Gorgeous weather today..... 27 degrees and not a cloud in the sky, there is a
mild breeze keeping it all comfortable though so at least it doesn't feel
About 15 miles away from here is the most fantastic place, as it turns out it
is just one of many but this was a real find, well worth visiting........
it's at a place called Rochemenier and the attraction is it's a troglodite
village, well, farmstead really. Troglodite is "borrowed" from the greek
meaning cave dweller (apparently) and these farms are cut into the rock.
Whats unusual about that is the area is a plain so the dwellings are quarried
out and then the rooms dug into the face of the rock. They had everything
here, animals, farm implements, grape presses (most important in this region
of France) and even a church. As the family grew they just dug more rooms or
made the rooms they had bigger...... very, very simple living - a bit like
camping really only in a fixed location. Hopefully I'll be able to post lots
of the photos we took but failing that they have a web site
www.troglodyte.info - I haven't tried that so if it's useless you'll just
have to make do with my photos!
This was by far one of the most interesting things we have visited and we
were impressed that some people actually still use these caves to live in, in
fact some of them had been modernised for that. We took a stroll around the
rest of the village (the bit thats not a museum) and there are a couple of
Troglodite Gites that you can holiday in as well as a couple of restaurants,
but the best one had a normal house on the side of the quarry so it's upper
floors were at ground level and the lower floors were in the quarry, they had
a beautiful garden in the bottom with vines (of course) and flowers and they
even had a granny flat which was a cave! Fantastic place!
The rock, ah yes, the rock - soft, obviously, it's a mixture of limestone and
sandstone altogether so it was easy to cut which is probably why they did it.
The rock they cut is alkaline as well and they used it to crush and spread on
the fields locally to neutralise the acidic soil....
In the evening (around 2045) we went for a ride over the fields on our bikes
- when I was out riding the other day I found a pond totally covered in pond
weed but it had some interesting inhabitants so we went to see if we could
see them. The air was totally still, the night was drawing in and the insects
were making a real racket in the hedgerows around us but as we rode quietly
up to the pond we saw 2 otters make a die for cover. We found a good place to
stand next to some hedges and waited, after a few mintes one of them,
satisfied that we had gone, came out and swam across the pond and then
wandered up and down the edge of the water on the bank side. He musthave
gotten spooked by something because all of a sudden he sprang off the bank
into the pond and then surfaced almost straight away in the middle and stayed
still for a few minutes before swimming back to the bank he'd just jumped
off. While we were watching him we could hear another otter scurrying about
between water and bank below us (about 6ft away from us but we couldn't see
for the bank side). This one decided to start calling and made noises (I
might try to mimic it at a party somet time if asked or dared) by this time
the light was failing and we had to get back so we made our way back to the
camp site acrss the fields - a superb felling/memory to have though that we'd
been so close to otters in the wild.
I wonder what tomorrow holds for us?
Bye for now.