From :

Wagon. A cranky contary female / an ugly female. She\'s some wagon eh?

wagon. wagon - an awful woman. than one is such a wagon!

wagon. a woman thats a bitch. dat ones a right wagon.

Wagon. A cantankerous old woman.. Yer wan's some wagon, I asked her could I feed the seagulls and she lifted me out of it!

wagon. car or other mode of transport. i'll drive my waggon.

Wanderly Wagon. A much loved Irish children's TV program which ran from 1968 to 1982

Friday, 20 April 2012

Day 8 - Beaumes de Venise

The three days in Aubignan, is a side trip, a sort of personal pilgrimage for  Anne and I.  
Part of the reason for this pilgrimage is that they make really good wine in this region - Rasteau, Cairranne, Gigondas are all close by, but the best of all is the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, a dessert wine, which comes from the lovely little town of Beaumes de Venise, a couple of kilometres from Aubignan.  
We also have very fond memories of getting lost last year, while trying to follow instructions given to us by Anne's cousin's Satnav.  Fond memories of getting lost?  Yes, really, it was a fantastic trip.  First of all the Satnav tried to take us directly over the Dentelles, a spectacular rock formation on top of the Monts de Mirail, behind Beaumes de Venise.  
As it directed us higher towards the Dentelles, the tracks became fainter, steeper and narrower, and we became more and more worried, until Anne finally cracked, and said we were turning around.  This was fine by me, as I had been clutching the sides of my seat for some time!  We eventually found somewhere to turn, and headed back towards civilisation, reached the village of Vacqueyras and once again asked the Satnav to take us to the vineyard we wanted to reach, Domaine de Durban.  All was going well, until we started to climb once more, the road surface disappeared and we were driving on a dirt track.  Undaunted, we continued to obey the Satnav, eventually following a tractor path at the side of a field and emerging on a road.  A few hundred metres further on, the Satnav smugly announced "Arriving at destination - on right."  Um, we were still in the middle of fields, vines stretching in all directions, no buildings in sight at all!  Shrugging philosophically (what else could we do?) we continued down the road, to find a sign for Domain de Durban 500m further on. All's well that ends well, we sampled the wine, Anne bought some and we went back to Céreste, but the one thing we both remarked at the time was how wonderful it would be to ride up through the Dentelles.
Moving on fifteen months, here we are back in the area.  The horses are stabled a couple of hundred metres from the Chambres d'Hote that we are staying in, which is ideal.  They have a nice sandy pen to themselves, with a stable and field shelter attached, and friends next door, including a miniature horse stallion, who is the cutest thing ever!

I'm not sure Flurry agrees, though!
The plan for today was to ride a loop, as the LSH had a full day of work scheduled and needed us to be independent.  We were aiming for 25km, and after consulting with a local lady who does a lot of walking, we mapped out a route which would take us through Beaumes de Venise, towards Vacqueyras, around the North side of the Dentelles near Gigondas and back to B de V. 
We started off along a footpath by the canal, which was blissful!  Dead flat, easy for the horses, nice level grass underfoot - not a stone in sight!  We trotted and cantered along a good bit, enjoying the peace and quiet, looking out for ducks and fish in the canal.

Eventually we reached a town.  After much puzzling over the map, I realised we had already gone wrong, and we were in Aubignan, not B de V.  Not to worry, we were both in relaxed mood and we had the whole day ahead of us.  I worked out an alternative which would take us back to B de V, and soon we were riding through olive groves - a first for Anne.
There were lots of almond trees too.  Their flowering season is over, and they were laden with fuzzy green almonds, which will ripen over the summer months.
We were met by the usual barrage of ferocious barking from every garden we passed, and lots of traffic on the main street in B de V, but Flurry and Gigi are so used to towns now that even this bustling little town did not bother them at all.
We stopped for a quick map check in the middle of the town, and I guessed which was the most likely road.  I was watching out for balisage or signage of any sort, and as we passed a small road I noticed a faint arrow painted on the ground, pointing up a narrow side street.  "I think it's this way," I said to Anne, and much to my amazement, I was right.  Soon we were in the countryside again, riding along beside another canal, heading towards Vacqueyras.
There were vines growing on every available piece of ground, but in this field, the vines were gone and there seemed to be barley growing in between where the rows of vines would have been.  It has to be there on purpose, but it seems a bit strange - how can they harvest it, with all of the supports for the vines still in place?
Eventually we started climbing again, more vines everywhere and signs proudly proclaiming which domain owned each field.
This sign is just telling the world that we were in the Gigondas AOC region.
There was a chateau here, hidden behind the trees, but the gates were pretty good.
We followed the footpath which should have taken us towards Gigondas, but it was very overgrown, and after a few hundred metres we decided that it would be crazy to try to follow it with horses - it would have been difficult enough on foot, as there were many fallen trees and the surface was very uneven.
I once again consulted the map, and worked out an alternative route, which would take us over the hill, on the South side of the Dentelles, and back towards B de V.  Off we trotted, on a tarmac road heading uphill..... the tarmac faded away and we were on a dirt road, winding through forestry.  "This looks familiar" I joked with Anne "If we pass a hairpin bend with a ruined house after it we're on the same road we were on last year."
Well, what do you know, there was a hairpin bend, followed by a ruined house
which we both recognised!  We carried on, and sure enough, soon we were following a tractor path through a field of vines!

And although we didn't have the Satnav to tell us, we recognised the place where it had told us "arriving at destination - on right."
When we arrived at Domain de Durban, Anne and Gigi posed by the sign
and then we rode up towards the Caveau, and asked some visiting Americans to take our photo.  Both horses were fidgety, and the kind gentleman had to take a few before he got this one :
Then we were on our way again,vines to the right of us,
vines to the left of us
with Mont Ventoux ever present in the background.
We added an extra loop on just to bring the distance up, and while riding along it we met a lovely young French woman with a horse and a pony.  She was fascinated with our Renegade boots, and was very keen to find out about them, as her horse is barefoot.  She was fascinated to hear about our Big Trek, too - she took Anne's email address and hopefully will keep in touch with us.
We eventually arrived back at the stables after six hours in the saddle, having done a pretty good repeat of our "Lost in the Dentelles" trip last year.  Although today's ride was relatively easy, fatigue is beginning to accumulate.  Anne was physically exhausted, and I felt like I'd been put through a mangle - my back, hips, knees and ankles were all killing me.  I assume the horses must be feeling it too, although they are holding their condition well.
My wrist is great, though!

Day 8 - Beaume de Venise at EveryTrail
EveryTrail - Find trail maps for California and beyond


  1. Olive groves...sighs... thanks Martine great memories:) I also remember all the comments about Les Dentelles last year - Denis, please take a Bow: his comments were by far the funniest:)Hope you both are well and looking forward to seeing you back in Corcaigh.

  2. Beaumes-de-Venise - my favourite wine of all time - sounds like a heavenly day!

  3. Some stunning scenery there.....