Sunday, October 3, 2010

Blowing in the wind

The sound of the wind woke us this morning, howling around the walls and rattling the windows. Finally, the famous mistral wind had found us! Meaning the “master” wind in French, it comes and goes without warning, bringing very cold air sweeping down across the Luberon in the winter. At least this time the wind was warm, however, so Mom and Dad continued with their morning plans of having Alan drive them over to Bonnieux and drop them off to look around the town before walking back to Lacoste. Alan spent the rest of his morning off planning and packing for his Paris trip, while I worked on writing five blog post s to get us up to date before he went off with the laptop (and all the camera gear) for a week.

I had one thing I wanted to see in Bonnieux: the Bakery Museum! I asked Mom and Dad to keep a lookout for it while they walking around since Alan and I had missed it when we explored over there. They came back (after rescuing some French girls they found lost along the trail trying to find Lacoste) to report that the museum was only open on Sundays, and only till the end of October (at which point we are finding many things close, and it might just be us and the locals!). Since Alan and I needed a break (and you can spend a whole day here without seeing something!) we all drove over to Bonnieux for a mini-adventure.

We startled the lady running the museum as she was smoking in the door looking bored (nobody else was in the museum or came while we were there), but she was very nice. It was an odd little museum, with old machines and tools, some which we figured out and some which we weren’t sure about! The oven was huge – they must have had over a hundred loaves baking at once. I have no idea how they got them all in and out without hitting or messing up the loaves around the one they wanted. Other rooms had information about grains and the agricultural tools needed to make the ingredients in bread.

Old mixers
They had funny reports and announcements about bread.
Neat cookie-cutters
Chocolate molds
This crazy thing was dragged along the
ground behind a horse while you
stood on it - the little rocks in the bottom helped
separate the wheat from the stems and husks
You can't even tell in this photo how big
the oven was - I don't know how you got
loaves in a out when it was full
It's a turtle loaf!
The museum building was an actual bakery once, and had another lovely curving staircase, a smaller version of the one we saw in the chateau at Loumarin. I’ve noticed that all the stairs here are curved somewhat, even if not completely circular, and they don’t ever seem to do landings or straight stairs like we do. I always wonder how one set of people get to doing things a certain way and another set another way. I think circular stairs are much more interesting myself!

After leaving the museum, we walked around town to find some artists’ shops Mom had seen in the morning and wanted to purchase postcard or posters, but didn’t want to carry everything while walking. Unfortunately, two of the three were closed, but we all enjoyed looking in the third shop while Mom made her purchases.

The wind was still howling when we got back. Mom and I went up to the library to try and Skype with Aunt Candy, Uncle John, and Grandpa in Vermont, but the mistral wind had done something to the internet. We can get a signal in one other spot, as stone bench at the start of the little back alley that leads to our house, so we sat there beneath the trellis of vines in the wind and had a lovely talk – as long as only one person talked at a time! Isn’t technology great? Alan and I talked to his parents afterwards, and when we were done I was very glad to come inside and get out of the crazy wind. I’ve been thinking I like it here better than Tuscany, but the mistral is definitely a black mark on the Provencial side!

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