Today we went up into the mountains, the Aravis, to get away from the sudden influx of tourists into Annecy, and in search of mountain cheese. It was clear and hot all day, really and truly hot, and although we were only 25 kilometers from Annecy, it was absolutely another world.
We’re only allowed to live where there’s a bakery right next door, so after Shel’s lovely breakfast of the crispest possible croissant and a bowl of coffee, we went in search of our car, which had been parked for the past two days.
I wanted to see the Chateau Menthon Saint-Bernard, even though I knew it was closed. I’d imagined that we would be able to get closer than this, but I wasn’t at all disappointed, because just nearby we found
this beautiful little waterfall, and just next to it
a splendid patch of l’ail des ours (which translates as bear garlic, but I have no idea what it is in English, or if it even exists. It’s not ramps, I think, because it’s the leaves you eat, not a bulb). Ever since Shel and I won a cooking contest with our dishes based on l’ail des ours it’s been my totem vegetable, but I’ve never seen it growing wild, since it likes damp and shady spots, and there are precious few of those around Uzès. Tonight we’ll have an omelette à l’ail des ours, and some mountain cheese. I can’t complain.
Next we visited a sabot maker. The sabotier himself wasn’t there, so we had to be content with a video about how these shoes were carved out of a solid block of wood by hand, in the old days.
Happily, today he uses power tools
although the’re still pretty rustic.
Typing this in the neighborhood bar for lack of Internet in our apartment, I’m realizing that we did more today than can realistically fit into one post. So I’ll tell you a bit more, then continue it tomorrow.
We had an excellent lunch in Thônes, and if you’re ever there, I recommend the restaurant in the Hotel du Commerce. The price was reasonable beyond all expectation, and the food was very good.
Thônes is a pretty little town with a sprawling market on Saturdays
packed with people shopping and eating and soaking up the sun.
It’s also home to a very pretty church
decorated in extravagant detail. You may have noticed that religious imagery figures prominently in this post, and that’s because this region has an incredibly complicated history, including a local religious war. Not able to really grasp it all from tourist brochures, we went next to the local history museum, which the librarian opened up just for us, and gave us a brief introduction to local color. I’ll share all that with you as soon as I can, hopefully tomorrow. But right now, that l’ail des ours is calling to me, it’s gotten dark out, and we’re heading for home, where our recently acquired stash of cheese awaits us.