Our Stay in Aiguilles - Light Shows, Fireworks and Markets

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Saturday 8 August 2015

Our Stay in Aiguilles - Light Shows, Fireworks and Markets

Having spent more than 3 weeks enjoying the beauty and tranquillity of our base in Ceillac we both felt we really ought to move on, however, neither of us had the urge to travel too far either. The talking and exploring our feelings that we had made so much progress with was not something we wanted to put on hold if we started touring large distances from region to region and so we were happy to see posters being put up for another local fete, this time a 2 day event in the village of Aiguilles a little further up the Guil valley. It was a strange feeling descending the road from the valley floor up to Ceillac after so long, but we were excited to try somewhere new as well.

Arriving in Aiguilles, set by the river in a wooded area with the buildings rising up the valley side, we pitched up on the small permitted motorhome parking spot on the edge of town and strolled into the small, rustic centre to find a festival itinerary. As it turned out, the main attraction for adults was in the evenings after sunset, when a light show and marching band would be in the centre whilst during the day children's games were available. Strangely the theme for the festival seemed to be colourful chairs, with an abundance of painted, spotty, named and shiny wooden chairs hanging from fountains, windows and railings throughout the village. We never did get to the bottom of why chairs were a theme, but they were certainly decorative.

That first night light show and marching band were brilliant. Arriving at twilight the sound of thumping drums and cymbals was echoing down the narrow village street as colourful dancers whirled into view followed by the band themselves, all stepping in time and creating an amazing sound. Slowly marching and stopping occasionally the troop, Sambalafon, passed first one way and then back the other before stopping for a good twenty minutes of noise and light building to a final crescendo. The music was followed soon afterwards by a fun light show by the travelling troop, Soukha, with juggling and acrobatics with brightly coloured neon lights and props which went on until well after dark beneath the starry sky. With a good and appreciative crowd it was a real holiday atmosphere which lifted our own spirits (although Esther was feeling quite unwell with stomach pains).

The following night, after a day of recuperation and resting, we were back again to see the final show also by Soukha - a pyrotechnic display. With the same gymnasts but a larger band the show got off to a spectacular start and continued the same way. Flaming ropes, diablos and batons were swung, flipped and twirled just metres from the large crowd (fire safety seems to be lower priority here) while other artists danced and juggled, all building to a loud and fiery climax with fireworks attached to spinning poles shooting into the audience. It was a memorable night!

Having now settled in Aiguilles we decided to stay a while longer, especially as we had some clearing up and administration we really needed to continue, both between the two of us and also back home where our attention was ever drawn back to, namely and especially in starting a new and prolonged round of searching in seeking a new home for our beloved pet rabbits who are currently being fostered. It was to be a very emotional few days, not helped by quite a lot of rain and thunder which kept us inside for much of the time as we drafted and prepared messages alongside much talking and especially thoughts of our future.

There was also some relief as well, with a pleasant cycle ride to the head of the valley on a sunny morning followed by a visit to the travelling artisan market in Aiguilles. We also made time for an evening game of skittles and met some of our first English motorhomers passing through the area in some weeks. Like buses, it seems, two come along at once and we particularly enjoyed meeting John and Louise one evening and Mike, Claire, May and Aarran the next.

All in all we spent 6 nights in Aiguilles, during which we not only enjoyed some wonderful shows and a handful of activities, but also started to tackle some very difficult and emotive issues which have troubled us for some time and needed dealing with. Luckily we were in pleasant surroundings with plenty of peace and quiet to help us continue what we had begun in Ceillac. As we prepared to move on late in the day almost a week after arriving to head towards the head of the valley with the potential to get our hiking backs on for the first time in almost 2 weeks the next morning, we felt tired but also optimistic that we were heading in the right direction.

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