Saturday, April 7, 2012

Moving to France - why the Auvergne?

For those of you who have read Sell the Pig and wondered why the fascination with the Auvergne, I thought I'd include some illustrations to show its beauty. Surprisingly, my own collection of photos is too poor to do it justice, so I'll include some links to far better pictures than I have taken.

As I explained in the book: "And then there was a song buzzing round in the back of my mind. Those of you who may remember an advert for Dubonnet in, I think, the seventies, with the strapline “Dubonnet - way up there,” will know the one I mean. It was the hauntingly beautiful shepherd's song Bailero, from Canteloube's Songs of the Auvergne."

And for those who want to know what my brother looks like, here's a picture to show that he really did overcome his acrophobia and make it to the top of the Puy de Dome.

"We went for a run-out after that, westward to the Monts Dores then back via the Puy de Dรดme and finally found the navette (shuttle bus) running, so took the white-knuckle ride to the summit for the incredible views.

The journey up certainly rattled my brother so he decided he couldn't possibly face the return journey on the navette. There is a pedestrian route up the Puy, an old mule track, but it brings you down to a car park a long walk from where we had left the hire car, near to the navette car park.

The direct route down to the navette car park is prohibited to pedestrians. The road is too narrow for more than one vehicle to pass at a time, so the navette drivers use what the French call talkie-walkies to synchronise their departures from either end, so they only meet whether there are designated passing places. And despite the steep gradient and plunging drop to the side, they rattle up and down as if they were in the Monte Carlo rally. Any pedestrian in their way would be toast, in very short order."

And here's an idea of what the Puy de Dome  looks like from the air - it's 1464m to the summit - and a side view

Do please let me know what else you would like to see photos of. Perhaps you might like to share which bit of Sell the Pig you find most interesting/amusing and I'll find some photos to go with it. Any and all comments always very gladly received and I always try to reply personally. Thanks for reading!

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