this one specialized in frois goix (grr.. don't know if i'm spelling that right?)  Duck liver pate. 

 Just breathtaking! You could rent canoes and paddle down the river..

 This is the row of Gageac shops... very touristy shops... I didn't go in any of them. I liked snooping around the other places better! :)  This is where I set up to paint. Sun beating down on my back. lol It was hot!! Again!!! Painting here went a "little" better than previous attempts. Not much.. but a little!

I believe this is the castle that is talked about in the book "A Castle in My Backyard" -
Castlenaud-la-Chapelle. It was either this one, or the one across the river high up in the hills. (they might be one in the same... i'm forgetting? lol!)
Either way,  magnifique... n'est pas?

Tomorrow is the market at Sarlat! :)
jusqu'a demain! Au revoir!
(until tomorrow.. bubbye!)

Monday, August 5, 2013

Night Market - Day 4

(Warning, I have exceeded my 30 pics for the day... by about 12 extra. LOL)

Day 4
Everyone else went to the little 14th century village of Castelfranc to paint. I however got to go to the local french doctor instead. My leg swelling just refused to come down :(  And since I have a blood clotting disorder, we wanted to make sure there was none of that going on! So.. everyone left in the morning and William took me to the doc, and to the blood draw place, and translated the entire time.
(A little side note about William - he is from Cleveland. :)   But his mother and aunt are both French. So he spent every summer in France, going to school instead of enjoying summer break. lol 
William is an amazing (and I truly mean amazing!!) source of knowledge! He has a passion about history, and I think he might have a photographic memory! This guy can recite, verbatim, anything and everything he's ever learned! Like a walking wikipedia! We started calling him Wiki William, haha... because his source of knowledge is so vast! Incredible! So... just imagine having him as your 'tour guide' !!! Add into that, that he's a kind and funny, good man - and you have our host! :)

OK, so... I was wrong. I wasn't trying to figure out how to move here until the fourth day! haha!
This is the evening that clinched it.
There was something... magical...or more like spiritual... that happened that night.

Don't laugh. It was a moment in time, that I will never forget.
And don't want to forget!
It slammed me like a ton of bricks.
So if you ever hear to me refer to "that night in france" you'll know this is the one I'm talking about :)

Sooo... without further ado...the night market..
That evening we had the sheer pleasure of attending a night market.  Rosalie (our hostess) thought we might enjoy it.. (did we ever!)  a true french summer tradition, known only by the locals, for the locals. And they just brought all 14 of us as guests! lol!
The local vendors and farmers set up a table and sell whatever it is they do best. You go, and buy your dinner, supporting your community, and visiting with friends... dinner is whatever suits your fancy.. a little of this, a little of that... 
This one is held on a local church grounds, every Thursday throughout the summer. The church provides tables and chairs. You bring your picnic basket with everything else you need. Your table setting.. silverware and cups, corkscrew for your wine, napkins, butter for your bread etc. 
Get your table set, and then go where your nose follows!

 We got there right before most of the people arrived. Rosalie was worried we wouldn't get tables otherwise! We set ours up right under this covering, to the far left. Here come Rosalie and Toni :)
People just parked wherever they could find a space... the old church lawn
 Starting to fill up quickly.... and around the outside edges were the food vendors

 This gal was making grilled zucchini and tomatoes - ooohh yumm!!!  And check out the view behind her!
 I have a thing for old architecture, and rooftops! (and alley ways as you'll soon see! lol)  just look at the history in this picture!!!! You can see where parts of the roof have been replaced, and grouting between the stones has been taken out and new put in.. along with the original chimney and bell tower and original stonework back to the right....... it just speaks volumes to me!!
Le Pain!!!!!!!!! :)

 The crepe guy :)   It was neat watching him make these :)  

 and of course le vin! 
Now.. i seem to have lost many of the picture of the vendors! Just so you can try to get your imaginary taste buds around what was available, I'll try to remember... 
There was grilled zucchini and tomatoes. Fresh Gespacho. Berries - mini strawberries that were packed with flavor - currents-blackberries-raspberries-cherries-blueberries.... the jam vendor... the foix grois vender... "sandwiches" you had your choice of bread spread with pate, or roasted chili's on bread.... the bread vendor, the crepe maker, and oh.. the cheese vendor!! Little round goat cheeses drizzled with honey and walnuts... or any cheese of your choice...foccacia? pizzas... there was a wool scarf vendor there also... and then around the other side was the local escargot farmer, the wine peeps, and then the butcher - specializing in fresh duck or rabbit.. although there were other choices as well...grilled on the spot... and a henna tattoo artist :) 

I didn't think to take pictures before we all dug in! LOL! But this was the aftermath! 
We all ended up getting different things... and the portions were so large, we just took what we wanted and passed the rest along to the rest of the group to try :)  It was a feast of grand proportions because no one said "oh i'll get the bread, and you get the berries.."  no.. we were all hungry and went and bought what we wanted... and then were blown away by how much food ended up on the table!! haha!!
 Mmmmm!!!!! nom nom nom!
 There was a true sense of family within our group. It filled me to overflowing! 

 Oh.. and the heat never once let up. Forget any make up that you put on that day! And if your hair is not used to the humidity (like mine) it won't do anything anyway! Except stick to your sweaty neck! lol! So i wore mine up for oh.. 20 out of the 23 days? :) This was one of the rare occasions it was down. I think it ended up in a clip about half an hour after this pic was taken! ha!
 This Rose' was delicious and became a favorite!
The escargot vendors
 view of the hillside and of course.. pass the wine!

 A three man band set up in the corner of the pavilion... and they were wonderful! Singing french love songs, blues, and some fun upbeat tunes.  The little kids were zippin around on scooters.. and then some little girls got out and started dancing :)
 This sweet little girl was feelin the music! She had some moves! We had so much fun watching these little ones dance!!

 Some of the stone work and stained glass on the side of the church... and a close up of the door below...

An old tombstone... hard to make out the exact dates... 14 something...

And an end to a wonderful evening!
There was such a sense of community here. Taking care of one another. Enjoying friendships and family around the dinner table. Slowing down to enjoy the important things in life.
And every where I looked... I saw beauty!