Adrien was a wwoofer who stayed with us for around a month, and we wish it could have been longer. His Dad was working in Australia at the time, and the family came down for a visit. So it was nice to meet up with some familiar faces.
They graciously offered to host us at their house in Lescar, in the Pyrenees. When we arrived, there was a birthday cake for Allison, a local speciality which I can only describe as a creme brulee made as a cake. Their son Simon played with Owen in Australia, and the two of them got on well together again.
Adrien set aside the whole next day for showing us around the area.
First we went to the ancient Roman cathedral at Lescar. Lescar is now just a small town, overshadowed by Pau, but it has the really ancient buildings. There is a great mosaic there of an archer with a wooden leg.
Then we went to Pau for the renaissance palace of King Henry IV of France. I didn’t know a lot about that period of history, so that was pretty cool. Then we ate crepes overlooking the palace.
Then Adrien took us around some pyrenees villages. We saw some vultures, and the cliffs in which they nest.
They have herds of cows, with red leather collars and enormous cow bells. They sound amazing. They also have herds of very chunky horses, again with bells — I wonder if these are grown for meat? We bought some sheep’s cheese.
Then we visited Adrien’s aunt and uncle, who live in one of these villages. Their 11yo daughter Maelle is keen to learn English, and she dragged Owen off for some practice — they seemed to have fun. Remy and Natalie are both medieval enthusiasts, and were delighted to teach us some blacksmithing and repousee metalwork. We had dinner with them, and I had to drag us away at 11pm or we would be there still. They gave us a forged spear-head, a repoussee work belt buckle, and a Book of Kells dog’s head cast in white metal. We had a splendid time there.
Yesterday we spent the whole day driving to Paris, for nine hours. Groan. And we’re jammed into a little modular hotel. But this morning it’s breakfast at the Eiffel Tower.