John & Brenda's Excellent European Adventure - Part Deux travel blog

Dylan's New Hat...Now He Just Needs Some Goggles

July 5, 2011

James had worked well into the dark the previous night to finish his painting of the water gate metalwork…looking good. While he and I did some morning clean-up of the grounds and storage areas, the girls were stripping the beds and getting breakfast ready. We began our packing up and were sad to leave Fouvent and the miller’s house.

Offers to help Rosmarie do the laundry and house-keeping fell on deaf ears as she insisted it was her custom and desire to complete those chores in the quiet by herself. Knowing Brenda and Penny’s work ethic, it was difficult to accept but in the end we did. We could certainly see why Rosmarie loves her peaceful retreat and the beautiful, rustic surroundings.

We took our leave along with James, Susann and Dylan about 10:15 a.m. and began our winding journey back through the French villages, encountering lots of farm traffic consisting of huge tractors and harvest machinery with long trailers of fertilizer or hay. Nearing the medieval fortress town of Besancon, good old Tom Tom directed us onto a toll AutoRoute for about 60 kms (fastest route after all). Exiting the freeway, we were into an unfamiliar new route, winding into the Jura Mountains north of Biel and Neuchatel.

We stopped around noon in the riverside village of Ste. Hippolyte for a comfort break and lunch snack, where we located one more quaint sidewalk bar with an authentic, grizzled and dentally-challenged owner/waiter. He was very friendly and was delighted to be serving Canadians in his remote part of the world. Once we had started sipping the local rosé, he let us know that he served only alcohol and cigarettes but not food. He did, however, recommend a little sandwich shop down the street where we bought 3 delicious donairs stuffed with ham, lettuce, onion and tomatoes for €10.50 total…half the price of a single entrée at the nearby hotel.

We continued our journey up and over the Jura Mountains, doing my best car rally imitation on the sharp hairpin turns. Back home at Rosmarie’s we dropped off our luggage and laundry and went over to James and Susann’s for some prearranged apricot picking. They had just arrived home to discover James had driven away with Rosmarie’s only gate remote control and she was locked in back in Fouvent. Fortunately, the nearby caretaker was home and available to free her.

It had really heated up and we opted instead to play with Dylan inside where it was cooler. Everyone was a little tired and we returned home for naps and clean-up before returning for dinner at 7:00. With apologies to anyone who has ever served us lasagne before, let me just say that James made us the best lasagne we’ve ever had, with grilled zucchini and hard Swiss cheese instead of parmigiana…a magnificent summer treat. In the cooling dusk, Brenda got down to some serious apricot picking and came back with a wine box full (where did she ever find a container like that…hmmm?).

About this time in the evening, it becomes evident to me that renting the car with a single driver means that I’m ALWAYS the designated driver…oh well, there’s always a night cap waiting at home. Rosmarie had arrived home just before we returned and we joined her on her cooling balcony as we recounted our amazing extended weekend in the French countryside.

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