10.10.2016 - 11.10.2016
Just for something different, Sunday dawned clear and full of Provençal sunshine. After a leisurely breakfast we headed on a tour of a couple of the surrounding villages. Our first stop was Crestet, a medieval village perched on the crest of a mountain range. Even as I type that phrase I shake my head! As is often the case in these small villages, there is a parking area set aside for visitors so the narrow streets are not overrun by non-local vehicles. Mind you, there wasn't really room for any cars belonging to the some 400 residents either. As you'd expect from a village perched on a mountainside, it's full of steep, cobbled streets, just waiting for the unwary traveller to twist an ankle. I don't know how the residents deal with it every day! Thankfully I escaped unscathed and with ankles intact.
Next on our agenda was the charming village of Séguret, officially one of the most beautiful villages in France and looking out over the Rhône valley. After strolling (and climbing!) the winding streets we stopped for lunch at Côté Terrace. Chris had researched places to eat and this one came up trumps. The terrace was shaded from the autumn sunshine but still a beautiful place to sit and reflect on our journey thus far.
Before leaving the restaurant we decided to use the facilities (as you do). Interesting set up! I don't think I mentioned our previous toilet experience in Tullins, where the unisex toilet included a urinal directly inside the door! Here at Côté Terrace, unisex was once again the way to go. This time, however, the urinal was surrounded by a shower curtain like arrangement. I used the cubicle first, leaving Barbara outside to converse with the man who arrived to see a man about a dog. I heard her talking to someone, so presumed I would need to avert my eyes when I exited, lest the curtain not provide the correct level of protection! It was a tad disconcerting to say the least, and I struggled to keep my composure when I returned to the table and tried to explain to Chris what had happened. It was made worse when our fellow toilet tenant returned to sit at the next table and explain to his companion that it was 'a bit awkward in there'.
Post-ablutions, we wandered back to the car through the picturesque streets.
Arriving home, it was my turn to cook, and I set about preparing roasted potatoes, sausage, and beans. Simple, but very tasty!
Tuesday was our last day in Buis, and we decided to stay close to home. I finally felt I was beginning to get some sense of where we were located in the old town. My bedroom overlooked the local church, and the bells have been our constant companions. You would think the tolling of the bells would be pretty straightforward: on the hour enough peals to signal the time, and perhaps one peal on the half hour. Not if you live in rural France! From what I can tell, different villages have differing bell patterns. In Buis, the bells would peal on the hour and half hour as you'd expect. What wasn't expected was that the hourly tolling would be followed up a couple of minutes later, in case you'd missed counting the first lot. A couple of times a day there'd be a series of nine peals, and at one point there was a cacophony of bells twice during the day. It seems to either be connected with a call to prayer, or to alert the workers to the time for lunch and return. Whatever the real story, it was somehow soothing to find myself part of this rhythm of village life.
We ventured the 4km or so to Le Rocher sur Buis, another tiny community perched on the side of a hill. The standout for me here was the old cemetery which has been incorporated into a community garden with fragrant plants. It was exceedingly peaceful until 2 fighter jets roared their way overhead!
We marked our last night in Buis with a visit to La Fourchette (The Fork), where the atmosphere and service were convivial and the food delicious. It was bittersweet to wander the darkened streets to home, knowing this was the last time we'd do that, on this trip at least. But Lyon was beckoning, and we were to answer the call the next day.