This evening was our last evening walk in Bezenac. Most nights some or all of us would take a walk after dinner. From our hillside hamlet you have a sweeping view of the Dordogne River valley. It's truly an awesome site. We walked along the hillside towards the old church. The wildflowers along the road are so pretty. This is my favorite of them all. These grow all along the road here.
these too...very Horton Hears a Who don't you think?
I love the way the walls are like mini ecosystems here- all sorts of moss, lichens, little succulents and wildflowers.
Towards the church there is an old cemetery.
The kids didn't seem afraid. They asked questions, what's a cemetery? were there really bodies here? where are the bodies? are they dead? and so on. I did my best to give answers that were honest but not too scary. We talked about being respectful. No sword fighting here, don't touch the statues and so on. Finn's little voice repeating "but why?"
French cemeteries are a little different than ours. They put lots of statuettes and plaques on top of the tombs. It looks like this. Some of the plaques will have etched pictures of the loved one on them.
What's strange for an English speaker is that the plaques and statues say "souvenir" on them. That word for us means something really different. In French it is a verb for remembering.
As we strolled, we came upon this one. Sayer stood and studied it for a long time. Then he started asking questions, hard questions. "Why is that man on that cross?" and "Is that Jesus?", "What is on his head?" and "Is he dead?"
We talked and I did my best to tell the story of Jesus in a way that a 5 year old can digest. That's a tall task by the way. There's no real nice way to talk about someone being crucified. He had a really tough time understanding why anyone would do that to someone and I have to say I feel the same way. I tried though and he seemed ok and Steven thought I did a good job with it. The conversation went off and on all evening as we walked home and then again at bedtime. The next day we went on adventure (just the 2 of us) and he wanted to go back buy there and show me the one broken statue. I didn't remember which one but it is the one in the picture above. He was so confused about why the one piece was broken off. So we walked around and talked some more about the cemetery and Jesus. He wanted to know why some people had statues on their graves and some didn't. So, we went and gathered some wildflowers and put one on each headstone that did not have flowers or a Jesus on it. We also told them all that we loved them. He's so sweet.
Back to our walk that night, where were we...after the cemetery we headed back to our house. It was a little sad for me. I knew that we were leaving the next day and I was a little heartsick over that. It was one of those moments too where you look at the people around you with sudden clarity and just feel so completely struck with gratitude.
I mean how did this amazing thing happen? How did I get so lucky?
I just want it to stop, to freeze right here.
And then we were home. This is the last photo that I took in France. Thanks you for traveling with us and keeping up with us as we went along. Texas, here we come.
A lot of people have asked me, what do you every day in France for 5 weeks? Well, as most of you who have been following the blog know, we have seen lots of castles and gardens and played Knight games. Basically we did what would do here (well, minus the whole job and school part). We just hung out really. We connected, snuggled, pretended, napped and had a really great time. Today, we played restaurant.
Finn was the waiter. He kept saying "Would you like chocolat?" I think France is wearing off on him. He made me call him waiter. If I messed up and called him Finn, he would correct me. After he would take my order I would say, "Oh, waiter, just one more thing...after dessert I would also like a kiss from the waiter". He would just give me this look and say "No, waiters don't give kisses!".
This was my dinner- carrots and a soup made of herbs, carrots, walnuts pistachio shells and wine corks. Delicious!
This was dessert- rock pudding with frogs and some beautiful ornaments left over from our ice creams at Marqueyssac.
This was the kitchen.
and this was the delightful chef. Do you like his chef hat?
Pretty cool restaurant right?
Finn is not ashamed of celebrating his feminine side.
I have been watching this one field of sunflowers since we first arrived. There are actually about 3 or 4 fields in the same area. At first, when it was just all green, I didn't even realize it was sunflowers. Then when the heads of the flowers started to form I realized what it was. We drive by it almost everyday and I have watched it slowly change. The petals started to inch their way out and before long it was just a sea of yellow. It's a sight to behold. I couldn't get myself up high enough to give you the full view. It is an entire field of flowers. I am assuming that the farmers raise them for the seeds. I'll be gone before they have gone to seed though so I'll never know what it looked like in the end. I have a feeling they look really cool all spent and dried waiting for the seed harvest. Here are a few shots, enjoy!
For these next ones, I added some texture overlays and played with some cool borders. You like?
One of the (many) cool things about the field is that it is swarming with big bees. They don't bother you but while I was shooting, I could hear them buzzing right by my ear.
We leave Bezenac on Saturday and head back to Paris. Then a day or later we hop the flight back home. It is so hard to leave...
I am behind on blogging. I still have pictures from the aquarium and from other adventures. I should be blogging one of those but I had so much fun today that I just have to blog about today. We went to see Castle Beynac. It is just down the road from us. All of these castles that we've visited are all in about 5-20 minute drives from our house. It's been great! If you like medieval stuff then this is your place! The kids had been to Beynac with Steven and his Mom one day when I stayed home to get some work done. They were all nice enough to go a second time for me. I loved it. It was one of my favorite castles thus far. You could really imagine what life was like then and the castle was so well preserved. Here are some images from the day...
At the base of the castle there is an amazing look out point with this sweeping view of the Dordogne Valley.
Almost all of the castles or chateau that we have visited have their own small church and some even have their own graveyards. This is the Beynac church. We heard that they still have services here on sundays. You guys should all be proud of Susan (Steven's Mom) because she is scared of heights. Just look at her though!
And just so you know it isn't all perfect...3 year olds can throw tantrums at medieval castles too. This one went something like this "But my legs are tired!!!!"
Here are some pictures from the inside. What I liked so much about this particular place was that they kept it simple. They used oil lights and kept the display to a minimum, which gave me a real sense of the true place. This is Steven peeking out of the castle window at the river below.
Another glimpse at the amazing view!
The boys had fun playing knights as you might expect. Here they found a look out window way up high and had fun pretending to watch out for the enemy!
I love this one of little Finnian peeking out of the window.