Today we started the morning with sheep milk yogurt, it was very rich and instead of fruit in the bottom it was flavored with a chestnut paste. Instead of plastic, the yogurt comes in a small glass pot. I think it tastes better in glass – one little item in the world where quality matters to someone.
The land is rich here but not prosperous. The farms don’t have that finely kept look of Austria or parts of Wisconsin. The Romans took the towns here, but never subdued the Celts that lived in the deep dark forest. It was foreign to the way the Roman armies fought and they were content with roads and cities.
Before the potato came from the new world, chestnuts were crucial to survive the winter for the poor. They made bread from chestnuts to tide themselves through. One of the armies that came through stripped the bark from all the chestnut trees and that winter the villagers starved.
Some of the old stone houses may have had their cornerstones laid four hundred years ago. When you visit, you might find a “hobbit hole” where an original door makes a grown man or woman stoop to enter it.
Nearby is the “Plank of the Beautiful Girls” – where in the thirty year war some young girls jumped to their death before being ravaged by plundering Swedish mercenaries. One of the girls was very beautiful and the leader of the band tried to save her. He emerged with her lifeless body and above her grave carved a plank to honor her.
After war and pestilence and martyrs, spring rains always and the cows graze in the meadows and the larks still sing in Northern France.