Friday, September 25, 2015

Less Random, Ample Serendipity, More Cycling and Marketing near Bordeaux

While the cycling trip I described last post was "planned" in about two minutes, five minutes before it began, halfway through the day, our most recent Cycling-Marché combo drew on a plan that was simply waiting for a sunny Wednesday. Mercredi,  you see, is market day in Créon, a charming town along the very pleasant Roger Lapébie cycling route. We've cycled to this market each of our last two visits, and one of the pleasures of coming back to a place you've already explored is that you can repeat those activities that made you happiest. Some travellers make the most of their time by doing something different with every precious day away from home, but we love the layers of experience that add a patina to certain places and activities we share.
Here's a link to a wobbly video I made as we rode the trail, trying to hold my iPhone steady. I've never tried adding a YouTube video in BlogGo, so I'll cross my fingers you'll see this. If it doesn't work, imagine a tunnel of dappled shade between blue skies full of sunshine and a wide asphalt pathway:
http://youtu.be/YqAzL-a9O2k
For example, we've seen this vendor's chickens before (according to the stall's signs, these birds have lived free-range lives, laid free-range eggs, eaten organic food; now, their happy days of freedom are clearly nearing an end), but I've never seen a class of little ones admiring them excitedly as part of a school field trip.

We've seen gorgeous vegetable displays before (and were served by the same young woman on previous visits), but we've never been here when artichokes were so wonderfully flamboyant (and succulent! We've had one each for dinner three nights this week and they're astonishingly good!) 
nor ever seen the pumpkins all robustly round and richly orange -- and much more manageable than our large jack-o-lantern variety. We really should ask one of the vendors for a suggestion or two about how to prepare these. 
Since Paul was going to be wearing our purchases home in his backpack (25 kilometres), we left them behind, but some of those tomatoes ended up in a yummy pasta sauce chez nous...
Some firsts for us at the Créon market this year included live eels
And the opportunity to have wickerwork and woven-straw chair seats repaired.

This fellow was very agreeable when I asked if I could take photos, as were all the vendors. Overall, the market has a very relaxed, friendly vibe, right until the last truck is broken down after an impressive scrub-down, and then magically folded into a road-worthy unit and driven home. 
Every year, as we sit eating our crèpes and watching workers pack away unsold fish, throw away leftover ice, and scrub and hose down the traveling poissonerie's display counter, we marvel at how much work it must take to be ready to set up again in another town's market square the next day. 

Meanwhile we have only to eat our savoury crêpes (mine's filled with boudin noir and caramel iced apples, so good!) drink our cider, and then contentedly pedal back home. . .Past scenes like this...

Do you get the impression that I'm beginning to relax into retirement? You might be right....

So, to continue answering Lynn's question about how we plan our days when traveling (particularly when fortunate enough to be hanging around one place for a while), this post describes the execution of one of the readymade plans we tend to have in our pocket, ready to be carried out when circumstances are right. Another of those got crossed off the list the other day when we needed something to do during a rainy afternoon last week after lunch downtown--perfect conditions for viewing a nearby exposition I'd wanted to see of the 19th-century work of photographer Felix Arnaudin. 
Do you recognize the strategy? Do you have a similar pocketful of readymade but adaptable plans when travelling, or do you prefer a more defined schedule?
And speaking of plans, what's on your agenda for the weekend? 
 

 
 

 

 

 
 

 

15 comments:

  1. That's my kind of cycle path! Although - I have to admit I felt like you were going to end up in the ditch a few times! :0)

    Tomorrow morning we will do my independent training run, then in the evening No.2 son is coming over with his girlfriend for dinner. The dinner is payment for him helping to bring an old sofa up from the basement - it's our fall garbage pick up next week.

    We have never had an extended stay like yours on holiday, so generally, if going to a new place, I scout out things to do and have a rough idea for each day (but remaining flexible according to the weather, etc.). I would love to go somewhere for a month or so - I'm sure we will do that in the coming years.

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    1. Yes, sorry about that wobble! My iPhone is the big model and trying to hold it up while pedalling...not my best skill!
      I still can't believe your sons have grown up so in the time you've been visiting me here! Have a good weekend!

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  2. Very interesting post!
    I would like to go somewhere a month too ,like Patricia (except to Adriatic,where I actually am for two or three weeks,and thanks to my friend who lives there ,always find something new and special to visit after 13 years in the same place. Beautiful things and places! But I enjoy swimming so much that it is hard to skip it for more than a day)
    I make a lot of things with pumpkins,especially butternut and Hokkaido,from soups,jams(with apples),cheesecakes,mash....
    Delicious and very simple soup:you peel it(very carefully because peel is very hard), cut in cubes( 2x2 cm) cook in salted water for 15 min, make a mush,add some cream in the water and mash (I sometimes add soya milk instead),parsley ,maybe nutmeg and that's it. Bon appetit!
    Dottoressa

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    1. Thanks for this recipe! We'll be sure to test it out...I'm thinking it could be good to add curry spices as well...

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    2. Yes,it could be very good. This soup is a good base for experiments :-)
      Dottoressa

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    3. And I forgot a clove of garlic at the beginning of cooking
      D

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  3. Wonderful posts! While travelling solo in Europe a few years ago, I decided to head to Bordeaux for a few days. While there I took the train to Arcachon, rented a bike and cycled to the Dune du Pilat for the day. I can highly recommend it especially now during the off season. I’m planning to go again, this time with my husband and we'll cycle to the Dune together; it’s Europe’s tallest dune, over 104 metres high (you walk up, the bikes are left on the boardwalk).

    Keep travelling; keep posting!
    Marianne in North Van

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    1. Thanks, Marianne! So glad to hear from a fellow Bordeaux lover, especially if you share my excitement for the Dune of Pilat. Isn't it cool? We were introduced to it by the blogging friend who was our first reason for coming to Bordeaux. I wrote about our visit and posted a few photos back in 2011: http://materfamiliasknits.blogspot.fr/2011/03/sunday-near-bordeaux.html?m=1
      Your comment is making me think we should take the train to Arcachon this visit. hmmm...,

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  4. Oh, that looks amazing. Reminds me of the wonderful farmers market in Aix-en-Provence, which we really hope to get back to again someday. What fun to go to and from by bike!! Have an artichoke for me; here they're best in the spring.

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    1. I remember your wonderful photos of that market....and I accept the artichoke commission. Task for today...😉

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  5. Here is another idea for the pumpkins which look like Hokkaido to me. In that case, you needn't peel them. You take out the seeds and chop up the pumpkin. Then sauté onions and meat cut up in cubes (pork, beef, lamb - whatever you prefer), add the pumpkin, chickpeas (from a tin or soaked and stewed) and chopped tomatoes and a bit of red wine. Season with cumin, pimento and a dash of cinnamon, salt and pepper. Add a few dried apricots (chopped). When well cooked, sprinkle with fresh coriander leaves and pistachios. Bon appétit!

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    1. This is a great recipe, Eleonore, and it strikes me as one that would work well in a tagine. We bought one for the house here as there are so many beautiful ones, quite reasonably priced, beautifully decorated. I can smell how good this will be just from reading the recipe...

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  6. Sighing here. You've described a perfect outing.

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  7. George and I always wanted to go and stay in France or Madrid for a period and be able to enjoy the markets and cook and explore at leisure. You are living that dream. We never made it, but I will someday.

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I'd love to hear your response to my post. Agree, disagree, even go off on a tangent, I love to know you're out there, readers. Let's chat, shall we? I apologize, though, for the temporary necessity of the Word Verification -- spam comments have been tiresomely numerous lately, and I'm hoping to break that pattern.

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