Saturday 24 August 2013
As soon as we arrive, we assemble the Airnimals using a terrace each, above and below, and prepare for a ride. Lunch first. Jim wants a sandwich and goes to a local produce seller, but there is no bread. The lady offers to make us one if we buy the bread. When this is done she asks ‘where’s the butter?’ which of course we had not bought, so we end up with a great hunk of bread with slabs of raw ham inside. mmmm…..even Jim couldn’t eat that , so we go to the café for salad and burgers…. then away along the Jonte River, seeing the weird forms of the rocks, the vultures, the little house beneath the cliff way down out of sight of the sun in the gorge bottom, before turning off up a narrow road leading on to the Causse Noir; not recommended for caravans and motor homes. It seems that tourists generally aren’t that keen either and we cycle up the silent hairpins making our way gently up 1,500 feet of climbing to the plateau, where gradually, pine trees give way to fields and wide views – Les Causses, the high limestone plateaux.
There are two small beautiful villages up there, with lovely old buildings – Veyreau and Vessac. In the first a friendly man at a farm building tells us the way as a few drops of rain start to fall from a very black sky. At the second, we shelter by the wall of an extremely long barn, from the now very heavy rain until a farmer shouts to us to shelter in ‘there’ which turns out to be the village bread oven, having a lovely rounded roof and half built into the hill. Having helped us out, the farmer rides off on his open topped tractor in just a shirt under the pelting rain without a care, and we inspect the dark sooty interior of the oven and its utensils. After about 20 minutes the rain eases and we stroll out into the village on a track that leads to the fields. this is the main street of this ancient village, and is lined with treasures and nooks.
A long undulating plateau ride follows and a high lonely crossroads with a view before the winding descent into Peyreleau past the Busseroles camping where had had once wondered whether to stay. Later we investigate more ginnels and steps in the village, piecing things together, and finding it quite complicated before going out to eat at a pub where nobody else was. (Should have known better) Dish of the day is steak, – the most dreadful lump of stuff I have ever been expected to consume. I left most of it and was on the verge of handing to the large dog lying on the floor by my chair. We sat outside and the sky was pretty with clouds against the dramatic rocks. More exploring our perched village in the dark followed before returning to our lovely house for brandies and the first sleep.