We arrived at Yves and Ingrid’s beautiful home after days of camping in snow and rain. They had contacted us by email offering us the chance to visit them and as we tried to resolve the problems with our tent their offer seemed to good to be true. We had discussed staying two or three nights to give us the chance to recover a little and make plans for our route ahead.
When we arrived we discovered that Yves had contacted Hilleberg and ordered some seam sealer which would fix our tent problems, however due to French public holidays it became clear this might be delayed in reaching us. Much to the disappointment of Yves and Ingrid we decided that we would need to leave after six nights to stay on our schedule for meeting Emma’s parents in Italy.
From the very beginning we were made to feel welcome in their home with a guided tour of the house and the many cellars below each holding a new surprise, not least of which was a fully functioning home bakery. On our second day we were entertained with a visit to the Roquefort cheese factory where we saw the caves used to give the different cheeses their unique flavours. On the return journey we visited Millau and the world’s tallest suspension bridge. Over the following days we walked around the local village with lessons on how to identify wild strawberries and which other plants were edible (or at least interesting to taste).
Our days seemed to pass by rapidly with cups of coffee, conversation and wonderful regional food prepared by Yves each dish with a special story, leading to evenings where we rarely made it to bed before midnight. We worked on our bikes a little and I helped Ingrid with some network problems, learning a little Windows OS German along the way. We took over cooking duties for one evening making a range of different Indian curries after we had struggled to devise a traditional New Zealand menu and learning Yves and Ingrid liked Indian food.
The day before we left Yves had planned a BBQ and bread making lesson for us. The bread making was awesome watching Yves do something that he obviously enjoys and has put so much time and energy into he made it look effortless. When he handed the dough rolling over to Emma and I we quickly saw how hard it was. We talked as usual for hours over the BBQ lunch and finally went to bed late at night sad to be leaving and joking with one another that we could give up our cycle tour and stay with our new friends Yves and Ingrid for the summer.