Karapiro 30th June
After three months of relaxation and doing things in our own good time we headed back home to NZ with most of our movements controlled by deadlines. Three planes to catch, four hours of continuing education videos to watch, a hotel to check out of, a car to return on time and a shuttle bus to catch. We made all our deadlines on time, which can’t be said for the airlines which all ran 40 -60 minutes late, one thanks to the economy-flying Chinese basketball team.
We had a fantastic time, full of all sorts of interesting discoveries and activities of culture, history, outdoor adventures and fact finding missions of French life. We left temperatures of 32 degrees to come home to 2 degrees, but thanks to Ann and John our high-maintenance property was well looked after and the cat was more than happy with life. My trusty spreadsheet shows we spent just under $19,000 including airfares, accommodation, car hire, food etc. Of the $4k of food and drink we consumed we managed to walk most of it off in our 1,011,000 steps.
To end the blog for this venture, below are some ‘best of’ highlights from our trip...
Best area we stayed in: Cahors - plenty of Cultural Immersion activities on offer for free and it is central to a lot of other small towns which are steeped in history
Best Fete: Sainte Bazeille’s Strawberry Festival - what’s not to love about strawberries, free entertainment and hassle free access?
Best Market: Saint-Antonin-Nobal-Val - largest variety, most attendance we have seen and plenty of lunch options.
Best Festival: Cahors music festival - Seven hours of free music covering every genre.
Best Meal: Loubes Bernac - Four courses, French fare,cheese, complimentary wine and coffee, reasonably priced, excellent service and atmosphere.
Best Pub: Café de la Paix in Duras - paix translates to peace. The landlady was friendly, the drinks cold, however sometimes there were just too many Poms.
Best town visited: Roger’s pick was Bergerac, they held a good event, there was lots of history, it was clean and tidy and had plenty of shops and free parking for the tourists.
Best Chateau: I liked Bridoire for its interactive approach to discovering the castle, especially the games and treasure hunt.
Best Church or old building: There were so many it is hard to pick one, most were free and open to the public all the time, some had amazing features like Montpezat de Quercy’s tapestries, some had incredible history, and others were simple yet elegant.
Best Tour: Roger’s pick is the Cloister’s sparkling wine tour in St Emilion. We learnt some interesting facts about producing wine in France, saw some old buildings, and learnt some history, all in English.
Best Geocache: Terra Adventura’s multi caches, even though the French translation often made them difficult and frustrating, took us on adventures in many different places and came with a reward badge.
Best thing brought from home: good footwear - not all pilgrims wear roman sandals. Plus our chilly bag for our cheap homemade lunches.
Best Bakery: The Duc’s Pain in Duras, good products, perfect service.
Best discoveries: Roger has decided he likes white wine better than red, the French apparently make shit coffee, I don’t like 2 story houses especially in the winter, you can survive a French airline strike, a little manners goes a long way, the best shower and bed are always the one at home, but most of all you can survive three months in France eating baguette and cheese every day.
The point of going to France for three months was to see if we would like to live there; the jury is still out on the answer to that, so we may have to repeat the exercise again for clarity.
À bientôt !!!
A couple of people who decided to try living in France for three months, to absorb some of the culture and to try a diet of Baguette, Cheese and Wine.