Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gorges du Tarn

I'd been looking forward to this.
But first we had to get there.

We broke up our trip from Burgundy to the Gorges du Tarn in Auvergne in the city of Clermont-Ferrand, which turned out to be a charming city with a fountain around every corner.

It was a rainy day so we spent it at Vulcania--part volcano museum, part indoor theme park.

My kids have long loved National Geographic's Volcano which tells of the exploits of French volcanologists Maurice and Katia Krafft.
We were very sad to find out that they had died (at Unzen in 1991) in a pyroclastic flow before we ever heard of them.  The museum is set among the dormant Chaine des Puys.

The following day we stopped by L'Aventure Michelin.

I love the history of innovation.  Getting a look at the evolution of the tire was fascinating.

I fell victim to the propaganda and now have a soft spot for Bibendum a.k.a. The Michelin Man.
Look how he gently cradles Greta.

An old ad:
Parisians!  A scandal!  Pigs ride on tires, and you ride 
on solid wheels. 
Reclaim equality of treatment!

It was a short but sweet visit and then we got on the road south to Ste. Enimie and Les Gorges du Tarn.

Our first glimpse of Ste. Enemie.  The road was very narrow and we came upon a car and a truck that couldn't pass each other.  We had to back up.  And then we had to wait a very long time as the nervous car driver backed his car up, nearly scraping the cliff wall on the left side of the road (away from the side with the drop).
We climbed the hill to the cave where Ste. Enimie spent some of her last days.  No pics, as they are on my phone.

The next day we kayaked.

A home tucked in a cave.

Chateau la Caze


The river was stunning and it had its little thrills, but for excitement it had nothing on the ride back to Ste. Enimie in the bus.  Picture a narrow twisty road clinging to the side of a gorge and plunging through rough hewn tunnels. Now picture a big bus with a trailer flying along at top speed.  Now picture this bus (with a trailer) impatiently passing a car on a blind curve.   But hey, the driver honked the horn in case there was anyone coming the other way.

I very nearly kissed the ground in the parking lot.

You can see our hotel L'Auberge du Moulin from the riverside parking lot.  We crossed our fingers and just turned up in town looking for a room. In the rain.

We had dinner again at the hotel.  The people here are very kind.  Someone even said that my French was good!  

And it is the result of my very good French that Clementine had lamb thymus for dinner.

Actually I ordered that for her last night, but, good luck, she liked it and she wanted it again tonight.  However, through a mysterious miscommunication, unrelated to my excellent French, she ended up with some other lamb part instead tonight.  I now understand that ris (sweetbreads) is not riz (rice) but I am not at all sure what happened in the ordering tonight.  At least I remembered that I wanted my steak rare (saignant) and not blood-covered (sanglant).  This time.

Today we head north.

1 comment:

  1. Blood-covered!? Really?
    It sounds great. I love the 'scandal.' Is it an ad for tires?