Thursday, August 28, 2014


Sunday 3 August
The AmaDagio arrived at Vievers around 7.30 am. Our only view of this town was from the ship as at 9 am we left on a bus to visit the town of Grignan followed by a visit to a truffle farm, after which the bus would take us to meet the ship further along the river at Le Pouzin.
Grignan is a walled town built on top of a hill.
It is surrounded by fields of crops including lavender which had been harvested in July.
Like most small villages there are narrow streets but at a central point of the streets is the wash house.
This is where the women in Medieval times used to congregate to do the washing and also catch up with the latest gossip.
During the seventeenth century, Madame de Sevigne used to visit the Chateau de Grignan to visit her daughter whose husband was the Count of Grignan. Madame de Sevigne regularly wrote to her daughter at Grignan and her letters have become part of French literature. They also helped promote the village.
Like most towns in this region a major building is the Town Hall (Hotel de Ville).
Narrow, winding streets are lined with stone buildings which frequently have creepers, often roses, on the walls.
There is colour everywhere.
The major building in the town is the Chateau de Grignan which was built during the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries.
A wide walkway surrounds the chateau
allowing great views of the surrounding countryside.

Our next stop was a truffle farm to hear about growing truffles (truffe) and watching truffle dogs in action.
A tub containing different types of truffles was passed around for us to examine.
Truffles attach themselves to the roots of some (not all) oak trees and it can take 15 years before the trees might produce truffles. Truffle production on a particular tree may only last for 10-20 years so there is a need for rotation of trees.
Other crops such as lavender may also be planted.
Dogs are trained to locate and dig up the truffles - and hopefully not eat eat them.
I found this article online describing the operation of a truffle farm.

While we were on our excursion the ship was sailing along the Rhone River to Le Pouzin. On our way back to the river we passed a nuclear power station.
The ship arrived as we drove to the dock - excellent timing.
Le Pouzin
All aboard for lunch as the ship set sail for Tournon. In the afternoon it was pleasant to watch the world go by as we travelled along the river. We also spent a little time in the gym - riding an exercise bike while watching the passing scenery is the only way to exercise.
We arrived in Tournon early in the evening so after dinner a group of us collected our boarding passes and did a little exploring.

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