Tuesday, August 08, 2006

My gite experience...Part deux.

This past Sunday, we went another gite visit. We did a very nice, 2 hour long hike through the forest and end up in a large open area that consists of vertical green fields where cows and goats graze freely, large rocks for bouldering, and a tiny village town comprised of 10 houses. Now, I'm used to seeing farm animals graze on flat green pastures. These animals, and most I've spotted in the Alps region, graze on steep hills. I spot in the distance a line of a large number of goats coming down the mountain and into the village. As we're hiking up to this cute little village, I turn to D and say, "Wouldn't it be fun to live on a farm in France?".

We start walking through the village, in search of the gite. It's the last house in the village. It's also the home to a 130 goats! And guess what? They live in a barn right next door to the bedroom of the gite. And I mean that once you open the door to the bedroom...there is the room where the goats are milked twice a day. Lovely. So, the very welcoming guardien shows us to the room. As soon as I walk in and take a look and a sniff, I say to D, "Forget the farm comment. I'm outta here." I would have rather slept in the car which would require me looking rude to the manager and would be very lonely and uncomfortable. I would have also preferred to sleep in the open air! For those that frequent state or county fairs in the summer, ya know that smell once you enter the livestock area? That's the smell we lived in for a night. Now, the people were very friendly. And the food was delicious and the view was amazing, but I would never recommend this place to anyone nor return for a relaxing, clean overnighter...no way. The cool thing about this "experience" was that we got to watch one of the owners milk 130 goats in one hour and then D and I got to eat one hour old goat cheese from that very milk. And it was delicious.

As soon as we left the place and finished the hike the next day, we drove to a outdoors store and bought 2 sac a viandes (= sacks for meat) which are like a cotton sheet folded in half and sewn along one side...like a super lightweight sleeping bag to be used in hostel or gite experiences comme ca. Because at these sorts of places, you never know who slept on what and how long ago, if ever, those blankets/sheets were cleaned. A sac a viande should also share Amex's key phrase, "Never leave home without it". And I stress the word, never.

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