I have had a wonderful summer holiday in France! I have only been to Paris before, so our two-week visit to the Vosges was a new experience for me. My husband went to buy fresh croissants every morning from the small bakery down the street, what a treat, and we had many wonderful walks and visits to interesting places. I would like to share a few of the many, many things we did during our visit to France.
I must admit, I am one of those people who just goes on holiday without planning anything; completely out of character for me, but there you go. I never plan what I am going to do, I leave that to other people. My husband is an excellent tour guide, who speaks several languages, which makes visiting places so much easier. He speaks good French, I speak zero French, and most of the French people we met spoke no English. I even had someone give me a long explanation about something, and they didn’t even realize that my blank expression wasn’t because I didn’t understand what they were trying to explain to me, but because I had no clue what they were saying in the first place!
Mountain of Lamas
My husband the tour guide reads all the French information folders, and searches online for hours sometimes, and always finds great places for us to visit. One of the first things we visited was a lama and alpaca farm. I am not kidding, this was his idea, I am converting him into a fiber lover jet! We visit the Mountain of Lamas in La Bresse, and the name really is exactly what it is. It’s a lama and alpaca farm high on a mountain overlooking the city of La Bresse.
The visit started with a French movie, which I only watched the pictures of, before we got to go outside and visit the animals. The young man who showed us around spoke a little English, and he explained to us that they keep the males separate, because they only want to do one thing. Better for everyone, especially the females, if they are kept separate. Although I am not sure that the males were that happy with the situation.
We got to feed the female animals outside who were all very used to people. Lamas are seriously larger than alpacas, something I was not really aware of, and much stronger. But also the Lamas were good natured and allowed us to pet them, in return for a treat off course. If I ever have a large enough piece of land, I would love to have 4 or 5 alpaca.
I now know the difference between lama and alpaca fur. Alpaca is much softer and fluffy, whereas lama is course. I bought a skein of undyed, 100% lama yarn at the gift shop. You can really see how course the yarn is just by looking at the texture. The shop actually had very little yarn, they mostly carried finished items. I wound the skein myself, because the poor guy behind the counter had no idea how to turn the loose strand into a tidy hank.
You can’t really visit the Vosges, or any other mountain region for that matter, without going hiking. I love to hike, and we went for several short hikes. Not too long because it was 35C/95F in the shade, but the short 5km hikes were just fabulous. The views, the sounds of the birds, the waterfalls …. just amazing.
We visited several waterfalls and mountain tops on our hikes. When we stumbled on a moss smiley someone had made on the footpath, can’t help but smile too.
Markets and Fairs
You have to love the summer months, because it’s the time of year for markets and fairs. We visited many fairs, with local artisans and produce. I bought gifts for people at home, and also a few for myself.
I bought this FABULOUS, handmade necklace by Le Jardin d’Helene. It is a small leaf cast from bronze, with glass beads on an elegant wire. It is beautifully made and I know I am going to love wearing it.
On our last day we visited our third market, I think, and here I stumbled on the lady from Pivoine Couture Creative selling project bags. I just had to buy a bag, if only because last year I had to throw a bag away after my car-sick son used it; the things you do as a mother….
The bag is made by a kind lady, who again spoke no English, but with the aid of my husband I managed just fine. She took such care to package my purchase. The care with which she packaged my bag, shows the level of attention she has for her work. My new bag is a perfect, one skein bag. My new skein of lama yarn fits in it perfectly.
We did a lot of things, but I also spend hours and hours just sitting in a chair in the sun crocheting. I have a serious sun tan, considering that I never have even anything that looks remotely like a sun tan. I worked on turning about 40 Catona Cutie Pie balls into squares, more on that later, I worked on my Prism Blanket, and I knitting a bit on my latest pair of socks. At the end of the holiday I had used up all the yarn that I had taken with me, it was a definite sign that we had to go home.
No holiday is ever complete without finding a snow globe, and on this holiday I was extra lucky because I did not find only one, but three globes. I bought a globe at the Lama Mountain, in La Bresse, and in Gerardmer. I always look for a globe, and am a wee bit disappointed if I return home without one. I have strict guidelines for my globes. They have to be round, have to have the name of the place on it, and something about the place in it. These 3 all fit the bill perfectly. I now have an impressive, growing collection of more than 50 globes.
I really, really, really loved France. We are already planning to visit there again next summer holiday. Maybe we will go down further south to the high mountains, or maybe to the coast. Will see where we end up, but I am sure that we will have a good time again. To all the French who read my blog, thank you so much for having us, and see you again next year.
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