Wednesday, 6 October 2010

An evening to remember

And then to the most unusual part of the day. When checking into the campsite, Wendy the English owner had recommended this inn which she claimed was some 800 metres away on one of roads out of town – Auberge du Bois. Here she explained the plate de jour was 10 euros each including wine. With little in way of provisions we thought why not ~ oh what an experience awaited!

We trudged up the road indicated by Wendy and soon left the main town but seemed to be just going along a country lane with odd houses and then a large timber processing yard. To be honest some of us were getting a tad dubious but Smith is the eternal optimist. Rounding a corner a building appeared with dim lighting shining out in the dwindling light – it was about twenty to 8 and if this was not the place we would have to rush back to the local 8 to 8 shop near the site for provisions.

Approaching the building we noted a shallow terrace along the front with a row of tables providing seating some 30 people. The terrace had some timber facing plus a screen of streamers - see the photo below taken from the other side of the road. Stepping inside we found two more long rows with seating for about another 60. It reminded one of a school dinner hall. These tables were set with plate, bowl, cutlery and linen napkin. But not a soul was visible.

Andy yelled “Bon soir” at which point an elderly French lady in pinny and slippers appeared out f the back. With clearly little English she indicated we could sit where we wanted but we chose the terrace as it was still a very mild evening.
She bustled out with the required cutlery for us, and then reappeared with a bottle of red, one of rose and a large one of water. We awaited developments. Before long the door swung out and she brought out a steaming metal bowl of vegetable broth. Fortunately by this time we’d worked out how to open the wine.

After a time her head appeared to check we had finished and she scurried out removing the bowls before reappearing bringing a salver with long strips of some ham and a bowl of chopped tomatoes. By this time a couple of locals had also arrived each wishing us “bon soir” or “bon appetit”. The process was repeated with the next course of some unknown slices of meat on a large plate piled with sauté potatoes and green beans. The meat we concluded was possibly the last to finish at a recent race meeting and whilst I would have no problem with that I do at least like mine to have some form of cooking and not just been shown a candle! The lads gleefully relieved me of that worry ~ where do they put it? The potatoes and beans were delicious so I didn’t go hungry.

Then it was onto a course consisting of a sliver of some local cheese followed by the most surreal part of all – the dessert. She appeared with a large box containing pots of all different yoghurts etc and you just picked one! This was followed by a jug of coffee ~ absolutely delightful. And yes this all for the princely sum of 30 euros. She appeared to do all but I assume there was some one else in the kitchen.

In all just a totally magical experience highlighted by the politeness off the locals arriving who greeted us with a “bon soir” – including all the children and even the local hoodie as we walked back to the site.

The only question I’m now left with ~ with my limited French how do I get a mobile crane with operator to meet us at the base of the Tourmalet to lift these 2 cyclists onto their machines?

1 comment:

  1. Really interested to see the nature of the high carb diet and fluid intake being adopted by the two athletes.
    Scenery looks stunning. Good luck going up the hill!


Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.