Sunday, August 14, 2016

Sunday motorcycle ride through Aveyron

I have a couple of day-outings from the past two months that I have yet to write about here, one of which was a Sunday motorcycle ride through Aveyron with Damien back in July, the day of the Euro finals.

I think I mentioned that back in April, he bought a motorcycle. This was my first (and to date only) time riding with him. I met Damien's best friend's mother earlier in the week in Montpellier to pick up her son's helmet, jacket and gloves to borrow. So on this hot July day, we were both wearing jeans, riding jackets, gloves and helmets. Bring on the sweat!

We were mostly riding, rather than walking through and visiting, so that's why this will be so picture-heavy. So, leaving Rodez, our first quick stop was in Salles la Source, in front of this little waterfall:

Salles la Source


Next up was Conques, which totally swept me away. All of these villages are incredibly gorgeous, but Conques had a little something special to it; no wonder tourists go to visit.

We actually walked around for a little bit, and happily got to park for free right in the village center, whereas all the cars had to pay to park in a lot just outside of town. +1 for the motorcycle!

Remember when we visited Musée Soulages in Rodez? The final room of the museum—which it appears I didn't mention in that post—was all about the stained glass windows in a church that Soulages was commissioned to design and create. We had even sat and watched a 20-minute documentary about it that day in the museum. Turns out, that church was the one here in Conques!

Damien was surprised I'd missed out on that huge fact. Apparently I hadn't made the connection back when we learned everything else about what when into their design and creation. Anyway, it was neat to see in real life, although we couldn't go inside because mass was in session.


We stopped by the river here to eat our picnic lunch.

Château de Calmont (d'Olt à Espallion)

Later on we were riding and I saw an old castle up on the top of a high hill, so I tapped Damien and pointed up at it, just to make sure he'd seen it, nothing more.

Next thing I know, Damien turns and starts driving towards it. He goes up the hill and parks in the lot, and we walk up to the top. (Later it came out that he'd thought I'd wanted to visit it!)

You had to buy a ticket to see the castle remains, which was overpriced if you ask me (8 or 9 euros/person)—but we were there so we got tickets and walked around the grounds.

It was super hot by this point in the day, maybe 15:00? But luckily they soon had two planned demonstrations. For the first, below, they needed two "strong" volunteers to help set it up. So Damien's there on the left.

I forgot what this is called, but they really drilled it in that this is not a catapult.

In the second demonstration, this dude below fired a cannon.

Before leaving, we played this game—again, I don't remember the name—but the rules were posted up on the wall.

Bozouls et son trou

I thought we'd seen everything we'd see, but after leaving the castle we pulled into another town on the way back to Rodez.

And this little town had a rather big draw, which I wasn't expecting:

A humongous canyon!

After observing up top for a bit, we then walked down to the bottom.

And then we went back up the steep roads, I bought a huge chilled water bottle and chugged half of it in an attempt to cool down, and then we returned to Rodez.

Here's a quick map of the towns we visited:

(Here's that same route on Google Maps.) And now I'll zoom way, way out so you can see where this area lies in comparison to Montpellier and Toulouse:

It was a fantastic way to spend the day, and I'm thankful to have been able to see what we saw. I'm continually impressed by and a bit in awe of all the beauty that lies so nearby in even the smallest towns, here in Languedoc-Roussillon (where Montpellier lies) and in the Aveyron area (where we visited today). It's so incredible—and this is just a tiny corner of France!
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