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Wednesday,November 07, 2007

Toussaint (Halloween)

On the first October 1996 Ruud and I hired a gîte in Cambon-et-Salvergues, a hamlet at about 1000 meters height in the Parc naturel régional du Haut Languedoc. In the preceding summer we walked parts of the Grande Randonnée 7 in the ‘Monts de l’Espinouse’ (the Grande Randonnée 7 runs from the Vosges to Andorra and is one of the longest European walking trails). Under the hot summer sun we walked around for hours through a magnificent, rocky landscape that was strewn with flowers and smelled of spices. We went up to Douch and went down to the Gorges d’Heric where the cool, blue green water between the rocks was waiting for us. It was a dream.

The Gorges d’Heric

So when I wanted to treat my sister to an autumn holiday I choose for this area. What’s the difference, I thought, springtime or autumn, high or low, in the south of France the sun is always shining. Always! Yes, in those days we were still real tourists although we thought we were not.

We were astonished anyway when we arrived at Cambon-et-Salvergues in the morning and it was freezing. And this way for the first time in our lives we were confronted with the extreme Southern French mountain climate.

The gîte was idyllic, ‘en pierres’ of course, at least two hundred years old and entirely in the original state, a so called ‘ancienne maison typique’, that is: a cold shower if you had finally found the courage to leave your warm bed in the morning, moisture everywhere and definitely a short circuit if you tried to use the washing machine. Yes, it was an unforgettable vacation.

On the second November it finally came to an end, but not quiet yet because it was still the first of November what meant that we had yet one day to go full of typical French surprises like for instance All Saint’s Day (Toussaint). That’s such a holiday when all France is closed and you have to go to the take away Chinese for your hot meal.

Yes, so low can you fall if you go to France unprepared. A take away Chinese in France, does that really exist? Yes, it exists, in Lamalou les Bains to be precise. That means, it was still there on the first of November 1996 and one thing’s for sure: one must be able to gain a fortune with all these wandering tourists who would give their last penny for a hot meal on one of those many unexpected holidays in France. And the funny part is: since we live here I’m allowed too on the first of November to wonder if this one lonely soul in the street is a wandering ghost or a tourist.

I remember the living dead, that is on the telly

posted by Maartje Heymans at 01:53  |  send a comment

Next column ( dec 17 ) - Previous column ( oct 16 )

 

 

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November 2007
- Halloween (Toussaint)
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