Monday, August 10, 2009

The Famous Five Return

We're back! We had a lovely holiday between coast and mountains; our first with the dog...We camped in a large but calm and secluded site, up in the Pyrenees. A river called the Riuferrer ran past the site - we discovered that this means 'Iron River', and that mineral extraction and metalworking have been important industries in this rural area.On several days we headed back to the Mediterranean coast, walking up in the hills or over headlands, and ending the day on the beach when the crowds were leaving.
There are tortoises in the hills! This enormous one is not a local, however, and was snapped at a wonderful and very educational Tortoise Valley park.
The area is Catalan, which means that the culture and language are almost as much Spanish as they are French. There are many abbeys and other buildings from the religious or military history of the kingdoms which once held sway in Roussillion.Many of the buildings are stone, which is a change for those of us who live on the clay plains around the red brick city of Toulouse!Broken pieces of old tile or brick, possibly even Roman, are used as decoration in the pointing around the stones in some towns.Down at the seaside, the buildings and natural scenery have inspired many artists.
We camped in Arles sur Tech, which had a major abbey in medieval times.
Metal-rich lands were given to the abbeys, making them very wealthy, and the ironworkers made gifts of their talents to the abbey, such as this 16th century wrought iron cross.
Here is a modern gift to the abbey, made once a year by local villagers. Can you guess what it is made of? The wildlife was varied and beautiful.
On the coastal hills, I found scabious, which is one of my favourite flowers.
In the mountains, Ben spotted this typically Pyrenean pink.
And now to the sea, with the new masks, snorkels and flippers! The boys had a wonderful time: chased fish, saw live sea urchins and swam really well - it's clear that buying the pool has really increased their confidence.
Raja was, sadly, unconvinced by the whole business of sea bathing. When we were on isolated beaches where dogs were allowed, she swam a little but then took up position near (or preferably on) our towels and clothes, and looked slightly resentful.
However, as a whole, she settled well into the holiday and enjoyed lots of attention from the whole family. Her coat is glossy and she put on weight, which she probably needed! It was a great holiday...
Tomorrow I will show you the two gleanings I managed from a troc shop in the valley where we camped. Nothing truly brocante, but a bit of a nice vintage feel, and very French...
Laura over at 52 Flea is having an incredible giveaway, or, as she calls it, a giveback. She is offering to be a personal shopper for the winner, at a fantastic antiques fair - if you know her wonderful taste, you will jump at this offer!


Michela said...

Hi Floss! Welcome back!
Thank you for sharing your beautiful holiday, hope you had a fantastic time. I love your writing, your recipes are always rich in life, history, architecture, geography, nature and wildlife.... and of course a pinch of "brocante"!
Have a great week!

Anonymous said...

Hi Floss,

What amazing pictures! I think you must have had a fabulous time!
It looks like the sun shone for you too :-)

Rose XXX

Lululiz said...

I am so glad you are back, I have missed you. Great photos and so many informative details, thanks for that. I love hearing about other places.

Glenda/MidSouth said...

Welcome back! Sounds like your family had a very nice holiday - thanks for sharing it with us.

marble rose said...

What beautiful holiday you had! Bet you are all glad to be back though - coming home is one of my favourite bits!


Jackie said...

Floss ~ It sounds like you have all had a wonderful holiday. I love the photo of your dog sitting on the beach just watching you all having a good time :O)

silverpebble said...

That swallowtail! Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for sharing your lovely pictures - it sounds as though you had a really lovely hols.

Elizabethd said...

Welcome back! I might have known there would be a brocante somewhere around!
What lovely's a part I havent visited.
We have the yellow Swallowtail in our garden, but I've not seen a black one.

Cal said...

Welcome back Floss. Lovely pics and tale of your holiday. I love the Pyranean Pink - so beautiful and delicate.
Cal x

MelMel said...

I love the blog title....the Famous!

I'm so cold tonight!

your holiday looks lovely....x

Sarah said...

I'm so glad you all enjoyed you lovely looking holiday. What beautiful sights you saw! I really enjoyed looking at all the old buildings. So beautifully decorated. I look forward to seeing your new goodies! Nice to have you back, the place just wasn't the same without you.

Sal said...

What a wonderful holiday!
You got a beautiful shot of the butterfly!

Mami said...

Hi Floss
Thank you for visiting my blog and friendly comment. Your blog is very fantastic.

juanitatortilla said...

Welcome back!
Being a non-swimmer (and thus not a fan of water), I would be happy to sit out and keep Raja company, had I been there that is.

Camping sounds like a great way to enjoy summer! And that sounded like a really lovely place to visit -- "almost as much Spanish as they are French" like you said, which sounds wonderful to me.

juanitatortilla said...

P.S. I love the title of this post! :D

Sonia ~ Vintage Rose Designs said...

Ahhh!! the view of the mediterranean ocean. How much I miss that!! Thank you for sharing.

bad penny said...

Sweet dog. With mine it's the wetter the better ! xx