It all started with a cancelled plane.
Lest you think that all I do is wander around the back roads of Aveyron because that is, well, all there is to do here, listen up!
Today I had a highly cultural afternoon planned. The famous American artist Jim Dine, who has works displayed in the excellent temporary exhibit currently at the Musée Soulages, was going to be giving a conference in Rodez -- and I was going to go.
But his Paris-Rodez flight was cancelled, apparently for mechanical reasons, and I ended up in Rodez with nothing but a tad bit of shopping to do.
So, I had some exploration time. But where to go?
This is definitely not the road to Marcillac
I basically had two choices: driving towards spring, or savoring the end of winter.
The road to Marcillac tempted me, as Le Vallon is always a bit warmer.
It was 37°F in Rodez; logically it would be over 40° in Marcillac. And after the 2 weeks we have had, even 41°F sounded positively balmy.
Some serious snow had clearly been going on here
But then again, despite our two weeks of cold and ice, Rodez and my home village had actually accumulated only a few puny inches of snow. So I hadn't really braved the elements.
I decided to take the colder option and head up the Col d'Aujol, a small pass only about 20 minutes from Rodez, but also about 200 meters higher.
Around here, when it has been snowing, 200 meters usually makes a lot of difference, and today was no exception.
Bushes under a blanket
The road was clear and dry, but as soon as I got above 700 meters, everything around me was a quiet winter wonderland.
I regret missing many photo opportunities because there was simply no place to park. Snowdrifts were blocking the roadsides, and the few smaller roads heading off the main one didn't promise the best driving conditions.
(In fact, they didn't even promise that I would have enough traction in my snow tires to make it home, so I played it safe.)
Snow like cotton balls, a reminder that spring is around the corner
At the entrance to one hamlet, though, I found an ice-free parking area, and was able to commit this day to my photographic memory: the day that the famous American artist Jim Dine couldn't take his flight from Paris to Rodez.