Thursday, July 30, 2015

Trip of a Lifetime- Day 3

Our third day in France. We were hot and VERY tired. The heat and lack of circulation in our rooms made for a sleepless night and cranky people. But we had a concert at 9PM in Melages and a sightseeing stop on the way.

So on the bus to a castle and then to Melages.

the walk to the castle

the castle

castle gardens

For the life of me, I cannot remember the name of the castle BUT it was open for public tours with a guide whose family had owned the site for centuries. He keeps the castle open and tries to keep it in decent repair on the money he gets from the tours. France doesn't give him a dime. He was ribald and funny. In fact, Andy got his nickname of Mustache Boy from this man. Of course, he introduced Leigh to the"scoots" (French Boy Scouts). Out of this experience, we got a lot of good jokes and our mood was lightened.

Then it was off to Melages. This was the smallest of the villages with only 52 residents. We had been so well received in Le Truel that we were a bit encouraged and hoped it would be a nice welcome.

Now, as a general rule, eating before you sing a concert is not a good idea but the schedule had us eating first. So we crossed our fingers and hoped for the best.

We need not have worried at all. If we thought the reception in Le Truel was good, the reception in Melages was exceptional. Water--always bottled and always cold. Smiling, gracious people. And food galore.

A Joan of Arc statute in Melages

For some reason, pizza was always the first course. That was followed by salted meats (prosciutto etc.) and cheeses and homemade breads. Then slices of pork, chicken and beef. And after you have stuffed yourself they brought out the rice dish. I don't know what all was in it but it was fantastic.

And then they tell us that everything we ate (except the rice) was grown in or near their town by local farmers. All the vegetables were grown in local gardens.

local garden

We ate outside at long tables and before we went to change for the concert, we sang for our supper. It is a tradition with us to do that. But this time, they sang back! Turns out that one of the organizers of the festival is from Melages and is a choir director! And one of our festival guides (young college students who went everywhere with us) was in his choir.

Gary directing after dinner singing
Our host-signing back to us! (white hair)
And then into the church for a short rehearsal. To say that we were stunned by its beauty would be an understatement.
The acoustics were amazing. Of all the churches we sang in, this was my favorite. Small, intimate and filled with people who were outgoing and gracious.

And then a very tired and happy group headed back to our "hotel" in St. Affrique. Some more tired than others......

Snoozin' on the bus

1 comment: