Well, if that was Tourist Season 2012, we’ve had it. It’s done. Over. Kaput.
This past week pretty much marked the end of the horde of tourists (from the U.K., the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and very occasionally, the far-away outposts of the U.S., Canada and Italy) who have been rampaging (okay, driving and walking) through the Greater Daglan Area countryside.
The campgrounds now look less like crowded refugee camps, the bike trails aren’t clogged, and the roads seem much safer. (But don’t be careless: If you see a car from Belgium, it still makes sense to throw yourself onto the shoulder of the road and roll as far as you can into a field.)
The reason for the tourists’ departure, of course, is the return to school, which means that it’s really the families-with-children crowd who are gone. And now we come to September, which I think is among the very best times to visit the GDA. The weather has cooled off (I needed to wear a windbreaker late this morning while having a ride on my road bike) and the traffic congestion has declined dramatically, but restaurants and tourist attractions remain open and ready to welcome you.
These are now the early days of Autumn 2012, and I thought I’d share some of them with you. First, we have the first signs of the changing of the colours. Here’s a shrub growing on a hill just outside Daglan:
The walnut groves are preparing to be harvested. As you may recall from previous posts, walnuts are harvested in the fall; the nuts with the familiar wrinkled brown shells actually grow within a green exterior husk or shell, and are now looking like this:
Other crops are nearly ready for harvesting too. For example, many of the fields of corn that were watered well this summer have now reached their full height (legally, corn cannot be picked until it’s “as high as an elephant’s eye”). I didn’t have a pachyderm with me today, but here’s a photo of my road bike (impersonating an elephant) reclining against a field of corn:
Of course, life goes on here in the GDA, whatever the season — like this family of a child, its mother and an aunt, out for a stroll:
The photo above doesn’t strictly fit the “here comes autumn” theme of this post, but it was taken today by my wife Jan, who is Radio Free Daglan’s Chief Photographer when not otherwise occupied. And I do agree with her assessment that calves are cute.