11 January 2010

There are many roads. . . . Day 1

A jump back in time now to October and our trip with old friend Alan to the Auvergne. Alan was Michael's PhD supervisor, so I was able to hand over all navigational responsibilities to another map-oriented geologist. Bliss! He was far better than Valerie, our disembodied satnav voice. No more prissy "recalculating" declarations. "There are many roads" was Alan's gnomic, zen-like response to any query Michael had about whether we were headed the right direction. MW: "Should we have turned left back there?" AS: "There are many roads." I must remember this.

Our first stop on the route north from Laroque was the Millau Bridge. Michael and I fly over this regularly on our flights to Perpignan, but had only seen it close-up-and-personal via a documentary we watched in London. These two photos don't really do justice to the staggering engineering achievement that this bridge is, so here's a link to the first five minutes of a Megastructures video on its construction: http://www.veoh.com/browse/videos/category/educational/watch/v14204546cSZcBwFX

The visitor's center was excellent. Even the benches were a treat for geo-types.
Déjeuner sur (a little bit of) l'herbe in the parking lot

We were headed for the Auberge de Fondain outside the village of Laqueuille, which would be our base for the next four days. Since other posts will deal with our sightseeing and geologizing (minimal coverage of the latter, given that this is my blog not Michael's), I'll paste in all photos of the inn and our meals here.

The old house, lovingly restored by the mother-and-daughter team who run the business. Daughter's husband and grandchild live on the premises.

By night. The house was built in the 19th century by Antoine Roussel, who discovered the process of using mold on rye bread to make Laqueuille blue cheese.

We were never around during the day for un pique-nique, but the grounds were certainly inviting.

Ulysse, a calm and affectionate Bernese Mountain Dog (Bernois), was periodically in trouble for tracking in mud.

The dining room. I obviously took this photo since it's out of focus. Still, you can see that their claim of ambiance familiale is borne out.
Dining room detail.
Two snaps of Alan in the "snug," a Moroccan-themed retreat down steps from the dining room. Sophie, the daughter, is the cook and avid stenciller; her mother makes all drapes and cushions.

Meals were delicious and bountiful, very much cuisine traditionelle/cuisine bourgeoise/cuisine grand-mère, whatever you want to call high-quality home cooking. The appetizer our first night was a warm pork pâté with prunes.
Main course: Cantal-stuffed cabbage with sausages.

Dessert: pears in red wine.

Other high points.
Soupe l'ortie (nettle soup).

St. Nectaire quiche

We had three casseroles: coq au vin, beef rather than duck à l'orange, and pork with chesnuts and cêpes. I'm not sure which two I took pictures of.


Another homemade (like everything else) pâté, this time cold.

Crème brûlée.

Moelleux au chocolat.

We were also considerately provided with a full moon.

1 comment:

  1. You have an amazing blog!!! I love the photos, too!