Once again this summer we chose car over planes. We were all about doing a road trip. We went all the way from Barcelona to the North of France, then we stayed there for a while. From there we went all the way to the southern part of Spain, crossing the whole of France and Spain, then we stayed there for another while. Then we went all the way back to Barcelona.
I love these road trips because you realise how the conditions of mother nature in each area, along with history, helps shape up each town; the architecture, the ways of the people and even their food. You see both the differences and similarities in nearby regions, and also the utter differences between the regions further away from each other.
During our journey southwards from France, we stayed one night at a manoir in Saint-Romain-et-Saint-Clément. It is located in the middle yet slightly south eastern part of France. Here the weather is already warmer than in the north, while everything is green and absolutely beautiful.
Saint-Romain-et-Saint-Clément is a tiny rural town with 328 inhabitants (at this date). To get to the manoir itself we followed the Google Maps, which brought us to a rough dirt track to get to the manoir. It looked like we had made a mistake so we stopped to re-consult the map, which insisted on the same route anyway.
At that moment, lucky us, from one of the few houses there, a lady appeared. She told us that that trail was rough but that indeed it would lead us to the manoir. We braced the car and ourselves, went through and eventually reached the manoir.
Dinner at the Manoir
We arrived at the manoir just on time to quickly refresh ourselves and sit down to dinner.
We were given a gorgeous aperitif with cheese. We then ordered and our hosts advised us on a choice of wine.
Some of the food, like their cod fish with tapenade, was excellent. But I have to mumble that some of the other dishes were just, in my opinion, comme ci comme ça. I suppose that is what happens when one loves to cook…
At the end of the meal, however, we were offered a platter with a selection of local cheeses that unfortunately I don’t remember what they were called because they were superb.
This particular cheese, featured here in the next picture, was the most intense cheese I have ever tried. If anyone knows its name please do tell me. It was so intense that I nearly choked at some point. It tasted amazingly good though, so it was a good thing. If you like blue cheeses you would probably like this one. It tastes like a blue cheese, but very dry at the same time and without any creamy flavour to distract you, even though it looks like it is a bit creamy. It’s borderline towards being spicy. Even though I don’t know how its made, I find the taste smokey too. It is a serious traditional cheese to slowly savour with a good wine.
The Start to a Perfect Day: Goats
The next day I woke up realising I was in the beautiful French countryside. I didn’t know it yet, but it was the beginning of a perfect day.
The evening before, as we were settling down to our dinner table we had seen sheep. I wanted to go out to see the sheep. Out we ventured. We heard baa baaa..
… only to find ourselves surrounded by lots of goats. And no humans looking after them where in sight. Mr. H. sort of started panicking. I could feel it. Considering that I’m usually the scaredy cat, it was hilarious. I advised to keep cool as if nothing. The goats started nibbling on our clothes. We walked around but the ones closest to us just followed us around nipping and nibbling at us. At some point even I was beginning to feel uneasy. What if they really managed to take a chunk of our clothes? What if they accidentally took a chunk of us while at it? Or a chunk of my camera?
They were all saying baa baaa.
It was gorgeous. It’s these moments of banging into an unexpected moment in nature that make me feel alive.
At some point we said good bye / ran away from the goats to venture off into the rest of that perfect day. Stay tuned.