Wednesday, September 13, 2017

CROIX DE JUILLET: WALK WITH PICS SEPTEMBER 2017

I walk. I sit in my den for way too many hours doing such things as writing this blog. So I walk. When I'm by myself, I take a simple, 5 kilometer walk around the village. Downhill on the way out. A steep return at the very end.

Friend Roger is a Brit with a holiday house down the hill from us in Quarante. He walks. In England, he organizes walks. Walks to and from favorite pubs. Multi-day walks. He has all the equipment - good shoes, a little backpack gadget with a bladder that holds water (he says) and a hose that snakes over his shoulder for hydration, a little GPS into which he downloads directions for each walk. Roger has become Quarante's official Walk Meister.

The first time that I walked with Roger, my short, relatively flat walks hadn't put me in proper shape. After three or four miles, I began to cramp up. I learned later that there were thoughts of getting the car for me. But I persevered and have since shaped up.

This is our second walk along the trail known as Croix de Juillet - The Cross of July. Pictures follow. Legend has it that the simple cross was erected atop a Roman column as a focal point for 14th Century locals to come to pray for rain during periods of drought. Whatever the truth of it, the walk is quite scenic, 5.4 miles according to Roger's GPS, with changes in elevation of a couple of hundred meters.

Enjoy the pics.

The walk begins at the wine co-op. Grape growers who don't produce their own wine sell to the co-op where vinification takes place. There's storage for many hundreds of thousands of liters of wine. In fact, if you have bought generic Bordeaux table wine, odds are that you've tasted the wine of the Languedoc mixed in. It's shipped to Bordeaux in tanker trucks.
With the co-op behind us, we head down a newly graded and stoned path leading out of town.
Up the first hill trailing Roger, Bill, and Evelyn. Note the changing skies.
The harvest has begun but we found many hectares that hadn't been touched. An early frost and a dry summer have made for a yield 20% below normal with small grapes. Some say that leads to concentrated flavor and a good vintage. Can't say. The science goes back 2,000 years and I haven't studied it.
A New Jersey boy like me knows that where there are fields in rocky soil, there are stone walls.
Some stone walls are not maintained as well as others.
Looking back at Quarante. And yes, our house is readily spied. Note the smoke.
Bad fire in Lezignan, a town about 20 kilometers away.
The Cross of July. Unfortunately, untrimmed trees have grown up to block the once panoramic view.
But there are places at the top where the vistas open up.
Walls and vines all along the way. Note that the walk takes us along dirt paths and, occasionally, paved roads.
Folks have to have access to their vines.
One thing that a boy from the Northeast US might miss is the changing of color in the autumn.
But grape leaves turn color, too. Different varieties turn different colors. Very satisfying.
Without thick gloves and a sturdy bag, we left collecting prickly pears for another day.
Another cross on the way down. Not certain of the derivation.
Date 1831? Maybe 1837?
Definitely on the downhill now but Quarante still a ways away.
Back to the co-op. Almost home.

Learn more about this walk, map included, HERE. Sorry. In French. They tend to speak French in France. Just sayin'...



3 comments:

  1. Very nice!
    I made the prickly pear mistake just last week :-\
    Fortunately, a sharp knife dragged across the spines pulled them out of my too-greedy fingers...

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    1. Thanks.
      One of our walkers suggested that if you cover your fingers with Elmer's Glue, when you peeled off the glue, the spines would come off with the glue. Luckily, I never had to prove the that theory.

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    2. Heh - I'll just take mine in a margarita (spiked)

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