Leaving Lyon and Entering the World of Julius & Joelle...

I felt that familiar sense of urgency to escape the city as we prepared to take leave of Lyon and our wonderful couchsurfing hosts. First stop, however, was the street market taking place literally right outside Theo & Quentin's front door, where John and I ate through our breakfast by means of sampling fresh French cherries, melons, various olives, local chèvres...everything short of, um, the pig brain...
french food market
Tye dye beans!
pig brain
I'm not sure where to begin...
french food market
I love you, oozy cheese in the bottom right corner
french food market
Hey meat man, do you not want your photo taken?
With full bellies, we ventured onward toward the next leg of our journey, which would take us to Perigueux (pear-ee-goh), then La Bugue, a region about an hour away from Bordeaux, to wwoof with Julius and Joelle.

We rented a car from Lyon, assuming that our cheap rental price saved us money against the price of the train ticket, and we were wrong. 292 miles meant $30 in toll fees (France goes crazy with these) and $60 in gas, so while we weren't way outside of our budget, taking the train or hitchhiking was, in hindsight, the way to go. You've been warned.
A rustic street in Thiers

Nevertheless, the car did give us the freedom to do a bit of exploring, and once John got over the hiccups of driving stickshift in a foreign city (at which point I could begin breathing again), we found ourselves on a little side trip to a town called Thiers. It's not the delicate and dainty city you might imagine as it comes into view amongst the green hills. No, this town has gained its renown for its knife-making skills. Not the type of place that a medieval soldier casually invades, that's for sure.

After Thiers, we stopped for a night in Clermont-Ferrand, a city that's been around since, ohhh, year 848. It's pretty old. We couchsurfed with a couple med students, who had mixed nuts, olives, and a cold regional beer waiting for us. And this was before the dinner of potato and zucchini gratin was pulled out of the oven.

Remind me--why on earth do I deserve to be this lucky?
clermont ferrand cathedral
I spy something black...
The city is also notable for its 10,000(ish)-year-old chain of dormant volacanoes and one of the most ominous and grand Gothic cathedrals I have ever seen--the Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption. Oh, and it was constructed entirely of black lava stone...in the 13th century...no big deal...right?
le bugue france
Entering Le Bugue...

We arrived to La Bugue that night and ventured to an even smaller nearby town called Journiac to find the place that we would call home for the next two weeks. 

Ascending the hill to Julius & Joelle's isolated, 192-year-old home, you can--as the chiché goes--leave all your worries behind. Whether it's the snug kitchen with its wood-burning stove, the jazz playing in the background during dinner, or the white, down-filled comforter than envelops you at the end of the day, you can't not feel relaxed here. And that's just the inside of the house. Don't even get me started on the view.

The Savings: Unfortunately, with tolls and gas prices, renting a car didn't end up saving us the money we thought it would (see this link for advice on cheap travel options in France). Not to be disheartened, couchsurfing on our second night kept us from spending any money (and we got lucky since she cooked dinner for us!).
journiac france
Welcome to Journiac...

Stay tuned for adventures with our Anglo-French hosts!

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