Wednesday morning, Roy and I were determined to get to the butcher while he was open! After breakfast, he and I walked to the village and were able to get our shopping done. We almost ended up with too much meat, as I inadvertently asked the butcher for 500 kilos instead of 500 grams of ground beef! We all had a laugh about that!
But, we were able to get the meat, and we wrote down the hours of the butcher, and another purveyor of rotisserie chicken we found that does have the potatoes cooked in the drippings at the bottom of the rotisserie (yea!), and a couple of our favorite bakeries, so we should be able to get our shopping done with much less frustration in the future! All part of the learning curve…
While we were shopping, we stopped at the pharmacy to get some cold medicine for Ron. I was trying to explain what I wanted (I’d already told the pharmacist the chemical name, but I apparently hadn’t pronounced it correctly, as he had just looked at me blankly…), and my explanation was falling short. He asked in French if I spoke English, and when I said yes, he and Roy were off! Roy had fun chatting a bit of pharmacy with him, and telling him that he was a retired pharmacist, etc. And we did get the medicine, although it’s interesting that here, the normal pseudoephedrine or loratadine are not available as stand-alone tablets, they all seem to have either tylenol or something else with them. And the prices are much more expensive than the usual generic prices I pay for over the counter stuff at home. I was surprised.
The weather was absolutely stunning! We put some cushions on the outdoor furniture and sat outside reading and chatting for the rest of the morning. Roy, on the other hand, was slaving away in the kitchen making the chili! Then we had a lunch of the usual delicious assortment of cheeses, etc., while the chili simmered.
After lunch, we decided we’d like to visit an olive oil mill. OK, so we’d done some wine tasting, but I wanted to taste some olive oils! We’d asked at the local Tourist Information office, and they’d given us a brochure of a place nearby where we could visit a mill. So, after lunch, we were off!
What a gorgeous day! Literally not a cloud in the sky, and temperatures around 61 or 62. No wind. Just pure, beautiful, warm Provençal sunshine!! We were so happy. The drive to the mill took us along the same route we’d taken to the winery, so we again had those lovely views and the stunning landscape to enjoy. Perfection!
The mill itself was fascinating. They have it set up for a self-guided tour, with explanations of the whole process and the equipment in both French and English. It was not in use at this time, as the harvest is in November, and everything is all cleaned up and waiting for the next harvest. But it was very interesting nonetheless.
The disappointment for me was that there was no tasting. There is a very nice, large gift store attached to the mill, and we spent some time in there noodling around, but there is no place to taste the olive oil – you just have to buy a bottle. Oh well, we’d come this far, so I did. It is delicious, in fact, so that’s OK, but I really wanted to do some comparisons. I guess they just don’t do that – maybe because they don’t really produce different oils (well, not many, I did have two to choose from) so there’s nothing to compare. Comparing different manufacturers’ oils would be the thing to do, but I don’t know if there’s anywhere that we can do that. Alas…
Anyway, we still had plenty of time for another afternoon activity, so we decided to continue on the road we were on to a village called Le Cadière d’Azure, which is supposed to be a preserved typical Provençal village. Now, this was interesting, as we’d seen this village in our views both driving to Le Castellet, and from Le Castellet. Now we were finally going to go there!
This village, also, is on a hill, and we were able to drive to the top (on VERY narrow streets!) for parking. More stunning views, and beautiful, ancient buildings. This village is different in that it seems to be entirely residential. There was not a café or store in sight! Too bad, because the weather just invited sitting on a little terrace sipping tea or coffee. But we really enjoyed the feel of the place – less like a place that’s been fixed up for tourists and more just a really ancient place that’s been renovated and where people live. It was really interesting and beautiful, but I couldn’t live there – just too isolated feeling.
So, after that successful and lovely sojourn, back to Bandol for the afternoon lull – reading, snoozing, whatever comes naturally in this lovely place. Later, it was salad, Roy’s fantastic chili, and delicious baguette for a very satisfying dinner. The chili was a big hit, with seconds all around. Love having these guys cook for us!!