First Blush

Reflections and sightings from [almost] daily jogging at dawn

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Sunrise 6:05 am: Ascension Day at the Abbaye

Today is Ascension Day, a holiday for the very secular French. The Dawn Joggers began their day attending Mass at the beautiful Abbaye de Senanque, a Cistercian monastery founded in 1148 and, after ups and downs, resurrected in 1989. They were far from alone in thinking that a hike from the Abbaye to the hilltop village of Gordes (about 7 miles round trip) was a good idea, and much of the fun of the morning was spent with fellow hikers - all French - studying the map to figure out whether to go left or right. After lunch in Gordes, they set off for what was supposed to be an easy walk back to the Abbaye. Easy in mileage but challenging due to terrain. The wind came up as the emerged from a lovely valley filled with the most amazing looking butterflies (many of which seemed to accompany them as they walked). Amidst very strong gusts, they picked their way slowly along a scree strewn 12-inch wide path immediately adjacent to sheer cliff that dropped to a deep gorge. (The walking book suggested admiring the caves built into the cliff side but it was all the female DJ could do to put one boot in front of another, being careful not to look down). They later found out they were on the butterfly path and that one section seemed better suited to them than humans. Tonight it's off to dinner at big deal chef Elisabeth Bourgeois' restaurant. Review tomorow.


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