Wednesday 23 July 2014
The next day I woke up at 5 o’clock and could not go back to sleep. I woke from a dream in which I realised that I might have been mistaken in my belief that my mother was dead, and this meant I had not called or visited her for years. I imagined her waiting for my calls in vain for all this time. I was trying to find her home but could not remember where it was. I was lost.
We got up at 7 o’clock and ate breakfast on the terrace as usual. Afterwards we set off for Bois de Païolive. Since our beloved GPS was striking we drove towards Les Vans as instructed by the guide book and by signs along the road towards Les Vans. (Incidentally one of the villages on our route was called Prends-toi-Garde, which means “Watch out”). We arrived at Les Vans and kept on driving, expecting to see more signs. We passed Les Vans and still no signs. We were on road D901, which was mentioned in the guide book, so we assumed we were going to arrive shortly. It seemed a bit further away than expected, but it was hard to judge the distance with a small map and curving mountain roads. Surely we were almost there? Loki, however did not agree, and insisted we stop the car and explore some nature immediately. In the end we listened to his advice and consulted the map. It turned out we were on the right road but going in the wrong direction. So we drove back. At the centre of Les Vans there was still no signage so my boyfriend chose a random street and by pure luck this happened to be the right way. There were still no signs for our chosen destination but the direction seemed good. As we kept driving we became doubtful again. Surely there would be some signs showing us we were on the right track? We were just about to give up and turn back again when we passed a restaurant whose name referred to Païolive. Shortly afterwards we arrived at our destination.
Bois de Païolive is a fairy tale forest with trees overgrown with moss and strangely shaped white rocks strew throughout. The air smells herbal and Mediterranean. We meandered through the forest, exploring the winding paths and bizarre rock formations, while on the hunt for the famous animal-shaped rocks. Where was the elephant? We went in circles, getting lost among the labyrinthine paths, only to end back where we started. But no elephant appeared. Neither did the the turtle or the three men. I peered at the rocks from all angles but no creatures materialised in the rock formations. Had my imagination deserted me completely? Or were we simply lost in this magical forest? In the end we returned with no sightings of animals.
On our way home we stopped in the village of Montpezat itself to take out money. It was the first time we stopped in the village since our arrival on the first day and it was nice to finally have a stroll and a look around. Montpezat (the main village in the commune of Montpezat-sous-Bauzon) is a small charming village situated where the stream Pourseille joins the river the Fontaulière.
After lunch back at the house we headed down to the Fontaulière again, for Loki to have a swim.
In the evening we got a new neighbour. A banging from somewhere nearby sent Loki into a fit of barking, and soon afterwards a man speaking on a mobile phone (it seems he had no problems getting reception) appeared on the terrace of the next house. Loki immediately ran off towards the house barking angrily, obviously under the impression that the man was an intruder on his territory. We managed to calm him down although secretly I could not help but wish Loki would have chased the man off. We had no need of mobile phone wielding strangers in our hamlet. We had a perfectly good arrangement going with the squatter (see Day 1); one where we never saw each other.