Although our schedules didn’t mesh for HelpX* Jo and I had communicated a bit and decided to meet up. She invited me to stay over at her home in Tulle. It’s not too far away but public transportation schedules are such that a day trip would have been rather hectic.
Jo is originally from Liverpool but she’s been living in France for around eight years. She has a lot of insight and valuable information. But mostly she’s a fun and interesting person to spend time with. She lives in a quaint and quiet little corner of Tulle. I wish I would have taken some pictures when we were out but I guess I was just caught up in conversation.
I got back to Uzerche on July 13th in time for the « Jours de Fête » a two day celebration of Bastille Day.
There was a classical concert at the Papeterie, the old paper mill, which has recently been renovated as a venue for lots of local events.
A dinner « Repas Champêtre » was offered along the river bank. (I passed since it was primarily meat.)
It was 20 minutes of none stop artistry in light. Sometimes silhouetting the surrounding buildings and sometimes lighting them up, the pictures just don’t do justice.
The celebration didn’t stop when the fireworks ended – that’s when the « bal populaire » began, a public dance to traditional music. I could hear the music in the distance when I went to bed at 10 ‘til 1 in the morning.
There was no shortage of things to do on the 14th either. There were marionettes, a gypsy camp with dancing and a little pseudo-fight drama, music and other entertainment, as well as local artisan booths, and of course food. I opted for a crêpe with Nutella and a couple of macarons. (It’s a good thing I’m getting lots of exercise!)
My first Bastille Day celebration in France is definitely one to remember.
*HelpX – short for Help Exchange: For anyone who doesn’t know here’s a brief overview from a newbie. (I only learned about HelpX just before this trip.) It’s a site that connects travelers who are willing to trade some of their time, skills and effort for a place to stay and often meals as well. The host will specify what type of work is needed and if they need skilled workers or anyone willing to give it a go. Check out the link www.helpx.net . (If you’re interested, for best results, it’s worth it to pay the small fee to join.)
Jo said she stared out as a helper, now she hosts helpers to get work done on her house. Although she had a couple of not so great experiences she said most have been fine and she has made some good friends along the way.
I wish I would have known about it sooner.