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Thursday, 27 December 2012

Christmas is coming...



Saturday 22 and Sunday 23 December

A few quiet days again.  On Saturday we had to wait for the bread delivery as usual and after that we have done our weekly shopping, although this week, of course, we had to get some extras for the festive days.

On Sunday we've slept in again, not much else to do when you're not going out, and I took me probably all day to get all the Christmas wishes out.  It surprised me that via e-mail it still took so much time, but then, my address book needed fixing badly... :-)  This is one of the few times that I haven't sent anything in the mail, also because I hadn't made enough cards to send away.  As most of you know I normally make all the Christmas and birthday cards myself, but this year, while having been away so often and for so long, I just haven't had the time to finish enough of them.

Monday 24 December

The last day before Christmas to do some shopping and we have run out of bread, so we take the car and drive to Le Grand Serre where the bakery is. It's not far from here and surprisingly it is one of those interesting old townships again.  We buy the bread and decide to walk around town.  It's another of those old townships or bourgs of which there are so many around here.  A bourg is a medieval village, generally situated near a castle, so Montfalcon is probably also a bourg.  We discover a plaque with the town plan of Le Grand Serre explaining what we want to know:


While walking around we discover more plaques, but since it is very cold and extremely windy we don't try and find all of them.

An exceptional building: The Medieval Hall

Which is this one, built against the houses on one side,
or were the houses later built against the hall?

The water pump behind the hall
and houses at the end of the square

The fire station with the sign: sapeurs pompiers  in the window
and the request not to obstruct the entrances (if I remember well)

According to the next plaque there is also a mill where oil is pressed from the local walnuts.  Closed, but one could ask to be allowed entry at the town hall.  It was no use taking a picture, since there was a huge van in front of the facade.

Le moulin a huile de noix
There seem to have been several plaques about the "forgotten trades", like this one: the blacksmith.

Travail de Marechal Ferrant

And this is the old blacksmith's workshop
As Le Grand Serre as well as Viriville are both north of Montfalcon and we haven't explored that area much yet, we are planning to go and find a few geocaches that are hidden at two villages nearby. Geocaching still is an interesting way of exploring, because you tend to visit places that you normally wouldn't.

The first one is a scream!  Well, I would scream if I would live across the road of it.  Have look yourself:

This part is across the street from the house

This is the house itself

A little poem:
Si tu vien en ami je t'ouvre ma porte,
Si tu viens en ennemi que le diable t'emporte!

Meaning:
If you come as a friend I open my door for you,
If you come as the enemy the devil will take you.

The name of the house (and incidentally that of the cache):
L'Arc en Ciel de Christian
Christian's Rainbow

The driveway decorated for Christmas, or so it seems...

Can you just imagine living across the street or next to a place like this?  Honestly, I would have nightmares every night. :-)  Anyway, we discovered the cache, logged our find and were on our way again to the next one.  This one was at Lens Lestang, the next one is at Morras en Valloire a short drive further down the road.

We can't find the street that we are looking for, but using the compass we seem to be able to get quite close to the hiding place.  We park the car and notice a cemetery at the end of the street.  We know we need to find a statue of a Madonna, so a cemetery makes sense (and it wouldn't be the first cache at a cemetery either!). However, walking through it we are still not getting closer. There is a very steep hill southwards and guessing the distance it could very well be on top of the hill, so we start climbing, and climbing, and climbing...  And yes, on top of the hill is a huge statue.  Next thing is hoping that the compass isn't too far out in this kind of weather (we're using satellites), but voila!  Frank finds this one (I'd found the other one).  We also log this find and then we have time enjoying the beautiful view:

Panoramic view taken with Frank's new camera

Proof of our find :-)
(It's a relative big container, this one)

Some geographical information

Statue of the Madonna de Valloire
Erected in the mid 1800s to give thanks because the Madonna saved the population
 of the dreaded plague that went around during those times
Another interesting fact is that in this area very old pottery has been found.  I don't know the ins and outs of this, but that's why we generally photograph plaques like this one: to read it again at ease at home...


And just for fun, the sign below with the picture of a hare and the name P. de Haas on it, because we know several people by that name:


That's just about the account of the past few days.  Next it will be Christmas, so Merry Christmas to all of you and we hope you will have a lovely few days with your loved ones or your best friends.

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