We decided to go with our neighbours T&M to the newly-opened equestrian Parc l’Alméria in Salbris, as the published program promised some interesting events including jousting. Entrance was free, and we watched some very heavily choreographed jousting with the “knights” using bamboo lances. But it was fairly entertaining, except for the commentator who, like most commentators we have heard here, seemed to love the sound of his own voice. He kept up a constant monologue describing how King Arthur (in the red coat) was about to tackle and vanquish the treacherous Sir Lancelot (in the black coat).
With King Arthur obviously victorious, it was time for lunch. This was when the problems started.
We discovered that there was a ticketing system in place; one could not just go up to the restaurant counter and order a hot-dog. Instead one had to purchase a ticket first. After queueing for an hour and a half we finally reached the front; but until that point we had not seen a priced menu in evidence anywhere. We then found one. It was affixed the wrong-way-round to a glass door. This was evidently done on purpose, because the prices were exorbitant. The management obviously calculated that after a person had been waiting in line for over an hour, they were ravenously hungry and not likely to drive into town for a proper sit-down meal.
In hindsight, this is exactly what we should have done. Having purchased our tickets (spicy merguez sausage in a baguette with chips, €6.50, glass of beer €2.50) we then made another unpleasant discovery.
Of course all the people who had been ahead of us in the queue had to have gone somewhere. Yes, you’ve guessed it. They were by now all at the restaurant counter. A further hour elapsed before we reached the front, by which time LSS was simply fuming. Do not speak to her when she is hungry.
The cherry on top was that as we got to the counter, an announcement was made that they had run out of merguez sausages. So instead we had a rather insipid ordinary saucisse. In a baguette. Without butter. Or any sauce whatsoever. And about twelve chips in a little plastic tub. Without any sauce either. Even the beer (€2.50, remember?) was ordinary Heineken. Which would have been fine, except for the quantity. The plastic cup held a mere 200 ml.
So if you happen to visit this part of France, either:
a) stay away from the Parc l’Alméria, or
b) bring your own food and drink.
From now on that’s exactly what we are going to do. And to be more specific; we are going to carry out option a) in its entirety, and if we go to any other event/market/fair in this country, we’ll carry out option b).
Other than that, we saw some spectacular stunt horseriding (I believe these horses are trained to act in films) and some equally stunning birds of prey.
Unfortunately LSS remained in a bad mood for the rest of the day.