The Ant Farm

Walking around the Usual Woods with TLGITW and M. Baskerville this morning, I had an odd thought. It went along the lines of ‘I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to blog for ages, I’ve spent all my time recently at the keyboard of the laptop’. Which is where I would be if I was blogging. So I should be blogging, after all, it’s only a few minutes of typing about life the universe and everything.

Last week on the 7th April, a somewhat unusual event (at least unusual to my mind) took place just outside Montpellier, which TLGITW and I were lucky enough to be invited to.

Every year, Hérault Tourism host a day for all the touristic venues to meet up, compare notes, and generally get in to the mood for the start of the holiday season. As you probably know, Hérault is a popular destination for a huge number of people looking for a place to get away from it all for their summer break. They come in droves, by plane, train, car, motorcycle and boat, all to enjoy the incredible variety of holidays and activities on offer in the Hérault. This event brings many of the tourist attractions together to swap brochures… a curious ritual, but a very social one at the same time.

Arriving at the venue for the event, the first thing that strikes the uninitiated is the general feeling of chaos. It’s like an ant farm, with everyone hurrying in different directions seemingly randomly, but in fact all have a part in the grand scheme. The room it is held in is around 25m long, and has tables all the way around the edge, plus an ‘inner circuit’ of more tables, each with a venue displaying this years brochures. Donkey sanctuaries, mountain bike holidays, sailing, show caves, museums, magazines, vineyards, art holidays, and a whole host of other activities are represented.  A lot of chat and announcing over the tannoy system happens as the morning progresses, then the various containers come out, and all the attendees start swapping brochures, catalogues, leaflets and flyers, by the box load. Some fill a bag, some carry the boxes, some have a sack-truck, and one or two use a wheelbarrow. Then, the inevitable lunch, with a glass of wine, and more serious discussions.

It’s an odd sight, to see, but in many ways, and for many of the tourist attractions in the Hérault, it signifies the start of another year, another season, another turn of the wheel. It’s actually quite fun.

One Response to The Ant Farm

  • WoW says:

    Glad you enjoyed it. Now you are on the list you should get invites from time to time.

    I started this group with about 9 people – but it has grown rather nicely. We were named the Oyster Club – but that seems to have vanished of late

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