The perils of GPS navigation become apparent this morning when we end up at the wrong village. More than one Lavardin it seems. Luckily our incorrect Lavardin is only a few kilometres away – the correct one is over 100 km away.
After a faux start, it takes us most of the day to travel there. There are baugettes to be sourced, a fresh batch of fromage to be procured, lunch to be enjoyed. I continue my love affair with French supermarkets. The perils of travel: widening one’s, um, experience. It won’t be the last time that I ponder the benefits of a hamster wheel as a much needed piece of holiday equipment.
The rain accompanies us across farmland, either golden with stubble or the bright green, lush corn fields. An occasional sunflower crop appears, their heads turned hopefully to the sky. We see many buzzards surveying their domain. I can’t quite pin down how I feel about birds of prey. Beautiful, yes, but I feel very sorry for the little creatures they prey on.
Our arrival in Lavardin coincides wth the end of a wedding, church bells pealing. If the old adage of rain on your wedding day signalling fertility, this bride will be surrounded by children soon. Still, she takes it in her stride, setting off for a damp photo shoot, guests trailing in her wake. Weddings are quite low key here. The church pews are decorated with raffia and fabric bows, a theme that’s carried through to the guests cars. The bridal car is an open army jeep, driver and passengers under umbrellas, an effigy of the bride and groom made from straw brooms decorate the back. There is that seemly unique European tradition of madly tooting your horn as you drive away. Not sure where that came from. In Bosnia, they do that too, and shoot into the air for good measure. Safety clearly not a priority.
Larvardin is the result of centuries of changing architectural styles. Half timbered cottages sit along side limestone houses – all are overlooked by limestone caves that date back to troglodyte times. The village is overlooked by a castle ruin that sits on high. It’s very picturesque. Our book has delivered, yet again. We take refuge in the church, richly decorated with murals from the 12th and 16th centuries.
The rain cuts our exploration short, but clears later, just in time for an evening walk at dusk.
I venture out on my own, with only a black and white kitty for company. We’ve seen more cats this trip than any other, but my usual kitty charming skills are tested here – the cats speak French and are immune to my entreties.
The evening light is stunning, offsetting the castle perfectly. Its gates are closed, exploring it will have to wait until tomorrow.
I head home, satisfied with my sneak preview, to be serenaded by a massive bullfrog ribbiting into the night. From where I’m sitting, he sounds like he’s 6′ tall.
I’ve finished and throughly enjoyed My Cousin Rachel. I can’t wait for the film, I think Rachel Weisz is perfectly cast in the lead role.