Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Folk Dancing In The Pyrenees...

It's been a quiet month.......for all you readers that is. Fast travelling, crazy festivals and tight timetables, have filled that past few weeks for me, but now I'm at my new Helpx in the foothills of the Pyrenees in France. (The mountains that divide Spain and France). If you want to map me, search for La Serpent, France, I'm just round the corner of that village on a 150 acre piece of land on the hillside.

A bit of a mission to get from my not-so-central-hostel in Barcelona to the bus station where I traveled to Narbonne, followed the by a train, another train, then another bus, and finally I was in the right village. Bit of a concern when I realised my phone was out of credit when I had to phone Jo to come pick me up. Thankfully the Couiza Tourist information office was still open at 6pm, what are the odds in this tiny place.

On the train in heavy thunderstorms
As I got higher, the air cooled considerably, leaving 30 degrees in Barcelona in a t-shirt, shorts and jandles, I was now pulling on jumpers and pants while sitting on the train platform in wind and rain.

My host is Jo, a man from Belgium who has some holidays houses on his property, so our main job is to keep the areas tidy and do general maintenance. Above is the other helpers, Rebecca and Ludvig from Sweden who are a load of fun and make the working hours fly by.

 I have a very basic room but a beautiful view from my balcony, Rebecca, Ludvig and I open the big doors and put sleeping bags and blankets out on the balcony after a hard days work and take naps, browse the internet and munch on chocolate (and maybe some Nutella with Fromage Blanc).

Me planting in the vege garden

Driving through the mountains
I arrived on Thursday evening and did 1 days work on Friday before the weekend which we all have free. That evening Alison (another helper) Rebecca and I were invited by some locals to a folk music evening in a small mountain top town; very small, population: 30 

It was a potluck dinner also, good homemade food, and check those various kinds of goats cheese that's made in the village!
The converted work shed. I think the whole town was there!
Rebecca dancing
 It was very embarrassing dancing when everyone else seems to know the moves but you. A fantastic night though, lots of interesting people (though most only spoke french!) Good food, good company, this is why I Helpx, how many tourists get to go dancing in the mountains?!

Saturday was dedicated to writing out blogs and hitchhiking to the supermarket to buy snacks, however after only getting a couple of short rides, a quick trip took 3 hours of walking in the glaring sun; little energy was left for blogging. Napping on the balcony was a much better use of time

La Serpent Village
La Serpent and it's Sunflower fields, such a beautiful sight!!! 

The typical french roads, Napolean planted these trees to provide shade for his troops.
 Sunday brought a trip with Alison to Renne-le-chateau which is very popular as it has many conspiracy theories surrounding it; I'm pretty sure it was mentioned in The Da Vinci Code

Having a delicious picnic from groceries we picked up from the Sunday markets in the morning

Rebecca, Alison and Ludvig

The Orangery

The bridge to the vege gardens
That evening we went for dinner at Diago and Marie-Neg's house. Diago was a previous helper at Jo's and now resides in a small town nearby with his girlfriend. The town has a beautiful piece of land across the road, where each house their own plot for growing veges.

 Fantastic start to my new Helpx. Will be here for 1 month so plenty of time to catch you all up on the last few weeks of travel. I booked a flight to Berlin today for the 8th of August out of Toulouse; so sorry Switzerland, maybe another trip, but for now you're too expensive.

Looking after the Donkeys

1 comment:

  1. Lovely part of the world! Great to see you looking so well :)
    Can just see you folk dancing!