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Birthday in Minerve

My birthday started off on a great note: Julien wishing me birthday as soon as I woke up and then going down to fix breakfast for me. After I ate and opened my presents, Julien, Madame la Maman, and I went to Minerve, a village in the, wait for it, Minervois. The area is rather arid, more Mediterranean than the northern side of the Black Mountains where Madame la Maman lives, and is known for some good wine. We stopped to take a photo of the village:

And I found a fig tree not ten paces farther down the road, which set the tone for the rest of the day. In a word, gourmandise!

We walked the streets of the tiny village, harvested two pomegranates (sadly not ripe) on the ancient ramparts, and ate at a restaurant called Chantovent. Very tasty food, even if the duck was a bit overcooked. Note to self: The best-cooked duck breast is the duck you cook yourself. Quit ordering it at restaurants!

With tummies full, we went for a walk through the vineyards and thyme-and-fennel covered hills. The air was rich with the perfume of fig trees and sun-warmed herbs. We gorged on grapes, figs, and blackberries (a bit bland this late in the season), nibbled on fennel flowers and sprigs of thyme, and munched on almonds straight off the trees.

We weren't sure our feet could drag our bellies all the way to the dolmen that was our sort-of goal (the suggested itinerary was 4hrs/12km long, but it was too hot and late in the day to hope to finish it all. We settled for the easier part of 1.75hrs and 8.5km), but make it we did.

On the way back, I found this little critter.  Isn't she cool?

We couldn't leave the Minervois without buying some wine, but because all the winegrowers are in the middle of the grape harvest, we had a hard time finding an open cellar.  We finally found one outside the village of La Caunette, where I spied these fellas in the fennel plants:

In fact, they were everywhere in the field. The winegrower said they cluster together like that on the plants because of the drought and their need to find any and every drop of moisture they can.


After such strenuous, filling adventures, I was happy to sit in the passenger seat, watching the forest rush by as Julien hurried us back home...

All in all, a very good day, and we have a full fruit basket to show for it. :D


( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:42 pm (UTC)
Happy Birthday! :)
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:30 pm (UTC)
Thanks. :)
Sep. 12th, 2009 04:52 pm (UTC)
Awesomesauce! I really love that shot of the village, too. I think I may just have to steal its likeness for a village in my Canumverse. *g*
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:31 pm (UTC)
It is a nifty place. I was happy to discover it.
Sep. 12th, 2009 10:12 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm, that photo of the praying mantis would look really good in colour. :p

And WOW! You've lost a lot of weight since your visit to Switzerland! Looking good, looking good.
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
Bwahaha. Julien took the pictures while I held the stalk of dried grass. When I put the pics on the computer, I exclaimed, "You took them all in B&W??!!!!" He was so chagrined. And then what do you say????

He said to tell you, "I was going to add her as a friend on Facebook, but now I'm not. Oh, did you see the pretty picture she has on her profile?" So I guess he isn't too upset at your compliment after all. :P
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:39 pm (UTC)
I guess I'll have to look him up on Facebook then. :p

How about you? You've already got an LJ account, time for a Facebook account as well, no? ;)
Sep. 12th, 2009 11:17 pm (UTC)
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:36 pm (UTC)
I second that. Or are you the one seconding? Hmmmm....
Sep. 13th, 2009 08:19 pm (UTC)
I'm just saying wonderful pix and wonderful day...and wonderful birthday. ;-)
Sep. 13th, 2009 12:27 am (UTC)
Oooh! Pretty photos. Sounds like a lovely day.

And now I know what you look like, so I'll recognize you when you come to visit... right? :D
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:37 pm (UTC)
Yep, now you know. :P And yep, we plan on stopping by. :D
Sep. 13th, 2009 11:22 pm (UTC)
HORRAY!!!! :)
Sep. 13th, 2009 10:13 am (UTC)
Very pretty pics! What a lovely village.

And those figs had my mouth watering....
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:38 pm (UTC)
My mouth may have watered if it wasn't so stuffed... *lol*
Sep. 13th, 2009 01:48 pm (UTC)
Glad you had a happy and fruitful birthday!
Sep. 13th, 2009 02:43 pm (UTC)

Very nicely put. :D
Sep. 13th, 2009 11:35 pm (UTC)
I love your birthdays... gorgeous pics, too!
Sep. 14th, 2009 11:57 am (UTC)
*hehe* that makes two of us. :D
Sep. 15th, 2009 09:34 am (UTC)
belated happy birthday :}
Sep. 15th, 2009 09:41 am (UTC)
Thank you muchly!
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )


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