Looking for Nirvana – Stage 2

Day 21

A big thing about this region, and a lot of country France, is to find the local farms, sometimes they also have accommodation, and they serve the local produce that they grow. Eg: the B&B we stayed at in St- Ettiene de Gorgas served asparagus tart, meat and fig (we could not understand what the meat was), berry flan and cheese platter. We weren’t (ie: Matt) adventurous enough to try this one. Instead we ate in the near by village of Soubes.

We had planned to drive to Millau today but didn’t make it instead stopping in St-Ettiene de Gorgas. We first had to get to Carcassonne.  We ummed and aaghed about going there as ideally we knew you should have a good amount of time to see this amazing city and it’s history, but we also knew we needed to cover some km’s. So we rushed in there, had a brief look around and rushed off in search of the dream village to stop and rest in….. do we go on the main roads, do we go off the beaten track, we did both but we both take such different approaches to the driving and discovery that we spend too much time trying to compromise the best route and end up not doing entirely what either of us planned for. We are however getting along with each other really well under the circumstances and being quiet patient with each other even when we feel perhaps we have the better idea. We thought this drive might be a real test for us but I think we have past with flying colours. Some roads we drove down today were very very narrow and rustic, Matt did not enjoy them so much. I am on the endless endeavour of following small tracks off somewhere to find my nirvana.

Whirlwind tour of Carcassone

In St- Ettiene de Gorgas we have found a type of farm stay, amazing view out the window of rocky, forested hills, overlooking the garden, geese, chickens and donkeys down the road. Look forward to seeing what tomorrow brings, the French owner of the Chambre d’hote and Connie tried to communicate what the deal is. We think we are getting coffee with bfast,will we stay another night so we can soak our feet in the area for a while.

Day 22

Today the weather was disappointing, again, and we decided against staying further in St- Ettiene de Gorgas and to push on. Finally crossed the Viaduct at Millau. I had researched this at home and found the engineering of it very interesting when we stopped at the information centre later. It is the largest Viaduct in the world and the French managed to complete it in less than 3 years!

Viaduct at Millau

We drove on stopping at a Chateuax (Castle) on a beautiful lake trying hard to ignore the rain. We continue to drive past incredible sights but I think the driving and weather is starting to get to us. I think we are now both looking forward to a non driving day very soon.

This night we stop in Villeport. A pretty enough town but still not Nivana. Hotel Balme boasts a renowned Chef (in his heyday in Singapore at least). The meal was actually very good with amazing French sauces. The Chef on the other hand was grumpy and arrogant and more interested in watching Montpellier vs Lyon playing Rugby.

Day 23

More rain so we have moved on again! It seemed like we were driving through the clouds today as we climbed and descended more mountains. We narrowly miss Bambi and dogs on the road but once more make it to civilization. One highlight was stopping and buying a roasted rabbit and potatoes by the side of the road. We later ate them sitting on the steps of a church in some random village.

Buying a roasted Lapin (Rabbit) by the side of the road

More crazy driving to find our village in the mountains. We find plenty of them but they are either not what we are looking for or they don’t seem to have the sort of accommodation we need so we continue on. We are nearing the big city of Valence now and for a time drive along the mighty Rhone.

We are starting to realise now that a lack of proper planning is hindering and frustrating us. We can’t get proper Internet access and its Sunday. No tourist offices are open and we pretty much drive aimlessly from one place to another. We never seem to have enough water and we always seem to time our lunch stops with local French Siestas. At least the weather has improved and we still love each other.

By luck we happen upon a Hotel in a small village called Gihoc (or Village of the Damned as we later renamed it as every second person seemed to have some sort affliction), 5 kms off the already beaten track. After much language confusion with Grandma we are able to secure a room. We are so tired and frazzled we skip dinner and have an early night. Still not the perfect destination we had in our heads but here we will stay tonight and the next day. We need a rest…….

Note 1 : Apologies for the confused writing style as we are both kind of writing it together and adding bits here and there.

Note 2 : Travelling is not always as glamorous as it all sounds, but reading back over our own comments and looking at the photos, I would not have it any other way – Connie xx

One Response to “Looking for Nirvana – Stage 2”
  1. Kate says:

    🙂 Travelling together certainly does test a relationship doen’t it? ….especially when you in the car for hours a day, days on end. Sounds like you are doing great and also still seeing, experiencing and tasting some amazing things.

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