La Varache

Limousin beef cows.  Kurt raised several as a child at his farm.

Limousin beef cows. Kurt raised several as a child at his farm.

Early Sunday morning, 17 May, we drove to Oslo and took an 8:10 am plane to France.  After successfully navigating the Charles De Gaulle airport we picked up our Citroën rental car and drove the 5 hours south (not without its trials, signage in France is tricky) towards the Limousin area of France.  This area is know for its beef and the fields are dotted with the reddish brown cow.  The only other type of cow we saw were Holstiens.  And the taste of this famous cow?  Lily sampled it one night instead of grilled shrimp and said it was “okay.”

La Varache is located 45 minutes east of Limoges near a little village called Veytisou.  Once you leave Limoge you leave behind the super highway and travel on smaller roads.  All the roads are paved, even those that are so skinny you have to pull over to let oncoming traffic pass you.  You travel down into the rich green valleys which reminded us of southern Minnesota where Kurt grew up.

 

8 % grade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

farm from above

 

Several countryside pictures on our way to and from La Varache.

Several countryside pictures on our way to and from La Varache.

 

Through Facebook, Kurt recently connected with an Plainview High School friend, Lori, who with her husband Chris, own and run La Varache.  Sadly, we never had the chance to meet Chris as he was recovering from some major health issues.  Too bad, because as we got to know him through Lori’s stories, it became clear that we would have enjoyed his company as much as we enjoyed Lori’s.  As it was, we spent many happy hours hanging out with Lori, over dinners and wine.  Lori was an excellent hostess, despite a husband in the hospital, mowing lawns, taking care of all the critters, and preparing gourmet meals for the donkey trecker couple who came on foot with the donkey bearing their packs.  The donkey spent the night in the field and they spent the night in the bed and breakfast that Lori runs from her house.

 

LaVarach sign

 

Loris house

 

This is Lori’s house.  It was built in the 1920’s while the gites, where we stayed were built in the 1400’s.  The building the gites are located in was used by the French Resistance during the German occupation of World War II.  When she and Chris bought the buildings and land, everything was overgrown and neglected not having been lived in for years.  The amount of energy and work it must have taken is awe inspiring.  Behind the house is a lovely garden. 

This bridge is part of the single track railroad that runs daily, 10 time or so, between Limoge and Ussell.  In the summer a steam train runs as well.  The French resistance blew up part of this bridge during the war, hoping to stop a nazi supply line.

This bridge is part of the single track railroad that runs daily, 10 times or so, between Limoge and Ussell. In the summer a steam train runs as well. The French resistance blew up part of this bridge during the war, hoping to stop a nazi supply line.

Lori and Kurt.  A 1995 Plainview High school class reunion but only two people came!

Lori and Kurt. A 1985 Plainview High school class reunion but only two people came!

 

We shared several meals with Lori.  A good bottle of wine (well, we thought it was good) can cost 1.5 Euros, or about $2.

We shared several meals with Lori. A good bottle of wine (well, we thought it was good) can cost 1.5 Euros, or about $2.

 

We spent some time sightseeing and some time hanging out at the gite.  Kurt dragonflied a bit, Yarrow and Lily read and played with the animals.

We spent some time sightseeing and some time hanging out at the gite. Kurt dragonflied a bit, Yarrow and Lily read and played with the animals.

 

A Lily Special, Black current juice with a strawberry accent.

A Lily Special, Black current juice with a strawberry accent.

Two dogs, three horses, 2 sheep, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, 1 duck named Harriet, two white geese, two white ducks, numerous guinea fowl and chickens.  And you thought we had critters?

Two dogs, three horses, 2 sheep, 2 cats, 2 rabbits, 1 duck named Harriet, two white geese, two white ducks, numerous guinea fowl and chickens. And you thought we had critters?

 

Our patio, in use for breakfast, reading, sleeping, eating, and playing Rummy Kube.

Our patio, in use for breakfast, reading, sleeping, eating, and playing Rummy Kube.

  The richness of the scenery, the beautiful accommodations, the sound of the birds, meeting Lori and relaxing made for a week we will never forget.  Even Kurt, who rarely REALLY relaxes, relaxed.

The richness of the scenery, the beautiful accommodations, the sound of the birds, meeting Lori and relaxing made for a week we will never forget. Even Kurt, who rarely REALLY relaxes, relaxed.

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