Today we explored Bourbon-L’Archambault closely, visiting the castle and the old mill, as well as the winding streets and the supermarket. It started to rain heavily and was bitterly cold.
Well shopping was a revelation. Had most things you need like bikes, mowers, wine food stuffs and the usual grocery items but all in the most ( to me, and Peter) disorganised arrangement. I was desperate to identify some logic but it was beyond me. The cereals were in ‘ breakfast’ aisle which included biscuits , jams, etc, but wine was in three places, oil was in three places, laundry was in an aisle next to gardening, bread was great but somewhere else and you could slice it yourself which I thought was great. We are so used to vegetables all the time at home I was shocked to find few leafy vegetables, but then thought they are coming out of winter so probably they are not available. I am on cooking duty tomorrow at the gÎte where we are staying and I had elected to do a stir fry for the vegetarians amongst us but also to satisfy my craving for GREENS. I managed to get broccoli and a Chinese cabbage at least.
We drove from Bourbon to St Hilaire through verdant forest and fields in a yellow green we rarely see in Australia. It is almost iridescent. The Chateau we were going to visit was closed, only this day(!) for a wedding. It was so pretty and Medieval. Chateau de Peufeilhoux is open as a Chambre d’hôtel so maybe another time after I have nabbed a rich boyfriend. Disappointed but not deterred we headed off in the rain through the forest, glad of our bubble car ( Nissan Micra) and not to be walking.
We followed a road Andy had selected as interesting. It was but also very narrow with no indications of where it was actually going. It meandered through more forest finally arriving at what looked like a door in a wall. We slowly drive through thinking we were in a private residence, only to see yes a house, but also a castle under restoration with massive crane and scaffolding all down one side. With relief we realised the road continued to the right and led us eventually to a very narrow mossy bridge over which the Micra just managed to fit, and onto a real road!
Our next interesting stop was Hérisson, French for hedgehog. What a charming ( if slightly mouldy) place with its winding streets, ruined castle, mirror like weir and a fabulous little restaurant. I had seen the door of what looked like a bar was ajar so I had stepped in to ask if they were open. The two women laughed and said no but directed us to the place that was, saying come back next season. They were renovating an old hotel which will look fantastic when it is finished. The town is the first we have seen with a retirement or old people’s care facility.
Lunch was delicious and full of salad and vegetables before we moved on to St Hilaire where we are staying two nights in a gîte. This is a private small house like a holiday stay. It is very cute and means we don’t need to put up tents in the next four days of rain. We will use it as a base to explore Moulins. Despite the 70 kms we covered we are actually only 15 kms from where we started this morning! We could have walked, but glad we didn’t. We saw two walkers looking decidedly miserable. Playing cards as you do on rainy days.