John & Brenda's Excellent European Adventure - Part Deux travel blog

Glen Locks Up Our House

Market Day In Castelnau

Market Day 2

The Medieval Architecture Of Castelnau

View Through The Outer Walls

Chatting With Yvonne In The Rain

Glen Fakes A Wine Tasting

July 26, 2011

It’s always interesting to leave your window open at night for the fresh air, what with barking dogs, roosters crowing, bells ringing or doves cooing…at 5:30 this particular morning, it was a farmer loading his tractor (we think) outside our window. It must have been a complex chore because the crashing and scraping went on forever. Brenda said if it happened again the next morning, Glen and I would have to go down to help him speed things up.

Misty rain was shrouding the view from our window when we finally did get up. We enjoyed a pleasant and slow morning with Lynn doing some writing, Glen working on his trip accounts, Brenda puttering in the kitchen and me journaling. Lynn and Glen leave on Thursday morning and we found that the next guests don’t come in until Saturday. We liked it so much here we decided to inquire through Yvonne whether we could take over the rental for those two days.

Tuesday was village market day in Castelnau in the square just two minutes away, so we ventured out in the misty rain to view the wares. It was a small market with a little bit of everything which had mostly been picked over by the time we late-risers showed up, but it was still great fun to mingle. We met Yvonne in her cute rain poncho and she agreed to check with the owners about our staying on. Our little stroll ended with a visit to Notre Dame Church where we viewed its bejewelled gold cross along with medieval paintings and icons.

Back at the house, the rain gave us an excuse to kick back a little longer and chat about a plan for the rest of the day. Lynn and Glen kindly invited us to join them for a mid-afternoon trip to Graulhet, 30 kms away, where the local artisans have a reputation for producing the finest of tanned leather. We visited one shop of exquisite leather clothing as well as a small factory/distributor of finished hides, but with our baggage weight restrictions, made no purchases.

Lynn and Glen had the town of Técou on their list of wine-tasting opportunities and we stopped at the

Cave Técou for some sampling. While the young man serving us had no English, Lynn’s basic French and sign language had us tasting some very impressive local product. I should point out that Glen has never touched alcohol in his life, by personal choice, and we could only admire his strength and will power in accompanying us in this endeavour. After enjoying 5 or 6 tasty samples, we selected several bottles, some for the table and some for our cooking school the following week.

It was still raining off and on while we snacked on baguettes and cheese in the parking lot of Cave Técou before returning to the house to feast on our wine. By this time, we had received an e-mail from JT, the owner of the house telling us we could stay on until Saturday, thanks in large part to Yvonne acting as our advocate and shifting cleaning schedules around to make it work.

Lynn and Brenda whipped up some delicious bruschetta appetizers which we enjoyed while Lynn showed us how her Skype video chat feature worked during a call to her brother in Ottawa. Overnight, Lynn had simmered a pot of chicken soup from the previous night’s chicken dinner, along with market vegetables and served it up with peasant bread and green salad. It was the perfect antidote for our rainy and cool weather, as well as providing some very fine home-cooked fare after all our restaurant meals.

After dinner, I loaded Skype onto our Netbook and we were soon having a video chat with Cheryl, Robert and Helen south of us in Vernet-le-Bains. The next thing you know, we were calling home on Google phone service and talking to Linda, Katie and Brenda’s Auntie Evelyn…ain’t technology grand (even if it means Mr. Google now has one more view into our personal lives and location)!

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