Saturday, April 26, 2014

Mon petit jalon: 1,000* kilometers

Me, in Monteton
I reached a milestone this week: I've ridden my bike 1,000 kilometers* in the past 12 months. And like many statistics, that number comes with its very own asterisk.

This phenomenal (for me, at least) number was achieved in the time since Ken put the odometer on my bike, which was sometime last spring, but I'm not sure when. So I don't exactly know how long it took me to ride these 1,000 kilometers (that's 621.371 miles to you Yanks).

My beloved bike, which came to France on a SLOW boat from the U.S. (via a horrible shipping company which I won't mention here, but feel free to email me if you want my input on who not to hire to move your household goods overseas), was a gift from my honey-pie husband. He hit a winning KENO ticket in Reno (hey, that rhymes!) a few years ago and bought me this bike with part of his winnings.

I didn't ride that much in the States: too much traffic, too many hills, too cold, too hot, too windy, too busy. But here in France, I have become as addicted to bike riding as I was to early morning gym workouts and mani/pedi's back in America.

In honor of mon petit jalon (my little milestone), I present some of my favorite cycling photos.

Riding the canal

Ken, on the Canal de Garonne

I think it was about to rain.

Fiddilng with my Fuji's filter

Ken and our voisin, Phillipe

One of our first rides in France, in 2012
Old round building, near Maurillac
Another old round building near Lauzun

Nobody tell Luke I included this picture, SVP.

L'église de Queyssel

Monday, April 21, 2014

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

A big bastide and a whole lot of river

Une maison à colombages
It's hard to believe that it has taken us nearly two years in France to take the 45-minute drive to Villeneuve-sur-Lot. We've passed by this city many times, but have never taken the time to visit, until this recent afternoon. Villeneuve is the largest bastide town in our département, the Lot-et-Garonne.
Detail from the building pictured above
Bastides are fortified towns built in the 13th and 14th centuries throughout southwest France. Their main purpose was to provide a haven from the destruction of the Crusades and to encourage settlement and commerce. Most bastides have market squares.
Église Sainte-Catherine was built in the 19th century.
The walk to Villeneuve's market square, place Lafayette, takes us down a pedestrian-only street. It's lunchtime so most of the stores are closed and the weekly marché is over. But since we're here to stroll, not to shop, it's not a problem.
Perhaps the biggest surprise we come across is the beautiful Église Sainte-Catherine: surprising because visiting churches isn't exactly our favorite pastime, but we are drawn to the Byzantine-Romanesque architecture and the red bricks (rarely seen around here). The church was built in the 19th century, so it's practically a baby, but it has 15th- and 16th-century stained-glass windows to balance out that new-church smell.
The lovely Lot riviére in Villeneuve-sur-Lot
True to its name, Villeneuve-sur-Lot straddles the Lot River. Although we are some months away from water-sport season, several boat-rental outlets clue us in that this part of the river is a recreational hub. We make a note to return this summer with towels, sunscreen, fishing gear, and flip-flops.

With fishing on his mind, Ken finds 'a lot' to like about this town.

Homes along the Lot River