So our first evening at Haut Baran, we had an amazing dinner and wine, and then we all crashed! The next day jet lag was hitting most of us pretty hard, so it was an "ease into it" kind of day. We just hung around the Baran and learned to set up the french easels, and everyone broke out their paints.
My dad handed me a bag that had some paper, some brushes, and a ready to go palette and said GO PAINT! lol
what am i supposed to do?
how do i do it?
felt very stupid!
and then told myself even 4 year olds know what to do with paint! just start!
So... I set up the easel, and proceeded to try my hand at painting. hahaha. It didn't go very well.
It was so very hot. And veryyy humid. And we were all pretty sluggish. We went out to dinner that night, and that pretty much solidified the group! We laughed until we cried!!
The next day we were up bright and early eating breakfast at 8, and hitting the road by 9. We were taken to Cahors, on the bank of the Lot river to paint Pont Valantre, the most well preserved fortified bridge from the 14th century. We were given 90 minutes to find a spot, sketch out the bridge and paint it. That's it. 90 minutes. Be done or be left behind! lol
Well I sat and sketched it, while sweating profusely, and then tried to paint it on my lap. lol
By the time I started painting we were given the ten minute warning - time to go! haha!
So... needless to say that painting didn't go very well :)
People were stopping to talk, and i was just in awe at my surroundings!
We packed up and went to Cahors central shopping district, where there was a flea market going on. A true flea market, not a normal "french market". We had fun roaming around, shopping the antiques and not so old stuff. The heat was brutal that day... maybe around 98*? (and like 95% humidity?)
We were told the first rule of painting en plein aire - you must must must have a big floppy hat with a large brim to shade your eyes and the glare, since you can't wear sunglasses! And if we didn't have one, get one! lol
So... I bought a hat at the flea market :)
We had lunch there... a humongous bowl of baby mussels... oh my gosh, so delicious! A small salad, some wine, and a basket of fresh bread.
My legs had swollen up on the plane... and still hadn't come down yet. I looked like I had elephant legs! Very uncomfortable!
But like I cared? I hobbled around, went in a few shops to cool down here and there. Had some lovely (very short) conversations with the shop keepers :) Went off looking for the post office, and bought a cute little butter dish :)
All the while, forgetting I owned a camera!
While waiting to meet back up with the group, and asking strangers what time it was, and trying to remember my numbers in french (ugh, i am still no good at that!) I took a couple pics.
Cahors is a much larger "little city" than most that we visited. Newer. More modern. And yet... still older than most in the states :) They just felt very modern in comparison to everything else.
They had a very rainy spring, that kept raining up until the end of May... so most of their crops were running late since they didn't get planted until early June! But, it was hay time. Every where you looked, there were these fun round bales of hay sitting in the fields. Have just been baled, and then sitting for a week before being hauled off.
And another amazing 4 course dinner at the Baran! Their chef Kate- who I sadly didn't get a picture of :( was just amazing! That girl can cook! Ugh... and I felt so bad for her being in that hot hot kitchen on such hot hot days! She's working on a cook book -yay!!- and I will be first in line when it comes out!!
We were all over the top on her meals. I can't even remember what we ate on which days. And did I think to take pictures of our meals? Oh heck no! The before dinner drinks were already flowing, and the laughter had already started by the time we got to the table! LOL!
But we had duck breast, gorgeous salmons, cheese tarts, goat cheese drizzled in honey, camemberts and bries, fruits and delicious salads, other fishes in creamy sauces, gespacho, pates, pastries... oh my word.. and the desserts!!!
I ate with abandon. lol
I tried whatever came my way!
And gained 6 pounds in three weeks (feels more like 15!)
And let me just say... it was well worth it!!!!! :D