Sunday, 5 August 2007

Along the Lot and Dordogne

This post concludes our time spent in the region of Perigord, driving along the Lot and the Dordogne Rivers.

On Sunday 29 July we headed on to the town of Figeac, a nice enough place to while away an hour or so. We stumbled across a place in town called “Place de la ecriture” where a large version of the Rosetta Stone is displayed. Sarah and I had seen the Rosetta Stone on a trip to the British Museum in London. The guy who deciphered the 3 sets of script on the stone – thus working out how to read Egyptian hieroglyphics - came from Figeac. He never actually got to work from the stone itself though as the English captured it from the French before he got to see it. He had to work off copies that had been made after its discovery!
Above: St Cirq
Below: Place de la Ecriture, Figeac

It was about this time we were starting to get sick of visiting all these towns. Don’t get us wrong, you can virtually pick a town at random in this area of France and chances are it will be beautiful, but we seemed to be doing the same thing everyday for the last week! We decided that we would have to do something different soon or we would go crazy!

From Figeac we drove a winding road high above the Lot River. Our destination was the town of St Cirq Lapopie, a village built on a hill high above the Lot. We spent the afternoon exploring the town with its many shops and galleries. From here we drove to the town of Vers where we set up camp next to the old railway station, long since decommissioned. After dinner (salmon again!) I challenged Sarah to a match of boules with our plastic €3 set from Carrefour. (I do have in storage somewhere a set of real metal boules, but they got left behind!) It was a close contest but I won 10-8 in the end. We had a quick walk around the town, which took about 15 minutes, the highlight of which was our usual look in the estate agents window.

The next morning we headed into Cahors for a look around. We spent half an hour catching up on our emails in a café then walked about and discovered, as usual, everything was closed on a Monday morning. We headed to Carrefour (a nightmare trip as one of the main bridges out of town was closed that day) and stocked up on supplies before heading north. We spent the afternoon at the picturesque town of Rocamadour, a pilgrimage site for centuries. In many ways it was similar to St Cirq, a pretty town clinging to the hills high above a river.
Above and below: Rocamadour

Late in the afternoon we drove to Souillac and just squeezed into the last place at the aire de service, it was rammed! We walked around the town at night and even turned up at the cinema on time to see either Harry Potter or The Simpsons… but they were in French of course so we gave them a miss.

The next morning, determined to do something different, we visited the local tourism office. Not far from us there was an adventure course through the trees with rope bridges and tyrolian zip wires (known as flying foxes in Australia!). Sarah expressed her feelings that the adventure course might only be for kids, but we paid up €17 each and got fitted with a harness and carbinas, ready for action! We were given a short induction in pidgin English and then let loose on the courses. We tackled the green course first which was a good start, we made our way through a series of rope bridges and walked across steel wires between trees. On the last small tyrolian zip wire Sarah’s neck rubbed against the wire and she now has a 2 inch red bruise on her neck!

The next course was the blue / red, which featured about 5 tyrolian zip wires between 30-50 metres long. It also featured a climb between trees along a steel wire about 15 metres above the ground. How a 10 year old girl did it in front of us I’ll never know as she was at full stretch edging across the wire. The last black course featured 3 tyrolian zip wires about 100 metres long each high above the ground. Great fun, but we were pleased once we were back on terra firma again!
Above: Sarah on one of the smaller zip wires
Below: Sarlat

In the afternoon we drove to Sarlat La Caneda, the most famous tourist town in the region. Foie Gras is big in this area of France and there are loads of duck and geese farms where the poor buggers get fattened up. Every other shop in Sarlat was selling souvenirs or Foie Gras! We spent an hour here before heading onto a village called Montfort where we spent the night. The heat got the better of Sarah as we were filling Ace with water, the hose escaped her grasp like a mad snake and soaked her! She was the biggest moody Trudy for the next hour, apparently this was all my fault!

There’s a famous castle in the village but it is closed to visitors. We got up early the next day for our last day in the Dordogne. We drove to the Bastide town of Domme nearby and walked around the pretty streets and admired the view of the Dordogne from the town gardens. Bastides were fortified towns, many of which were built during the Hundred Years War between the English and the French in this region. Sarah said this was the kind of place she’d like to live in as a few minutes walk away from the town there were quiet streets with lots of nice houses. After lunch we drove west - along the Dordogne for the last time as we headed towards Bordeaux.
Above: Domme, what a Bastide to try and find a park...
Below: Fancy some jambon? Sarlat (I tried some and thought it was nice, Sarah thought it smelled foul...)

1 comment:

Big sis said...

It almost sounds like you have achieved domestic bliss, cooking, strolling, boules of an evening and then sarah turns into trude and i just have to smile. Im well and truly like a pregnant woman now i cry as i look at the photos particularly of the two of you as you look so well and i miss you so much!!! The adventure ground sounded fun!! A bruise on her neck hey! The wires, thats your story and your sticking to it!!! Keep up the good work not getting bored of your stories so far so good!! Love u big sis xxxx