Saturday, 21 July 2007

Puy Mary, Salers and Ace on the farm

This post covers our journey further into the Cantal including our stay down on the farm!

We drove on towards the Puy Mary, one of 80 dormant volcanoes in the area. It was only a couple of hundred years ago that local people realised these peaks were volcanoes, before then it was believed these were a series of giant fortifications built by the Romans. A road sign warned us that the Pas de Peyrol, the mountain pass leading to Puy Mary, was open. From November to May, it is usually closed due to snow. Another sign warned us that trucks, buses, caravans and motorhomes were banned from this road from 12.15pm to midnight! Oh no, I said to Sarah, we will have to turn around! She then reminded me it was only 10.35am, we were not used to being up and about at this hour! Jooooke!!! No joke really…

Above: Cows

Below: Wild horses, Pas de Peyrol

On the way up we stopped to admire the views and some beautiful mountain horses. There was a car park near Puy Mary where we left Ace as we walked half way up to the summit, before deciding that we probably didn’t have enough time to go all the way up if we had to be off this road by 12.15pm! We took some photos and enjoyed the mountain air for a few minutes, then drove down a steep winding road to the town of Salers. Salers is a breed of cow and also a tasty farmhouse cheese. We parked up and walked around the town for an hour, it was quite touristy, but still enjoyable for a stroll in the sunshine.

We then headed a few kilometres away to a farm where we could stay the night for free. We arrived and the owner told us to drive down a steep slope to an area where there were 12 pitches overlooking a valley and a herd of his cows. Half way down we realised we needed some water for Ace from the barn and then tried to reverse back up the hill. This took about 5 minutes and Ace stalled twice! How embarrassing. He came over and told us next time to go down the hill, turn around and come back up.

We set up on our pitch and took advantage of the free electric on offer. We walked up to the farm shop where we met the lady of the farm who gave us a taste of two cheeses. I bought €2.50 worth of a cheese called St Nectaire Fermier, quite a strong taste but I liked it. All their cheeses are made from unpasteurised milk. Sarah expressed an interest in the pure pork sausages so I asked for four and Madame went off to fetch some, they were huge, fat and looked quite fatty!

Four other motorhomes, all French, turned up during the afternoon. At about 7pm we walked up with our bottle for some more fresh water and all the cows were being milked. Madame told us we were welcome to watch, I went and grabbed my camera and came back. We saw two young calfs, one 2 days old and the other 10 days old. Sarah patted one of them and Monsieur gave us a taste of fresh cows milk, hot from the teet! Sarah loves warm milk on her cereal so I suggested she came up the next morning in her jimjams with her bowl of rice crispies!

Above and below: Views from Puy Mary

We then got chatting to some French people at the farm who explained about how farmers used to bury food underground to keep it dry and safe. They also used to bury personal possessions, money, and even people, during the 100 years war with the English. All this time I was doing my best to translate for a baffled Sarah. They then introduced a woman who was their long lost relative from Boston! They had traced each other whilst doing their family tree. They gave me a long complicated explanation about how they found each other, but I asked the American woman to translate as I wasn’t quite sure about a couple of details!

Below: Milking time!

We then headed back to Ace and cooked dinner. About 6am the farm donkey woke us up with a right racket! We quickly went back to sleep though. When we finally got up I opened the fridge and could’ve sworn there was a dead animal inside. The smell from the St Nectaire Fermier was incredible! We had a lazy morning around the farm and then drove up and said thank you and goodbye. We finished our stay on the farm in a similar embarrassing fashion to how we started it. I took a wrong turn from the farm, much to the amusement and bemusement of the locals and ended up in a narrow no through road. Oh the shame…



HI GUYS - It seems like all travel at the moment - you guys on the guy - whacko - wish we there there with you - or at least in the region. Met with Ray & Shirl yesterday - and of course they are getting prepared for their trip - and then bugger me -went to see Susan and Lyn and they are off to Vanuatu tomorrow. Seems like it is up to us to turn the lights off.
Also yesterday was Harry Potter day here and we took the girls down - both dressed as Hermoine of course - to the official opening of the new Harry Potter books.
Morfe soon - love the chat - I know it must be a bugger of a job keeping it up - but we really are enjoying the rides
Love to you both and keep writing
Bridget and Mervyn

ray murray said...

This is great stuff , my eyes swell up with pride and happiness to see two people enjoy a fabulous lifetime expereince . Keep it going Love Dad Ray