On our day of adventuring around Pau, we went on a tour of the Chateau de Pau, the home of Henry IV, a king of France (one of the good ones). It was elaborate and intricate and full of complex woodwork, colorful tapestries from the 17th century, detailed marble sculptures, and plenty of velvet and lace--I've been to a few castles and they never cease to amaze me in their over-the-top nature. Ahh, to have been a royal.
Wouldja look at that! A castle!After our tour there, we walked around town, I took a few Polaroids and we stopped for lunch. We ate at a little place near the Chateau and partook of some warm and delicious butternut squash soup followed by duck cassoulet, a south west rural French dish. It's like a bean and sausage casserole with varying vegetables...it tastes better than it sounds, I promise. We followed it with peaches, blackberries, currants and cream for dessert.
French dining is the best--meals are always eaten in courses and there is always, always dessert.
After we warmed up, we ventured back into the cold and wandered around town. I barely took any pictures (but just enough to bug Ian..."so. many. pictures." he always says...) and they hardly show what the city is like, but I've determined that I just have a really hard time taking pictures of cities that do it justice. They're just too big for my condensed view through a camera. I'm getting discourage by this lately, but I'm hoping it's just growing pains for a time when it won't be so hard.
I loved the way Pau looked. It's full of hills and buildings stacked high and squished together with steep roofs and colorful bricks and plenty of green trees. It feels like a smaller town hidden in a valley, but it still has a bustling down town area. It feels like just the right size, to me.
There's usually a beautiful view of the Pyrenees mountains here, but there was too much cloud cover. Another reason to go back in the spring!
When Ian was a missionary in Pau, he taught a family here and they eventually joined the church and were sealed in the temple last year. When Ian and I were planning our trip to Pau, Ian got in contact with them and they graciously took us in for the weekend and treated us so, so well. Although I couldn't speak with them (I could understand the conversations pretty well, but I couldn't exactly participate in them...learning another language is hard, people), I knew they loved Ian and they were excited to have us visiting. The whole time we were there, I couldn't stop thinking about how charitable and willing they were to host us and how incredibly kind they were to us the whole time we were there. I left energized and excited to be a better person to my friends and family. I'm so glad we know them.
It was a whirlwind weekend and after the last few weeks of activities and busy weekends, I'm excited to be back in Bordeaux and soak up the Christmas craze that has taken over this place. It's heaven and it is turning me into a giddy child. But I just can't help it. Happy Christmas season!