6, 2001: Sleeping in a castle
The castle was constructed in the seventeenth century by sébastien le prestre de vauban on a rocky plateau called mont dauphin. It was built to keep the italians from getting past the valley pass. This is why the french even today don't have a decent mafia.
You can see the rocky cliff of mont dauphin on the far lower right corner of the ski map. All I brought home from the castle was a business card of the auberge where we stayed. To get more information about the place, you can email them. I tried to look up some other info on the internet. It turns out that most all of the content on mont dauphin is in french.
Through the modern wonder of machine translation, I was able to greatly amuse myself, even if didn't really learn that much. Reading machine translated documents helps you appreciate what it must be like to have a learning disability:
"Effective instrument of dissuasion, mount-dolphin, intended for XVIIe century to contain an invasion from italy, sees fire only in 1940 and its arsenal is then partly destroyed by a released bomb of an italian plane."
Okay. In any case, we thoroughly enjoyed our seventeenth century experience, which included a three course dinner, the rooms, a french breakfast and various beers, shots of pastis and other drinks, all for just under $30 a person. What a deal!
We were all pretty tired that night, so we tried to watch television. It was a difficult thing because the power kept going on and off. It reminded me of california.
The next morning we got a decent breakfast and packed up. In this spotty video clip, jonathan's wife malika demonstrates how to properly eat crusty french bread and jam at breakfast.
Surrounding the auberge where we stayed were the living remains of the town center within the castle's walls. I put up some pictures of the town without much explanation, because I didn't really know what all the stuff was. But it's all the basic military fort furnishings: munitions buildings, walls, gates, barracks and a church.
This sure beat my last unusual french overnight experience: in the north of france (actually across the border in luxembourg, which is much sillier than france), I was once left behind at the schueberfouer (the annual fun fair) without a passport, local currency, a phone card or even knowing the town or any phone numbers.
I fell asleep waiting for my friends to return, and the goofball carnies and clowns I found when I woke up spooked me enough that I decided to climb over the wall and try to sleep in a nearby graveyard.
Early the next morning I was attacked by bats and, freezing from the wet grass and occasional, spotty rain, I ended up dodging past a security camera and slept for an hour or so in the entryway of an office building.
Sleeping in a warm castle room with a shower and food and drinks certainly beat the carnival graveyard ordeal. And it only cost $30 more.
The primary thing that changed my plans was some additional injury on the slopes. I didn't come down in a body bag, but I did make the already bad thing worse. Monday, max arranged for me to go to a french doctor. This was an interesting deal, as I've never been to healthcare outside the usa before.
The doctor prescribed three new drugs and scheduled me for x-rays the next week if things didn't improve. But that's getting ahead of things. I spent first part of the day on monday in nîmes, just looking around. More on that to come in another story.
More information about castles, the french, france and carnival games:
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