Carnival in Mende and our TREASURE HUNT!
I haven't written in here for a while now, but I thought that the village festival was a good reason to get off my bottom and write something. Also I promised my Gramps that I would write when I got my results in my History test (which I got last week - 15/20, go me! Trust me that is a really generous mark for a French teacher)
Last weekend, Remi and Clemence (my older host brother and his wife) came down to Mende for the weekend. On the Saturday Teddy went to play Handball in Nimes (<<cool) and I went for a stroll* and did some knitting**. The days don't start here until about 12 anyway, because everyone gets up late and then wanders around waiting for lunch haha!
So on the Sunday, Remi pulls out this peice of paper with all these blank squares on it with questions - turns out it was like this organised treasure hunt in the region, and there's a treasure at the end (I'm not sure what the orginal was, but if you find the treasure, you have to replace it with a new treasure***).
The first place we visited was a memorial just outside a little village, and we had to find the name of a resistance group that it thanked. I swear we counted the letters of 'GROUPE BIR-HACHEIM' 50 thousand times, but it just wouldn't fit into the 15-letter allowance of the sheet of paper. There was another smaller, newer memorial closer to the road, and we went over and look at that one as a last resort - written on it was 'MAQUIS BIR-HAKEIM' and we got so excited that it was 15 letters. If you haven't already realised 'BIR-HAKEIM' and 'BIR-HACHEIM' are not the same word haha turns out the old memorial was spelt wrong.
After that, we went to a creepy little village in the middle of this massive plain - it was so strange, we drove for about 45 minutes through these massive gorges****, and then we came out onto a flat plain with no trees or hills or anything. Then there was the village - there were about three main houses, but the all had bit joining and stone walls and all that jazz. The clue said 'On the door of an old building made of stone'...yeah nice help clue. So we had to search through this whole town for a door with something engraved on it.
It was so creepy, just as we got out of the car, we heard this really loud screaming coming from one of the houses - and we were all extremely relieved when normal girl my age came running out laughing, phew.
We finally found the door, and it smelt really awful, I don't think it had been opened for about 10 thousand years. 'Write the two first letters of the word found on the door' - ok, some 100 year old rebel had come through years and years ago and engraved two letters at the front of the word, which was in runes so we didn't know which one to pick. Nice one.
We kept going until we found the next town, and Mr. Clue***** said we had to find the animal engraved on all the flower pots in the town - answer, sheep. Also, I found a letter box with 'Mathieu' engraved on it, so that one's for you French Teacher.
The next town was truly amazing, I think. It was right in the middle of Les Gorges Du Tarn, these massive gorges that were almost exactly the same as mountains, sauf the fact they were made of rock. And down the bottom of the gorges, there was a river running all the way through.
So, like I said, there is this tiny, middle-aged****** town with a huge stone bridge going across the river of Les Gorges Du Tarn. I have pictures that I'll seriously try to load here, but they really don't do it justice. It was amazing.
So there is a full town here, right? Not like the other one - a good number of houses and everything. Anyway clue says 'Find the house with the red shutters'. Yep, great. We're searching through all these back streets and everything, only to find it was directly across the road from where we parked our car - yeah!! Go us!
Our next clue was to find a Gorges du Tarn sign, ticked that one off the list. Next to find a statue of a lady holding a flag in another town, go us, did that one easy as too.
Next clue - 'What date is written on the side of a building in *******'. In the car, we we're being briefed by Remi about how it was going to be hard and we'll have to look carefully at all the buildings. HAHA - not true - parked our car and out Teddy's window there was the date right in front of his eyes hahaha!
'What does the rock say - 20 letters'. The rock says - the woman stopped here(19), that the woman - no too long...ummm - that a woman stopped here? - Puneze! (don't know how to spell this word, but you really get the picture). I forget what we wrote but whatever.
We found a heart on a door and wrote that down, then we arrived at our final destination (drum roll). It had been freezing all day because we we're up in the mountains********, but because it's Spring now*********, it's been getting warmer and all the snow had melted and everything about a month ago or something. You know where this is going.
So when we arrived, it started snowing out of nowhere it was so amazing. It seriously just felt like magic for it to start snowing when it had been at least 10 degrees the day before (please laugh at my joke haha). We had to find one last name of a Square or something like that, and then we could use all our previous answers to make the final treasure-finding clue - this sounds far fetched with all the letters from every single other one trying to make one clue, but it actually worked fairly well, apart from a few oddly placed 'm's and one letter that we had as an apostrophe.
Clue - something about 'find the important road' '250 metres from there'. So it's snowing and we're looking around for this 'important road', luckily we got helped by a little old lady in the street, who we DIDN'T mention the treasure to luckily - When we were about 5 metres away from her Remi whispered really loudly 'Don't mention the treasure, don't mention it!' haha! Later on when we were searching through bushes 250 metres in every direction from the 'important road', we divined that she was actually also searching for the treasure and gave us a red-herring!
So to disappoint you all (but know you are not as disappointed as MYSELF), we didn't find the treasure. It was soo sad! We were foraging through these prickle bushes and it was snowing and none of us had gloves, while I was desperate to go to the toilet, oh my god it was so awful! We'd done every single other thing perfectly and it had been the best day every, with the magic snow and what not - but then it had to be ruined by that damn old lady and her fake clue (ps, it wasn't a fake clue, but I'd like to think that's the reason we didn't find the treasure)
Ok, so I didn't realise the recount of my treasure hunt would be so long, but I promised you a bit about the town carnival/festival/fete so here goes.
I met my friends out the from of the vernede, and we walked into the 'centre of town' (tell me if you get this joke). There were yellow and blue banners hanging up from between the buildings everywhere, it was really cool! All these little kids were dressed up as suns and knights, but I saw one less traditional Superman costume.
I just realised I didn't explain the sun's or the blue and yellow - you would have got that the town colours are blue and yellow, but also the flag of the town is a yellow sun on a blue background, so that explains it, go me!
There were heaps of musicians and stalls everywhere through the town, and there wasn't one backstreet that didn't have little dressed up princesses and indians or people playing pipes or something. Actually I tell a lie, there was one backstreet with a few teenagers smoking - turns out i knew them haha! I love the way the French kiss each other everytime they meet!
Anyway, if you've seen my photos too, you will have seen me and Teddy's remake of 'Ice Road Truckers' - there is a video but I can't figure out how to make it work. It's basically the truck lighting on fire and then us smashing some ice with it and saying 'Angry ice road truckers, dangerous!'. Yeah I thought it was cool too.
So there'll be another one of these soon if I do something cool, if not no thanks for actually reading!
- 'stroll' seemed like a good word here - I wanted to add 'in the countryside' but I restrained myself
- * because I'm that cool
- ** I put in a kangaroo and a koala with the Australian flag
- *** Les Gorges Du Tarn, which I will mention later
- **** read by your's truly
- ***** I'm not sure if that's the right adjective - meaning from the middle-ages, not in it's mid 30s to 40s.
- ****** insert name of town here
- ******* sorry that drum roll didn't end in anything
- ******** by Australian standards. 1st of the month equals Spring, no questions, and no 22nds or anything stupid like that either France!